I’m A Holy Roller

First let me address what a holy roller is, I found this definition on the Urban Dictionary– Holy Roller: Generally, refer to one who attends a charismatic church service. In which places a great amount of importance on the Holy Spirit. This person tends to be a very devout Christian and during church service, maybe become influenced heavily by the Holy Spirit. Therefore consequently dropping on the floor and rolling “in the Spirit” Hence where the term was coined, Holy Roller. Also generally is a derogatory term.

“Sometimes the word Holy Roller is used more loosely today to refer to anyone who believes the Bible is true, who claims to be an evangelical, or who talks about God in public.” (source)

Most people who use the word today are not speaking about the worship services of certain Christian denominations, but are rather speaking about someone who is a devout Christian. And when they use the word, ‘holy roller’ it is indeed a derogatory word.

So when I say I am a holy roller, what I mean is that I am both a Christian privately and publicly. My religion isn’t a few visits to a local church, but it is a part of my very being.

I believe sin and demonic forces constantly attempt to sway us into believing that being holy isn’t good or acceptable. Or even that we will never reach a place where we can describe ourselves as holy. Often we are shamed by our past sins that prevent us from using the word ‘holy’ to describe anything about our lifestyles. When we are plagued by the fear of man, or when we evaluate ourselves through the eyes others; we are timid to be bold about our faith. We would rather offend our Savior than to offend our neighbor. We would rather be ashamed of the Gospel than to persecuted for it. The term ‘holy roller’ is designed to shame and shush our faith in the Son of God.

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.”Leviticus 11:44 ESV

“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV

It is very clear all throughout Scriptures that God expects His saints to pursue holiness. We are called to be like God rather you are reading in the Old or the New Testament. Though we (whosoever is in Christ) are included in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ’s own blood. Even in the Old Covenant God put in place laws and boundaries so that the Israelites could also be holy.

The message that the world or culture pushes out is that you can be unholy and ungodly and yet spend an eternity with a holy God that you don’t even know.

But the flock of God shouldn’t be surprised by the world’s messages or even about being made to be a laughingstock. Our Good Shepherd has been kind enough to warn us. In the book of James, it says not to be surprised by our trials, but we should neither be surprised when our faith is mocked. The only reason Cain murdered his brother Abel is that his own works were unrighteous. All throughout Scriptures we see God’s people being mocked and maligned. Why should things be any different for us today?

The Challenge

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:10-12 ESV

I would like to challenge all of God’s sheep to not dodge persecution in order to keep anyone’s approval. Let’s keep our minds on that handsome reward that is laid up for us in heaven. Love your neighbors’ as we are commanded to but don’t idolize their acceptance of you. You already belong to God’s family and have been embraced by the Everlasting Arms. Don’t be afraid to pursue holiness privately and publicly. What a privilege we have to share in God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Holiness isn’t bad, it is a higher good. Remind yourself, and your neighbors that without holiness no one can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

My sinful heart too has been gripped by the fear of man, ever since I can remember.

‘What will they think of me?’

‘What if they reject me?’

People who know me would describe my attitude or personality as being “sweet or kind”. But honestly I was kind to everyone not to love them well but so that they would love and accept me. I’m afraid that I won’t wake up anytime soon and no longer weigh myself through the eyes of others. So what I must do is remind myself (often) that I am acceptable to God through Christ, loved by the Son that laid down His life for me and that I belong to the Most High God. Since it is my default to seek praise and approval from mere mortals, I have to be intentional about rehearsing the truth to myself and also saturating myself in Scriptures that remind me of the truth and all of God’s blessed promises.

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”1 Peter 4:16 ESV

The incorrigible thing about sin is that it distorts all of God’s good designs. We are not to fear men, we were created to fear God. Shame is good if it turns us away from our sins, but not if it turns us away from suffering with Christ. We are encouraged to glorify God when we are mocked or called “holy rollers” and not be mortified. We are to be glad and rejoice when persecuted not sad and discouraged. I wish I could recommend something that will undo the doing of sin. But what I can offer is the hope of the Gospel and that one day we will not have to deal with sin. But until that day we have to fight the sin that wants to kill us. We have to share our faith with fear and trembling. We have to train ourselves (through reading Scriptures) how to perceive offense or persecution. Not that we seek it out but that when it happens we will know why it’s happening and how to deal with it.

The Word of God says that we are blessed when persecuted and not cursed. We have to tell our souls that this is a good thing.

Yet we are not called to be stoicism we can weep to our God. After all, God is the Father of all our mercies and of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Prayer

Lord, I pray that the person reading this may be cut to the heart (Acts 2:38-39) and yet Lord let them not despair in their conviction. I pray Almighty God that you will give them the grace to suffer well for Christ’s sake. Lord, if they are in anyway hiding their lamp underneath their beds, Lord fill them with such zeal for you and your renown. God, I thank you for not quenching a dimly lit wick. Help them to be zealous for you and uphold them with a willing spirit. I pray Lord make them willing to obey You, willing to strive for holiness, willing to suffer offense or persecution on behalf of Your Son. I say this prayer in His Name, Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

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“He Saith” A Poem by Anna Shipton

Preface: I’ve always loved words, especially powerful words of the Christian faith. All of this started once I was introduced to those old hymns, written by those who are now in glory. I started to search and download hymn e-books. I found these words were great sung to music but also had the same power in reading them. I stumbled upon the poetry book of Anna Shipton called, Waymarks of My Pilgrimage. This little treasure was bursting with beautiful and meaningful words. Even though there are centuries between our pilgrimages, the poems were very familiar and dear to my heart.

There isn’t be much known about this author and sometime hymn writer. She’s published many works, most of them being poetry books but she’s also has written essays on the Christian faith. From reading her poems you can tell that Anna knew and treasured Scripture in her heart. In one poem called, God Knows Best Anna writes about her desires to have a family and an easier life. But like the title suggests Anna believed that God in His wisdom withheld both of these things from her.

Anna’s words help me to lift my eyes to God and often reminds me that He is what life is all about. I know all of her poems will encourage your hearts as well. But this particular poem I’ve decided to share, I think as you read you’ll see why.

“HE SAITH.”

 “Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according unto Thy word. … I rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. ” — Psalm cxix. 65, 162.

When the Father His little one smiteth,

A blessing must brood underneath ;

I will walk by the lamp that He lighteth,

And rest on the word that ” He saith.”

He saith, ” I will never forsake thee,”

Each day He proclaims it anew ;

And again to my Rock I betake me,

And prove that His promise is true.

He saith, ” I will guide thee :”

oh, never Distrust the full truth of His word ;

To-day, and to-morrow — for ever,

Let me rest on Thy promise, my Lord.

I know He is faithful who said it,

‘Tis written and sealed in His word ;

And day after day I have read it,

And said, ” I believe Thee, my Lord.”

But do I believe it and live it,

And know He is willing to be

As true as His word, and to give it

A thousand times better to me?

A mansion is mine,

He’ll prepare it,

Though the least of His servants am I ;

And, better than all, He will share it,

As ages on ages go by.

When I gaze on the wild roaring billow,

Shall I fear He will leave me alone?

Reposing no more on a pillow,

He watches His child from the Throne.

And yet, when the storm riseth higher,

And again on the waves I am tost,

I forget that my Saviour is nigher,

And cry in despair, ” I am lost !”

He saith, ” Call, and I will deliver,”

He hath won me from sin and from death :

Shall I dread, then, the dark rolling river,

When I hope in the word that He saith?

When the terrors of death shall assail me,

Shall I cling to a cistern of clay?

Shall I rest on a reed that will fail me,

When Jehovah’s right hand is my stay?

Is the Saviour unwilling to give us

The riches He rose to bestow?

Will the God of our mercies deceive us?

No ! Calvary’s cross answers No!

How poor are earth’s richest resources,

How rich is each promise to me ;

Though some trust in chariots and horses,

Lord, let me trust only in Thee.

*bolded for emphasis

Last Things:

Would you like me to share more poetry or hymns on this blog?

What content would you like to feature on this blog?

Leave me a comment down below?

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

The Pursuit of Holiness|Book Review

I am so pleased to be finally reviewing this book written by the late Jerry Bridges. It has left quite an impression on me, as I believe it will on you as well. This is the very first book I will be reviewing on this blog, but there will be much more to come. Since I have resolved to read more in 2018. There are far too many awesome biblically-sound Christian books in the marketplace, for me not make use of the gifts and wisdom of my fellow siblings in Christ.

