Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Purity 227

Purity 227 09/30/2020
Good morning,

Today’s photo was posted by a friend who was giving away what he called “fairy healing stones” to anyone who wanted to take them away. No explanation was given. So I can’t testify to whether these rocks have healing properties or if it it just was just a clever, albeit possibly dishonest, way to get rid of some unwanted rocks from their garden. No word if there were any takers.
I share it because although I don’t follow politics the posts I see on FB indicate that last nights presidential debate was an embarrassment for both sides, leaving our country with the dubious duty to decide which one of these “rock heads” are for real.
For me I’ve decided to stick to party lines - not just in November but everyday - and vote Jesus!
Because the governments of this earth’s authority is temporary and frankly I don’t trust either side’s ability to fix the problems of mankind , I will make a choice, vote, accept whatever result is determined, and then go about my life working to support my family and taking every opportunity to share the hope of Christ .
I’ve surrendered my life to following the word of God and the leadings of the Holy Spirit and that won’t change no matter who holds the governmental seat of power.
The last temptation of Christ in the desert was to be given the power of authority of all the kingdoms of this earth.
In response, Jesus said: “Away with you Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
If earthly authority didn’t speak to Jesus, it doesn’t appeal to me.
I’m not concerned about a presidency. I’m concerned with the kingdom of God.
I’m not concerned about the next four years or even the “term” of my lifetime. I’m concerned with being “elected” into a life that never ends to serve a God that rules above and beyond all we know.
God bless you all!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Purity 226

Purity 226 09/29/2020
Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend who was out on a hike in upstate NY and was wise enough to be aware of their surroundings and to look down where they discovered there was more in the Forrest than the Colorful displays of the fall foliage.
Our reptilian subject reminds us to always be careful when out in the wilderness. They don’t call it “the wild” for nothing!
This photo came to my attention just as I am writing a discipleship lesson on spiritual warfare and the tactics of the enemy.
The spiritual reality of the world is that Satan is real and demonic spirits are active. Scripture demonstrates that the enemy tempts us, accuses us, and condemns us. Scripture also highlights instances of when the enemy influenced or tempted believers to go astray.
This reality is often denied by modern society but may be supported by the evidence of people afflicted by negative mental states and addictive cycles of behavior.
What we think of as depression, low self esteem, or addiction could be assisted by the influence of demonic entities that speak temptation and condemnation into our thoughts.
So which is it: my mind or the enemy?
The good news is that it doesn’t really matter. The remedy is the same for both. Instead of agreeing with the thoughts that tell us that we are sick, abnormal, evil, or broken, we instead stand on the truth of who we are in Christ.
We are saved. We are forgiven. We have the power say no. We are righteous. We are loved.
And all of these facts of our identity have been given to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
So if nagging voices or negative attitudes start to condemn you, you can tell them to shut up! You can declare that you have been given a new life in Christ and all those things about your past are no longer true.
Your new life in Christ is the truth and the more we agree with it and act on it the more our new life will be shown for all the world to see.
God bless you all!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Purity 225

Purity 225 09/28/2020
Good morning,

Today’s photo of a Canadian goose was captured by a friend on a kayaking excursion over the weekend.
I share it because it’s Monday again and I have friends who are dealing with, not just one, but a host of problems. Be they familial, financial, emotional, or personal sometimes in life we can feel like we are literally up to our neck in problems.
So should we despair? Should we just give up?
No, of course not! Take this goose as an example, they may be up to their neck in the water but they are keeping their head up. And you can bet that beneath the surface their feet are kicking up a storm to stay afloat and to rise up out of the water that surrounds them.
I myself and other people I know are or have been up to their neck in it. And the thing that gives us the most peace in the storm is the knowledge that God is with us.
Our faith in God can lead us out of the darkest days of our lives. So if we are overwhelmed with the problems of life, we need to establish or re-establish our communication with God by praying or just talking to Him.
He hears us and He knows what we are going through. If we come to God and ask Him for help, strength, or guidance, He will be there and reward us with His presence.
You might have to walk through your problems for a while but you don’t have to do it alone.
Also you have to fight. You have to act. You have to do everything that you can do to turn things around. God will bless your efforts. When we follow the path God puts before us, amazing things can happen.
But let’s keep it real. Sometimes our best efforts don’t seem to be enough. That’s when we let go and let God.

