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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578


 

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578

Purity 578 11/17/2021  Purity 578 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of one whopper of a seashell underneath the blazing sun on the shores a Florida beach, presumably near Jacksonville,  comes to us from a friend from the U.K. who was visiting their transplanted and recently married offspring and enjoyed a week filled with coffee shops, early morning beach walks, and family time.  As life has seen their children grow, marry, and move to another country, our friend expressed how blessed they felt to have this special time away from “not so sunny Portsmouth”.

I believe it was the American philosopher, Ferris Bueller, who said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  My British friend knows the truth of that, and his report encourages us all to stop and look around and appreciate the life that God has given us.  

Last night, I had a moment to appreciate the life that God has given me in a sudden and startling way. 

I have been frequenting Star Point Church in Clifton Park NY for various purposes over the last several months and have gotten in the habit of speedily leaving their grounds to get on to State Route 146 on my way home, which is 45 minutes away.  Because of the frequency of my visits, the length of my drive home, and the traffic on 146, I have learned that it is best to not hesitate too long at the stop sign at the edge of their property because the traffic on 146 can be substantial and if you wait too long you could find yourself waiting what seems to be an eternity to start that near hour long drive home.    

So last night, as I left a session of pre-marriage counseling there, I was almost victim to the perfect storm of circumstances that could have ended in tragedy.  I was tired and in a hurry which is never a good mix.  Because I was tired and feared the fatigue of the drive ahead I decided to grab an energy drink as I was driving out of the parking lot.  As I approached Route 146, I did what I always did: I looked both ways and gauged whether it was safe to do a “rolling stop” before hitting the gas and zooming into the flow of traffic safely, preparing to do just that as I had on a dozen occasions in the past.  

But unlike my previous exits from that property, last night it wasn’t safe to do a rolling stop and as I was fumbling with the just opened energy drink, I panicked and went to step on the brake but last night my foot slipped off the brake and got momentarily stuck between the gas pedal and the brake pedal!

As I tried to correct my action and reapply my foot to the brake, I started to careen directly into the path of an oncoming SUV.  From their perspective the other drive would have seen me pull up to the stop sign, pause, and then do a herky, jerky entrance right into their way!

The Lord protected me last evening with an alert driver in that vehicle because as I fought to slow down and correct my progress, the other driver adjusted their direction and was able to avoid broad siding me as I sat helplessly bathed in their headlights as they went speeding past me.   

I immediately thanked God for His protection because I know that His will is sovereign and the things that happen or don’t happen are all under His control. Thankfully, MT getting smashed, injured, and possibly killed on the 16th day of November in 2021 was not in the Lord’s plans.  

As I cautiously drove the rest of the way home, I repeatedly thanked and praised God for His protection and mercy as I recalled a similar situation in my past where a woman I didn’t know made a similar mistake while driving and paid the ultimate cost.  

A few years ago I was working as part of the line crew doing some pole work on Route 20 near Duanesburg when a woman who couldn’t see the oncoming traffic because of an obscured view decided to take a chance by blindly easing out of a parking lot of a Mobil gas station onto the State Highway.  At the precise moment that she decided to trust that it was safe, a pickup truck was coming the other way at 55 miles an hour.  The crash was loud and immediately one of my colleagues yelled for someone to call 911.  As a flagger on an adjacent road, with my work area safe, I ran down to route 20 and started flagging traffic away from the accident site.  After 45 minutes or so I was relieved from my post by local police who closed the road with their squad car.  

As I walked back to the site, I learned that one of our line crew had performed CPR on the woman at the site but to no avail. From what I understand she was killed almost instantly from the impact trauma.  

So after my near miss last night, I realized that I didn’t just avoid a fender bender. Because of the alertness of the other driver, and because of God’s protection,  I avoided a crash that could have taken my life.  

Stuff like this happens all the time.  Because of our repeated actions and familiarity of settings we all have places where we have come accustomed to acting in a certain way.   I have friends who have joked about stop signs that are “really a yield sign”  or “only a suggestion”.  I and my friends have also admitted that the details of an entire commute were a blur because of the over activity of a busy brain or the laxity of inactive mind.  So I know that I am not alone with being guilty of the sin of being on autopilot. 

Thankfully, we don’t hear of the fatal accidents among our friends too often, but they do happen. Our near misses are so commonplace that we often are jolted to attention by them but quickly take them for granted and fail to mention them to anyone.  

A lot of people just think they were “lucky” but if we properly understand how God has created and shaped the universe according to His will, we understand that there are “no accidents”.    

So if you “get lucky” today because of a near miss, because something really good happens, or because you just lived to make it home to experience the “same old same old” with your loved ones, remember to stop and look around at your life and thank the Lord who gave it to you and all blessings you enjoy.  

God’s common grace falls out upon all mankind as the potential disasters that could come from us being on autopilot “somehow” don’t come to pass.

For every tragedy that does come , there are tales of how it could have been worse and even in those moments we are given an opportunity to see the big picture of the brevity and precious value of our lives. 

He saves us for our mistakes even when we don’t deserve it and He sent Jesus Christ to save us for all eternity.

