Is this the End or the Beginning? Hope in the Lord
Purity 516 09/04/2021 Purity 516 Podcast
Today’s photo of an “absolutely magical” sunset comes to us from a friend who was literally jumping for joy during their recent visit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head NC over the weekend. Jockey’s Ridge State Park has the largest sand dune on the East Coast, and you can see here that it looks like it is the entrance to the “Land of Summer” itself. But while Labor Day doesn’t mark the beginning of Autumn it does give us a stark reminder that we have reached the beginning of the end of the summer season.
But as the 90’s song “Closing Time”, by Semisonic, final lyrics remind us: “…every new beginning, Comes from some other beginning’s end.” So as summer begins to end, and new things begin this week, we are presented with a choice: Do we lament over what is passing away with sadness and walk into the new days ahead with resistance, anxiety, bitterness, and fear or do we choose instead to be thankful for recent days gone by and forge ahead into the uncertain days with confidence and expectancy?
Well, as my high school economics teacher, Mr. Tschudin, used to say when contemplating suggesting solutions of what moves we should make as a nation to address problems with our economy, “it depends”. How we move forward “depends” on many things, but I believe one of the biggest factors that will determine our levels of contentment in the days ahead is where we choose to get out “hope” from.
If you are hoping in the government of man to develop a society that will make us all happy, you will be filled with anxiety over every decision of public policy that comes up. If you are like most people, you probably suspect the success of some outside agency or person to be the answer to all our problems is unlikely and will instead choose to only hope in what you can control.
Unfortunately, this mistrust in other agencies and people can also be extended to include God, as earnest prayers in the past have gone unanswered and pain, loss, and suffering have been harsh realities that He didn’t seem to be able to prevent.
So, if we are weary of others and of God, most of us will trust in ourselves to make the best decisions of what to do and where to go and will hope in our cunning and physical abilities to see us through. This brash individualism to take care of oneself and one’s loved ones is the way of the world and is the pragmatic way to deal with problems and to be the captain of our own ship.
The problem of this view is that there are things that are beyond our control and even if we are “self-made men” and are “our own bosses” things can happen, like the recent storms and the global pandemic, that reveal the fact that we can’t go it alone. The sudden deaths that accompany these storms and the pandemic also show us that its not just the problems on earth that we should be concerned about.
To find solid ground in what can seem like utter groundlessness, we need to stand on something that doesn’t change and can be trusted. While there are certain schools of thought and philosophies that proclaim that “everything changes and nothing stays the same”, they also tend to not believe in God and thus, no matter how seemingly intellectual and compassionate they attempt to present themselves, they are really proclaiming that life is meaningless and thus utterly hopeless.
So denying God and trusting in yourself leads to a pretty dark alley that gets darker and darker as things begin to naturally fall apart over time and you realize you trusted in something that simply will not endure.
The idea that we are dependent beings can be quite a shock to our independent spirit, but the bottom line turns out to be that we do need one another, and we all really need God in our lives.
In the new season that lies ahead, we can successfully choose the confident and expectant path that is built on gratitude when we open ourselves to our relationship with God. Realizing that He has put creation into motion and that everything has led to this moment should lead us to thank Him for the blessings we have enjoyed up to this point.
Contemplating the days ahead and eternity that lies beyond, we should come to terms with the fact that Jesus entered into our world to reconcile us with God the Father and accept the everlasting life that comes through faith in Christ.
It is only through a relationship with the One who never changes and stands over and above all creation that we can have true hope that never ends. When we walk with Him, we are assured of our acceptance, significance, and security.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love and even though we are facing another “end” as Labor Day marks a transition to new challenges in the days ahead, with God every day is a new beginning, as His mercies are new every morning.
So draw close to God and He will draw close to you. Trust in Him and He will see you through. He will give us the strength and wisdom that we will need in the days ahead. Remember that our relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ assures us of our salvation and our ultimate good.
So roll with the punches and make the best moves you can but remember that whether you face failure or success in this world, the Lord has got your back and you are an unmitigated success in His eyes because you are His.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV)
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Today’s verse reminds us of our position and purpose in Christ and the means by which we receive them.
