Surf’s Up: Overcoming the Waves of Adversity
Purity 458 06/30/2021 Purity 458 Podcast
Today’s photo comes to us from a friend who joined their son for some sunrise surfing on one of the beaches of near Jacksonville Florida. They shared this beautiful view this past Sunday with the instruction to “Make it a great day.”
As I already documented, my Sunday was great, as I officially graduated with my master’s degree in Christian Counseling and the blessings kept coming as I continued to receive congratulations yesterday. So as we walk out of the month of June, I would like to again thank all who recently wished my happy birthday and congratulations on my graduation. Great days are made even greater when we have friends and family to share them with. So, thank you!
As our friend was surfing Sunday, it appears that we in upstate New York, and people elsewhere across the country, have been riding the crest of a heat wave as the last few days have seen record high temperatures all over the country but just as Wednesday is the hump in the middle of our week, it looks like it will all be downhill from here as our local forecast predicts temperatures going back down to a high of 70 degrees on Saturday.
No matter how hot or turbulent our lives can be at times, if we walk with God, we know that we can lean on His strength to see us through the waves of adversity that can come our way. In my experience, it has been in the worst of times that the Lord really shows that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Suffering loss, trials, and heartaches is often a lonely road as friends and family only have a limited amount of capacity to help you. They have lives of their own and their own set of problems and concerns to deal with. So it is no fault of their own when they are less than perfect in offering help or support.
That’s why it is critical to have a relationship with the Lord. There will be times when we will walk through challenges by ourselves. A lot of the problems we will face are consequences of things we have done, or failed to do, and when push comes to shove the responsibility falls to us to get ourselves out of the messes we have made. In those times we will need the comfort, assurance, love, strength, and guidance that only a comes from a covenant relationship with God.
I hate to get specific to those who like a more general spiritual outlook, but the truth is that the promises of God for a new and eternal life are conditional upon faith in Jesus Christ. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is also contingent on faith in Christ.
And for those who don’t know, our reception of the Holy Spirit, adoption into the kingdom of God, and a new identity in Christ are the game changers that give peace in the midst of the most turbulent waves of change we will face.
While most of us can adapt and overcome problems and trials in our own strength by gritting our teeth and putting our noses to the grindstone, the big questions of life will never be answered through man’s limited knowledge or individual efforts.
The questions of life beyond death must be addressed. Ultimate meaning and reality must be considered. Otherwise, we are micromanaging our lives, problem solving and planning from one moment to the next without true meaning or purpose.
You can even make short- and long-term plans for every eventuality that you can imagine for life here on earth but unless you secure the Truth, the Way, and the Life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, your best laid plains will be as castles made of sand that the wind and waves of life will wash away, eroding your limited conception of what life is along with the pride that held your dusty kingdom together.
So stop fighting the waves all by yourself. Seek the Lord’s answer and you will see the cross of Christ. The cross bridges the gap between God and man and provides those who place their faith in Christ with the ability to rise above the waves of this world.
With your eternal destiny secured in Christ, you trade your castles of sand for the kingdom of God. The spiritual reality of your new life in Christ gives you the ability to ride the waves of adversity with strength, patience, and skill. So let go and let God bring you through and to a place where their will be peace and life everlasting.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Today’s verse is the cliff notes for evangelism. Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Enough said. That’s Pretty Straightforward, I think, but I would highlight the two aspects of this simple instruction that will make the difference between a true and a false conversion.
“Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus” means two things.
First, it means that we must “speak it”. We must make a public confession of our faith. “Hey guys! Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m a Christian!.. Please don’t hurt me.”
Yeah, outside of areas of the earth where there is heavy-duty persecution, there should be no uncover Christians. To quote my high school history teacher, Mr. Burley, “Say it Loud and say it proud!” You have to, and should be proud to, say that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Second, confess means to “agree with”. That means that you are not just saying something and not meaning it. Your saying Jesus Christ is Lord is not just lip service. It means that you are making Jesus the Lord of your life with the implication that you will obey your Lord and Master.
“Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” is also integral to the promise of salvation.
“In your heart” points to a sincere heartfelt conviction that you not only believe the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, but you also believe in the spiritual meaning of the resurrection and that God’s redemptive plan applies personally to you.
So not only do you believe the resurrection happened, but you also believe the resurrection happened to you as those who place their faith in Christ are crucified to death and raised to life with Him.
So if you evangelize, make sure that the people you speak to understand the implications and spiritual realities that are inherent in their act of confession. Reciting a sinner’s prayer is not more spiritual than saying the pledge of the alliance to the Untied States if people don’t agree that Jesus is Lord and don’t believe in their heart that they are resurrected with Christ.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
What the Spirit-Filled Walk Is
If the Spirit-filled walk is neither license nor legalism, then what is it? It is liberty. "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17).
Our freedom in Christ is one of the most precious commodities we have received from our spiritual union with God. Because the Spirit of the Lord is in you, you are free to become the person God created you to be. You are no longer compelled to walk according to the flesh as you were before conversion. You are not even compelled to walk according to the Spirit, but you are inwardly bent in that direction. You have the choice to walk according to the Spirit or to walk according to the flesh.
Walking according to the Spirit implies two things. First, it is not sitting in the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is not sitting around in some holy piety expecting God to do it all. Second, it is not running in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is not an endless round of exhausting activities in which we are trying to do it all by ourselves. Thinking we will become more spiritual if we try harder is a typical error of many believers. If Satan can't tempt us to be immoral, he will simply try to make us busy.
How much fruit can we bear if we try to do it all by ourselves? None! Apart from Christ we can do nothing (see John 15:5). How much gets accomplished in the kingdom of God if we expect God to do it all by Himself? Not much! God has committed Himself in this age to work through the Church (see Ephes. 3:10). We have the privilege to water and plant, and God causes the increase (see 1 Cor. 3:6-9). If we don't water and plant, nothing grows.
A pastor was working in his garden one day when one of his deacons paid a visit. "My, the Lord sure gave you a beautiful garden," the deacon said. To which the pastor responded, "You should have seen it when God had it by Himself."
This truth is illustrated by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
In His youth, Jesus was a carpenter. In those days, carpenters didn't frame houses; they fashioned wooden doors and yokes. Jesus metaphorically used those products to describe the spiritual life. For instance, Jesus is the door to spiritual life (see John 10:9), and a yoke is a wooden beam that fits over the shoulders of two oxen. How well does the yoke work if only one person is in it? You would be better off not having it on you. It only works if two are yoked together and pulling in the same direction.
A young ox is trained by putting it in a yoke with an old seasoned ox who "learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). The typical nature of the young ox is to think the pace is too slow and to run ahead, but all it would get is a sore neck. "Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:30, 31). Some young oxen will be tempted to drop out, but life goes on and the debts pile up. Others will be tempted to stray off to the left or the right. Then one day the young ox thinks, This old ox knows what he is talking about and how to walk; I think I will learn from Him.
I once owned a rather dumb dog named Buster. I bought a choke chain and sent Buster off to dog obedience school with my son. It didn't work. So one day I thought I would take Buster for a walk. I said "walk" not "run." So I put the choke chain on Buster and off we went. I was the master and I knew where I wanted to go on this "walk." Buster just about choked himself to death trying to run ahead, but I was determined to be the master and walk at my pace. Then he would stop and sniff a flower or some gross thing, but I kept on walking.
"Did that dumb dog ever learn to walk by its master?" you ask. No, it never did, and I have met a lot of Christians who haven't either. Some try to run ahead of God and burn out. Others fall into temptation and stray off to the left or the right. Some just drop out even though their Master is saying, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). We can find rest for our souls if we learn to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship