Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God - Purity 470

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God

Purity 470 07/14/2021   Purity 470 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo from atop Giant Mountain, the twelfth-highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in upstate NY, comes to us from a friend’s recent summit of the peak that is also known as "Giant of the Valley” due to its stature looking over Keene Valley and St. Hubert’s to the west.  Our adventurous friend truly made the most of their day as they also summited nearby Rocky Peak Ridge, and then spent the remainder of the day boating on Lake George!  But here up above the clouds on top of Giant Mountain, our friend took a moment to sit and take a rest with their companion to enjoy a bird’s eye view of God’s creation.      

I share today’s photo because of the epic view but also because it reminded me of a couple of phrases from scripture that speak of the peace we have when we come into relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  

Seeing our friend’s companion’s feet stretched out on Giant Mountain with a few wispy clouds below I thought of the phrase in the Bible that refers to Christians as being seated in the heavenlies with Christ. The exact passage is:  

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

When we were dead in our sin and God made us alive through Christ, He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Positionally speaking, we are already citizens of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s royal family.  We have been saved and never need to fear death again. We are assured of a good place with God in eternity because of Christ.  

That realization, and this photo, made me think of Christ’s promise to give us rest. The exact passage I was thinking of is: 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our lives on earth are hard. We have to somehow figure out who we are, what we like, and how we can include those things in the process of deciding how we spend our time and how we provide for ourselves. We also must take all of that into consideration when we choose to leave our original family to establish a life of our own and choose whether or not to have a family of our own.  That’s a lot to figure out and we have to do it all in environment in which everything changes over time, including ourselves.  

A lot of people can look at those last few statements and say that they more or less define our entire lives but there is more to our lives than just the things of this earth. 

God sent Christ to earth to tell us that and to make a way for us to somehow rise above it all with His offer of rest and eternal life.  Figuring out the mysteries of life’s meaning and purpose by our own efforts and reasoning is exhausting and ultimately a fruitless pursuit. 

To find a meaning and purpose in life that is meaningful, we have to ask the One who made all existence what He says. God sent Jesus tell us what life is all about and Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

While we can find some measure of rest from sitting a top a mountain glorying over our accomplishments, or by discovering optimal relaxation in a “sleep number bed”, the rest that comes from being at peace with God is beyond compare.  

So no matter where you find yourself on this “hump” day, remember that if you are in Christ, God has made you to sit in the heavenly places.  You have the assurance of life everlasting with the One who overcame the world.  Remember that and rest.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse calls us to a life of holiness and makes it clear that if we reject this instruction we reject God.    

In today’s seeker friendly churches with their hearts set on not offending those who they wish to bring into the kingdom of God, the preachers of the modern gospel are kind and compassionate but often exclude the message of holiness when they are presenting the benefits of the grace that saves.     

Quite honestly, when I heard the gospel message that saved me I heard about God’s love and forgiveness and was amazed by the grace that saved a wretch like me but I in no way thought, or heard in the message that saved me, that I would be called to change.   

I figured the thing that was so amazing about the gospel was that God knew all about me and accepted me, warts, and all! There was no way that God would expect me to change.  I figured my job would be just to tell people how awesome God was for the rest of my life, and I would just sit quietly in the back of the church praying prayers of thanksgiving and staying out of everyone else’s way.  

But God does call all His Children to holiness.

In the “body of Christ” I would say that there is definitely a sliding scale on holiness that is dependent on each individual’s understanding and convictions.  

The way I look at it the deeper your relationship and knowledge of the Lord is the deeper your conviction and desire to be holy will be. 

Repentance is a dirty word in some circles. I know it was a word that I didn’t want to hear when I first got saved. When I heard it I thought I had been a victim of the old “bait and switch”. 

“You said I was saved! You said I was forgiven of all my sins, even my future sins! So what’s this noise about repentance?! What are you talking about? I don’t need to repent! I did that when I said the prayer! I’m good. Thanks but no thanks! I’ll just be over here chilling with Jesus.”  

The thing is I was actually “chilling with Jesus” and the Holy Spirit too.   And guess what, they encouraged me to read the word of God and I saw the truth that God had indeed saved me and made me His child but although He found me in darkness, He didn’t want me to stay there, and He gave me the power to leave it all behind.

