Hello, Darkness My Old Friend – A New Day, A New Life - Purity 576
Purity 576 11/15/2021
Today’s photo of a raccoon peaking over the horizon of the tree line at the rear of a property in Picayune, Mississippi comes to us from friend who referred to this visitor as their “backyard friend”. As cute as they may be raccoons are also known as “trash pandas” in some circles because of their penchant for knocking over trash cans and making a mess as they seek to satisfy their appetites for table scraps. This little “backyard friend” may not be a welcome site to those who have experienced the results of their nocturnal adventures and have decided that their cute looks don’t outweigh the trouble they cause.
In recovery circles, those who have overcome undoubtedly have some “friends in low places” that they had to leave behind because no matter how cute and friendly they were their friendship wasn’t worth the trouble they caused. Likewise abusive relationships, which began in love, have to be abandoned when it is clear that the abuser refuses to change and to come under the authority of an accountability system that will end their abusive ways.
People locked in addictive cycles or patterns of abuse may refuse help or attempts to change, and that is their decision, but those who have suffered because of their associations with them can also decide that their relationship with their abuser or fellow addict will end and that their new lives without them will be free of the “trash” that their old addicted or abusing friends continually brought into their lives.
It's Monday, so it’s the beginning to another work week and quite possibly the beginning of a new life for each of us as we may have grown sick and tired of being sick and tired. When we go around the merry go round of this world long enough, we may begin to see that the things the world promises to make us happy or to ease our pains are a lie.
When we have suffered long enough with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, or food, we see that these things were never intended to fulfill us and that something is missing in our lives.
Likewise, no matter how healthy or unhealthy as our interpersonal relationships are, we may come to a point where we see that our relationships also fail to completely fulfill us.
When the things and people of this earth fail to satisfy us, we should realize that the thing that is missing in our lives is God.
God has given us life and made us in His image to enjoy the gift He has given us and to represent Him. When we ignore God and do things according to our ways and desires, we will eventually suffer loss and pain and question why things have to be this way.
Instead of seeking for meaning and truth with our lives, we only sought to avoid pain and seek pleasure not realizing that our temporary nature would never allow us to find lasting satisfaction.
Our plans to avoid pain and suffering and only have pleasure through our best efforts were short sighted because they ignored our fundamental nature and the higher meaning behind our existence. In our attempts to “build ourselves up” or have a “good life” or a “good time”, we failed to consider the Creator’s plans and intentions for us.
Of course we are often not alone in our search for happiness and will surround ourselves with people who agree with our philosophies of life but just because we get someone to agree with us doesn’t mean that our ways are the right way.
At one point in a previous relationship, I realized that I had made some very wrong assumptions about life and felt like I had led myself and the people I was with into a dead end. Like a group of survivalists in a zombie apocalypse movie, we had decided to ignore the signs of danger or got caught up in meeting our desires and foolishly had chosen a path that would lead to our death and destruction.
Having seen the light and a way out, I had turned to tell the others in my party that I had found a way out but discovered that they were either unwilling or incapable of going with me.
At that point, I had a decision to make. I could stay with my friends in the darkness and continue to ignore the danger we were in and enjoy meeting our desires until our eventual demise or I could choose the hard path of escape where I would have to not only leave my friends behind but also choose to leave behind some things that I considered to be a part of me as a person: some tangible personal possessions and some intangible things, like the ways I thought about life, about myself, and about the roles I had within relationships that would have to end.
The One who showed me the light was God and I could choose to go with Him and live or choose to stay where I was and eventually die. He assured me that His was the way that was right and that lead to life more abundantly, but I was still free to choose which way I would go.
I chose to put my trust in Jesus Christ and have followed Him ever since. The going hasn’t always been easy, and I have had to suffer many loses on the path to a new life, but He has never left me in my struggles, and He has brought me continually out of the darkness that I was in.
My old friends who live in the shadows beckon me to come back sometimes and I may find myself occasionally listening to their siren song and may even slip up and make a misstep or two as I walk but God has won my soul and my love and when I fall down, I get back up and keep walking in His direction.
The meaning of life is to make peace with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and then endeavoring to discover what God’s will and purpose for our life is.
His will is clear in scripture: our sanctification: to be more like Him, to walk in His ways for living.
His purpose for us is also clear: to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scripture also states that He has prepared good works for us to walk into.
So although the specifics of our lives here on earth aren’t spelled out for us, we have the freedom to grow in the things that are clear in scripture and to discover what God has for us on the journey of our lives.
Our current physical location should clue us in because we can only do and walk into the path that is before us. So walk in the Lord’s way for your life where you are and if you feel that you aren’t where you should be, ask the Lord to guide you in the way you should go and get moving in that direction.
It’s a new week, it’s a new day, and when you keep walking and talking to God it can be a whole new life. So take the steps today to draw closer to Him into the life He has for you.
You may have to leave your personal darkness and your friends in the shadows behind but the only life you will have in the future will be in the Lord’s presence.
