Monday, December 7, 2020

Purity 284: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 284 12/07/2020 

Good morning!

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent hike to Harrier Hill park in Hudson NY.  I share it because it’s December and blue skies with clouds and sunshine are becoming rare. 

Lately, I have been thinking of that Counting Crows song: “A Long December”, as a week ago I asked for prayers for healing for my Mother and Father, Kathy and Matt, as they both have Covid-19.  My father has had mild symptoms and remains home, relatively well, and my mother is hospitalized, receiving treatment and reports that she is improving and hopes to come home some time this week.  We are praying for complete healing for both and for mom to return home.  I deeply appreciate all the prayers and messages of concern for my parents. Thank You.

I recently read that the Christian discipleship process is both Bible-based and forward looking. 

The Bible tells me God is in charge and He is the creator and healer. So we will trust in Him, knowing that all outcomes are in His hands and that He is good. 

And as we enter into a new week, we won’t lament over disappointments in the past, but we will look ahead with hope and expectancy, planning and preparing for what the Lord has for us this week.     

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This morning’s meditation verses were:

Psalm 109:30-31 (NLT2)
30 But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising him to everyone.
31 For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.

 I love today’s verses because they point to two core truths of how we are to practice our faith as Christians: we are to give “repeated thanks to the Lord” and let others know about His goodness.  Our thanks are to be a repeated practice because if we don’t repeatedly thank the Lord for what He has provided, and how He continues to provide for us, we can forget about the blessings we enjoy and become dissatisfied and discontented with the “wonderful life” that we have.  

 Our relationships suffer when we take people for granted and our relationship with the Lord is no different. He has loved us, and we are to love Him right back. 

 While it is a good practice to daily thank the Lord for what He is doing in your life, the practice is even more effective when we share our hope with others. By telling others about the Lord, we become a beacon of hope in what can seem to be a hopeless world. We not only assure and encourage others by telling of the goodness of God and His plan for all of us, we also encourage ourselves and confirm that we really are children of God because we are not just telling people facts about the Lord, we are telling people about the reality of our relationship with the Lord and how He has interacted with us by bringing us out of our own personal darkness and blessed us in ways that we never saw coming. 

 Verse 31 also speaks of how He stands beside us and saves us from those who would condemn us.  Our relationship with God means even more in times of need and when we are persecuted by the world. 

 God always meets our needs because our biggest need is Him. His presence in our lives is a never-ending comfort at all times.  He also defines who we are as the truth of God’s word tells us that we are loved, significant, and accepted even when the rest of the world condemns us.  But the key to receiving the benefits of our faith is believing the truth of God’s eternal word over the temporary circumstances that surround us and the opinions of the world that is lost.  

 So keep thanking God, telling others about Him, and believing what He says about you!    

 Today we continue chapter 5 of Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss how our primary protection from depression is the truth of God’s word and how it reveals our identity in Christ.  I encourage those who read this look up the referenced Bible verses and put them on index cards or in a notebook in order to meditate on them to reinforce your identity in Christ and to renew your mind to this truth.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

The Primary Protection: Established in Truth

The "heavenly places" (NIV "realms") are a present reality. The phrase does not refer to heaven where God has His throne, nor does it refer to some physical planet such as Pluto or Mars that exists in the natural realm. It refers to the spiritual world or atmosphere in which we live. The god (ruler) of this world, "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).

John says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). Herein lies the problem and the answer in one verse. People are kept in spiritual bondage because of the lies they believe about God and themselves, and Satan is the father of lies (see John 8:44).

Jesus is the truth (see John 14:17), and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all truth (see John 16:13), and that truth will set you free (see John 8:32). That is possible because we are children of God.

Every defeated Christian we have worked with, regardless of their presenting problem, had one thing in common. None of them knew who they were in Christ, nor understood what it meant to be a child of God. Almost all of them were questioning their salvation. If the Holy Spirit is bearing "witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16), then why weren't they sensing it? "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! [or] Father!" (Galatians 4:6). Where is the "Abba! Father!" in the depth of depression? He is there, but depressed people often don't sense His presence because of ignorance or lack of genuine repentance.

The Primary Issue: Our Identity and Position in Christ

The devil does not want you to know that you are a child of God and seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Ephes. 2:6). From that position in Christ, we have authority over the kingdom of darkness. Every believer is alive in Christ and therefore united with Him:

In His death

Romans 6:3; Galatians 2:20; Col. 3:1-3

In His burial

Romans 6:4

In His resurrection

Romans 6:5, 8, 11

In His ascension

Ephes. 2:6

In His life

Romans 5:10, 11

In His power

Ephes. 1:19, 20

In His inheritance

Romans 8:16, 17; Ephes. 1:11, 12

Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression

------------------------------more tomorrow--------------------------


God bless you all!

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