It’s NOT all about ME? – Finding Center by Looking Up - Purity 587
Purity 587 11/27/2021 Purity 587 Podcast
Today’s photo of another 2021Thanksgiving Day sunrise comes to us from the Inlet Community Church’s FB page with the warm reminder that it is important to be “thankful to the Lord for the simple things… like a new morning.” They also shared a portion of scripture to back it up with the word of God indicating that the hope of a new day is God given as the Lord’s “mercies are… new every morning” from Lamentations 3:22-23.
Today’s Saturday but as I have to work today, I am grounding myself in thankfulness for the small and big things as a remedy to ward of any feelings of discontentment or outrage that “I”, MT Clark has to suffer the injustice of being the victim of circumstance of somehow drawing the short straw of having “MY” Thanksgiving weekend disrupted by work!
Never mind the vast multitudes that had to work on Turkey Day, Black Friday, today and tomorrow, “I”, as in ME, MYSELF, AND I have to WORK, TODAY!
Sure I have I had off Wednesday to compensate for my “end day”, aka having to work Saturday, and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with some of my future in-laws and a peaceful somewhat lazy Friday yesterday, but TODAY, I HAVE to WORK!!! WHY, OH WHY ME???
Okay, although I used caps on the blog and may have raised my voice on the podcast for dramatic effect to convey that I was a little miffed at the idea of having to work today, I am happy to report that I rarely get offended and angry at the circumstances in life to this extreme extent any longer.
Since coming to Christ and discovering the fact that in Christ all the problems of life are adequately put in their proper place, I have learned to manage my experience and filter my perspective with a higher view, most of the times… or eventually.
I no longer look at life, for long anyway, as an opera singer where everything is about “Me, Me, Me, Me… Me!” No, when I am flustered by the circumstances of life, by others’ attitudes or actions, or by my own personal failings or errors in judgment (Why do I do that!), I find my peace in the truth of who I am in Christ and the fact that I am accepted, significant, and secure because of Him.
So when I face disappointments I remind myself that God’s mercies are new every morning, meaning that because I am in relationship with Him because of my faith in Christ, every day is a brand new start and it is built upon the fact that the Lord has blessed me in the past and chosen to give me a new day to rejoice, to share His love, and to work through any present difficulties by leaning on His guidance and strength.
When we shift our focus off of our personal pain, sufferings, or perceived or real injustices and focus on who we are in Christ and our life giving relationship with the Lord, there is really nothing we can’t endure, walk through, and eventually overcome.
The term “finding you center” is one used by yoga enthusiasts all over the world and is described as “connecting with your spirit by allow yourself to dwell on your innate goodness. Your center is that intangible place located within your core that is the best you possible.”
While I would describe the process as “finding your center above” by someone who has not received spiritual life through faith in Christ to really be a “soulish endeavor”, I will admit that employing simple relaxation techniques and meditating on positive affirmations can result in moments of profound peace and clarity.
The problem is that “finding YOUR center” is a SELFISH practice that is centered in DECEPTION. YOUR “innate goodness” doesn’t exist. While God has written His law upon our hearts and it feels good to do good and “be good”, our sin reveals the true proclivity that we have for depravity and our innate “badness”.
Meditative practices and exercise can make you feel good while you are doing them. You could be such a faithful practitioner that your life would be one exemplified as one being free of conflict and full of circumstantial peace.
But if you find peace within and by YOURSELF, you have probably disconnected from others in your life in profound ways by manipulating your emotions or interactions and you have certainly separated yourself from reality and the very real and very personal God that created it.
The practices of peace that men employ only last while you are practicing and without faith in Christ result in eternity in hell.
While the Christian faith consists of many practices that the enemy will use and counterfeit such as prayer, meditation, service, and contemplating truths that the Lord put into His creation, it promises peace with God through one means and one mean only: faith in Jesus Christ.
While other religions and philosophies stress working for peace with God or attaining a godlike status through spiritual attainments that will make you one with the universe (doesn’t that belong to God?), Jesus Christ reconciles men to God because of God’s love for us and through Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins.
While we could manufacture peace in the moment by focusing on the positive and thinking happy thoughts, the only true happy thought comes from a relationship with God through faith in Christ where you are assured of life’s meaning because of your salvation and coming to find your purpose by being reconciled to the Creator of all things who will sustain you and guide you for all eternity.
So find the peace that lasts forever by being reconciled to the “Center” and Creator of all things, the Lord God Almighty. Jesus didn’t come so we could enjoy a day of exchanging presents. Christ came to reconcile us to God and to give us an eternal life of meaning and purpose that starts the moment we accept Him as Lord and Savior when we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and receive spiritual life. From that point forward we can have peace as fruit of the Holy Spirit, a peace that will last forever.
