September 16, 2018
Victory as the Holy Church
1. Center Down
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “We are….” As you exhale whisper, “…Your Holy Church.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures: (Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, give thanks, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
[The Apostle Peter teaches,] “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to Him, a Living Stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a Cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.’ (Isaiah 28:16)
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
‘The Stone that the builders rejected
has become the Cornerstone,’ (Psalm 118:22) ‘A Stone of stumbling,
and a Rock of offense.’ (Isaiah 8:14)
They stumble because they disobey the Word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (See: Hosea 2:23).” (1 Peter 2:1-12, ESV)
For further learning: 1 Corinthians 1; Ephesians 5; Video: http://tiny.cc/BrokenBlessed
3. Concepts to Consider:
What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think of something or someone that’s “holy?” Perhaps a communion cup or an altar table, or someone who’s “got it all together,” or maybe someone who comes across religiously severe? Let’s take a closer look at the word “holy” in its native Biblical habitat, and see if we can hone our understanding.
The origin of the English word “holy” stems from the Germanic “heilig” [HI’-lig] which can be defined as, “to keep whole, healthy, separate, or unviolated.” It is related to the Biblical idea of “being set apart for God’s special purposes.” “Holy” in Hebrew Scripture is most often derived from “quadash” (kah-dash’ קדש ) and in the Greek New Testament, “hagios” (hag’-ee-os ‘αγιος ). “Holiness” is associated with people and objects that are set aside for the particular use of a deity. (Watch this video for a more thorough treatment of “holy” in the Bible: http://tiny.cc/holyword.)
Now that we’ve tackled what “holy” means, what, then, is “the church?” Is it a building where we go to worship God? Is it an adjective used to describe the special clothes we might wear when we “go to church?” The word most often translated as “church” (ekklesia [ek-klay-SEE'-ah] εκκλεσια) in the New Testament carries with it the idea of “being called out to assemble together.” It is interesting to note that in the Bible, the “church” is never a building, but it is only an assembled group of people.
So then, what does it mean to be the “Holy Church?” If we combine all that we’ve learned above, we are becoming an assembled group of people called out from our self-referenced existences, set apart under the leadership of Jesus for the purposes of our Heavenly Father; who, empowered by His Spirit, are being united around the simple, common goals of loving the Lord with all that we are, and loving our neighbors and our world as we learn to love ourselves, like God loves us.
Whew! That’s a mouth (and page) full! Suffice it to say, we best understand what a “holy church” looks like when we ARE the “holy church.” We have to walk it out. It’s not just an idea; it’s a way of life.
4. Reflection Question: (You are encouraged to write, draw, or respond however the Lord leads to the following inquiries. To share your musings in a public forum where others can dialog and process with you, please go to http://tiny.cc/victoryn30 ).
1. What does it look like to be a part of the “holy church?” What are some ways that I am beginning to
think differently about what it means to be “holy” and “church?”
5. Prayer for Today:
Faithful Father, thank You for setting us apart and calling us out to love You and serve the world. Thank You for Your amazing presence in our lives, both corporately and individually. Father, may Your glorious Name be praised! We exalt Your Name above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. We will give to You, Lord, the praise You deserve. We will bring our offerings as we come into Your presence. We will worship You in all of Your holy splendor.
Exalted Father, let it be unto us according to Your Word. As the Holy Church of Jesus, we confess that as we draw closer to You, we will know Your presence more fully. Holy Spirit, as blessings begin to overtake us, remind us to be a blessing to others. Flood our hearts with light so that we can understand the confident hope that the Father has given us, His holy people, who are His rich and glorious inheritance. Help us to continue to grow spiritually each day. Remind us always to be thankful to You, O God, our Father, and Jesus, our Brother.
Generous Father, please forgive us for the sins of disobedience, hypocrisy, selfish-ambitions, pride, gossip and sexual immorality. Forgive us where we have misappropriated Your blessings in the past. Forgive us for not studying Your Word like we should and neglecting our prayer life. Forgive us for not operating in the fruit and gifts of Your Spirit. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He shows you, say aloud, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us to not yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Triumphant Lord, You are our stronghold. The heavens declare Your glory and the skies display Your craftsmanship. You are the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Lord, You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. You created all things and they exist because You created what You pleased. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture passages you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.
© Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. ©2017 Caldwell Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved — No reproduction of the material is permitted without the expressed permission of CMI.