We can have peace knowing that we have done and will continue to do all we can to change things but we have to keep talking to God knowing He is with us and will comfort us, strengthen us, and guide us all the way through although the journey may be had and the road may be long.
Keep your head up. Look up and know that the One who made it all cared for you and is with you!
God bless you all!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Purity 224

Purity 224 09/26/2020

Good morning today’s photo comes from a friend who set up his “office” at the Rondout Reservoir in upstate NY last weekend.
I am blessed to have so many friends that appreciate getting away from it all and am pleased to share “their views”. So get out there this weekend and keep your eyes open. I know we would all like to see some new places!
I love keeping track of my friends through social media. We all have our separate lives but our friendships and fondness for one another endures through time and distance.
Jesus’ second commandment was to love our neighbors as ourselves and Christ said that we would know His disciples because of the love they have for one another. So when we show our love for our friends we are more like Christ and we realize that love is a part of our faith we should continually practice.
Enjoy your weekend and God bless you all!


Friday, September 25, 2020

Purity 223

Purity 223 09/25/2020

Good morning and Thank God it’s Friday!
Today’s photo comes from a friend who took a late summer trip to Maine and this rocky coast presumably is of the sea coast there.
And today I’ll take this rocky coast as a metaphor for a life that has seen trials and tribulations with the contrast of a pristine white sand beach representing a life that has been relatively free of troubles.
Although the rocky coast has rough edges and parts that can be painful to survey, we can still find beauty in it. In fact some would say the rocky coasts have more character and that overcoming the obstacles to enjoy them is a part of their charm. However, although the rocky coast, we appreciate finding the smooth spots of their otherwise jagged surfaces.
And that’s what we are doing at the Celebrate Freedom ministry, we are appreciating our lives for the beauty that is there even though their has been some rough spots and treacherous times. We are acknowledging our personal jagged edges for what they are but we are bringing them to God to slowly erode and take away their sharp edges.
With our faith in God, we know that if we stay in the presence of His living Waters and Embrace His Mighty Rushing Wind somehow, over time, we will be miraculously transformed into a person who rests in the peace and love of God no matter what challenging terrain we have to traverse or what obstacles we will have to face.
God will lead us through the rough spots and dark days and be there to rejoice with us when we bask in the glory of a life transformed.
I pray that all who read this draw close to God and realize that a relationship with Him brings not only the answers to life and death but a dynamic life of exploration and joy!
God bless you all!


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Purity 222


Purity 222 09/24/2020

Good morning,
Today’s photo was captured by a friend who was recently out for a hike and discovered that sometimes we need to look up. When we do we can discover a peace and beauty that we didn’t know was right there available to us.
God put the heavens above us to contemplate something bigger than our immediate surroundings. The beauty and peace that we can experience from the skies above us is only a small reflection of a life that is lived that is in harmony with the One who spoke the universe into existence.
The greatest lesson to be learned in life is that we can have peace with God and live in harmony with Him by accepting Christ as Lord and Savior and walking in His ways.
It can be a hard lesson to learn and perhaps even harder to live out but that’s what we have one another for in the Body of Christ. We support, encourage, and remind one another that God has made a Way and there is nothing to fear in following Him.
I hope to see the familiar, as well as new, faces tonight at Celebrate Freedom as we continue to live a life according to His ways that brings a peace that goes beyond understanding.
Rock Solid Church Basement.
334 Union Street,
Hudson NY 12524.
All are welcome, bring a friend. Turn it around. Celebrate your freedom in Christ, walk in victory!
God bless you all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Purity 221