So “center yourself” on the word of God, the truth of who you are in Christ, and on the purpose that God is calling you to. When you do that it becomes less about “ME” and more about “We” – as you are eternally connect with God who never leaves you or forsakes you and who will continually guide and strengthen you to discover His mercies that are new every day, even on the Saturdays when you will have to work.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT2)
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Today’s verse speaks of the care that the Lord has for us and commands us to lay our burdens down at His feet.
From the time that we are children, we are assured by loving
caregivers that “everything is going to be all right.” More often than not those assurances are
true. We somehow avoided suffering from whatever caused us to worry and we
somehow survived and may have even felt silly about our anxieties after we had
emerged to the other side of whatever we were worried about.
The care and love that our parents or caregivers provided was fundamental in how we viewed the world. If their assurances of safety worked out to be true we viewed the world as somewhat logical and secure provided you “did everything right.”
Even Bob Marley assured us that the world could be a happy place when he sang about how “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”. Marley died of cancer, melanoma, in 1977 at the age of 36. So yikes.
As well meaning as our loved one’s assurances of safety and security may be, the reality of sudden death and disease can make them liars and cause us to have a more grounded view of how “everything is falling apart” or “everything is dying”.
While these harsh statements are true, God stands above those realities and has eternal kingdom that is unseen and will eventually manifest in our experience with the return of Jesus Christ.
“Everything is Gonna Be Alright” for those in relationship with Christ. Today’s verse is written to Christians specifically. Christians should give all their worries and cares to God because due to our relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, He cares for us.
While God loves all of His creation, His care comes to and is completely fulfilled to those who put their faith in Christ. Christians are assured of their eternal lives of acceptance, significance, and security because of Jesus.
So as Christians we can give all our worries and cares to God because we know that no matter what we face there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love and His eternal plans of good for us.
So keep walking and talking with God. Cast your cares and worries on the Lord and be sure to walk into your purpose of declaring the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all you encounter as you go.
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.
D. How You Can Escape Eternal Suffering
Personal suffering throughout eternity can be avoided by understanding and accepting 4 vital truths in God's plan.
4 Points of God's Plan
#1. God's Purpose for You... is Salvation.
- —What was
God's motive in sending Christ to earth? To express His love for you by
saving you! The Bible says ...
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)
- —What was
Jesus' purpose in coming to earth?
To forgive your sins, to empower you to have victory over sin, and to enable you to live a fulfilled life! Jesus said ...
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
#2. Your Problem... is Sin.
exactly is sin? Sin is living independently of God's standard—knowing what
is right, but choosing what is wrong. The Bible says ...
"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17)
- —What is
the major consequence of sin? Spiritual "death"... eternal
separation from God. Scripture states ...
"Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God.... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23)
#3. God's Provision for You... is the Savior.
anything remove the penalty for sin? Yes! Jesus died on the cross to
personally pay the penalty for your sins.
"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
- —What can
keep you from being separated from God? Belief in (entrusting your life
to) Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. Jesus says ...
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
#4. Your Part... is Surrender.
Christ control of your life—entrusting yourself to Him ...
"Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross [die to your own self-rule] and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?'" (Matthew 16:24-26)
your faith in (rely on) Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and
reject your "good works" as a means of earning God's approval
"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The moment you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior—entrusting your life to Him—He comes to live inside you. Then He gives you His power to live the fulfilled life God has planned for you. If you want to be fully forgiven by God and become the person God created you to be, you can tell Him in a simple, heartfelt prayer like this:
Prayer of Salvation
"God, I want a real relationship with You.
I admit that many times I've chosen to go my own way instead of Your way.
Please forgive me for my sins.
Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.
Come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior.
Change me from the inside out and make me the person
You created me to be.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen."
What Can You Expect Now?
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, look at what God says about you!
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Question: "Isn't salvation unfair?"
Answer: Yes and no.
- On the one hand, salvation is unfair because no one deserves to be saved.
- On the other hand, salvation is fair because it is offered to everyone without discrimination. Because everyone is guilty of sin, no one is condemned unjustly. Therefore, the only "injustice" is that sinners can be saved at all ...
"Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18)
Question: "If God is really a forgiving God, why doesn't He just forgive everyone?"
Answer: God offers to forgive everyone—but not everyone is willing to receive His offer of forgiveness. Justice requires that a penalty must be paid for our sin, and the penalty for our sin is separation from Him (spiritual death)—"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
- Since Jesus paid this penalty by dying on the cross for sins, all who place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ receive full forgiveness of their sins.
- God will not force anyone to receive His forgiveness. Therefore, the choice is up to each of us ...
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
Question: "If Jesus is God, why did Jesus have to suffer?"
Answer: Jesus is our Deliverer, our Encourager, and our example ...
His suffering, Jesus made possible your victory over sin and your
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24)
His suffering, Jesus showed you how to keep from growing weary or
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.... Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3)
His suffering, Jesus showed you how to endure unjust treatment and to
entrust yourself to God.
"It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.... To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:19, 21-23)
Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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