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Being Pure in Today’s World -  It’s possible! Part One

This is the first part of a multi-part series...

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

 

Purity is a hot topic in the Christian world today.


In our culture, "to be pure" often is associated as being naive, abnormal, wimpy and "no fun." Even in Christian "upstanding" circles, the idea of physical purity (e.g. virginity, abstaining from substance abuse, not being a drunkard, etc.) has shockingly become a novelty. Many parents just expect that their children will turn wayward, have a "fling" and then hopefully get serious about life and settle down.


It doesn't have to be this way.


God forgives—yet—what we often find is an attitude of acceptance among Christian crowds for the "sake" of trying to cajole and lure the wayward (especially the young) into church so we can "fix" them. Many churches and Christian organizations mistakely define love as toleration. Much effort is put into glamourizing the Message into attractive, marketable packages that will be appealing and more palatable to the Generation lost. They increase and diversify marketing strategies and grow to unnecessarily accept a lower standard and end up accommodating sinful lifestyles by providing "a comfortable environment" where lives ultimately don't change much. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find it Biblical to accommodate and excuse sin. We are to instead call sin, sin and disciple nations in the Gospel, a solid hope in an unchanging Christ.


Christ's purity is not subject to or diminished by human definition, interpretation, marketing strategies or popularity. Regardless of man's efforts—Christ remains the same. Christ was and still is the perfect pattern. In Him is a surety, a foundation to be anchored upon and an absolute possibility in obtaining His ways (He. 6:18-20). Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (He. 13:8). He is consistent, unmoving, uncompromising Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).


As humans, we are incapable of obtaining purity by our own efforts. We can "look the part" and still inwardly be vile. Being pure just doesn't happen by itself. As Christians that read their Bible know, the first tenet toward is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living through us, putting on the armor of God, feeding oneself with the Word of God, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, and praying without ceasing. Being pure as Christ, though, does have some more action on our part. We are born with a free will, thus, WE have to choose to allow the Lord to work in us a daily renewing in a never ending lifestyle that permeates every part of us.  Briefly, in application this means we have to set things asside.  We have to keep our clothes on or even add more fabric to our clothing! We have to not read or watch trash. We have to walk away.  We have to turn off the radio or television or computer. 


In accord with Scripture and with the enablement of Christ, we have a choice and ability to control and to "... keep thyself pure" (1Tim. 5:22).


Our mind – What do we think about? Read? Entertain ourselves with?

Our eyesight – what do we view? Do we walk away or refuse to look at it? Do we turn it off?

Our mannerisms – How do we act? Are we ruled by selfishness ("this is just me, you'll have to lump it") or self-giving?

Our speech—What comes out of our mouths? Are we deceptive, backbiting, idle, vulgar?

Our desires – What do we long for? Do we inappropriately want something?

Our passions – Are we controlled by our lusts and impulses?

Our bodies – How are we presenting them? Using them? Managing them? Dressing them?

In our relationships – do we treat others as Christ would? Are we physically pure with others?

Our identity – Do we act as women should? Are we uncompromisingly feminine as God created women to be? Do we excuse ourselves as being mannish when God gave us a role of femininity?

How we work? – Do we work with purity? Are we blameless, ethical, integral and honest?

How we spend our time? – Are we good stewards of our time? What are we doing with life?

How we spend our money? – What investments are we making? Do we tithe? Are we responsible?

What entertains us? – Do we have hobbies and interests that God would approve of?

How do we care for our families? Are we committed? Do we invest and love the lives God has given us in our family? Do we honor our parents?

And the list could go on...


God doesn't want us to feel beat before we're start. He enables, He provides, He satisfies, He gives. What we have to do is make the commitment and live today, one step at a time. When we fail, we have to confess it and get back going on the right track. We have to be willing to change and make changes. 


Let's bring this down to application.

What does purity look like in our daily lives?

To Be Continued...

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Final Post: What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Five

Final Post on "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"

Rebekah L. Holt

There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life.  The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection.  But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life.  What He did promise is that all our needs would be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!