So choose to live and start walking towards that One that works everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is :
Psalm 119:50 (NLT2)
50 Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
Today’s verse reminds us that God’s promise can revive us and give us comfort.
There are many conditional promises in the word of God, like:
Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Well there are two good ones: That God will supply all you need and that you will not perish and have everlasting life.
If you notice these promises are conditional on having a relationship with Jesus Christ. So you have to believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior and put your faith in Him but when you do you are forgiven of all your sins, made spiritually alive, and adopted into God’s royal family. In Christ, we receive everlasting life, and all our needs are met.
So as today’s verse tells us, God’s promise can revive us and give us comfort in all our troubles.
The assurance of our salvation, eternal life, and our unbreakable relationship with God should give us joy and hope to fuel our life’s journey. If we remember God’s promises, and there are lots more to discover in His word, we can be revived daily and be comforted if trouble comes our way.
God is with us. He loves us. He will never leave us or forsake us. So be revived by these truths and by His presence and keep walking and talking with the One who will comfort you all the days of your life.
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.
G. What Is the Problem of Good?
The Bible says, "Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil" (Romans 14:16). If the problem of evil is an argument for atheism, then the problem of good is an argument for theism. Simply stated, the problem of good is that God must exist in order for ideas such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality to have any meaning. The problem has 5 parts:
1. If there is no God, then nature is supreme.
God is by definition the "supernatural creator of the universe." If there is no supernatural creator of the universe, then nothing is left except nature. Thus the laws of nature are supreme.
2. If there is no God, then nature operates by the principle of "survival of the fittest."
Nature is therefore, cold, harsh, and indifferent. The "fit" creatures that adapt to their environment survive. Those that don't adapt, perish. Thus, that which is smarter, stronger, prettier, quicker, or in any other way more fit to survive are more valuable.
3. If there is no God, self-preservation is the only ethic in "survival of the fittest."
In "survival of the fittest," self-preservation is the law of the land. If one can flourish by deception, then deception makes him "fitter" than others. If one flourishes by violence and brute strength, then strength makes him "fitter" than others. If murder, rape, theft, genocide, betrayal, or hatred contribute to survival and prosperity, then the act becomes "good."
4. If there is no God, concepts such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality are irrelevant to self-preservation.
Self-sacrifice toward others plays no part in self-preservation. Under this model, self sacrifice—or being "nice" to others—is not "good" since it will not benefit oneself. Because all acts of self-preservation are "good," there is no such thing as a crime. Love is an illusion, unless it is the kind of love that is self-seeking. Equality is meaningless unless it refers to making oneself equal to those who otherwise would be "fitter" than oneself.
5. Conclusion: If there is no God, then concepts such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality are illusions.
People search in vain for any basis for goodness, fairness, love, and equality apart from God. "Survival of the fittest" has been used to justify everything from slavery to genocide. Naturally, these practices are abhorrent to most people. This innate sense of goodness, fairness, and love is a powerful argument for the existence of God. Because we personally desire the virtue of goodness and because it is desired around the world, such goodness reflects the image of God.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
Argument: "A God of love cannot be at the same time a God of wrath. These 2 attributes are incompatible."
Answer: Love and wrath are not incompatible and can certainly exist at the same time within the same person.
- A mother
who intensely loves her baby will, at the same time, have wrath against a
child molester who intends to harm her baby.
—She might even have wrath against her own beloved child for being disobedient and for being disrespectful to her.
- When you
read that "God is love," the Greek word for "love"
used here is agape, which means an unconditional commitment to seek
another's highest good.
—God is never without His love for you.
wrath is in response to sin and is expressed against anything that seeks
to harm you or any other object of His love.
—This truth was illustrated in the Lord's defeat of the Egyptian army as they pursued the Israelites in order to destroy them.
Recorded in Exodus ...
"The enemy boasted, 'I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.' But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.... In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling." (Exodus 15:9-10, 13)
Question: "Did God know that Adam and Eve would sin?"
Answer: Because God is all-knowing and all-present, He is not bound by time. He knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him. Yet He chose to create them and to give them free will so that they too could make choices. They would not be His pre-programmed robots. Scripture is clear that God's plan for the salvation of mankind was in His mind even before the creation of the world. (Robots would not need salvation.) The Bible says ...
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)
Question: "Couldn't God have made a world without evil?"
Answer: Yes... however, He also knew that a world of limited moral freedom would actually be an inferior world because virtues are defined by their opposites.
For example, a person can be selfless only if selfishness stands in opposition to it.
- —Being selfless implies the possibility of being selfish.
- —It is in overcoming self-centeredness that character is developed and virtue attained.
Although creating a world that became corrupted by evil required God's sacrificing His Son in order to defeat that evil, in His omniscience God knew that such a world would be the best world in which to prepare people for the best of all worlds—heaven itself ...
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'" (Revelation 21:1, 3)
Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.
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