So I began to repent and have been experiencing victory after victory and have enjoyed an increasing freedom in Christ with each stronghold that I overcome.  I leaned on the Lord and took things one thing at a time and walked with the Lord one day at a time and sure enough every step with God took me closer into His light and further from the darkness.        

We are all called to holiness when God calls us into His kingdom. If you accept Christ you are saved but accept the Lord’s call to holiness too. That’s His plan for your life.

The abundant life the Christ promised is significantly different from our lives that we knew before Christ. To experience it, that means we must change from the ways we have always been and start living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

When you reject the call to Holiness, you reject the fullness of the life that God has for you. By rejecting holiness, we are saying we know better than God.  I assure you that no matter how bright or special you may be, that is not the case.  

So humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to help you and guide you out of your former or current darkness and into His light.  Your victory has been given to you already. You just have to trust the Lord and walk into it with Him as your guide.

As always, I invite all to go to 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 7.


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:

How Can I Turn Bad Goals into Good Goals?

Let me ask you a faith-stretching question: If God wants something done, can it be done? In other words, if God has a goal for your life, can it be blocked, or is its fulfillment uncertain or impossible?

I am personally convinced that no goal God has for my life is impossible or uncertain, nor can it be blocked. I can't imagine God saying, "I've called you into existence, I've made you My child and I have something for you to do. I know you won't be able to do it, but give it your best shot." That's ludicrous! It's like saying to your child, "I want you to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn is full of rocks, the mower doesn't work and there's no gas. But give it your best shot." When an authority figure issues a command that cannot be obeyed, the authority of the leader is undermined in the minds of those who are in submission.

God had a staggering goal for a young maid named Mary. An angel told her she would bear a Son while still a virgin, and her Son would be the Savior of the world. When she inquired about this seemingly impossible feat, the angel simply said, "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Luke 1:37).

You wouldn't give your children tasks they couldn't possibly complete, and God doesn't assign to you goals you can't achieve. His goals for you are possible, certain, and achievable. We need to understand His goals for our lives and then say with Mary: "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Goals Versus Desires

To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire. This liberating distinction can spell the difference between success and failure, inner peace, and inner pain for the Christian.

A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God's purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control. Who do you have the ability and right to control? Virtually no one but yourself. The only person who can block a godly goal or render it uncertain or impossible is you. If you adopt the attitude of cooperation with God's goals as Mary did, your goal can be reached.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have no right or ability to control. You cannot base your success or sense of worth on your desires, no matter how godly they may be, because you cannot control their fulfillment. Some of your desires will be blocked, remain uncertain and eventually prove to be impossible. Let's face it, life doesn't always go our way and many of our desires will not be met.

We will struggle with anger, anxiety, and depression when we elevate a desire to a goal in our own minds. By comparison, when a desire isn't met, you will only face disappointment. Life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to live with them. However, dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier than dealing with the anger, anxiety and depression of goals that are based on wrong beliefs.

Does God make a distinction between a goal and a desire? Yes, I think He does. "'For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the LORD God. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:32). It is God's desire that we would all repent and live, but not all will.

John wrote, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). Certainly, the integrity, sovereignty and success of God is not dependent upon whether or not we sin. God has no blocked goals. It is God's desire that everyone repent, although not everyone will.

Then does God have any genuine goals—specific results that cannot be blocked? Praise the Lord, yes! For example, Jesus Christ will return and take us home to heaven to be with Him forever—it will happen. Satan will be cast into the abyss for eternity—count on it. Rewards will be distributed to the saints for their faithfulness—look forward to it. These are not desires that can be thwarted by the fickle nature of a fallen humanity. What God has determined to do, He will do.

When you begin to align your goals with God's goals and your desires with God's desires, you will rid your life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression. The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.

She may object, "But what if my husband has a midlife crisis or my kids rebel?" Those kinds of problems are not blocking her goal to be the wife and mother God called her to be. Such trials will surely test her faith. If anything, difficulties in the family should further encourage her commitment. If her husband should ever need a godly wife and her children a godly mother, it is in times of trouble. Family difficulties refine her goal of being the woman God wants her to be.

The pastor whose success and sense of worth are based on his goal to win his community for Christ, have the best youth ministry in town or increase giving to missions by 50 percent, is headed for a fall. These are worthwhile desires, but no pastor should deem himself a success or failure based on whether or not they are achieved. His goal is to be the pastor God called him to be. No member of his church or community can block that goal.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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