So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be?  Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:

  1. Give it to the Lord.
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
  3. Remember Christ was Rejected.
  4. Recall that God is Sovereign.
  5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
  6. Realize Your Identity Before God. 
  7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
  8. Resist the Attitudes!
  9. Be Humble
  10. Forgive. Read Part Four

 

11. Wait on the Lord for Strength, Renewal and Healing. God has promised to renew the strength of His followers (Is. 40:31).  He warns us not to grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). Before doing anything rash—wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14).  It is often through tough times that some Christians “call it quits” and selfishly consider their ways better than their Creator’s. Sadly many Christians have fallen away from the ways of Christ and rejected Him because it “didn’t work out like they wanted.”  They think God failed them instead of realizing that God is a Faithful God that is an Ever Present Help in trouble (Deut. 7:9; Ro. 8:18-39).  Any true athlete knows that in order to build muscle, you go through strenuous, consistent training and exercise.  Those that quit the training course prematurely will never achieve their full potential in skill or development. They may never finish the course or win the race.  The same goes for those that fall away when following Christ presents a tough route. Stay faithful to Him.  Wait on the Lord.  Trust Him.  He can pull us out of a horrible pit and set our feet on a rock (Ps. 40).  God is a God of Salvation (Ps. 68:20)! Those that are faithful to waiting on God’s perfect timing can testify that God is true to His word and does restore perfectly (Deut. 7:9; Jn. 3:33).  Seeing God work is worth waiting for.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Pe. 5:10).

12. While "Standing and Waiting," Get Busy With What’s Under Your Nose. The Bible tells us that when all is done, to stand (Ep. 6:13). Part of that “standing” is doing what’s under your nose.  God has made us for work.  Regardless of the situation, there’s going to be something in the “here and now” for us to do.  It may be wiping window sills, putting up decorations, washing the car, taking out the trash or entering in information on an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever is on your plate—get up and do it.  No one is going to do your work like you can.  God has given you something to do now.   An older woman once told me, “Keep in a routine. Discipline your life.  Sweat if possible!”  Above all, keep anchored on the promises of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows our situations—every detail.  He can make all things new (Rev. 21:5).  He is the Master Creator; Our Savior, Provider, Redeemer and Friend. As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Pe. 1:3). For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God… (Ec. 9:1). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).

 

Thank you to all who have provided feedback on this article series. The Word of God is living and applicable to our lives.  RLH

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What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Four

Being a Christian, we just come to expect an occasional cold shoulder or the "not-in-favor" comments from others that really don't seek the Lord as the center of their life. 

But...what's not often discussed are the times we encounter Christians who choose to reject us in various ways.  

The worst and most painful scenarios seem to be family or dating/courting divisions. What can be more agonizing than when actual professing Christian family members want nothing to do with you or even take legal action to reject you?  What about a Christian spouse that quits and wants out when you're so dedicated and faithful? Or consider a very godly fiance that had a change of mind (and heart) and called it all off. Perhaps it was the unique "Christian someone" that for months led you, family, friends and others to believe was "in earnest", winning your trust, but then suddenly tried claiming nothing was intended by months of very personal, daily attention.
A holiday season certainly can be dampened by painful thoughts or memories of "what should or could have been," or by just the challenge of overcoming all the emotional backlash from being rejected and someone else's missing the mark.  We don't gloat in other Christians' failings.  Yet, experiencing rejection is often a two-sided sorrow we have to rise above: 1) the sting of their response to us and 2) the failure on their part to impart Christ in their actions.
How do we "handle" this?  What is the Christian response? How do we overcome?

 

Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected" by Rebekah L. Holt. Please Note: This article series is not written as a "fix all" nor can the authoress claim to have experienced every scenario and be an "authority" on the topic.  However, the article series is written to point out scriptures and Biblical principles that God has given us that can help in time of need. In this fallen world, God doesn't always keep us from painful experiences, BUT, He gives us hope, grace, comfort and a tried and true way of handling the situation. Anytime we follow and obey God, it works.

 

  1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
  3. Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two 
  4. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
  5. Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two
  6. Realize Your Identity Before God. Read Part Three
  7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three

 

8. Resist the Attitudes!  The typical human response to rejection is not Christ-like! Some turn inward and refuse to “give” again. Others grow hostile, sour and resistant.  Some are just indifferent, apathetic and don’t care. Either way is sinful!  Christians are capable of responding sinfully to others’ wrong doings (Mt. 26:41; Gal. 6). God has told us look to Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith Who endured the cross because He knew the joy that would come (He. 12:2).  Only with the Lord’s help and by sincerely surrendering to Him can we overcome the impulses of the flesh (1 Cor. 10:13). Search the scriptures for Christ’s attitude when He was rejected and model Him. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9).

