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Personal Website Update!

April 30, 2016 1 comment

In the WordWell, I decided to update my personal website (http://billholdridge.com), after eight years with the old one.

I think it’s a great upgrade and turned out very well. At least, that’s my opinion. very good smiley

If you’d like, please take a look, and let me know what you think. Just leave a comment … I’ll appreciate it!

The purpose of the website is to provide materials that can strengthen and equip the body of Christ, by the way. Hope it does that!

Again, here’s the URL: http://billholdridge.com

Thanks!

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The Problem Is Indwelling Sin

indwelling sinFor when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Romans 7:5-12) 

Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, Paul the apostle was a Pharisee. That means that he had been a strict adherent of the law as it was generally understood and applied in his day. 

Yet Romans chapter 7 begins with the startling statement that believers in Christ died to the law. That could lead some to believe that Paul was down on the law. Nothing could be further from the truth! Paul was not down on the law at all … he just understood its role and proper place in people’s lives. 

For instance, the law energized sinful desires. That happened when we were in the flesh … that is, when we were not yet converted. We all know how it goes: tell someone they can’t do something, and they want to do it even more! Paul’s personal testimony was his experience with the commandment which forbade greed and evil desires for things we do not have. The law not only showed Paul his own greed, but it also increased it within his heart. 

Thankfully we have been delivered from the law to serve Christ by the Holy Spirit. Again, the believer does not have a legal relationship with God, but a personal, dependent one. 

No, there is no problem at all with the law; it is holy, just and good. The problem is with indwelling sin. 

For Further Review

1.  If the law can arouse our passion to sin, then why is the law (of itself) not sinful?

2.  How are we to serve the Lord now? By what power? In your own life right now, by which power would you say are you operating?

3.  Cite examples from your own experience wherein the law seemed to incite sinful passions in your life. When this happens, what can our correct response be? How can we remedy this unhealthy pattern?

 

Living for Jesus and for Others

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Your gifts are not aboutFirst, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. (Romans 1:8-15) 

It was typical and consistent of Paul to offer thanks and prayers for the churches. By reading his letters, it is apparent that he had a very rich prayer life. He loved the Lord and he genuinely loved the Lord’s people, Christ’s bride. 

Although Paul the apostle had never been to Rome by the time he wrote the epistle to the Romans, it is very obvious that he had a deep longing for the church that was in that great city.  His desire to be with the Christians in Rome was very strong, an intense longing. On the pastoral and apostolic side, he wanted to minister to them spiritually that they would be established in their young faith. On the human side, he wanted to be encouraged in the sharing of their mutual faith. His ministry with the Roman church would not be one-sided; both he and they would be blessed! 

Paul longed for spiritual fruit to be produced wherever he went, and even expected it. He knew the Lord was with him in his travels and service to the saints (Matthew 28:20), and he knew that the Father is glorified when we bear much fruit (John 15:8). Therefore he longed to go to Rome; not as a tourist, but as a servant of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). 

He felt himself to be a debtor to the Lord, who had saved his life and given him eternal salvation. He owed it to the Lord to preach the gospel … to the cultured and uncultured, and to those steeped in education and philosophy and to those who were not. He was ready, willing, and available for this task. 

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For Further Review:

1.  Do you love your church? Do you love the people in your church? How deep is your prayer life for them, or for the rest of the body of Christ? List some of the things about your church that you are thankful for.

2.  Too often, church attenders are like consumers, interested primarily in what the church has to offer them. Others learn to become servants, and are concerned mostly about serving the Lord by serving His people. Which are you, consumer or servant? What changes do you need to make to move you toward true servanthood, toward a mature love for others in Christ’s body?

3.  What is spiritual fruit? See if you can find out by searching the New Testament for the word “fruit.” You can use a good concordance to help you, such as a Strong’s Concordance (available online).

4.  Why do you believe Paul was a debtor to preach the gospel? To whom did he owe this debt, and why? How does your answer relate to and apply to your own life?

 

A Profile of Courage

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

????????And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations, that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness. Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar. And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. (Genesis 14:1-16)

It was four kings against five, in a war being waged over very typical issues—subservient kings stopped paying tribute to their master, king Chedorlaomer. For twelve years they had been under his rule, but enough was enough, and they rebelled.

The war did not go well for the rebels, and they were soundly defeated. Included in the ranks of the defeated were the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram’s nephew Lot, who by that time had been living in Sodom, was taken captive along with all his possessions.

News of this horrible chain of events was communicated to Abram, who quickly sprang into action. Having armed his 318 servants, Abram and his men went after the captors, came upon them after a pursuit of 200 miles, fiercely attacked them, and rescued Lot, everyone with him, and all their possessions. It was a tremendous act of courage on Abram’s part, and a fortunate outcome for Lot, who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, living in Sodom.

