Visualize the High Calling

Visualize The ‘High Calling’

Chapter One

Visualize The 'High Calling'
Appreciating The Wonderful Person The Spirit 8 Knowing When Not Enough Is Not Enough 18
Whatever Happened To Holiness? 10 Paul's Secret Weapon 20
Holy – A Beautiful Word 12 Discussion Questions 22
Are We Called To Be Saints? Are We Called To Be Holy? 14 Discussion Questions (Continued) 23
Who's The Pilot? 16 Discussion Questions (Continued) 24

John 14:13-27

Appreciating The Wonderful Person The Spirit

Soft music filtered through the car speakers as the radio announcer quoted a familiar Bible verse. My mood was not necessarily contemplative; however, there was a sudden change in my heart as I carefully considered the meaning of the verse I just heard. Actually, I considered only two words form the text. The deep bass voice echoed the prayer of David as he asked God to "take not thy Holy Spirit from me". (Psalm 51:11) My thoughts fell immediately on the name, "Holy Spirit."

A preacher, I have use this name thousands of times. Each time, I have spoken that name in the same manner as this radio announcer: "Holy Spirit." "Holy" in His first name, and "Spirit" is His last name. The two words of His name are spoken with equal emphasis. The name rolls off the tongue so smoothly that it actually sounds like one word. We often say that name as we do any other name, with little inflection and even less reflection.

Is that any way to speak the name of the third Person of the triune God? God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the Bible does not use the word "Trinity," we know God is all three and at the same time, One. In Genesis we learn that when God created humans, He said, "Let us make man in our image." When Moses asked God to authenticate who He was, God answered, "I Am" is written in plural form, meaning "We Are: furthermore, when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit was seen coming down from heaven "like a dove," and God spoke, "This is my son," placing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one place at one time.

It occurred to me that I had never contemplated the fact that "holy" is not the Spirit's first name. "Holy" describes who and what the Spirit is! He is "HOLY." Immediately, as I called the Spirit's name, emphasizing the title "Holy," tears began to flow from my humbled heart. I knew I was in the presence of Him who is Holy and I felt shame and guilt from never recognizing that before. At the same time, I felt totally and guilt from never recognizing that before. At the same time, I felt totally and unconditionally loved by the Holy One. In that instant God allowed me to experience his holiness in the Person of the Spirit. I do not think I can speak the name "Holy Spirit" ever again without recognizing my inadequacy and His sufficiency. God is holy!

"I long for Your Holy Spirit, Father … to fill me with all Your holiness. In Your holy presence, I am at peace even though I am unworthy. Holy God, dwell within me so I may grow in Your love. In Jesus' name. Amen."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: "I am the Lord who makes you holy." (Exodus 31:13)

-Thomas Duckworth-

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Whatever Happened To Holiness?

I was driving to a cemetery just a way out of town when I spotted an old, faded street sign. I did a double-take at what I thought I saw. Some of the letters were missing and, not wanting to be mistaken. I drove more slowly on my way back to read that sign more accurately. When I got back to my office, I consulted a city map to verify this -new bit of information. Sure enough, there it was, right in our town … HOLINESS LANE.

Later in the week I returned to that old faded sign and took a ride down HOLINESS LANE. It was narrow. That was as it should be. Yet something had gone wrong. It seemed to me that the environment of the street bore little resemblance to its name. It was trashy and unkept. There were broken-down cars, old worn-out tires, and unmanicured lawns along HOLINESS LANE. The people who sat on their porches and wondered about the stranger driving down their street did not have any joy in their faces. HOLINESS LANE was a dead-end street.

I wondered about the history of HOLINESS LANE. How did it get its name? Was there once a vibrant Church on that street? Had there been a great revival at some point in its history? Did some saintly person or group of saintly people once live there? Why would anyone name a street HOLINESS LANE?

I gathered that the people who now live on HOLINESS LANE, never think about the name of their street. Old Testament its history, or the significance of their address, much less feel any obligation to live up to the standard of the name.

Whatever happened to HOLINESS LANE?