So keep walking and talking with God. Pray everyday for His protection and presence in your life. When you do that, you will recognize that He never leaves us or forsakes us and that His comfort and love is available to experience every day of our lives.       


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is :

1 Kings 8:56 (NLT2)
56  “Praise the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is faithful to His promises and delivers us from calamity and gives us rest.   

The appropriate response to our “good fortune” of near misses is to praise the Lord.  

Today’s verse tells us to do just that.  As adopted sons and daughters of God through our faith in Jesus Christ we become grafted into God’s spiritual nation of Israel.   Now while Gentiles like me can’t claim a direct natural heritage with the people of Zion, because of Jesus Christ, I can claim a spiritual heritage with “God’s chosen people.” 

New Testament scripture points out that just because you have a natural connection to the Sons of Abraham does not mean that you are a part God’s chosen people. The Old Testament documents that all but two of the original nation of Israel, that experienced the supernatural deliverance from bondage to Egypt, were allowed to go into the promised land.  

So even though some experienced the faithfulness of God as physical members of the nation of Israel when He parted the Red Sea and Moses led the tribes to safety, scripture indicates that you still have to have a personal relationship with God to be delivered into God’s kingdom.  

The promises of God are for the people of God. So make sure you and your loved ones have made Christ the Lord and Savior of your lives to have assurance of your salvation and membership into God’s spiritual “Israel”.   

When you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you become one of His chosen people and you can finally know what it feels like to find rest.  

The fear of death and the power of sin over you are put to rest through Christ.  In Him you become heirs of the promises of God and as you agree with and live according to God’s will and ways for our lives as described in the Bible you will experience just how faithful God is in fulfilling His promises.

 

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.

 

B. How Did Job Respond to His Horrendous Ordeal?

Job's perspective of life had become thoroughly saturated with physical, mental, and emotional pain. He could not peer "behind the scenes." Feeling robbed of joy, he saw death as the better option. Did Job see God as good? Read the points that follow and draw your own conclusion.

  1. Job, who does not deny or cover up his pain, acknowledges that the Lord has the right to decide what is given to him and what is taken away.
        "'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." (Job 1:21-22)
  2. Job, after confronting his overly critical wife, lives with obvious integrity and focuses on trusting God with their lives—with their present circumstances and with their future.
        "His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!' He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?' In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." (Job 2:9-10)
  3. Job suffers such severe pain that he wishes he could die. He honestly laments before his 3 friends.
        "Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?" (Job 3:16)
  4. Job repeats his desire to be released from his earthly life in order to stop the pain, yet he focuses on being a man of integrity. If he were dead, he says,
        "Then I would still have this consolationmy joy in unrelenting painthat I had not denied the words of the Holy One." (Job 6:10)
  5. Job, though dismayed over his misery, admits that his God is the Maker of the universe and has performed innumerable miracles.
        "He [God] is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." (Job 9:9-10)
  6. Job doesn't stuff his feelings—even admitting to self-loathing, complaining, and bitterness—but then pleads with God to reveal what he has done wrong.
        "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me." (Job 10:1-2)
  7. Job doesn't understand why he has become a laughingstock to his friends; however, he continues to focus on the many attributes of God.
        "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.... To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.... To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his.... He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light." (Job 12:10, 13, 16, 22)
  8. Job states that even if God were to kill him for attempting to defend himself or to argue his case, still—and he makes this clear—he will continue to trust in the Lord.
        "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face." (Job 13:15)
  9. Job answers that God has established the precise length of our lives—even has set limits we cannot exceed.
        "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." (Job 14:5)
  10. Job, though distraught over his human accusers, realizes he has a heavenly advocate—an intercessor who is also his friend.
        "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend." (Job 16:19-21)
  11. Job, who knows he is surrounded by mockers, restates that he will hold to righteous ways.
        "The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." (Job 17:9)
  12. Job, in spite of feeling torn down by his friends and even by God Himself, focuses on seeing his Redeemer in the future.
        "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
  13. Job has no comprehension of why calamity has continued to afflict him, yet he still states that God is the highest judge.
        "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?" (Job 21:22)
  14. Job, though he can't find the Lord, realizes that he is not lost to the Lord—the Refiner who is testing him so that he will come forth as gold.
        "He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." (Job 23:10-12)
  15. Job, who genuinely believes he is undeserving of such calamities, remains determined to defend his integrity.
        "As long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you [my friends] are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live." (Job 27:3-6)
  16. Job, after experiencing a deep encounter with God, realizes that it is only because of the extremity of his severe suffering that now he is able to "see" God.
        "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6)

Conclusion: Although Job suffers severely in the furnace of affliction, he indeed comes out like gold—pure gold refined by the fire.

 

Question: "Why do Christians sometimes suffer for doing good?"

Answer: Evil is always in opposition to good. By its very nature, evil will seek to harm and destroy those who do good. The only real peace to be found in the midst of suffering is in the One who has made us to be at peace with God. In His time, this Prince of Peace will do away with evil and thereby secure total peace for all eternity for His followers. He Himself suffered for doing good. As His followers, we at times will also experience suffering for doing good. Jesus said ...

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.... If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:18, 20)


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

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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