Practical Proverbial, from 1 Peter, 27 April 2020

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV).

My Concordia Bible references this verse to the Lord’s Prayer.   That makes sense when you consider that the first line of it says, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.”

Because He is holy.  To be holy is to be consecrated, sinless, clean, without error or blame.   That’s God; that’s Jesus.  Is it you?

Do you or I ever step back from our daily lives to consider that God sees us as holy?   When God the Father looks at us, He looks at us through the lens of the perfect life of His Son, Jesus.   He sees Dave Terry as His very good creation.  Instead of seeing all the ways I’ve messed up His very good creation, He sees me covered in Jesus.   The blood in my veins is His blood.   The clothes I wear are His royal robes that are sparkling white.   The look on my face is careworn but through love, not trials.   When God the Father looks at me or you, He sees us through our faith in Jesus and doesn’t even remember that we’ve ever done X, Y, or Z.

God sees us as holy.

So how are you doing with that, today?   Have you messed up your holiness yet on this last Monday in April?   I’m betting the correct answer is “yes.”   Maybe you’ve already messed up big today; maybe you’ve barely scratched an indiscretion.   No matter what has happened, chances are that, because you’re a human being, something has already happened, because of you, that put up a wall of sin between you and God.   But then here comes Peter with his call for us to be holy.   It’s barely Monday here and already I’ve tanked that expectation for the week.   How can this ever be?

You know the answer.   You really do.   You’re a smart, discerning, Spirit-led person of faith.   You’re no longer ignorant of the saving faith of Jesus or the fact that He’s coming back soon to make all things new.  You know the Father, Son, and Spirit are holy, and you know deep inside that they see you as holy, too.   And when we put a divide between ourselves and God, the ONLY way to bridge that divide is to go back to Jesus.   Yet again; maybe again and again.   To go back, confess our wrongs, and submit to Him again (and again and again).   He sees us only in love and forgiveness.   It’s we who see ourselves as something else.

Pray that Lord’s prayer again today and give it another go.   And be holy because He has made us holy.

For further reading:  Leviticus 11:44, Isaiah 35:8, Matthew 6:9, Revelation 21:5, 1 Peter 1:17

Lord Jesus, YOU make me holy.   Lead me to think and act holy in Your service today.

Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 13 November 2018

They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.  1 Timothy 4:3-5 (NIV).

“Received with thanksgiving:” those are powerful words.   They can make all the difference in the world.

Next week is Thanksgiving and that means we’re coming up on the time of the year when we’ll reflect on 2018 and talk about what we’ve done (and unconsciously avoid those not done).  May I submit to you that an attitude of thanksgiving for all things, ESPECIALLY the bad things, makes everything ok?   No, I’m not Pollyanna.  This year, just in my own family circle, we’ve known death, terrible illness, separation, extreme financial difficulties, loneliness, encounters with Satan, and more.   Let’s just assume you’re in a similar situation (because you probably are).

Give thanks.   Thank God for them.  Thank God for the bad things and the good things, too.

Winter is coming and I just detest cold weather.   But I’m thankful for it.   Yesterday was a REALLY EARLY morning, seeing me wake up at 3 to leave the house by 4 to catch a 6:30 flight at Love Field.   I’m thankful for that because it means I have a good job.   Every payday there always seems to be more in bills than there is in paycheck…you guessed it:   I’m thankful because the life my wife and I lead is one of family and friends and faith and love.

God gives us EVERYTHING on this planet and more.   He did it (and does it) out of love, out of wanting to provide for His children who He created to be “very good.”  Who am I (or you) to put conditions on it?   Who are we to put rules and regulations all over something that God gave to us freely?

In the book of Acts, the Apostle Peter learns in a dream that every food is “clean” and a gift from God.   All through his life, Peter had observed Jewish laws about what to and not to eat.   It makes sense that the early church, an offshoot of Judaism, would start to adopt some of the Jewish traditions.   But God switched things up, telling Peter that all foods were clean.   In an even larger sense, God was telling Peter that all PEOPLE were clean, all people were worthy of His blessing and should hear the Gospel of Christ.   Give thanks for EVERYTHING, good and not good, clean and unclean.  It’s all from God.  Even the bad things He allows are used for His good purposes.

How could someone not be thankful for that?

Thanking Jesus as the start to all we are is the start of making things better.

For further reading: Acts 10, 1 Timothy 4:6

Lord, thank You.   Just thank You.