Purity 221 09/23/2020

Good morning!
Today’s photo comes from a friend who was out fishing this weekend and caught this picture of a trees who is bearing the evidence that Autumn, both meteorologically and astronomically now, is here!
Autumn reminds me of back to school and the fact that sometimes we have to relearn what we already “know” from what we learned last year!
As I advance in years, sometimes it seems that “all things are new” because I am relearning, reminding myself, or gaining deeper levels of understanding. Beyond that sometimes I am just learning things because I just plain forgot!
Also in this confusing thing called life, we are sometimes forced to learn something we were supposed to learn but actually never did and just faked our way through it!
When we do this we feel like we get away with something and sometimes we do. We go through the rest of our lives never having to know what we were supposed to learn because it never comes up. We are never tested so it doesn’t matter.
But sometimes we are!!!
The real life example of this for me was a concept in math that I didn’t quite grasp completely... that of factoring equations - that process of reducing things or changing them to a form that allows you to solve an equation, making all sides equal.
I might not be a math whiz but I could do it, but when the test started throwing fractions and parentheses and powers and negative signs and fractions on top of fractions in parentheses and etc.... I would just sort of fudge it and hope for the best...
This strategy got me C’s in precalculus in highschool but I figured I was not going to do any more math really and managed to graduate college with never having to open a calculus book or even do algebra again. I won. Sorry math, you’re not needed here! Hahaha!
But then....
As fate would have it, after years of doing things my way and avoiding challenges, I was faced with a dilemma.
I was on a path that was going to most likely lead to my being fired from my job... when you do things your way sometimes it rubs people the wrong way and what is acceptable or tolerated when you are performing above average is deemed highly unacceptable when your performance slips. And sure enough as soon as my performance slipped, my faults seemed to take center stage and I was under the gun.
I had two options - change or get out.
Well back in 2009 - when this went down - I was completely incapable of change! I was fully immersed in my double life of family man and worker by day and alcoholic/addict by night. I just went through life reacting to everything. I couldn’t slow down or concentrate consistently and would just let things slip in order to get to the next thing, leaving things left unsaid or undone. When you’re under scrutiny it’s suddenly about perfection and consistency, neither of which were strong suits for me.
But luckily there was a program at work to become an outside tech. But a requirement of the program was to go back to college and get an associates degree in telecommunications.
And guess what?
To get in the college I had to take an entrance exam and specifically pass the math portion of the test!
One test. One chance. Passing equals escape and a possibility of a future.
Failing most likely leads to a road to unemployment.
How would you like to stake your entire career’s future on a math test?
Well, I did. And luckily it wasn’t too difficult because my score was good enough to get in!
Later, I would actually have to do algebra and precalculus again in order to graduate! And I now I actually have a much better grasp on factoring equations but am not volunteering to do any equations any time soon.
So my point is, life is much easier when we learn what we are supposed to learn the first time.
In Christ, we have to learn we have been forgiven and set free.
When we don’t accept our forgiveness , we feel condemned - always guilty, always beating ourselves up. So learn it! You are forgiven. Those things are gone, let’s leave them behind!
We also have to know we have been set free from sin and death.
We have eternal life in Christ, when we learn this we don’t fear death or anything else...
We have been given the power to say no to sin. When we learn this we say no to the things that drag us down and make us feel guilty. So learn it and walk in it!
It’s amazing the joy we have when we don’t have anything to hide or feel guilty for.
So let’s learn what we were supposed to learn a long time ago.
It’s okay, sometimes we need to learn again. Sometimes we need to understand more. Sometimes we just need to remember what we forgot.
When we follow Christ, we can do all of the above with the assurance of His forgiveness and love.
God bless you all!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Purity 220