Our position is “saved” as this letter refers to those who have put their faith in Jesus. The verb is in the past tense and tells us that our salvation is a “done deal” because the means of our salvation are “not according to our works” but are according to God’s eternal purpose, and His grace, which was given, (not earned) to us in Christ Jesus “before time began”.
“Before Time Began” means that God had a plan for us before any of us even existed. I try to use my imagination to make sense of these things and the analogy that I come up with is that God, as creator, is an artist that writes a story that includes all of us and while He has assigned us all a role in His eternal drama there is a dynamic interplay of His “script” which will ultimately tell His story and the freedom of the “players” to “adlib” their thoughts, words, and actions but somehow there is no conflict or interference between the two that restrict the freedom of those involved or that takes the story in a direction that is outside of the “Director’s vision”.
Contemplating this paradox will either we lead us to appreciate the “Writer, Producer, Director” that is our Lord or cause us to sour and rebel that our role wasn’t how we would have written it (although we actually are writing it with our words and actions every day) and we are not content being in Someone else’s “show”.
For those of us who have found peace with God through faith in Christ, we have the potential to answer our “holy calling”, by listening to the Lord’s wisdom and following His “direction”. When we accept our role in His production, our willingness to take direction can really lead us to “scenes” that we never could have imagined that we would ever be part of. And those scenes will be moving and meaningful and will unfold to tell the story of how God transformed your life into something wonderful and good.
So follow the Lord. Seek His guidance. And go out there and have a great show!
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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
B. What Is the Purpose of Personal Boundaries?
Governing agencies are set up to establish and enforce boundaries, and when it comes to sports, they are to help athletes establish personal boundaries and to achieve victory with integrity.
But the International Cycling Union (UCI) is falling far short, according to Greg LeMond, and clean cycling will not emerge until an agency other than UCI handles drug testing. Greg says that many cyclists don't trust the UCI. The agency has even been accused of covering up Lance Armstrong's doping offenses.
Lance is infuriated by Greg's public criticism, particularly of his association with Dr. Michele Ferrari, and finds himself crossing another boundary. According to an investigative report, Lance is attributed with the following paraphrase: "Who does Greg think he is, talking about Ferrari? I'm going to take him down."
The following proverb can be applied to Lance. . . .
"The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast."
Additionally, good boundaries equip you to be a good steward:
- Of the people and relationships God has entrusted to your care
- Of everything for which God has made you responsible
- Of what God has assigned you to do as your purpose in life
Boundaries protect you by allowing that which is safe and constructive to come close to you and by keeping that which is unsafe and destructive away from you. The boundary of a tiger's cage keeps a dangerous tiger inside the cage and vulnerable people outside the cage—away from harm. In relationships, boundaries are put in place to guard us and protect us and to provide a healthy environment in which relationships can flourish and grow toward Christlike maturity.
Another familiar example are common filters found in every automobile, lawn mower, factory, business, home, office, and even every airplane. They protect both engines and people from undue damage. Similarly, a fence around a home protects young children and pets from wandering out into the street and provides a barrier against strangers and stray animals coming into the yard.
Boundaries guard us from giving more than we should and protect us from others' taking more than they should. And boundaries make it possible for us to enjoy mutual giving and taking from one another in healthy relationship. . . .
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
- Personal boundaries allow you to:
- —Determine what belongs to you and what belongs to another
- —Designate what you personally have power and authority over
- —Decide what and who you will prioritize in your life
- —Demonstrate the control you have over your own body, behaviors, emotions, thoughts, spiritual beliefs, and moral convictions
- —Delineate the ways you will stay true to your own moral convictions
- —Declare and enforce limits in your relationships
Boundary lines help bring order to your personal world and the world around you. The Bible says...
"Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."
- Personal boundaries convey:
- —What you are.....................and.............what you are not
- —What you like....................and.............what you don't like
- —What you want.................and.............what you don't want
- —What you believe.............and.............what you don't believe
- —What you will choose.....and.............what you won't choose
- —What you will endure.....and.............what you won't endure
- —What you will accept......and.............what you won't accept
- —What you will give..........and.............what you won't give
Pray for wisdom and insight in order to have the best boundaries and right relationships. . . .
"How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!"
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
God bless you all!
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