Whatever happened to HOLINESS?

Several years ago U.S. News and World Report conducted a poll on religion in America. The poll painted a picture of a nation as religious as ever but uncertain how to "Walk the Walk" in a pluralistic and secular society. Paul desired that no such uncertainty should be in the minds of the Thessalonians. Their walk was to be holy: their address was to be on HOLINESS LANE.

"Heavenly Father, help me to realize that my search for happiness is but a longing for HOLINESS."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Every disciple of Christ is called to live on HOLINESS LANE.

-William Jenkins-

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Leviticus 19:2, Leviticus 20:26

Holy – A Beautiful Word

The Christian's vocabulary is rich with beautiful words, and among them is the word "Holy." The bent toward the sinful nature, sin with all the accompanying adjectives, low views of God – attempt to crowd the word "Holy" into a corner. It is too idealistic, even archaic in this scientific era.

But the word still stands in God's Word. The basic theme of an Old Testament book concerned with laws and ceremonies is "Holy" and its equivalents. In the 27 chapters of Leviticus the word "holy" is used 81 times; "without blemish" – 31; "hallowed" – once; and "sanctify" – seven. Offering, persons, places, things, animals, vestments of the priests, fruit, tithe, fields, and the year of Jubilee were to be Holy. A casual reading is conclusive: God is Holy; the standard for His people is "Holiness."

"I am Holy," says God. What does He mean? A.W. Tozer says: "God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable." (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 111)

Dr. Shelby Corlett says that "it is the sum total of all His moral characteristics." Quoting again A.W. Tozer: "Holy is the way God is. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because He is holy, all His attributes are holy, i.e., whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as Holy."

"You shall be holy, for I am holy," says Peter in his epistle (1 Peter 1:16). What is holiness in man? Corlett writes: "In a sense holiness in man is the same as holiness in God for there are not two kinds of holiness. The quality of this holiness is the same, in quality there is a vast difference. Holiness in God is absolute. Holiness in man is relative. Holiness in God is infinite. Holiness in man is finite. But in each case holiness is real, it is one kind of holiness."

Charles Wesley wrote:

He wills that I should be holy be, 
That holiness I long to feel;
That full divine conformity
To all my Saviour's righteous will." 

What should my response be to God who is holy?

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  1. I shall want to be holy. "You shall be holy; for the Lord your God am holy". (Leviticus 19:21)

  2. I shall live a separated life. Not as a religious hermit apart from society, but separated from the world in my actions and attitudes. "You shall be holy to me for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine." (Leviticus 20:26)

  3. I will be obedient to God. "So you shall keep my commandments and do them… I am the Lord who sanctify you." (Leviticus 22:31-32)

Oh, how beautiful is the word "holy".

"Dear God, cleanse my heart, my entire being so that I may be holy. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Even though I live in a sinful world, by the grace of God I can be holy and live such a life.

– Floyd Cooper –

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Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16

Are We Called To Be Saints? Are We Called To Be Holy?

Some believe that Sainthood can only be achieved after death. As I read the New Testament, I discover that the Apostle Paul refers to the believers as "Saints" in the book of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. I doubt that Paul was writing such inspired letters to the deceased. I do believe that sainthood is achieved during one's "Lifetime." I am also aware of the belief that "The Christian" cannot live a holy life here on earth. I must take issue with this teaching. Why would God command His children to be Holy, if being Holy is not attainable?

Follow closely as I attempt to answer the title's question. In Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 1, Paul writes to the Saints and in verse 4, Paul uses the word Holy. He is actually referring to the Holy people of God.

