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Friday, November 4, 2022

Don’t Fear the Reaper - A Harvest of Repentance - Purity 880

 

Don’t Fear the Reaper - A Harvest of Repentance  Purity 880

Purity 880 11/04/2022 Purity 880 Podcast

Purity 880 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s rather dark photo of a recently harvest cornfield set against the contrast of the thriving green of what I believe to be “winter wheat” comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out for walk along Waite Rd in Easton yesterday as the sun was dipping into the horizon.   

Well, it is Friday, so Thanks God, and rejoice over the last day of the normal work week, if that applies to you, and for all that the Lord has done to make your lives new. While today’s photo isn’t particularly spectalur I thought it was a good visual representation of us transitioning into the “life of the weekend” and because I will be leading another man through the Steps to Freedom in Christ today and I hope to see the Holy Spirit reap a harvest of repentance as we meet later this morning in prayer.   

For those who follow the blog, you may remember I already shared a photo of this field and the contrast of corn ready for harvest and the humble beginnings of the sprouting winter wheat.  But yesterday I saw that the farmers had completely cleared the corn field of its harvest and I am sharing this photo today because it reminds me of what the Lord can do with the unruling overgrown messes of our pasts.   

Just like that cornfield, our pasts can be a substantial unruly mess and the sheer volume of it and all its accumulated trauma, sin, and bitterness can seem like its just too much to deal with and it is something that we should just ignore and keep walking past.   But just like that cornfield, if we don’t clear the land of our pasts and use the things in it to nourish us, its just a waste.  And we can’t just pick and choose the good things of our pasts to be able to walk free of it. Just like the reaper took the ears of corn and all the stalks, leaves, and ripped out the roots, in order to adequately be free of the pain of our pasts and to be able to grow anew, we have to take all of our pasts and give them to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to process it all to make us grow.  

With the Lord’s help we can acknowledge it all. All of that did happen to me. Some of it was good. But some of it was bad. Some of it just wasn’t right.  The things I did weren’t right! The things others did to me weren’t right. And some things that happened to my friends and family, or by my friends and family weren’t right!   

While the world would suggest either to move on from your past by just forgetting about it or by settling scores by getting even, The Lord wants you to processour past, your old life, by living the new one He has for you.  

And the new life that the Lord has for you commands that you enact the Lord’s solution for your problems, past and present.  His solution is forgiveness and repentance and the Holy Spirit in every Christian, is the One who can help us reap all of our spiritual and personal conflicts according to God’s wisdom and love, to clear the land and allow you to sow the seeds of a new life that won’t be choked out by the weeds of your past.  

Going to the Lord and confessing your sins and then making the decision to live for Him and according to His way, to learn who you are in Christ and to follow the example of Jesus, is the way to the new life.  It is a process of prayer, faith , and action. 

We can’t just reap our own harvest. Repentance is granted by the Holy Spirit alone and it is with and through Him that we can be healed of our hurts and give the power to transform our lives.  

So for those who have already had the Lord clear the fields of your pasts, rejoice! Your victory and freedom need never end, as long as you keep on walking and talking with God.  

As for those whose pasts still have a tendency to loom over you,  I suggest you go to the Lord and ask Him to help you to clear your field. The Steps to Freedom in Christ is one way you can do it.  The Steps guide people to pray to the Lord and to ask Him to help them repent and deal with the hurts of the past.  The steps are just a road map but you invite the Lord to walk through them together, in faith, the Lord has been known to use them to set people free.  I have seen it happen to others and I have seen the Lord do it for me.  

But hey, I’m just suggesting one path of many right? I guess that’s true but just like our pasts are filled with choices to many paths we wish we never took, sometimes we know there really is only one RIGHT thing we should do and I pray that the Lord reveals the truth of THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, of Jesus, to you. 

The Lord is patient and loving and He won’t force us to do anything but, man, if you accept Jesus’ invitation to Follow Him, you will discover just how good walking and talking with God can be.

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 12:20 (NLT2)
20  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Today's Bible verse encourages us to show love to those who would despitefully use us, to put into practice Christ’s command to love our enemies with the expectation that love can conquer hate.  

I have to thank God for the godly men that He has put on my path of Christian growth.  While some “Christians” are known to quote Bible verses, chapter and verse, some of these zealots give Christianity a bad name because while they can accurately state the word of God and obviously have it in their heads, there unfortunately seems to be a disconnect with the hearts as they use the word of God to chastise, criticize, manipulate, and control others, they haven’t allowed it to produce the spiritual fruit of love in their lives.   And in some cases, the knowledge of the word is only a sheep’s covering that is used to conceal secret sins and a hidden agenda.  

But then there are those Christians who not only know the word of God but seek to understand it and apply it to their lives and how they interact with others.  

Today’s verse reminds me of my mentor Pastor Bob Costello and our days serving together in Celebrate Freedom, the now disbanded recovery ministry at my former church.  In the early days of that ministry, a homeless veteran of the Gulf War with physical, mental, and spiritual problems came to our church’s attention and Pastor Bob was given the task of trying to help this troubled man. Although this man served our country and professed to be a Christian, he also served his flesh and didn’t always express gratitude for Bob’s companionship and efforts to help.  The veteran had addiction issues, physical disabilities, and a history of prison time so like a wounded dog, he would often bite the hand that literally fed him and would periodically run free and make a mess of things.  

