November 24

Today's Bible Reading
     I Chronicles 19-20
     I Peter 1
     Jonah 3
     Luke 8
''But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct," (I Peter 1:15)
            Thousands of Christians today have learned the language of Zion.  They know how to shout, when to say
''Hallelujah'', when to pronounce an ''Amen '', when to raise their hands, and all the rest that is acceptable jargon in their particular religious group. I wonder sometimes how God in Heaven looks upon our physical expressions of spiritual excitement when our l ife is no reflection of the holiness of God. It really does not matter how high you j ump, and how loud you shout; what matters is how straight yot1 walk when you land . I see young people decorating themselves with the name of Jesus in a variety of ways. I saw a young person recently wearing the name of Jesus on the seat of his britches. We give cheers for Jesus and live in sin. He does not want to be cheered, He wants to be feared and revered.  Peter is making an urgent appeal for holy living.
            Bishop Charles Ryle, a great puritan, gave this quotation of an urgent appeal for holy living. ''I have  a  deep conviction that practical holiness and personal consecration of God are not sufficiently attended to by modem Christians in this country. Complacency and worldliness have eaten out the heart of lively piety in many of us. The subject of person al holiness has fallen sadly into the background.''
            If we are to be holy as He is holy, we need to ask the question, ''In what ways was our Lord holy?'' I believe you will find that He is holy in His Being (Psalms 22:3); in His speaking (Psalms 60:6); and in His work (Psalms 145-17). Whatever our Lord does is holy.  This subject is awesome yet, on the other hand, it is a daily, practical necessity for happy living.
            I've had Christians say to me, ''Well, it's o.k. if I get a divorce. It's o.k. if I have an affair, because God wants me to be happy." Where did you find such a thing? It is only as you are holy that you will be happy as a part of the Family of God. Again and again, the Scripture admonishes us to holiness, and yet it is one of the most disregarded teachings of Scripture.
            Chrysostom, one of the great church fathers, was known as ''The Golden Mouthed Orator''. He was such a holy man and such a powerful man that Emperor Constantine had him arrested for preaching the Gospel. They put him in jail.
            Constantine inquired as to how he could silence this preacher. He said, ''Why don't we put him in solitary confine1nent since he i s witnessing to the other inmates." The jailer said, ''No , Emperor, that would not work, for th i s man says he enjoys being alone with God for meditation and prayer." Constantine said, ''Well, we will just kill him." The jai ler said, ''No, that would not do.  Why, that is the best thing we can do for him, for when he dies, he goes to be with his God. That won't work" The Emperor said, ''Well, what can we do?'' The jailer replied, ''The only thing I know is if you can make him sin, for Chrysostom says the only thing he fears is sin."
            My friend, God wants you to be a holy believer.  When that happens, it will produce in you an honest humility toward self, a hatred toward sin, and a hot heart for souls. To recognize the holiness of God will motivate you to love the lost as you never have before. The Bible is a Holy Book about a Holy God, and it demands holy living.
Pray today for the country of Georgia, the former state of the U. S.S.R.  This country was formerly known as the ''fruit basket of the U.S.S.R.", and now has close to five million people. These people in this productive country provided more than 90% of the former U.S.S.R.'s tea and citrus fruit. The country claims sixty-three percent Christian, most of which are, of course, orthodox. Only one percent would be considered evangelical. Since independence in 1991, interest in spiritual things and the Christian faith, in particular, has increased greatly. Christian groups of all expressions are experiencing growth in this nation. Pray today for the small evangelical group that struggled for survival under Communism. Since independence, there has been sustained hostility and opposition from factions in the Orthodox Church. Evangelical ministries have been repressed and their work maligned. Pray for religious freedom and acceptance of the validity of other beliefs, which this implies.
''The two kinds of people on earth I meet are the people who lift and the people who lean."
Ella W  Wilcox