This brings me to believe another biblical truth. Now, right here in this sinful world, we can live holy lives, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This does not infer that we will be perfect human beings, only that, with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, we can strive to live the life of Holiness. I am aware that man has tried to make rules of Do's and Don'ts that will make us Holy. An evil person can keep rules and not be holy. This lifestyle comes only through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. From the Greek dictionary I will share a portion of the definition of the word holy. When the word holy refers to mankind, it means that they have "Christ" as the ground of their life. The dictionary also declares that 'saints' refers to "God's holy ones." In another Bible dictionary, I read the idea of holiness is in both the Old and New Testaments. It is basically achieved by consecration to God. To live a holy life, requires our total surrender to Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Are we called to be holy': Are we called to saints" YES TO BOTH QUESTIONS. I strongly believe that where God guides, God supplies. I also believe that when God gives a command to His children, He not only acts as the Order Giver, but also acts as the Divine Enabler. Since we are commanded by God to be holy, then through His Holy Spirit we can be Holy.

"Dear Father in heaven, I stand before You this day, asking for the Infilling of Your Holy Spirit. It is my sincere desire to be Holy as You are Holy. Amen."

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek the mind of Jesus. I will pray to be holy as He is Holy. I will strive to live in such a way that others will know I've been with Jesus.

– Lowell Weller –

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Romans 8:1-8

Who's The Pilot?

When I was serving as a missionary in Alaska, the man who lived directly behind me ran an air Taxi service. He owned three airplanes. Since the only mode of transportation into our village was either by boat or air, he ran an excellent business. My work called for a great deal of travel. It therefore was my privilege to fly with this man on a regular basis.

I will never forget the day when he flew in a new Cessna 185. It was a beautiful airplane. Just shortly after he purchased his new plane, it was necessary for me to take a trip. It just happened to be this new plane.

When I climbed into the front passenger seat, I was delightedly surprised to discover that there were dual controls. As we took off into the clear blue sky with the beautiful green tundra of Alaska on the one side and the vast Bering sea on the other, it was an exhilarating experience. And then, he said to me, "would you like to fly it?"

What a thrill to take those controls and to sense the magnificent control of that plane which I held in my hands. With the pull, push or turn of that yoke I could make that plane respond to my direction. It was absolutely exhilarating!

Not many weeks passed until I had the need to fly again. However, this time, when I got into the plane, the dual controls were no longer there. I immediately inquired why the owner had removed them. His answer was very revealing.

"Well, when everything is going smoothly and normally it was great to have those controls. However, as you know, we often get into turbulent weather and frequently have to land on short runways and less than ideal airstrips. Also, the weather is often severe. The problem was that when my passengers sensed any kind of danger or turbulence, they had a tendency to grab the control. I had no choice – the dual controls had to be removed!"

What a picture of our lives! We too want Jesus Christ to be our Pilot, but so often when we face trials, turbulence, or perceived danger, we want to grab the controls of our lives. Consequently, the Lord (our Pilot) is not in control, but we are! The result is often disastrous.

Paul says in this Scripture that the law of sin and death which reigns in our lives and that has a dual control over us, must be removed! It is removed by the power of the Spirit of life provided by our Lord Jesus Christ. We don't have to struggle with the dual control of a sinful nature. Praise God, it can be removed so we can live in the freedom

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of the Spirit!

Who is really the Pilot in your life today? Is there the possibility that you have made Jesus Christ your Savior and have declared him as the Pilot of your life, but you are still struggling with dual controls? Is the power of the sinful nature often overpowering your commitment to Christ?

There's only one solution. Allow Jesus Christ to remove the dual control by cleansing your heart from the nature of sin. Make Christ the victorious single Pilot and Lord of your life. This is what He wants to do for you today. You can be victorious in Christ!

"Dear Lord, deliver me from every selfish control of my life and may I be singularly submissive to the control of Jesus Christ today."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: It is impossible to live a victorious Christian life as long as there are dual controls in our life. He can change that to a singular Holy control.

– Edward Rickman –

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John 14:25-31

Knowing When Not Enough Is Not Enough

I was far from my West Coast home teaching in a Southeast mountain school. Things were different for me there. I didn't talk quite the same way, my cultural reflexes were 'wrong', and I was considered a 'foreigner'.

