Live it! Blog

Friday, 17 September 2021 00:00

organ transplant

1 Peter 1:21; Romans 1:1-6

What would it be like if the organs in our bodies no longer functioned? What if our stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and both small and large intestines were full of disease?

Obviously, we couldn’t eat, receive nourishment, go to the bathroom. We simply couldn’t live. To have transplant surgery for one organ is serious enough. But imagine it for the whole digestive system! Impossible!

Last week I was stung four times by yellow jackets while mowing the lawn. There was a nest in the ground, and unknowingly I mowed right over it. Ouch! The first day was serious pain. The second, serious swelling. The third, serious itching. I was awake at night. But that’s nothing compared to a dysfunctional digestive system. That’s beyond serious.

Phillip Hanks is an example of someone whose digestive organs failed. Death was near. At 50 years of age, his stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and both small and large intestines were full of disease, and he couldn’t keep on living.

As reported in the Warsaw Times Union (8/28/21), Voila! Phillip Hanks received a multi-visceral transplant at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. It was just this past April. His diseased organs were removed and replaced by healthy ones—from someone he had never met who died unexpectedly. It turned out to be an amazing make-over edition: a multiple-organ transplant!

If anyone is in Christ, Voila! the new creation has comeThe old [organs] have gone, the new [ones] are here! (2 Cor 5:17).

It’s true. Every person on the planet needs a multi-visceral transplant. Spiritual surgery! Our old selves are helplessly full of disease, and we can’t receive spiritual nourishment, we cannot truly live, until Jesus is transplanted into us. Not just part of Jesus—not just an organ or two—but every part of Jesus.

Life Application Questions

  • What is a Christian? Who is a Christian? The answer has become less and less clear in our society. Maybe some are “secular” Christians; they’re Christian only because they’re not something else. Maybe others are “family” Christians; they’re Christian because it was part of their upbringing. Maybe others are “childhood” Christians; they remember asking Jesus into their heart many years ago, and they think they’re going to heaven because of that; but being a Christian hasn’t made any difference in their lives. There seem to be a lot of “church-going” Christians: they’re Christian because going to church is a good thing. But. Have any of these received the organ transplant of Jesus into their lives? Have they repented of their sinfulness and committed themselves to faithful obedience and complete transformation into the likeness of Christ? How would you define a true Christian?
  • Paul wrote that just as Jesus was raised from the dead . . . we too may live a new life(Rom 6:4). What does this new life consist of?
  • For Phillip Hanks, transplant surgery was an event followed by lengthy recovery. For us, is spiritual surgery more of an event or an ongoing process?

~ dbs

Thursday, 16 September 2021 00:00

redemptions story

1 Peter 1:18-20; Romans 5:6-10  

Redemption is a celebration. Redemption’s truth causes a continuous celebration. Disciples lift hands in praise because through Christ, our lives are entirely different. 

One apostle writes, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1Peter 1:18-20).

Another leader crafted redemption’s story emphasizing, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

His next thought follows precisely, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:6-10).

A group of contemporary followers set redemption’s truth into music. Thank you to disciples who published, as North Point Worship in 2017, “Death is Arrested.”

Alone in my sorrow and dead in my sin
Lost without hope with no place to begin
Your love Made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began…

 

Oh, Your grace so free
Washes over me
You have made me new
Now life begins with You
It's your endless love
Pouring down on us
You have made us new
Now life begins with You

 

Released from my chains I'm a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore
He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend
When death was arrested and my life began.

Life Applications

What part of redemption’s story calls to you?

Are there other songs which enhance your understanding of redemption?

If you were challenged to write a song celebrating redemption which images would you use?

William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921) using the poetic words of Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) crafted a forceful hymn which is available online at www.hymnal.net. “Redeemed how I love to repeat it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”

~ajs

Wednesday, 15 September 2021 00:00

this little light of mine

1 Peter 1:17, Hebrews 11:1-40

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear (1 Pet 1:17). 

By faith, all these in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11) believed and by faith were justified. And yet, their faith was made evident to man by their works… 

By faith, Abel brought a better offering.

By faith, Enoch pleased God.

By faith, Noah built an ark.

By faith, Abraham obeyed and went out to a country not knowing where he was going.

By faith, Sarah was enabled to have children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise.

By faith, Abraham offered his son Isaac.

By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.

By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons.

By faith, Joseph spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

By faith, Moses parents hid him.

By faith, Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God. By faith, he kept the Passover. By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land.

By faith, the walls of Jericho fell.

By faith, the prostitute, Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

By faith, Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jepthah, David and Samuel and the prophets, conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised: they shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; their weakness was turned to strength; and they became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - The world was not worthy of them.

Each of these people showed their faith by their works (see James 2:14-24). The world was able to see their faith by their works. God could see their faith, because He could see their hearts, but man only sees the outward appearance. 

