Sanctification? What’s that? (part 2)

Prompted by my son’s thoughtful question, and turning to God’s Word as the ultimate authority for my life, I began to explore God’s will, that is “sanctification”.  Where did the word sanctify first appear in the scriptures? And what was the context? The first occurrence of the word sanctify is found in the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus after the children of Israel had been freed from their slavery in Egypt. You know the story. The children of Israel had been oppressed and enslaved for 400 long years. The hope of ever being the nation that God has promised their forefather Abraham had become a distant memory clouded by their harsh oppression. The people cried out and after 400 years, in the fullness of His timing, the Lord moved. He raised up a deliverer. As the story goes, the Lord delivered His people through Moses, who had as a baby escaped Pharaoh’s earlier death decree for first born male in every Hebrew home. The Lord brought mighty acts of judgment against Israel’s oppressors through Moses. The last of the ten judgments, or plagues came – the death of the first born. The Lord had not forgotten His people. He had seen the Pharaoh’s harshness and cruelty, even his earlier order to kill the first born Jewish male. In His judgment, the Lord provided salvation for His people and their first born. This time they need not fear, their first born would find salvation. The blood of a lamb on the doorpost would cause the angel of death to passover  the house; the first born male of the...
Sanctification? What’s that?

Sanctification? What’s that?

This was the question my youngest son asked me just recently. Such a soul-shaping and overarching theme in my own life, I realized I had not communicated its important meaning and imperative well to my children, especially my youngest son. I remember when I first encountered this idea… the idea of being sanctified, of being set apart. I was reading the scriptures: “This is the will of God, your sanctification…” – I Thess 4:3 Well, how wonderful! A clear concrete declaration of God’s will for me! Not some mystical hide and seek exercise. His will was made plain to me in this verse. My sanctification! After the initial excitement of such a profound discovery, the questions came… But what does this mean? And then, of course, came the follow up question – How? Rats! The wrestling and quest for understanding had only just been ignited… I have to confess I did not readily embrace what I began to learn as I search the scriptures. Set apart?!? I had spent much of my life working hard on fitting in, following the crowd, … And the idea of being sanctified, or in the process of sanctification, didn’t that sound arrogant, superior, and perhaps even self-righteous? I wasn’t sure what this meant. This wasn’t going to be easy and certainly not something natural to me and my understanding. Perhaps you too have had similar thoughts and feelings about this word, this command, this declaration of the will of God. So I now hope to explore this word and principle this coming year and share the posts here… On my blog: SANCTIFIED Woman....
Sanctified Sections

Sanctified Sections

Years ago, I was introduced to a book that would irrevocably alter my warped, worldly thinking and set me on a new path to appropriate my identity according to God’s Word. That book was The Common Made Holy by Neil Anderson and the Freedom in Christ Ministry. A book that opened my eyes and heart to the idea of sanctification on a very practical level. A book that I recently picked up, reminded me of an important principle found in Anderson’s book. The importance of relationships in our sanctification process. The Lord uses relationships with others to sanctify US! Ohhh! So that’s why relationships can be so difficult – they touch areas that we would prefer remain untouched! YES! Some relationships more than others seem to touch such areas. And some relationship-seasons (husband-wife, parent-child, friend-friend, employer-employee, etc…), are more challenging than others at different times. While we have a tendency to (more comfortably) focus on the OTHER person’s need for sanctification during a difficulty, we must be careful to follow the command to work out our OWN salvation, or sanctification, with fear and trembling. The principle and application of “the log and the speck” has transformative power – personal transformation and relational transformation. Sounds difficult but desirable, yes? Yet many of us settle for the paralysis created by neatly placing blame and guilt on the other party, ignoring our own participation and contribution to an often relationally polarizing process. So let’s first look at the WHY question. Why do many of us have a tendency to solely settle for seeing others as the incessant thorn in our side and...

Wise Parents Wrestle…

Today produced yet another enlightening discussion with friends and fellow forerunners in the Christian-parenting journey. Personal struggles in passing along the live-giving ideas and principles wrapped up in a life based on truth as defined by the One who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. The communication and cultivation of these life-giving and life-altering truths to the next generation, in a world preoccupied with its own passing beauty, is appropriately marked by struggle – a wrestling if you will.  After all,  where there is no wrestling – no struggle – inherent weakness and frailty remain unrevealed.  A result no loving parent would intentionally wish to cultivate yet statistics bear an alarming frailty among young people emerging from “Christian” homes. Wise parents therefore welcome the wrestling and do not settle for the short-sighted temptation to exasperate our young adults by means of forcing mere external obedience while refusing to engage their young minds and hearts through relevant encounters of principles and ideas from scripture. While we, as parents, are often already resolved on such ideas and principles, we often forget how we arrived at such resolutions. Many resolutions have been made through our own struggles with truth and “truth” (and others through amiable acquiesce or clinging to a certain form or tradition, but that is a subject best left for another blog post). The next generation must be afforded the same opportunity, the same right to test His ways and truths against the world’s “ways” and “truths”. The Way, the Truth and the Life is more than up to the task, even if we parents are...

Thankful and Content

I am thankful for my eyes that see, Your creation, your power and nature so clearly. But should you take this gift away, I would be most content, for it can often cause me to stray. I am thankful for the legs that carry me, To do your work and meet my fellows in need. But should you take this gift away, I would be most content to sit at your feet and stay. I am thankful for the keen mind given me, By it, I may think and dwell on ways of Thee. But should you take this gift away, I would be most content to more quickly find your narrow way. I am thankful for the health given me, To serve and minister with bended knee. But should you take this gift away, I would be most content and prepared for glory’s day. I am thankful for the many gifts given me, To be a faithful steward of them in word and deed. When you decide your purpose for me is complete, I would be most content to live forever with Thee. Heather Shirley November...
From Triangles to Tattoos?!?

From Triangles to Tattoos?!?

Each week, I have the privilege of gathering with a group of 16 and 17 year olds where we learn math and more about the God behind the language of math! This week, we were once again learning even more about triangles. Let me just say, I love triangles! Triangles are so important in measuring and relating to God’s creation that there is a whole course called Trigonometry devoted to them! And guess what, my God is a triune God.  Interesting that He would choose the triangle as a corner piece in understanding so many aspects of His creation. Very interesting, isn’t it?!? So this week, we were contemplating triangles. Formulas for triangles, similar triangles, right-triangles, congruent triangles, … and I stopped! “Students. What do the words congruent triangles mean?” A student replies reading the bold text from a lesson, “Congruent triangles are similar triangles with a scale factor of one.” “Good!” I replied. “So you could say congruent triangles are the same. They have the same side lengths and same angles.” Frustrated and forlorn, one student states, “Well then! Why don’t we just say that then! Why do we have to use strange words!” YES!! The moment had come! You see, I have been waiting, waiting for this fated pivotal moment. The moment when the stars aligned, and I could share a secret I learned seven years ago – a learning secret. “Every subject has a language that we have to learn! This is called the grammar. Do you feel stupid when someone keeps using a word as if you should know what it means? I sure do!...