The remarks and actions of some students and local fellows began to get under my skin. During the Church service one evening, some local fellows were setting off firecrackers outside the building. Later, as I followed the sidewalk along the creek toward my quarters, some fellows dropped in behind me. I turned to look, saw a red glow near my skirt and thought: "O no! It's a firecracker!" It was only a cigarette, but I had 'lost it'. I dropped my Bible on the sidewalk, turned and slapped the young man's face!

I picked up my Bible, and with a mild apology, I headed for home, surprised and ashamed at myself. ''What made me do that? I have not struck anyone since childhood. Don't I have any self-control? Can I continue to be a missionary teacher and act like this?" I thought.

These questions haunted me. I thought, I prayed, I read my Bible. I even went to the school principal and discussed resignation. He laughed, shook my hand and said, "my wife hit one of those guys with her umbrella!" Then I was really confused.

God began helping me by showing me some things. One was that I need the Holy Spirit to keep me from being merely all I naturally am. I learned I was a worrier, a resenter, someone who could lose her temper. That wasn't a comforting thought, except then I learned that God's Spirit could cleanse and control those things in my life. I only needed to ask Him to do that.

Another thing God taught me was that I need to be more flexible, adjusting to a new people and new ways. I need the Holy Spirit so I can be like Jesus, who loves and accepts people just as they are, that He is there for them to be changed and grow in Him too. That understanding is the 'bottom-line' for missionaries.

How much I need God's Holy Spirit to fill my life in all circumstances, at home or far away. God is willing to give us His Holy Spirit more than an earthly father gives good gifts to his children. (Matthew 7:11)

"Lord Jesus, I am so needy. I ask your Holy Spirit to fill me, control me, and make me like you".

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Today I receive You Holy Spirit, knowing You can change, control and empower me to serve You.

– Beth Stewart –

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Romans 8:26-28

Paul's Secret Weapon

Paul couldn't keep God's law. "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18) His failures may discourage us. After all, Paul was intelligent, highly educated, from an elite family. He had a forceful personality and had been in the faith a long time. He had great energy and self-control; knew the law and wanted to keep it; did everything he could to please God, but he couldn't do it? If anyone could do it, it would be Paul, but he couldn't. No one can.

So, God, being love, provided grace. Grace is a free gift from God that allows us to have a healthy life in a sick world. Grace is made possible through the work of Jesus Christ. Grace is delivered to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul asked, "Is there no one who can do anything for me."? (Romans 7:24) Yes, the Holy Spirit. Let us consider how the Holy Spirit delivers God grace.

The Holy Spirit nourishes us when life is dry and dusty. Been there? You have no appetite for God's food, you can't pray, you feel as though you are back to square one. That's what Paul described. Maybe you believe in your mind that God is in your life but you feel so alone that like Elijah you complain that you are the only person who still believes in God (1 Kings 19:1-18) Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7:37-39)

The Holy Spirit counsels and teaches us. Jesus explains: "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)

The Holy Spirit helps us pray. "God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless signs, our aching groans. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good" (Romans 8:26-28) Thank you! Help me pray! The Holy Spirit empowers. In the last teaching Jesus gave, he said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you": (Acts 1:8) Read further in Acts to learn how timid believers became bold, and for more promises of the Holy Spirit's empowerment, which is as available to us as it was to them.

The Holy Spirit guarantees that we win come through our valley of doubt, let go of our urges to rebel, and that when God chooses we will receive our inheritance along with Jesus. In Paul's words, "God makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed

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us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

"Heavenly Father, worthy of all praise and honor, thank you for giving me grace. I need so much help; you offer all I need. Thank you! Teach me to live so that I please you, and act in the pattern of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the presence of your Spirit in and around me, and guide me so that the Spirit can work through me in the service of your kingdom. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The Holy Spirit nourishes, counsels, teaches, empowers, and prays with me to guarantee that I will triumph today and forever.

– Richard Walters –

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Discussion Questions

  1. Share what your inner response is (in terms of thoughts and feelings) when you verbalize the name of the third person of the Godhead – "Holy Spirit." What can you say about the 'person' and the 'work' of the Holy Spirit?

