But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (lifestyle); (1Pe 1:15) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (1Pe 2:9-11)
I’m as close to God as I want to be. If I wanted to be closer to God than I am, I would take the time to do it. Here is a verse that defines this for all of us: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (Jas 4:8)
The Lord leaves it up to us as to how close we want to be to Him. Paul Ferguson was the praying-est man I ever knew. He memorized 8,000 verses of Scripture and used Scripture to direct his walk with God. Out of the 31,173 verses of Scripture in the KJ Bible, James 4:8 was the verse on which he built and exercised his walk with God. It’s God’s promise to His children. All of them!
Paul Ferguson studied all the Bible verses on prayer and read many books on prayer by some of the men and women who had a reputation for being prayer warriors. Toward the end of his life, it was my privilege to interview Brother Paul one day a week for six weeks and record our conversations. From those tapes, I wrote: Paul Ferguson the Fighter. He told me some stories that most people would not believe because they do not know many people who walk with God like he did. Dr. Lee Roberson had no trouble believing him. He wrote the foreword to the book. The late, Dr. John Herrmann, professor of psychology and philosophy (and a great man of prayer) had no trouble believing God’s hand was on him.
I asked him: “Brother Paul, why do you pray so much? Why do you spend so much time in prayer?” His answer was quick, because he had thought that question through many years before. He said: “Because it takes much time in prayer to get myself out of the way so God can do what He wants to do through me.” Paul had fought 232 professional fights as the welter-weight boxing champion of the south for eleven years (1939-1950).
He hung up his gloves while he was still on top because he found out from the Bible in John 5:24 that he had passed from death unto life and he couldn’t lose his salvation. He was saved at the age of 12 but never knew from one day to the next if he had been good enough not to lose his salvation. When he understood John 5:24, he lost interest in fighting. He fought some more but did very little running and training to keep in shape. He coasted for a while longer. He was then spending most of his time in his training shed in the back yard, reading his Bible and praying. Soon, God called him to be an evangelist and made it clear to him that he would never be a pastor.
God wants us to be holy. Many Christians think that was under Moses and that’s it’s “legalism” to talk about living holy today. We need to remember that all of the law did not pass away. The ceremonial part of the law that had to do with the animal sacrifices and the temple worship system in Jerusalem, all this passed away. God sent the Roman general, Titus with an army in A.D. 70 and leveled the Temple with the ground and all the Jewish worship system was over. It has never been restored. We don’t live in Israel, so we are not under the civil part of the law. We are under American civil law but not under Jewish civil law. The moral part of the law never passed away.
Someone asked Jesus what the great commandment was. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:37-40)
Do you think God did away with these two commandments? He no longer cares if we love Him and our neighbor as ourselves? The beloved disciple, John, wrote: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1Jn 3:4) Sin is the transgression of the law, the law that God did not do away with. If there were no law, God would not reckon sin against us. But, there is law. Not to love God is sin. Not to love your neighbor as yourself is sin.
The reason it is sin is because these things transgress the law. What law? The great two laws that Jesus talked about. God did not do away with moral structure in the New Testament because the moral structure is eternal. The law of love is eternal and will never pass away. We cannot be saved by keeping this law, but it is how we are to live in this life and in the life to come.
Paul said: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom 8:4-6) We need to get a hold on this verse and this verse needs to take hold of us. As a Christian, we are not free to live in the hog pen. A man may be saved while he’s in the hog pen, but he will not stay in it long. God wants us to live a holy life as He defines it. That’s His plan.
A lot of Christians know Romans 8:28. Not many know Romans 8:29….the very next verse. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:28-29)
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1Jn 3:2)
Do you see that? You are going to be like Him. It is God’s will and plan for us to be like His son. Is His Son holy? Yes, His Son is Holy. Are we supposed to be Holy like His Son? Yes we are to be Holy like His son so that He is not the only one who is holy. He is to be the holy one among MANY BRETHREN. Have you laid hold on that verse? That’s the plan. The hard times we go through are to make us like His Son.
I was baptized at the First Baptist Church in Mountain City, TN when I was nine. Paul Ferguson and Lena were married in that church. The church used the Broadman Hymnal, © 1940. On page 291 is the song: Take Time to be Holy. They sang it a lot, especially on Wednesday night. The song spells out holy living for the Christian. I have not always lived a holy life, but this song has always been in the way of my going back to the pig pen. I hope you like it. Click (at bottom of page) and listen. Ω
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
FEBRUARY 22, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Numbers 7 P.M. Mark 4:21-41
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MEMORY VERSE THIS MONTH: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. (Hos 4:6-7)
SONG FOR TODAY:
Acapella Men’s Quartet (2:12) Take Time to be Holy) (Mennonite Hour Men’s Quartet)
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The White Sisters. Numerous writers over the past 75 years have warned about the disadvantages of The White Sisters in the American diet. 1. White flour 2. White sugar 3. White rice. The Presbyterian pastor, Sylvester Graham (1791-1851) (Graham Crackers are named after him) made it a part of his ministry to promote better bread making in his day, and the vegetarian diet in general. I have a reprint of his booklet: Bread Making, Copyright-1832. Pages 62-67 tells about the experience of 80,000 reserve British soldiers during the war between France and England.
The usual supplies from America were hindered and there developed an acute shortage of wheat flour. In those days, the flour was ground and then sifted through silk cloth to remove the outer husk of the grain, leaving only white flour. This was called: “bolting.” It was the means of baking English dainties and the appetite of the British was addicted to England’s white pastries.
When the American flour dried up in England, the Parliament passed a law that for two years the army at home (in reserve) would be served only coarse bread. At first the soldiers complained and even threw it to the ground. But after 2-3 weeks they began eating it. There were many doctors stationed among the soldiers and they were kept busy. After the soldiers had been eating coarse bread for a few weeks, the doctors were amazed that the soldiers were in much better health and did not require as much medical care.
This news from the doctors spread throughout England and eating coarse bread became a patriotic fad. The civilians benefited from the change of diet, as did the soldiers. After the war, the white flour reappeared and the British appetite for white flour dainties reappeared and so did their deterioration of health. However, everyone seemed to be happy with it. My copy of the book was printed by LEAVES OF AUTUMN BOOKS, 518 W. Main Street, Payson, AZ 85547 – Ph. (520)475-0310. I assume this is a Seventh Day Adventist source. Ω