Purity 220 09/22/2020

Good morning,
Today’s photo of a Guatemalan sunset comes from a friend and brother in Christ that I met a year ago while on a mission trip in that Central American country where he was putting his multiple talents as a mechanic and handyman to work for an orphanage and the kingdom of God.
It’s a testament to the beauty of God’s creation and to the fact that even the most rugged and hardworking of us can appreciate it.
As I contemplate what it is to be In Christ, I am reflecting on the importance of accepting God’s forgiveness.
Those who have put their faith in Christ have it but often beat themselves up because of their past transgressions and fail to grasp it and live the new empowered life that is available to them because of it.
No matter how bad the things we have done, no matter how often we failed, and no matter how long we lived in darkness, when we put our faith in Jesus - we are forgiven of it all!
So what do we do now? Well we forgive ourselves and if possible we try to make amends to those we’ve harmed and forgive those who have harmed us. If you can’t do this on your own you should get help. If your local, come to Celebrate Freedom on Thursday nights and I will walk you through it. If not seek a Bible believing church and get connected to people who have overcome.
God forgives us so we can live an abundant life where we leave the guilt and the darkness we lived in behind us.
It might seem impossible but with God all things are possible.
I had walked in darkness for most of my life but 5 years ago I gave it all to God and He has forgiven me, healed me, and set me free.
I am dedicated to use the rest of my life to show others the way to a new life that is only possible with faith in Jesus Christ.
Seek Him and you’ll find Him. Follow Him and you will live.
God bless you all!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Purity 219

Purity 219 09/21/2020

Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend who was hiking, presumably in the Adirondack region of upstate NY, recently and got this awesome shot of a forest stream strewn with huge boulders.

The boulders in this stream remind me of the obstacles we can face as we try to make our way through life. Sometimes the obstacles can seem bigger than the path we want to take!

After spending the past weekend dealing with the beasts of sloth, distraction, and procrastination, I too felt like my goals were hopelessly blocked by obstacles as another week has left us behind.

The thing is sometimes we know what we have to do and we can even know how to do it but the struggle comes in actually sitting down or standing up to do it!

So what do we do when we disappoint ourselves?

Well as Christians, we are to forgive those who disappoint us and encourage them to do what’s right.

That applies to ourselves as well! So instead of beating myself for wasting time and being lazy, I am choosing to forgive myself and encouraging myself to do the right thing today.

And you know what?

Instead of feeling condemned, I feel motivated to start again and see how much we can do now that we have gotten over the boulders that slowed me up this weekend.

Who knows? I could have needed the rest. Or I could have needed to fall down one more time to learn what getting up and walking was all about. Either way, I’m ready to press on and whether you did everything right this past weekend, or it was a complete disaster, or it fell somewhere in between, I encourage you to either congratulate yourself or forgive yourself and press in to all that God has for you to experience this week!

God bless you all!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Purity 218 09/19/2020

Good morning,
Today’s photo comes from a friend who braved the heights of the Hadley Mountain Fire Observation Station in the Adirondacks region of upstate NY and I think the view was worth the trip!
Sometimes in life we have to venture out and see things from a different perspective.
I recently had a friend have the Lord bring Bible verses to their attention that basically directed them to follow the Lord and a few of the verses used the phrase “Awake, awake!”
Some times in life we get trapped in the same routines or same ways of thinking. The Lord calls us to experience a new and abundant life. If we are stuck in a rut and not experiencing it, we need to seek Him by stepping out of the box we have put ourselves in.
To wake up, we can:
Go somewhere where we can appreciate His creation! I highlight all the scenes my friends are experiencing for a reason: to show the glory of God’s creation. Get out there and see it for yourself!
Seek Him in the Word - start reading the Bible, or read a different translation, or a different Bible reading plan, get a Christian self help book, or get a commentary that will increase your understanding and draw you closer to the Lord. His wisdom is infinite- we can never know enough about the One who gave us life and will welcome us into eternity.
Get out and do something new - test your limits, meet new people, join a class, join a group, volunteer. The Lord wants us to be engaged with the World around us. So try something new and when you do, you can thank God for giving you the ability and opportunity to pursue it!
Enjoy your weekend my friends but make it part of an abundant new life by welcoming in and acknowledging the God that provided it and made it possible.
Life is supposed to be a spiritual journey so open up your heart, your mind, and your eyes as you wake up to a whole new dimension of living!
God bless you all!