 

9. Be Humble. Even when we are “done dirty”, as Christians, we have a responsibility to reflect Christ in our response to the circumstance.  Use this time of sorrow (or anger) over being rejected to examine yourself before the Lord. Confess to the Lord if you have sinned in this situation (1 Jn. 1:9).  Ask Him to help you to overcome your weaknesses—He will stand with you and strengthen you (2 Tim. 4:17; Is. 40:29).  Allow the Lord to renew your mind with His thoughts (Ro. 12:2; Ep. 4:23). It takes humility to accept that God will vindicate even when it looks like that person is “getting away with it.”  It takes humility to sort out your wrong doing from the other party’s, especially when you think yours was a smaller act.  Ask God to give the grace and to enable you to be humble (Phil. 4:13).  God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

 

10. ForgiveBut if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt. 6:15).This one can be difficult!  When we are innocent and the rejection comes from someone else’s sinful behavior, it’s a temptation to feel justified in nurturing wrongs. Without forgiveness, we are not following Christ’s example or commandment (Luke 23:34; Mt. 18:21-22). Forgiveness does not mean resignation or indifference.  Forgiveness is a sacrifice, a denying our “right” to holding a grudge or mulling over the wrongs in our minds.  We realize that in God’s sovereignty, He is All powerful to work out His will in this situation. But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mt. 19:26). When bad thoughts come up about that person—pray for them. Simply just ask that God’s will for that person to come to pass.  Shake the dust from your feet (and your mind) and move on (Luke 9:5)!  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Mt. 5:44). And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).

 

 

 

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What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Two

This is a continuation of a series of posts from "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected" by Rebekah L. Holt

It's just part of a fallen world to experience rejection from other humans sometime in our lives.

Whether in a work place, in church, in marriage, in family, or friendships--rejection is a painful experience.

What are we to do when we experience rejection?

  1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One

3. Remember Christ was Rejected. When we experience rejection, we have taste of what Christ endured.  We are identifying with Him through our sufferings. His own “earthly” family challenged His leadership (Jn. 7:3-5).  People from His “home town” discounted His Identity and ministry (Mark 3:1-6). Many followers turned away from Him (Jn. 6:60-71). He was mocked by spiritual leaders and others (Mt. 27). Christ was betrayed by a close friend (Mt. 26:14). Christ was forsaken and denied when unjustly condemned (Mark 14:50; Mt. 26:69-74). Several of the people who had witnessed His righteous acts hated Him!  They falsely accused Jesus of lying, being sinful and ultimately condemned Him to death. Today Christ is still mocked, rejected and misrepresented by His own creatures. We must accept that identifying with Christ includes taking up our cross and following Him. It is not “strange” for a Christian to partake in a portion of Christ’s sufferings in a fallen world.  With God’s help, we can “extract” good out of bad (Ro. 8:28) and rejoice in knowing that we are going to see His glory and have His joy! And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me] (Mark 8:34). But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Pe. 4:13).

4. Recall that God is Sovereign. God is in control and fully aware of our circumstances (He. 4:13). The circumstances do not take Him by surprise (Mt. 6:8; Acts 15:18; Is. 46:9-10).  What “so and so” did to us, God sees it.  He is concerned about us. He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)! God’s timing is not our timing (Ec. 3:17). Yet, God is just.  No one “gets away” with anything before the Lord (He. 10:30). Remember that though we are finite and can only see the “now”—God is infinite, seeing all, past, present, and future. He is on the job, all the time (Ps. 121; Is. 50:8)

5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Being rejected, in whatever form, does not have to mar or dismember our life.  It’s truly not our end! God is at work.  I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him (Ec. 3:14). Where there is life, there is hope that whatever has happened can be redeemed by the Redeemer (Is. 48:17).  Sometimes God’s redemption is to do a new work, a new thing (Is. 43:19). Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jer. 32:17). Nothing! And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose(Ro. 8:28).

 

To be continued!

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Poetry has never been a strong point in my writing (or even a real interest), however, I have found this year that the Lord gives me a message once written down, it finds itself in rhythm.  Of course, I haven't gotten the stanzas all to match in syllables--so you writing folks out there--I'm an amateur! But there's no denying that He gave me this poem very quickly on my drive home yesterday.  I could not rest or get anything done until I sat down and the words flowed forth, almost effortlessly.  I've edited it a little, but here it is almost exactly as He gave it (read below).

