Blameless? That’s Impossible!

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’” (Genesis 17:1-2)

By Emily Armstrong

God is renewing his covenant with Abraham that the promise of a great nation would come from Abraham and Sarah.  Verse 1 says that Abraham is 99 years old when God has this conversation with him.  I can only imagine that he was thinking, “OK, God, I’ll be a first time dad, but only with your help.”  As long as we are talking about doing the impossible, did we miss the small but significant phrase in verse 1 that says, “Walk before me and be blameless”? Again, Abraham has to be thinking, “OK, God, but only with your help.”

Does God really expect Abraham to be a dad at age 99? Yep.  Does God really expect Abraham to walk before him and be blameless? You bet.  And God expects the same from us.  Is it a fair expectation? Yes, but only because we have the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Holy Spirit helps us to make the right choices, and helps us continually walk before God and be blameless.  It’s not to say that the Holy Spirit makes our decisions for us, but he’s continually guiding us in the correct paths, if we allow him to.

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I remember when I was in college that I really started struggling with the concept of being blameless.  I had been a Christian since I was a little girl, but the Holy Spirit started speaking to me about the kind of music that I listened to.  It wasn’t BAD music, but it certainly wasn’t the best.  I had to really wrestle with the Lord and see if what I was listening to was helping my relationship grow stronger with Him.  I’m sure you aren’t surprised to learn that I realized that the Holy Spirit was right, and I made some changes in my music.  It was hard, and it was a process, but I know that it’s helped me even to this day to walk blamelessly before God.

So, are you up to it?  Have you been feeling like the Holy Spirit’s been talking to you about some of the habits that you have that are keeping you from walking blamelessly before God?  If so, then start evaluating the changes that you need to make, and start making them. You’ll soon learn like I did, that walking blamelessly is possible, with God’s help.

*This reflection is part of a series of devotionals written for youth by Scott and Emily Armstrong.  

 

Stumbling Block

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9)

As a new youth pastor, I invited one of the sophomores in the youth group to grab some ice cream after school.  As he climbed into my car and I turned the key, the radio blasted out the words of a popular rock song.  A song everyone knew.  A song I liked.  But not a song with a…ahem…biblical message.

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Can Christians only listen to hymns all day long? Nah.  Was it a sin to listen to a secular song on the radio? Probably not.

But the way he looked at me I knew it could cause him to justify his own questionable music selections.  His Christian walk was affected even if my eternity wasn’t.

“Sorry,” I said, turning off the radio.  “Neither of us should be listening to that.  It won’t happen again.”

*This mini-devotional was written for the app of Mesoamerica Region Nazarene Youth International (NYI). We encourage you to download and use that app, through which short devotional thoughts like this (written by a variety of leaders) will be shared daily.

Our Great, Great God

By Scott Armstrong

“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy” (Ps. 33:1-3).

(Read Psalm 33:1-12)

Let’s experience these words of worship together for a few minutes…

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As we start this psalm, we are instructed to make music to God, sing to Him, play instruments, shout for joy, and use every possible form of music to praise our Lord (vv.1-3)!  Why? Let’s count the reasons. We worship Him because this is the God:

Who is Right and True (v.4). He is always fair in his decisions.

Who is Faithful (v.4).  He keeps His promises and can always be trusted.

Who Loves Righteousness and Justice (v.5).  He does what is right and correct and delights when others do the same.

Who’s Love Never Fails (v.6). His love will never run out; he loves every person, every moment, in every situation they are in.

Who is Creator (vv.6, 7, 9). Out of nothing He dreamed the world and spoke it into existence. Out of nothing He created a masterpiece such as you.

Who is AWESOME (v.8). His greatness deserves our praise. In light of His               astonishing grace, the whole world will fall on their knees and worship Him.

Who is in Control (v.10). The nations and rulers and kings of this world are not in charge; He always has the last word.

Who is Constant (v.11). Through the ages of time His promises will never change and His will shall be eternally accomplished.

In the light of these reasons, we can see why the writer sings, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance” (v.12).

How will you praise such an incredible God today?