Say What You Feel - Vows of Love - Purity 589
Purity 589 11/30/2021 Purity 589
Today’s photo was of tourists traversing a natural bridge somewhere on the shores of the island of Aruba comes to us from a friend’s recent Thanksgiving week trip to that tropical paradise. But they objected to its use so it has been removed. I replaced it with me bell ringing for the Salvation Army with a friend from 2 years ago, before I lost a bunch of weight.
I share this impressive slab of rock under blue skies and that is stretching over water to remind us all that today in the last day of November and we are crossing a bridge into the month of Christmas and the final month of the year that is 2021.
So if there is anything that you wanted to accomplish before the year is out, today is the day to make a plan and set a course to get ‘er done before the end of ’21!
For many of us the focus will be on Christmas, of course. We need to finish those Thanksgiving Day leftovers, seriously, and move on from November and get ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ by preparing our homes and our hearts for the holiday where we can openly express the joy that we have “in Christ”.
Because I have been splitting my time between my fiancé’s place in cow country and my humble home “down by The River” affectionately known as “River House”, I am already behind the eight ball in my holiday preparations. I normally have my Christmas Tree and nativity scene on display the day after Thanksgiving so I am playing catch up and vow to have my few Christmas decorations up by week’s end! I swear it!
Tonight is out as we will be concluding the pre-marriage counseling sessions with my bride to be as we continue to draw closer together as we prepare to be married on New Year’s Day.
So yeah, we have our marriage license, we are finishing our pre-marriage counseling, we have met with “the minister”, who has graciously offered to cater our wedding feast and who also just happens to be my future brother in law, about the details of our ceremony, and we have had a Thanksgiving Day powwow with our wedding planner to figure out some details for the eventful day.
Beyond all those plans, I have one huge responsibility ahead of me that needs to get done before December’s end: writing my marriage vows. My bride and I have agreed that our union shouldn’t have “cookie cutter vows” and that we will share our own thoughts and declarations about our love for one another and our promising ourselves to one another in matrimony.
My future bride has reportedly composed four pages of material that will comprise her vows to me. Four pages! So game on. While I write 3-5 pages 6 days a week for the blog and podcast, I am freaking out a little because the writing task at hand is no small matter and is very meaningful to me.
Like my teenage son who would lament, and rebel over “forced” writing assignments from their high school English teachers, I am a little “triggered” at the expectation and the deadline. But as I reminded my son, ad nauseum when he was in school, I can write whatever I want, and I am certainly “smart” enough to do this! I just have to “say what I feel”.
So after the Christmas Tree and manger go up, I have to get serious about writing out the words that I will say just before TammyLyn, and I are declared man and wife. So, no pressure! They just absolutely positively have to be done before January one!
The task at hand is only difficult because it means so much to me. How do you express all the reasons why you love someone or how thankful and happy you are that they are a part of your life?
I haven’t done my vows yet, but I had a small taste of what this process will be like because I just composed an email to my pastor to thank him for all that he has taught me and provided my family with in the ten plus years that I have been under his church leadership.
I have come to the realization that after the new year my faith journey will lead me into a new ministry opportunity with Freedom in Christ Ministries and to a “new church” as my bride and I have decided to worship together as a family at Starpoint Church.
So I made a point to let my pastor know about these latest developments in my personal and ministerial life but wanted to also express the immense gratitude for all that I received in the past from him and the church community at Rock Solid.
It was a hard letter to write, and I can only hope that my words adequately convey how thankful I am for my pastor’s leadership and friendship. I won’t be completely gone from the Rock Solid scene but my visits there will be certainly less frequent than they have been as I will be going to Starpoint for Sunday services, and I am discontinuing my Thursday night discipleship classes at Rock Solid to serve the Lord in a new way, as an online course facilitator for Freedom in Christ Ministries.
So as we all cross that bridge into Christmas, into the New Year beyond, and through all the changes that will happen from here to there, let’s endeavor to do two things:
· Let’s let the people in our lives know how much they mean to us by telling them.
· Let’s remember that Christmas is about our relationship with Jesus Christ and the joy we have knowing we have been set free from sin and death. We can have peace on earth because we have peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ. So tell the Lord that love Him too.
If these two reminders seem wise, its because they echo Christ’s commandments to
Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
39 … love your neighbor as yourself.'
Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)
37 … love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
It’s the last day of November, so plan out what you want to do before Christmas and before New Years Day but when you plot your course try to remember to make some plans not to just “do things” or “go places”. Try to make plans to express the love you have for God and for the people He has put in your life.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Isaiah 40:8 (NLT2)
8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
Today’s verse reminds us of the paradox of the impermanent nature of existence and the eternal nature of God.
The “grass wither and the flowers fade” teaches us that things die. The harsh reality of the impermanent nature of our lives here on earth and the created universe is difficult to know on an experiential level. One of the most meaningful moments in our education is the moment when we realize that we too will die one day. It’s a truth that should freak us out. Atheistic and cold hard scientific reasoning tells us that we will cease to exist, The end.
They either don’t consider the spiritual realm of the unseen or conclude that it doesn’t exist and that talk of an eternal kingdom of God is mythic and created to assuage feelings of fear or the abject depravity that might result from the natural conclusion that life is meaningless. If God doesn’t exist and we all just fade to black, life is hopeless as all of man’s works and memories will eventually be erased when the universe dies.
But Today’s verse tells us that God’s word is eternal. This verse and the rest of scripture point to God, the Creator who is over, above, and beyond time and space itself. Unlike some false religions that speak of “beginningless time”, the Bible tells us that God, who is self-existent, created our universe when He spoke it into being and declared it to be good.
Our own mortality should upset us because we are not self-existent. Our natural progression leads to a physical death and a separation of our spirits/souls into a spiritual realm where God will determine our destiny.
Our loving Creator sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him and those that place their faith in Christ are spared God’s wrath and welcomed into His royal family.
Those who reject Christ, reject God, and are promised an eternal existence described as darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, a just end to the created beings that dishonor the One who gave them life. They will gnash their teeth in agony after essentially biting the hand that made them.
So the natural world and how it falls apart should inspire to seek the Lord to resolve the question of what will happen to us when we die. If we seek the Lord, we will find Him and come into relationship with Him through faith in Christ to be saved from His wrath.
When that happens we become truly alive as The Holy Spirit indwells us and His “eternal word” assures us of our salvation and new life.
So let people know that there is hope in Christ. While the grass withers and the flowers fade, God made a way for us through His eternal word, the living word, Jesus Christ. And when us infinite beings surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior, we are given a relationship with God that has infinite possibilities. So keep walking and talking with God and share and experience the good news of life eternal through Christ every day.
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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?
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.
F. How God Uses Suffering in Our Lives
How can a good God have a purpose for evil and pain? Sometimes a change in perspective makes all the difference in your opinion about evil. Most people would say that it is morally reprehensible to stick a knife into someone. However, we let doctors do it all the time! Just as a doctor has a healing purpose to the hurt that he causes, God has a purpose for allowing pain.
This reassuring truth is well illustrated in the life of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers and carted off to Egypt, where he was eventually unjustly jailed. After many years of being incarcerated, Joseph's interpretation of a troubling dream for Pharaoh led to his becoming prime minister of Egypt.
Ultimately, he saved the lives of the Israelites, but only because God put him in a leadership position in a strange country under circumstances far from his own choosing. Joseph's attitude toward his suffering is revealed in the statement he made to his brothers years later ...
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)
God uses suffering in your life:
- To expose your sin...
can keep you from going astray.
"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word." (Psalm 119:67)
can produce positive repentance in you.
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Corinthians 7:10)
can cause you to reject sin and live in the will of God.
"Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." (1 Peter 4:1-2)
- To build your character...
can teach you contentment even when you are in need.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12)
can develop perseverance to make you emotionally mature and
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)
can produce endurance, which is a catalyst to refine your
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).
- To produce much good...
can be used by God for your good.
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28).
can give you empathy toward others in their suffering.
"There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it" (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
can produce compassion to equip you to comfort others.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
- To change your perspective...
can reveal Jesus, who is living within you.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
can cause you to achieve greater eternal glory.
"We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
can create in you a hungering for heaven.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
- To bless your future...
can secure the blessing of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10).
can prove your faith is genuine.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:6-7).
can result in being blessed with the crown of life.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).
Question: "Does God care about my suffering?"
Answer: God cares deeply about your suffering as demonstrated by the fact that...
- He is
close to you when you are brokenhearted.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
- He stays
around you in the midst of trouble.
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them" (Psalm 34:7).
- He keeps a
record of your grief and keeps hold of your tears.
"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" (Psalm 56:8 ESV).
Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.
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