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Monday, November 8, 2021

Less Light? - Dancing in the Dark - Purity 570

 

Less Light? -  Dancing in the Dark -  Purity 570

Purity 570 11/06/2021   Purity 570 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the last light of sunset over the Oswego River in downtown Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography who captured this shot on Friday night before we were given back the hour that we had “lost” when we sprung forward into daylight savings time way back on March 14th. 

My question is: can’t we just leave well enough alone?

I don’t particularly care for bright mornings and was doing just fine with the sun at the latter half of our days. Now when we get out of work this evening the daylight will be dwindling if not completely gone!   

This transition of daylight savings time could cause us to think that there is less light and the idea of things getting darker could cause us to be drawn into despair.  Also, seasonal affective disorder is a thing!

So take lots of vitamin D and invest in a sun lamp if you know you struggle with depressive tendencies that come with the “darkening days”, but I would also suggest that you do two things that will give you a foundation upon which you can stand every day to have peace and joy even if the sunsets at 4:41 pm, as it is scheduled to do so today.    

1.    Put your faith in Christ and recommit yourself to following Him every day.  

Our relationship and peace with God come through faith in Jesus Christ. If we have put our faith in Christ and remind ourselves to follow His lead and example for life we can not only be assured of our eternal security beyond this life, or when He returns to establish a new heaven and a new earth, but we can be assured that our conduct and direction for life is what it should be. 

When we consider the big picture, the little things don’t bother us so much. When we consider the things of God, the things of man are put in their proper perspective. Jesus has given us eternal life and His ways are righteous and good. So rest in that truth and walk in His ways.

 

2.    Thank the Lord for all the blessings of your life every day. Make gratitude a daily and continual practice. 

It’s November so the focus in a couple of weeks will be on the American holiday of Thanksgiving, but we should not only be thankful on a single feast day each year. God has not only provided us with everything we have which includes:

·       Our minds, with its intellect, creativity, insights, perspective, and sense of humors

·       Our bodies – with its health and the abilities to move, perform work, exercise, sense pleasure and feel pain

·       Our relationships – the love of family, friends, and pets, those who help, teach, inspire, or challenge us

·       Our environment – our nations, weather, natural beauty, and resources to live

But He has given us the ability to think about and meditate about them to give us peace.

So if we think about all the different facets of our lives and about all the things we do have rather than the things we may not have, we can be anchored in contentment and have joy over the abundant lives we already are living.   

So even though it may seem like there is less light in the world because of this transition with the clocks, let me assure you that there is a light that shines in the darkness that can never be extinguished.   The light of the hope we have in Christ shines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. 

Jesus gives us peace with God and victory over sin and death.  We need not fear where all this going for we are assured that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called for His purposes. 

So remind yourself of the love God has for you and the love you have for Him and that your life is in the palm of His hand and that He has a purpose for you, even in what you may consider to be a simple life. 

So rejoice in the hope you have in Christ that is available to stand in every day. Knowing that you are secure because of your faith in Christ and realizing all the blessings you have each day, can fill you with joy even in the worst circumstances and cause you to dance even in the dark.

 

Today’s Bible verses are drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Deuteronomy 11:16-17 (NLT2)
16  “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the LORD and serve and worship other gods.
17  If you do, the LORD’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the LORD is giving you.

Today’s verses encourage God’s people not to turn away from the Lord and promises dire consequences for those who do.  

We have to be careful  when we go to the Old Testament for inspiring verses because verses like today’s verses in Deuteronomy were spoken to a certain people at a certain time and while we can draw general principles of faith from all of Scripture we have to realize when some of it doesn’t necessarily apply directly to our situation. 

The history of God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel, details God’s interactions with them in which He selects them, blesses them, and seeks to instruct them in how they should live through His revelations to the prophets who were used to compose the word of God.   

God warns his people more than once to obey His commands and not to go and “worship other gods”. But unfortunately, the nation of Israel would forget how the Lord blessed them and would go astray, and even though there were always some that remained faithful to the Lord at all times, the nation as a whole was judged and afflicted with negative circumstances time and time again and that eventually lead to the destruction of their country and their exile to the Babylonian kingdom.  So the negative consequences in today’s verse were very real promises that were fulfilled a few times in the history of Israel.

But because God is faithful, He restored the nation of Israel and used their people to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ, through whom all people can be saved and made righteous.   

So while Christians may think that today’s verses don’t apply to them because the context refers to the nation of Israel, the general principle of following the Lord’s instruction of not turning to other gods and suffering negative effects for doing so should still be heeded. 

The Bible teaches us that God is sovereign and that we are to worship no one and nothing else.  It also documents how people who would turn from worshipping the one true God would suffer in all kinds of ways. 

So we too as Christians should be true to the Lord and worship and follow Him only.  Our lives before Christ were hopeless and full of the futility of trying to find meaning and lasting peace and happiness without God.  The word of God and our own experience before Christ should teach us that it is not wise to worship other gods or to decide not to  follow the Way, The Truth, and the Life that we found in Christ.   

