Holy Moments

Finished Book #29 for 2020

The title caught my eye while browsing in a used book store in Dade City in August. One, because it wasn’t a massive book. Two, who wouldn’t want to know the answer to this question.

Kelly gets to his answer in chapter 6, of 15 chapters. This is the lie: Holiness is not possible.

Can’t say I’ve heard that literally stated by anyone, but his message rings true. We generally doubt holiness is possible. Kelly gives several examples. One is this:

The heroes, champions, and saints who have exemplified Christian living for 2000 years did not live holy lives. It is a mistake to step back and look at their lives and say, “She lived a holy life” or “He lived a truly holy life.” And these men and women that we place on pedestals would be the first to admit that they did not live holy lives – they lived holy moments.

The thought of pursuing holy moments is my takeaway from this book. Kelly defines it a couple of ways:

  1. When you open yourself to God.
  2. When you are being the person God created you to be, and you are doing what you believe God is calling you to do in that moment.

Sounds like a practical description of “walking in the Spirit.” His message is the more we create these moments with God’s grace the more holy our lives will be. To live in these moments, Kelly suggests a few litmus test questions:

  1. Will this help me grow in character and virtue?
  2. Does this contradict Jesus’ teachings?
  3. Will this action bring harm to another person?
  4. Lord, what is it that you want most for me and from me in this moment?

He states that God isn’t in the business of tweaking but the business of transformation. Transformation is possible. Each holy moment opens our hearts, minds, and spirits to that possibility. May we have more holy moments.

Repentance Defined

I’ve been thinking about repentance this week. Read a @youversion plan. Heard a sermon.

I can’t say I’ve ever really considered how I would define it personally. I’ve always leaned on others’ definitions, such as this one from the @youversion plan:

Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin; it is admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin.

I like that one. Certainly puts my mind in the right direction. Less about my ability and more about my need.

Here are a few definitions I’ve written this week:

  • A repentant heart is a softened heart.
  • A repentant heart has turned away from the dark and turned toward the light (Jesus said he was the light).
  • Repentance is when I stop disagreeing with the truth (Jesus said he was the truth).
  • Repentance is possible when the light finally comes on.
  • Repentance begins when I accept my self-given excuses are lies. 

This is a good exercise-defining repentance. Give it a try and see what it does to your heart and to your relational status with the truth and the light.

Three Ways to Let God Out of Your Box

(Continued from yesterday’s entry)

Too often we tell ourselves we aren’t smart enough or attractive enough or talented enough to pursue our dreams. We buy into what others say about us, or we put restrictions on ourselves. What’s worse is that when we consider ourselves unworthy, we are putting limits on how God can work through us! When you give up on your dreams, you put God in a box.

There are three phrases in Nick’s quote that explain how we put God in our box: we tell ourselves, we buy into, we consider ourselves. These actions aren’t generated by God. They are generated by ourselves and others, and they reveal the second way to let God out of our box.

Stop Believing Lies 

Have you noticed you are one of the biggest liars about you? Nick gave you some examples: “I’m not smart enough. I’m not talented enough. I’m not attractive enough.” Sure, maybe someone actually said those or similar things to you one time, but who keeps repeating them more than anyone else? You do. Stop telling yourselves lies that you end up believing. 

Yes, others say things that we have a choice to buy into. A choice. In middle school, my music teacher said I wasn’t good enough to get a college degree in music. I chose not to believe that and got that degree anyway. And in my ministry career others have said I wouldn’t be able to get hired by churches because my marital status is single. For over twenty years now God has chosen otherwise.

To stop believing ours and other’s lies, we must fill our hearts and minds with God’s truths. Instead of undermining what God wants to do in our lives by considering ourselves unworthy, we should believe scriptures like Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Who in their right mind wants to believe lies and box up the God of that verse?

What lies do you need to stop believing? What God truths could replace those lies? Tell God, “I’m tired of the lies. I’m going to stop believing them and stand in your truths. Show me what it’s like to let you out of my box.”

(Blog completed tomorrow)

The Worst Case of Being Misunderstood

Ever been misunderstood? I’m not asking have you ever had a misunderstanding. I’m talking about being mislabeled, mischarged, or mispegged to the point that trust was broken. In some cases, these events lead to years of damage and loss, such as years in prison for being accused falsely. If it’s been that bad for you, that’s rough. I can’t relate to that depth of being misunderstood. But I can tell you this, that’s not the worst case of being misunderstood. No, the worst case happened a few millienia ago.

The worst case of being misunderstood happened to God. Yes, that’s right. And just like the case usually is, it was because of a lie. The lie led to mistrust. The mistrust led to the worst decision known. And God and his creation have been suffering ever since. Yes, that’s right. You have been suffering because God was misunderstood.

You’ve probably guessed where this happened. If not, here’s a hint. The lie had to do with becoming like God. (Now that’s a whopper of a lie.) The lie caused Adam and Eve to lose trust in God’s character. The choice to believe that lie in essence said to God, “You can’t be trusted.” The first person to ever be misunderstood created those who made him feel misunderstood.

So here you are. Either being misunderstood right now or thinking about when it’s happened to you in the past. Find comfort in these thoughts:

  • God is the one person in the world who does get you, all of you.
  • God knows what it feels like to be misunderstood. It started soon after he created us and has never stopped.
  • God found a way to offer reconciliation to those who misunderstood him. You can do that too, most likely. But remember, just like his offer, yours may or may not be accepted.
  • God’s character wasn’t impacted by his being misunderstood. At his core, he is love. Strengthen your core with love.
  • God continues to do his work. So can you. Being misunderstood is not your identity. Your identity is found in your Creator. Don’t believe the lie that started this whole thing. 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #6-God Hates

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:

  • eyes that are arrogant,
  • a tongue that lies,
  • hands that murder the innocent,
  • a heart that hatches evil plots,
  • feet that race down a wicked track,
  • a mouth that lies under oath,
  • a troublemaker in the family. Proverbs 6:16-19

Yes, God loves.  But, according to these verses, God hates also.

This paraphrase from The Message states very clearly what he hates.  And what God hates, we should hate also.