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Monday, August 9, 2021

Faith and Free Will – Choose God’s Power for You - Purity 492


 
Faith and Free Will – Choose God’s Power for You

Purity 492 08/09/2021  Purity 492 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the first sunrise of August in Jacksonville Florida comes to us from a friend with the simple encouragement to “Make it a great day.” Not only is this a lovely photo of the sun and its reflection in the Atlantic but I love the way that the presence of others gives it a sense of community and symmetry as the two figures on the beach seem to be almost perfectly placed on either side of the sun and the boat in the water, with some one standing on the bow, gives you sense of movement and adventure.   

It's Monday again, and it is my hope that my friends enjoyed their weekend. It looks like we are headed in the “dog days of summer” this week in upstate NY, as temperatures are forecasted to be swinging into the 90’s this week.   I pity the fools that have to work outside.  Oh wait, that me.   But that’s okay, this isn’t my first summer outside and even though its Monday and the heat may challenge us all to keep our peace, I for one will be trying to take my friend’s advice to “make it a great day.”  

The power to shape our days is possible by choosing to direct our thoughts to set the context on how we live our lives.  Anyone can do this. The power of positive thinking is a thing, but I have to be honest, unless our thoughts are supported by truth we could just be living in denial.   “Every thing is going to be okay.” can be a powerful mantra to help us persevere through life but unless you actually know everything is going to be okay you may be just whistling through the graveyard.  

The reality of suffering and death can challenge any Pollyanna who “believes in themselves”.   A sunny disposition empowered by generic encouragements to “just believe” or “have faith” in “good things” or “the universe” is shaky ground to walk through life on.  

Christ taught about the difference between shifting sands and solid rock on which we can “build our houses”. The solid rock that Jesus was encouraging people to build on was hearing His words of instruction and following them.  The only assurance that “everything is going to be okay”  comes from faith in Jesus Christ.   We should not only “just believe” or “have faith” in general, we must believe in Jesus Christ specifically and place our faith in Him.  

After we do that, we are assured of our significance, acceptance, and security as we are given a new and eternal life as God’s free gift, forgiving us of all our sins and declaring us righteous because of Christ’s work on the Cross.

When we choose to live by faith, we can face Mondays and we can even face the dog days of summer, this year and every year until the Lord calls us home.   

When we  choose to live by faith, we surpass the power of positive thinking because our choice to make Christ our Savior begins our personal relationship with the Almighty God and Creator of all things.   Our faith goes beyond the choice to shift our perspective. Our faith and our choice to walk in it brings us into harmony with the One who determines the course of things to come.

While things may not always go the way that we would like, when we place our lives in God’s hands we are assured that we are always on solid ground, and we can remind ourselves that our relationship with Him makes every day a great one. For this is the day that the Lord has made, and we should rejoice and be glad in it.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NKJV)
6  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

Today’s verse encourages us to be diligent in recognizing the signs of the times and to  remain faithful.  

This section of scripture in Thessalonians addresses the coming “Day of the Lord” in which Christ will come to judge and reclaim the earth and the attitudes of the world to ‘eat, drink, and be merry.”  

Different theological systems of doctrine all based on scripture posit different ideas about our salvation, our security as believers, and how we are to live our lives. Among the various Christian schools of thought, doctrinal slogans can differ greatly. “Once saved always saved’, “no fruit, no salvation”, “you need works and faith to be saved”, or “If you sin, you can lose your salvation” are just a few of the conflicting ideas that come from various Christian denominational doctrines.    

While these doctrinal system slogans are concise statements that can describe one’s belief, the truth is that the whole counsel of God in His Word isn’t so simple. This section in Thessalonians points to the Christian’s duty to remain faithful and diligent to their attempts to be conformed to the image of Christ regardless of the times or the seasons.

So whether you believe in once saved, always saved or in something else, the overwhelming instruction from scripture encourages us to walk towards holiness and to remain faithful in going in that direction. .      

The state of the world can be troubling, and it may seem like Christ will never return in our lifetime but regardless of perilous times Paul doesn’t recommend a lifestyle of complacency or moral compromise. 

Instead, today’s verse tells Christians to “stay awake” and to be watchful and “sober”.  Not only are we to not fall into drunkenness, but we are also to have an expectant attitude of the possibility of Christ’s immediate return with the intention that if He should come back today, He would find us living according to our faith and not according to the world’s ways. 

Living righteously has its own rewards of confirming who we are in Christ and having the assurance that we are not living in a manner that will set up negative consequences because of our actions.  This choice to live by faith has good personal benefits for daily living but when we keep the big picture of Christ’s return in view, our intention to live our daily lives by faith becomes part of overall purpose as representatives of the kingdom of God.

The faithful attitudes and actions of Christians who stay the course glorify God and perform the good works that He has prepared for us.   Not only does our faithfulness benefit ourselves, our families, and our friends, it can also be used by God to expand His kingdom as others are drawn to Him because of the love that we share.  

So do not fall asleep in your faith. Be watchful and sober and as you are walking and talking with God, offer a helping hand and the hope that lies in Christ alone to those you meet along the way.

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, beginning Chapter 11.

 

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:

Chapter 11

Healing Emotional Wounds from Your Past

Dan and Cindy were a fine, young Christian couple preparing for ministry on the mission field. Then tragedy struck. Cindy was raped by an ugly stranger in the parking lot at night after work. The police were unable to find the rapist, and Cindy had a hard time bringing any closure to the nightmare experience. The trauma was so severe that they moved away from the community where it happened. As hard as she tried to get back to normal life, Cindy couldn't shake the horrible memories and feelings from her experience.

Six months after the rape Dan and Cindy attended a church conference where I was speaking. During the conference, Cindy was in tears as she called me. "Neil, I just can't get over this thing. I know 'God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God' (Romans 8:28), but how is He going to make rape a good thing? Every time I think about what happened I start to cry."

"Cindy, I think you are misunderstanding the verse," I said. "God will work this out for your good, but He doesn't do it by making a bad thing good. What happened to you was sick and evil. God will enable you to come through this crisis a better person."

"But I just can't separate myself from my experience and let it go," she sobbed. "I've been raped, Neil, and I'll be a victim of that all my life."

"Cindy, the rape was a terrible tragedy, and it has temporarily altered your plans, but it hasn't changed who you are, nor does it have to control your life. But if you only see yourself as a rape victim for the rest of your life, you will never get over your tragedy. You're a child of God. No event or person, good or bad, can rob you of that.

"Cindy, let me share an illustration. Suppose you were sitting in your home when someone drove by and threw something at your house. It did some damage to the siding of the house, and you could never find out who did it. How long would you let that incident bother you?" I asked.

"Well, not very long," Cindy responded.

"Suppose the object went through the window and damaged some good furniture, and you couldn't find out who did it. How long would you let that bother you?" I asked.

"Probably not very long."

"Suppose the object also hit you and broke your arm. How long would you let that bother you?"

If I kept making the tragedy a little worse each time, is there a point when one can say, "That did it! That stepped over the line and that will bother me the rest of my life?" I don't think there is such a point from God's perspective. I don't believe God wants anything in our past to have that kind of control over His children. God doesn't fix our past, but He does set us free from it.


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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