I know Pastor Bob to be a man of great patience but this man’s ungrateful attitude and unrighteous antics test his limits, so much so that he took his concerns to the senior pastor who suggested that Bob apply Romans 12:20 to the situation.  

As much as Bob wanted to complain about this man and wanted to just shake the dust off his feet and walk away from the whole situation, the word of God convicted Bob to forgive much because he himself had been “trouble” in his youthful days back in the Bronx and had been forgiven much by the Lord and other Christians.  

And the word of God, really did a work on Bob. He didn’t just begrudgingly keep on trucking along out of some sense that was what He was supposed to, He applied that verse to His heart and it changed everything.  Instead of seeing this troubled vet as a big problem, Bob started to see Him as one of God’s children that needed love. 

So Bob just kept serving him and showing him compassion until something amazing happened, things got better.  The Vet entered into our recovery ministry and resisted the real and present danger to relapse.  Bob and the church eventually connected him to resources and provided him with financial assistance to get him his own apartment. After a while this vet was actually walking in sobriety and was so grateful that he decided to lead worship at our recovery ministry with a soulful rendition of Christ Tomlin: “You’re a good, good father.”   The heaping coals of kindness on this man’s head had worked.  The love that Bob and those at the church had given this man had “shamed” the evil in him and caused him to repent and start walking in the way the Father would have him go.  

This man had been a hostile combatant against the world for the pain he had suffered but the love he received caused him to literally sing the Lord’s praises.  

So feed your enemies, if they are thirsty given them something to drink, because love is great than hate, good is better than evil, and the light of God’s love that we allow to shine through us will dispel the darkness. 

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

Hidden Righteousness concludes

Second, we ask: what in the content of the act of following Christ constitutes the union of the visible and the hidden? How can the same thing be simultaneously visible and hidden? To answer we need only to turn back to the result of chapter 5. What is extraordinary and visible is the cross of Christ, beneath which the disciples stand. The cross is at once what is necessary and hidden, and what is visible and extraordinary.

Third, we ask: how can the paradox between the fifth and sixth chapters be resolved? The concept of discipleship itself provides the resolution. It is exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. Disciples always look only to their Lord and follow him. If they were to see the extraordinariness itself, then they would no longer stand in discipleship. In simple obedience disciples do the will of the Lord who bids them do something extraordinary, and they know in everything only that they can do nothing else, that they are, therefore, doing what is simply a matter of course.

The only required reflection for disciples is to be completely oblivious, completely unreflective in obedience, in discipleship, in love. If you do good, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. You should not know your own goodness.[170] Otherwise it will really be your goodness, and not the goodness of Christ. The goodness of Christ, the goodness of discipleship takes place without awareness. The genuine deed of love is always a deed hidden to myself. Pay heed that you do not know it. Only in this way is it the goodness of God. If I want to know my own goodness and my own love, then it is no longer love. Even the extraordinary love of enemies remains hidden to disciples. When they love their enemies, then they no longer view them as enemies. This blindness of the disciples, or rather this vision enlightened by Christ, is what makes them certain. The hiddenness of their lives from themselves is their promise.

The other side of hiddenness is its being in the open. There is nothing hidden which will not be revealed. That is how God made things to be, before whom everything hidden is already revealed. God wants to show us what is hidden. God will make it visible. Being revealed in public is the reward ordained by God for hiddenness. The question is only where and from whom people receive this reward of public recognition. If they long for it to be in sight of other people, then they will have had their reward as soon as they get such publicity. There is no difference whether they seek it in the cruder form, in the presence of others, or in the more subtle form, in the presence of themselves. Whenever the left hand knows what the right is doing, whenever I myself become aware of my own hidden goodness, whenever I want to know about my own goodness, then I have already prepared for myself the public reward which God intended to store up for me. I am the one who revealed my own hiddenness to myself. I do not wait for God to show it to me. So I have gotten my reward. But those who remain hidden even from themselves until the end[173] will receive from God the reward of being revealed. But who can live in such a way as to do the extraordinary in secret? Who can prevent the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing? What sort of love is that which does not know of itself, but can remain hidden from itself until the last day? It is clear that because it is hidden love, it cannot be a visible virtue, a human habitus [attitude]. Beware—it says—that you do not mistake genuine love for the virtue of kindness or for a human “quality”! It is self-forgetting love in the most genuine sense of the word. In this self-forgetting love, however, the old self must die with all its virtues and qualities. The old Adam dies in the disciples’ love, which is oblivious of the self and bound solely to Christ. The death of the old Adam is proclaimed in the sentence: “Let not your left hand know what your right is doing.” Once again, who can live so that chapters 5 and 6 are one? None except those whose old self has died in Christ and who have found a new life in Christ’s community of discipleship. Love as the deed of simple obedience is death to the old self and the self’s discovery to exist now in the righteousness of Christ and in one’s brothers and sisters. Then the old self is no longer alive, but Christ is alive in the person. The love of Christ the Crucified, who leads the old self in us to death, is what lives in Christ’s follower. Disciples find themselves only in Christ and in their brothers and sisters.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 150–152.


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