The digression in Lot’s piety is made plain in scripture. First, Lot longed for the places of comfort and abundance, then he lived near Sodom, and finally he lived in Sodom. Eventually, this man … whom the Bible calls a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8) … lost all influence living in the corrupt community of Sodom. His soul was vexed by the evil all around him, but he was powerless to effect any change in that city. Thus, Lot’s life becomes a warning to believers today. We are not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If we do, the Father’s love is not in us (1 John 2:15-17).

For Further Review

1.  Consider the courage of this man Abram. What do you think? Do you think he was at all afraid? If so, how do you think he dealt with his fear? How does 1 John 4:18 influence your answer?

2.  Consider the commitment of Abram to his nephew Lot. Note that even though Lot was in fact Abram’s nephew, the scripture calls him Abram’s brother as well. Now consider 1 John 3:14,16. How do these verses affect the kind of commitment we should have with other true believers?

3.  How can we avoid a digression in piety, as occurred in Lot’s life. Refer to 2 Peter 1:5-10 to help you with your answer.

Delayed Obedience

tumblr_lzw15b7cMP1r0j9r8o1_500And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran. (Genesis 11:31-32)

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. One of the three, Shem, has a genealogy that proceeds all the way to Abram (later, Abraham) and eventually to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17).

 

Abram would become the friend of God, the progenitor of the nation of Israel, and the father of faith for Jews and Gentiles. Needless to say, Abram was a very important human being, with a colossal calling upon his life.

Because of God’s call upon his life, it was necessary for Abram to separate himself … he was commanded by God to remove himself from his immediate surroundings and culture (from Ur of the Chaldeans), and even from his own family. Nothing should get in the way of the LORD’s will for this man. Abram needed to belong wholly to the LORD. If Abram were not wholly His, he could not discover or fulfill God’s purposes. God would have to look elsewhere for a yielded vessel to use.

It is a curious thing, but important to notice, that Abram does not immediately obey the command to separate from his family and father’s house. Putting the Genesis history together with the history recorded in Acts 7:2-4, we discover that these promises and commands were given to Abram before he left the land of the Chaldeans. So when Abram waited for his father Terah to die before he left Haran, his obedience was a delayed obedience.

This delayed obedience could have cost Abram dearly, but because God is faithful, merciful, and gracious, His promises to this man remained intact. For God, delayed obedience is better than no obedience at all (see Matthew 21:28-31a).

For Further Review

1.  Have you discovered God’s call upon your life? If not, what will you need to do in order to discover it?

2.  How important is it to you that God has placed a call upon your life? What hindrances have you discovered that threaten to keep you from God’s best for your life?

3.  Is there anything that God has commanded you to do that you’ve not yet obeyed? Name it, admit it to God, and then ask Him for wisdom and strength that you might do it. For greater accountability, share these things with a mentor, relative, or friend.

June Newsletter, 2014

newsletter-clipart-27kua9oDear Everybody,

Here’s a link to an update from us Holdridges. Hope you enjoy it. It’s been a busy but blessed season in our lives, one we’ll not soon forget.

And there’s more to come!

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=402ca9421c467de147acbbb6e&id=1643374aa4&e=546deb67ca

Thanks for reading…

In Christ,

Bill Holdridge

God Rests from His Work

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

My-yokeThus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

What does it mean that God rested on the seventh day? Does it mean that He was worn out from all His efforts? Most certainly not. God cannot get tired (Isaiah 40:28). He is all-powerful.

What it does mean is that God accomplished the entire creation in six days, and He was finished (Genesis 2:1). There was nothing else left for him to do, so He stopped. He rested … meaning that He ceased from His creative actions.

Then He blessed and set apart the 7th day after the order of His own resting.

This resting on God’s part became a pattern for all of humanity. The 7th day was the day He rested because all had been done that could be done. Therefore, we can rest; indeed, we may rest through His completed work.  It’s a pattern of 6 and 1. Six days of labor (blessed by God) results in one day of rest. God gives us permission. We’re not to think that our labor is so important that we have to keep at it each and every day. Instead, we’re to realize that what God can do in our lives in six days is far more impacting than what we can do in seven. It’s a faith thing. And it’s so good for us! It’s good for us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Later, Israel was to observe this pattern as part of the covenant God made with them (Exodus 20:8-11). It was part of their law. They were also supposed to do this with their fields … trusting the Lord for His blessing during six years of planting and harvesting, allowing the fields to lie fallow for the seventh year.

Presently, believers in Jesus Christ have been blessed with a tremendous spiritual rest. Jesus Himself is our rest, our Sabbath. Everything is finished in Him.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

There remains therefore a rest (Greek: sabbatismos) for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Hear this wonderful invitation from our Blessed Lord:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

For Further Review

1.  Ponder the power and work of God. How does His limitless strength work in your life?

2.  Have you experienced the blessing of the 6 and 1 pattern? How has it affected your life?

3.  Think about it: Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest. Carefully read and ponder Matthew 11:28-30 and then take Him up on His gracious invitation, right now.