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USA Southern Territorial Weekly Devotional

Growing Deeper Together

May 17, 2023
Last week I said that we would look at eight things you and I must do that will help us stay the course of being blameless in our walk to live out loud the Holiness of God upon our lives. I shared two, and the other six are:
  1. through waiting on the Lord - Isaiah 40:31
  2. through faith in Christ - II Corinthians 5:7 
  3. through love - Ephesians 5:1-2
  4. through walking in the Light - Ephesians 5:8-11
  5. through wisdom - Ephesians 5:15-17
  6. through being worthy - Colossians 1:9-12
We may come back to these six in a later issue, But I wanted to share with you today - how we are to keep the blessing.

Keeping The Blessing


Colossians 2:6; Matthew 4:1-4; Romans 10:5-13

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT (Written by Rick Raymer, Major)

As I studied the writings of Samuel Logan Brengle, I realized that it was possible to lose the precious gift of the second blessing. The following is a snippet from his book, Heart Talks on Holiness: 

Two or three years ago, a brother, going to the foreign field, arose in one of my meetings and said, ‘I got the blessing three times but lost it twice. The third time I got it, the Lord taught me how to keep it through this text: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” ’ [Colossians 2:6] That is one of the most straightforward and completest statements of how to keep the blessing that can be given. The conditions of getting it are the conditions of keeping it.

Brengle did, however, expand on the idea so we would better understand how to maintain holiness. Here are his key points for living a holy life with a clean heart:

I - “To keep it, there must be continued joyful and perfect consecration. We have put all on the altar to get it. We must leave all on the altar to keep it.” 

I believe that even as we grow in the Lord, we need to come back to where it all started and lay it on the altar again. If we are going to keep the blessing of a clean heart, we must leave our sins there and become the holy people that God desires us to be as we continue to empty ourselves before the Lord.

2. “To keep the blessing, there must be steadfast, childlike faith. It took faith unmixed with doubt to grasp the blessing.” Brengle quotes from the song “Keep on Believing” by Lucy Milward Booth–Hellberg:

Keep on believing; Jesus is near,
Keep on believing; there’s nothing to fear:
Keep on believing; this is the way,
Faith in the night as well as the day.

3. “To keep the blessing, we must pray to and commune much with the Lord. We pray when we talk to God and ask Him for things. We commune with him when we are still and listen, and let God talk to us, mold us, show us His love and His will, and teach us in the way He would have us go.” 

The key questions are, Do we spend more time praying or more time communing? Do we mostly ask for things, or do we listen for the Spirit of God? Holiness [is] time with God. To me, quiet time, being still, and spending time with God is [an] act of holiness,” says Laura Burn, Divisional Director of Finance for the Texas Division. I remember my homiletics teacher saying during officer training that for every minute you’re in the pulpit, you should spend an hour in preparation. For most of us officers, that means at least 30 hours of preparation a week. But preparing for a sermon or devotional is not communing with God. We must devote time to preparation, yes, but we must also set aside time for communion with Him.

4. “To keep the blessing, we must give diligent attention to the Bible. The soul needs the food of truth. Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4) 

“As I study His Word and daily experience His love, more and more of Him is being reflected in my life,” says retired officer Major Grace Cumberbatch.

5. “To keep the blessing, we must confess it, be aggressive, and seek to get others into it. ‘For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ ” (Romans10:10) 

Major Nick Garrison suggests that we look to our young people, whose instinct is to be aggressive in reaching others: “Year after year in The Salvation Army, our youth have been crying out for a revolution. They see that holiness requires action. I think holiness is not just about our alone time of taking in God, but more importantly, it’s going out and sharing God. … I am so encouraged by the zeal of our youth …”

6. “To keep the blessing, we must constantly live in the spirit of self–denial. By yielding to fleshly desires, too selfish ambitions, to the spirit of the world, we may lose the labor of years in an instant.”

Finally, Brengle says, “There must be no resting in present attainments. The Lord has clearer revelations of Himself for us. We may be filled to the limit of our capacity today, but we should ever pray, ‘Oh, Lord, enlarge the vessel, and this we should expect.’ ”

God told us to be holy, and I took Him at His word that I could be holy. As followers of Jesus, this is our call to action. “We’re a holiness movement,” says Commissioner James Knaggs. “We need to be holy individuals and holy people. This is God’s goodwill for all … that includes us.” 

Yet, in The Salvation Army, we have soldiers who are like I used to be. Sometimes they simply do not live up to their covenant with God before their family, friends, and fellow soldiers. I believe it’s because they have not experienced the blessing of a clean heart. I know I’m one to talk, considering how I lived as a soldier at one time in my life. I’m merely reminding us that in this 21st century, we need soldiers to give up every known sin and live completely for Christ. We will never be holy if we don’t see the need to be holy. This, of course, goes for us as officers as well.

Something to think about - How do we keep the blessing or maintaining Holiness?

Hope to see you next week as we look at "Is Christianity about Gaining or Giving Up." 


(Today's devotional comes from the book Living Holiness Out Loud in The 21st Century by Major Rick Raymer. This book can be purchased through Trade South.)



Lord, we hunger for Your Holiness. Fill us, Lord, as we seek You and draw closer to You each and every day. As Your Word says: For God has not called us for impurity but in holiness. May we crave it for ourselves and Your church. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray, amen.


Please take time this week to pray for reinforcements in our ranks. Let's all pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth men and women to work in His vineyard - specifically by accepting the call to full-time ministry within the ranks of our beloved Army. 

"Samuel's experience was a full immersion in the love of God. I walked out over Boston Common before breakfast, weeping for joy and praising God. Oh, how I loved! In that hour, I knew Jesus, and I loved Him till it seemed my heart would break with love. I was filled with love for all His creatures. I heard the little sparrows chattering; I loved them. I saw a little worm wriggling across my path; I stepped over it; I didn’t want to hurt any living thing. I loved the dogs, I loved the horses, I loved the little urchins on the street, I loved the strangers who hurried past me, I loved the heathen, I loved the whole world."

                                                - Samuel Logan Brengle, Commissioner

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Rick Raymer, Major
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory
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