We have to be willing to receive from the Lord and be where He wants us. It takes a daily acceptance and saying "Yes, Lord--I will obey and trust You."   Yesterday, I felt it would be impossible for me to be of any use to the Lord--that my call to ministry would need to be set aside for a time.  I had given all I could and felt I could no longer be effective--so I thought. Yet the Lord answered many prayers and I experienced His work, His grace and His renewal in a very personal, shockingly quick way that has lasted to a new day.  No one can fully comprehend this--unless they too experience the Lord's vibrant work in their lives.  

There are times in our lives we so wonder "why"--every one of us, if we are honest, are going to have those times of "wonder" and even "deaths" (however great or whatever they are) that put us to that question. Yet--in Christ, if we are truly submitting our lives to Him, we realize we have a responsibility to respond to any trial as Christ would and to let His mindset be the "sieve" in straining out our thoughts to only dwell on His truths.  Much of our walking through shadows relies on our being willing to obey Him by faith and not doubt God's mercy, will or sovereignty.     

I hope you will be encouraged and realize, you too are chosen.  We when accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we truly have what we need to make it. He causes us to mount wings of eagles (Isaiah 40:31), soaring above the storm, restoring our strength--when we need to be restored.  He promises that no matter if we take the wings of morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea (Ps. 139:9-10), EVEN THERE, He is with us.  We are never alone and we are so safe within His will. 

I cannot know who reads most my articles or blog posts. I do not know your circumstances, but if you are human, there's probably a few of you out there today that need to be encouraged and experience a renewal.  Seek the Lord with full vigor. He promises to right all wrongs (Romans 12:19), heal the broken hearted (Luke 4:18), restore the weak and provide the grace in measure to each need (2 Cor. 12:9).  Remember when you confess Christ--you are chosen to be His and chosen to dip from His unending, overflowing stores of grace and goodness! Be encouraged, my friend and wait on the Lord--He will not fail you.

 

 

I am Chosen

Rebekah L. Holt

 

I am Chosen

When I confessed my Lord

The Savior of my Life

He died that I might live

Free from sin’s binding strife.

 

I am Chosen

Restored. Redeemed, Purchased.

His life He gave for mine.

The Amazing story becomes real

As I walk this journey in time.

 

I am Chosen

Because He loves me deeply

With unfailing, ceaseless love

Faithful to fill me daily

Sending mercies from above.

 

I am Chosen

To be His cherished one

Experiencing His provision

Overflowing and abundant

No restrictions in what is given.

 

I am Chosen

And wholly forgiven

Knowing the same measure

I too must all forgive

No wrongs must I treasure.

 

I am Chosen

To give and give and give

Not fearing slight or shun.

Freely given, freely received

God can never be outdone

 

I am Chosen

To rise, refreshed again

Triumphant—As He Lives!

A reflection of His Imagine

Submitted to what He gives

 

I am Chosen

To be joyously filled

To rejoice everyday

To find myself in raptures

Of delights He sends my way

 

I am Chosen

To keep on going

Tho’ the path the soul tries

His grace is all sufficient

He enables, satisfies

 

I am Chosen

To sing sweet praises

To the One Who made for me

The sunset and the dew drops

Children who laugh merrily

 

I am Chosen

To see His beauty

Daily framed in each glance

A world that dazzles, exclaims

Details Handcrafted--not “chance”

 

I am Chosen

To receive abundance

In kind and thoughtful deeds

By those also Chosen

Dear Believers, indeed.

 

I am Chosen

To be enriched

By prayers in United Band

These are also Chosen

Extensions of Nail Pierced Hands.

 

I am Chosen

To know Him

He is enough to fill

Every hole, every void

In storm, in grief or still

 

I am Chosen

To have no doubts

As to His real, tender care

He knows the very numbers

Of silver threads in my hair

 

I am Chosen

To wait for Him

His wing beneath to rest

Unknowns may vision cloud

His will is always best

 

I am Chosen

To see Him work

Every day in my behalf

Whatever guidance needed

He leads me with rod and staff.

 

I am Chosen

To travel Pathways

Enriched by Kingly gold

Wisdom, charity, peace

Spirit Fruits never old.

 

I am Chosen

To abide with Him

Every day with Christ Jesus

He lives in me; I in Him

Strength overcoming weakness

 

I am Chosen

A daughter of the King

Created to do His work

I am made for a purpose.

With His grace I will not shirk.

 

I am Chosen

You are chosen too

Your unique Life greatly counts

Say “Yes” to Him always

You He never will denounce

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