So heed the warning and thank God that He was gracious to show you the Truth and make you a part of His royal family.  Live a life of faith in Jesus Christ and be like an Old Testament prophet by warning those you encounter in the world, with love and concern, that there are very real and dire consequences for those who disparage God’s offer of the grace and mercy that He makes available in Jesus Christ.   

 

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 begin 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.

Evil and Suffering... Why?: Is God Fair?

By June Hunt

Introduction

If honest, we have all said in our hearts, Why? It's just not fair! God, why would You allow...? The why's in life are bewildering on this side of heaven and require a true knowledge of and deep faith in the character and the heart of God.

At times life is simply not fair! In fact, most people have muttered, "Why? Why would God allow something so cruel... so evil?" Where was He? Doesn't He care? Left unanswered or incorrectly answered, these questions often become the basis for denying the existence of God or rejecting the goodness of God—or both. We can give thanks that God has given us insight into truth through His Word and His dealings with humanity. This truth not only validates the existence of God, but confirms the goodness of God. Nowhere in Scripture is the fairness of God more poignantly addressed than in the book of Job. In spite of his severe losses, Job posed a profound question—a question for all of us to consider in times of tragedy.

"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2:10)

I. Definitions

In the space of about 5 minutes, Job and his wife had lost all of their immediate family—every one of their sons and daughters—and all of their wealth and their entire livelihood. They went from plenty to poverty, from wealth to want, from happy to heartbroken. How would you respond to the stark realization that you had just lost everything of value to you in this world? Would you view God as fair? Would you consider Him good? Like Job's wife, you might be tempted to say,

"Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9)

A. What Is "Evil"?

A mass murderer, a cruel torturer, a child abuser—all represent what we know and hate about evil. Some people say, "Well, I may not know how to define evil, but I know it when I see it!" Is this true? Consider the following definitions:

  • Evil is the corruption of good...
    • —The absence of good, when good should be present
          "Turn from evil and do good." (Psalm 37:27)
    • —The departure from the way life ought to be
          "God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

Illustration: When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate fruit from the tree that God said was forbidden to them, they experienced an irrevocable separation from the way of life they had previously known. (Read Genesis chapter 3.)

  • Evil is a moral choice of bad over good, arising from badness of character. In Greek, the word kakia, which suggests "badness in character," means "wicked, depraved" and "morally reprehensible" and therefore represents...
    • —A violation of the will of God
          "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (James 1:21)
    • —A perversion of the Word of God
          "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (Isaiah 5:20)

Illustration: "The evil one," Satan, perverted the Word of God when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.

"The devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you, And they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Jesus answered him, 'It is also written: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."'" (Matthew 4:5-7)

  • Evil is that which causes evil. The Greek word poneros denotes "evil that causes evil," an evil that causes pain and suffering, as seen when...
    • —An evil person causes evil
          "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matthew 12:35)
    • —An evil spirit causes evil that leads to an evil generation
          "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)

Illustration: An evil King Manasseh caused evil to spread throughout the whole of Judah.

"Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols." (2 Kings 21:11)

 

Question: "If God made all things, doesn't that mean He created evil?"

Answer: No. Realize these significant truths:

  • Evil is not a thing, but rather is—a condition resulting from the improper use of or perversion of a good thing.
  • Evil exists in something else, something it corrupts—corrupted goodness.
    —A good knife can be used by an evil man to commit murder.
  • Evil is the absence of good. It is an intruder brought in by human beings. Evil was not created by God. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, evil was introduced to God's world.
    —Evil is not the opposite of good but the absence of good.
  • Everything God created was good, but the intentional wrong choices of Adam and Eve resulted in an aberration of the good things God had created...

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

 

Question: "Does God cause evil?"

Answer: No. God cannot ever cause evil. God cannot do anything that is contradictory to His character. The Bible clearly teaches that God is good. Since evil is the corruption of good, it is impossible for God to do anything evil...

"You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.... Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." (Psalm 5:4; 3 John 11)

 

Question: "Why should I believe in a God who allows evil?"

Answer: The often unspoken question behind this question is Does God really care that I am hurting?

The answer to both questions can be clearly seen in God's actions.

  • God cares about your hurts to the extent that He willingly suffered in order both to identify with you and to save you.
    —The beauty of Christ's crucifixion is that God—on your behalf—voluntarily suffered at the hands of evil people.
  • Although evil and pain are the result of human choices and not the result of God's choices, God does not subject His creation to something He is unwilling to endure Himself.
    —When you undergo loss, rejection, illness, or pain, remember that God knows how you feel from His own personal experience... and He hurts with you.

Realize, when God became a man, He entered fully into fallen humanity and thus fully experienced the suffering of humanity, except that He was without sin.

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:10)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.


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

 

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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