  2. Since God has called His people (believers) to be "holy," how would you describe the 'life of holiness' (in terms of 'holy' thoughts, 'holy' actions and reactions, 'holy' lifestyle, 'holy' goals)? (Note: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13 ; Romans 12; 1 Peter 1:16)

  3. Tell what your inner response is to the following words (of longing), penned many years ago by Charles Wesley:

    "He wills that I should holy be, 
    That holiness I long to feel; 
    That full divine conformity 
    To all my Saviour's righteous will." 
  4. Put a check by the following statements which you believe properly reflect and describe a Biblical understanding of a "Holy Lifestyle":

    1. ___ A life of absolute perfection, free from all sin, free from all infirmities, free from theological error, free from all temptations.

    2. ___ A life which is merely 'idealized' by earnest persons but never 'realized' on the earth; a life which is finally achieved in heaven following physical death.

    3. ___ A life which God commands a person to live, and for which God provides divine resources amidst human weaknesses and temptations.

    4. ___ A life which is the result of a believer being filled with the Holy Spirit.

    5. ___ A life which is the result of a person's moral achievements, following many years of character cultivation and intellectual development.

    6. ___ A life which comes only through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

    7. ___ A life which has Christ as the "ground of one's being" and as the "mentor for one's actions."

    8. ___ A life which is achieved as a result of a "once-for-all surrender" to Christ, followed by a "daily surrender" to the lordship of Christ.

    9. ___ A life which is characterized by a supreme love for God and a sincere love for all persons.

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      Discussion Questions (Continued)

    10. ___ A life which is characterized by single-minded devotion to Christ and wholehearted commitment to the mission of Christ (The Kingdom of God).

    11. ___ A life that is characterized by pure motives and humble attitudes and compassionate service.

    12. ___ A life that is both obtained and maintained by repentance, faith, surrender, and obedience.

    13. ___ A life characterized by intimate fellowship with God through prayer, daily confession of mistakes and sins, and submission to divine guidance.

  5. Tell to what degree you agree (or disagree) with the following statements: "So often when we face trails, turbulence, or perceived danger, we want to grab the controls of our lives. Consequently, the Lord (our Pilot) is not in control, but we are! The result is often disastrous." Can you think of any 'concrete example' (from your own life or from your observation of others) which illustrates the truth of these statements?

  6. Is it accurate to describe a "carnal believer" (before he is "filled with the Holy Spirit") as one who wishes to maintain "partial control" of his life (instead of allowing the Spirit to have sole or total control of his life)? (Note 1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

  7. Is it possible for the Holy Spirit to enable you to be more than you naturally are? If so, in what ways? (Note Romans 7:18 – Romans 8:10; Romans 12:17-21; Galatians 5:19-26; 1 Peter 2:9-23)

  8. Do you honestly believe that your Heavenly Father is willing to give you (a believer) the gift of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, more than an earthly father is willing to give good gifts to his children? (Note Matthew 7:11)

  9. List some of God's "Grace-Gifts" which He wishes to give to you specifically that would enable you to live a healthy life in a sick world. (Do you need "deliverance" from any of the following "besetting sins"? – Lust, greed, jealousy, worry, fear, pride, selfishness, resentment, inferiority complex, negativism, judgementalism)

  10. Put a check beside the following statements which describe your "personal experience" of the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

    1. ___ The Holy Spirit was nourished me when my life became 'dry' and 'dusty'.

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      Discussion Questions (Continued)

    2. ___ The Holy Spirit was provided specific counsel and guidance during my life's difficult decisions. (John 14:26)

    3. ___ The Holy Spirit has provided enlightenment and understanding to my mind during times of mental confusion and darkness. (John 14:26)

    4. ___ The Holy Spirit has helped me to pray during times when I did not know how or what to pray. (Romans 8:26-28)

    5. ___ The Holy Spirit has empowered me to witness when I felt weak and fearful and inadequate. (Acts 1:8)

    6. ___ Holy Spirit has reassured me of my standing and position with God (as an adopted son and redeemed soul) during my times of doubt. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

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