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Dr. Mickey and Kim Muse of “Strengthening Church Ministries” were guests at Bethany Baptist Church, Sunday. Dr. Muse gave an explanation of the purpose and plan for that ministry. Across America, thousands of church doors have closed because pastors are discouraged and resign or the church comes to an agreement to close for lack of attendance, or the church is unable to find a pastor. When churches close, new Christians are left with a shaken faith, some left with bitterness, and missionary support fails.
Dr. Muse and the men he trains can go into a struggling church and provide the encouragement and counseling needed to keep church doors open. They can help a church develop a plan of action that begins with a self-evaluation. There is training in soul-winning, leadership, spiritual warfare. Materials are available for pastors and churches to become healthy functioning churches. In some cases pastors that have been ready to quit the ministry have been encouraged to stay, souls have been saved, and the church have begun to grow.
The Muses sang a special song before he brought a message on the “Seven Habits of Holiness.” Scriptures like 1 Peter 1:15-16 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 call for holiness. Because God is holy we should be holy. We do not obtain salvation by habits of holiness, because salvation is not by works, but by grace. Holiness should be the outgrowth of salvation. As a Christian matures he should become more like Christ in his practices. Jesus did not do away with the law, but he fulfilled the law. If we want to be like Jesus our walk and our talk will change.
One “habit of holiness” will be a “love for scripture.” Godly people love holiness and holiness can’t be separated from the Bible. Jeremiah and other writers saw the scriptures as necessary food.
Another habit of holiness will be “lasting supplication.” The instruction to pray without ceasing is not taken as a burden, but is a delight and it is a privilege to talk to the holy God. Prayer does not have to be formal and well stated. God accepts the insufficient, stumbling prayer of any sincere heart.
Being “longsuffering” is a habit of holiness. Jesus suffered. Christian who follow Jesus and oppose popular but ungodly activities will pay a price. We are told to deny self and “bear a cross” if we would identify with Christ.
“Leaning on the Spirit of God” is a necessary habit of holiness. The Christian walk is one step at a time. It only takes one step out of the Spirit to be in the flesh. Submission to God given authority is possible only if we are willing to yield in every area of our life.
“Longing for the house of God” was an attribute of King David and is a habit of holiness for today’s Christian. Christians love the fellowship of other Christians. Church is also a place for instruction in righteousness. It is even more important as the day of the Lord approaches.
Becoming holy is a learning experience, a process of sanctification. A new Christian may need to quit some harmful habits. Some things may be such a part of their environment that it is hard, but as time goes on the person who yields everything to God, reads his Bible, and prays will find that those things lose their hold.
“Loyalty for service” is a habit of holiness that will grow as the Christian matures. Instead of saying, “I have paid my dues,” they will look for new ways to serve God with what talents the Lord gives. There will be less interest in worldly things and a desire to be closer to God. Holiness is not a far-fetched idea. God commanded holiness and he would not require something that we could not do.