I found this gem of a book in my local Salvation Army. If you are looking to read more books but your budget is tight, thrift stores are a great place to start at. This little paperback book even has an inscription, apparently, it was a gift to someone, it reads:

Dan,

This book is a must for the youth pastor’s life. It’s heavy, but it’s very true!

Your friend forever, Mike.

Mike was right it is indeed very heavy, but also completely helpful. I’ve first heard about this book by the wonderful Jackie Hill Perry. She’s a wife, a mother and a poet living in Atlanta. The Gospel Coalition does this feature where they ask different Christians what they’ve read in the past, what they plan on reading and what books do they tend to re-visit. Since I’ve read that article I’ve wanted to read this book. So you can imagine how tickled I was to find in the Salvation Army for 0.50 cents (it was Wacky Wednesday).

This book entered my life at the perfect time. I’ve spoken about this before here and here. But I was struggling to be optimistic about overcoming a particular besetting sin in my life. I was questioning if it was even possible to live a life that would be pleasing to God’s eyes. I knew the Bible says that God has given me all I need pertaining to life and godliness, but I felt inept to pursue godliness or holiness. Mr. Bridges put my emotions in the form of words. Until I read through this book, I could only feel these feelings and not yet express them.

The most incredible thing about this book to me is the fact that it is far more encouraging than it is condemning, but it is very convicting! Jerry found a way to show his readers that while it was our responsibility to pursue holiness and to put off the old self with its sinful desires, that God in His supreme knowledge and mercy has made provisions for this effort of ours. In other words, you won’t walk away from this book feeling any worse than you already feel. Until I opened this book, holiness to me was some far off, out of my personal reach wonder. It seemed so difficult to attain and previously made me feel as if God was totally unfair to expect this of me, to expect this of us.

As I stated before this is not a book that brings shame, but it reminds us that God is holy and we can be like Him. In this book, Jerry writes about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of each and every believer. How the Spirit creates within us desires for holiness and also points out the sins hidden in our hearts. So we all feel this pang to be like God, but we also see how we are nothing like Him. He writes that too often we feel crushing despair because of these things that are polar opposites.

Jerry Bridges also does write in this book about sin and temptation in the life of the believer. And guides us into how to get at the root of our sinful desires so we can cut it off from there. He also speaks about how the pursuit of holiness requires perseverance, and that even when we fail, we should never give up.

I’d like to end this post by sharing some of my favorite quotes from this book:

  • “Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We can not tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God.” (Page 20)
  • “God wants us to walk in obedience – not victory. Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self.” (Page 21)
  • “Will you begin to look at sin as an offense against a holy God, instead of as a personal defeat only?” (Page 24)
  • “In the deceitfulness of our hearts, we sometimes play with temptation by entertaining the thought that we can always confess and later ask for forgiveness. Such thinking is exceedingly dangerous.” (Page 33)
  • “The Holy Spirit makes us more aware of our lack of holiness to stimulate us to deeper yearning and striving for holiness. But Satan will use the Holy Spirit’s work to discourage us.” (Page 48)
  • “Many Christians have a basic desire to live a holy life but have come to believe they simply cannot do it. They have struggled for years with particular sins or deficiencies of character. While not living in gross sin, they have more or less given up on ever attaining a life of holiness and have settled down to a life of moral mediocrity with which neither they or God are pleased. The promise of Romans 6:6-7 seems impossibly beyond them. The strong commands of Scripture for them to live a consistently holy life frustrates them.” (Page 53)
  • “We may not like the fact that we have this lifelong struggle with sin, but the more we realize and accept it the better equipped we will deal with it.” (Page 62)
  • “We need to reckon in the fact that we have died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us.” (Page 85)
  • “And we don’t like the idea that we have to struggle with sin. We want instant victory.” (Page 107)
  • “At first it seems we are making no progress, so we become discouraged and think, “Whats the use! I can never overcome that sin!” That is exactly what Satan wants us to think.” (Page 105)
  • Lastly, don’t be discouraged by failure. There is a vast difference between failing and becoming a failure. We become a failure when we give up – when we stop trying. But as long as we are working on those sinful habits, regardless of how often we fail, we have not become a failure, and we can expect to see progress.” (Page 136)

As you have read I emphatically recommend this book to anyone who wants to share in God’s divine nature. Pick up your own personal copy of this book. But, I’m interested in what book or books do you recommend reading? And what books do you plan on reading in 2018? Drop me a comment below.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.