“Let us not rob God of His glory in seeking to add any works of our own to the finished work of Christ for our salvation: and on the other hand, let us not forget that we who have thus been saved by grace through faith plus nothing, should be careful to maintain good works, letting our light so shine before men that they, seeing our good works, may glorify, not us indeed, but our Father which is in heaven (Matt 5:16).” (William L. Pettingill, Into the Holiest - Simple Studies in Hebrews. p.146)

Life Application Questions

  • What actions are a result of faith in your life? How have you lived out your faith?
  • Is your light shining brightly in this dark world, or is it “hiding under a bushel?”
  • How has the light of others shone so that you were attracted to the light?

~jlh

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 00:00

clothed in righteousness

1 Peter 1:14-16, Leviticus 11:44-55, 19:2, 20:7, Colossians 3:12-15

What does it look like to be a man? This was the question that Tunch Ilkin asked as he was growing up. Being a Turkish immigrant and living in Chicago, he believed that being a man meant being tough, fighting, demanding honor, cussing, drinking and drugs.  He still believed that these were the ingredients that gave a man value when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then he met The Steel Curtain, men who wore the uniforms of toughness and football excellence. Some of these men were also clothed with holiness. He had trouble understanding how these men defined what it meant to be a man. Their beliefs were in opposition to what he had learned about the religious beliefs of Islam. Thus began Tunch’s journey to understanding what it meant to have a relationship with the Creator God. Men like Donnie Shell, Mike Webster and John Cole were influential in verbalizing their faith and living it out. As Tunch interacted with them, he said, “I fell in love with the body of Christ before I fell in love with Christ.”

What does holiness look like? Read Colossians 3: 12-15 and note the things that we should be clothed with. Choosing your power suit as you prepare for that meeting at work, or choosing your workout clothes as you get ready for the gym are easier than choosing to grow in holiness and put on the very things that demonstrate our obedience to Christ. “The heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11…obeyed by faith…obedience is the pathway to holiness…no one will become holy apart from a life of faith. Faith enabled us to obey the commands of God” (Jerry Bridges) Tunch talks about his Steeler brothers in Christ and how they asked him the hard questions that led him to salvation and how they discipled him after he came to faith. He watched them live their faith and practice holiness on and off the field. He observed Donnie Shell deliver a hit and then stop to pray over the player from the other team; and that Donnie never passed up a media opportunity to express his faith in Christ.  C.S Lewis said, “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.” What does practical holiness look like when it is lived out in people’s lives?

 

We may not suit up in a football uniform, but God has still called us to holiness. “…Be holy because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) To be a dedicated believer there is no such thing as the “secular” and the “sacred”. All life is holy as we live to glorify God. Tunch left this side of heaven last week and his friend and teammate Craig Wolfey said, “He hit heaven’s gate at full sprint with a lot of high fives and hallelujahs.” Tunch chose to pursue a life of holiness because he found his Steeler teammates’ holiness irresistible. How can you embrace living a life of putting on the attributes described in Colossians 3 that will lead others to find your holiness irresistible? “Let me be a woman (or man), holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.”

lkb

Monday, 13 September 2021 00:00

holy. who me

1 Peter 1:13 and Colossians 3:1-11

Don't you love it when your boss or coach, parent (or God for that matter) tells you exactly what to do? There's no doubt in your mind about what they expect. It's even better when they tell you how to do what they've asked of you. 

So, if you are wondering how you're going to "be holy" as this week's Scriptures are teaching, here are some instructions from Peter and Paul that you'll find in today's texts. Hint. . . look for the ACTION WORDS!

Prepare your minds - and exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13). The NIV puts it this way: "with minds that are alert and being fully sober... " It should go without saying that we can't focus on or do well at several things at once. So, in our "pursuit of holiness," we must have control of our minds. Philippians 4:8 (NLT) says it this way: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

Take action; exercise your thought control.

Put all your hope in what? Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. For when Jesus Christ is unveiled, a greater measure of grace will be released to you (The Passion translation). It's difficult to have hope when you are in trouble. It must have been almost impossible for those exiles in the first century to be hopeful. They had to intentionally place their hope in Christ just as we must. When you take the initiative, he will enable you by his grace. 

Where are you placing your hope?

Put to death (Colossians 3:5) whatever is keeping you from living a holy life. Kevin DeYoung writes: 

The hole in our holiness is that we don't care much about holiness. Or, at the very least, we don't understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you've been trying really hard to be holy and it's just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it. (The Hole in our Holiness, Crossway publishing)

Will you begin your pursuit of holiness by taking action to "put to death" whatever belongs to your earthly nature? (Colossians 3:5a). Be specific!

Put on your new nature (Colossians 3:10). This seemingly impossible task is made possible because the Holy Spirit is present in us and is waiting for us to call on him for the help we need to take action. He's the great "enabler." Without him, you can't prepare your mind, put your hope in Christ, put to death your self and sin, or put on the new nature.         gmd & jbd

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