Sunday, April 20, 2014

God is Holy

The ABC’s of knowing God better:  
The letter “H”

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty. – Isaiah 6:3 (NIV)

“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” – Leviticus 11:44 (NIV)

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)

Of all God’s attributes, I struggle with His holiness the most. He is perfect, totally and completely pure. He cannot sin. It’s not His nature. His Word says He cannot even look upon sin: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong” or “look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13).

While I don’t consider myself evil or wicked, neither am I perfect. I feel much like Isaiah in today’s reading: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Or the apostle Peter, when, courtesy of a Jesus miracle, returned with the catch of a lifetime: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

That’s what understanding – truly understanding – God’s holiness does to us. Instead of strutting around, complaining, defiantly declaring that God has some explaining to do when we get to heaven, we fall on our faces before Him, utterly undone because we finally understand His holiness and our unholiness.

But we are not undone.

“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for’” (Isaiah 6:7).

And what did Jesus say to Peter? “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10).

God is holy, yes. We, by nature, are unholy. But we don’t have to clean up our act. God Himself washes us:

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

Sin carries with it the death sentence, but God has inked a pardon in his Son’s blood: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “The blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)

In our stead, Jesus went to the death chamber – and came out alive three days later, releasing us from the power and punishment of sin. (Read Hebrews 9 and 10)

I don’t need to struggle with or be intimidated by holiness. Because, while God requires His children to be holy, He provides a way – the only way (see John 14:6) – for us to become holy and enter into His presence – now and forever.     

Father, I feel so unworthy of the sacrifice your Son made for me. As the song says, “I should have been crucified. I should have suffered and died. I should have hung on that cross in disgrace, but Jesus, God’s Son took my place.”* Thank you. Help me to live my life in such a way that Your implanted divine nature in me matures and produces a harvest for You. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Isaiah 6:1–9

*“I Should Have Been Crucified,” by Gordon Jensen, © 1973

Friday, April 18, 2014

In order to simplify and streamline, I've deleted the extra pages on this site and moved the information about my books and speaking schedule and topics to my website, Michele Huey. Please come on over and visit.

But don't worry - this site, Michele Huey's God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, will continue to provide "a cup of inspiration, a spoonful of encouragement, and a generous outpouring of the milk of God's love." So keep coming back and recommend it to your friends!

God bless you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

When the bottom falls out

Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life! – Psalm 130:1 (The Message)
Has the bottom ever fallen out of your life?
A job layoff. A death. A wayward child. A broken relationship. An unwanted divorce. Sudden or chronic illness. A diagnosis of mental disorder. Insurmountable financial challenges. Addiction – yours or that of someone you love. Your most cherished dreams go up in smoke.
You wonder if God hears your prayers, knows of your pain. You question if there is a God – one who cares what you’re going through. One who has the power to change things.
Like the psalmist you cry, “How long, O Lord? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:1–2)
Then you feel guilty for talking to God that way or like a failure because you don’t have enough faith for your prayers to be answered. Your hope is dried up, like the old bones lying in a desert wasteland described in Ezekiel’s vision.
Take heart. Even Jesus, as He hung dying on the cross, cried, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:35)
Think of how Mary and Martha felt when they sent for Jesus with the message, “The one you love is sick,” and He didn’t come for four days. By then their brother Lazarus’s body was rotting in the tomb.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
I love what I call the “but factor” in the psalms. There the psalmist is, pouring out his heart to God – his anguish, frustration, pain – and halfway through the psalm, he says, “But . . .”
“But” is a word of transition, a signal a change is about to take place, a contrast to what was said previously.
But I trust in Your unfailing love” (Psalm 13:5), “But I pray to You, O LORD” (Psalm 69:13), “But God” (Psalm 64:7), “But I call to God, and the LORD saves me” (Psalm 55:16) . . . are just a few examples of the “but factor.”
Pore through the psalms yourself, looking for the hinge verse where the psalmist turns from despair to hope.
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” El Shaddai asked Abraham (Genesis 18:14).
“Nothing is impossible with God,” the angel told Mary (Luke 1:37).
I like the way the song “God Likes to Work” by Karen Peck and New River puts it: “God likes to work when your back’s to the wall, when facing the battle and you’re just about to fall; so there’ll be no mistaking when He blesses and fills – God likes to work when nothing else will.” (Click on the song title to go to You Tube to watch and listen to Karen sing this beautiful song.)
Has the bottom fallen out of your life? Don’t despair. God’s hands are there, waiting to catch you.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11).

Special-Tea: Read Psalm 130; John 11:1–45; Ezekiel 37:1–14

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT:  Read and meditate on the following Scriptures

John 14:1
John 16:33
James 1:12
1 Peter 1:7
Matthew 19:26
Luke 1:37
1 Peter 5:7
Philippians 4:6-7
Jonah 2:2
Isaiah 48:10
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
2 Corinthians 12:9
Psalm 30:11
Psalm 33:20
Jeremiah 29:11
Romans 8:28
Romans 8:38-39
Romans 8:35, 37
Psalm 50:15
Psalm 34:4
Psalm 34:19
Psalm 34:18
Psalm 34:17
Proverbs 13:12
Psalm 30:5b

Have a God-filled week!