Thursday, November 17, 2022

This is US! - Purity 891


This is US!  -  Purity 891   

Purity 891 11/17/2022 Purity 891 Podcast

Purity 891 On YouTube:  

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the pathway to the marker at the end of the at the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Pier under blue & cirrus cloud filled skies comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene during my recent road trip to Buffalo. I’m including a selfie of myself on the blog to prove to myself, and anyone else who would doubt it, that I was there.  

Well, It’s Thursday again and as I share today’s photo of a pathway to that red and white marker as my subtle encouragement to anyone who should see or hear this message to stay on, or to get on, the path of Christian Discipleship.  

Whoever thinks that our Christian faith, our life in Christ, is boring undoubtedly has bought into the lies, or the limited view that God is continued to the pages of scripture or within the four walls of a church building, or even worse that He doesn’t intervene in the lives of men and has not decided to seek the Lord and His will for our lives.  

Our faith is a living relationship with the God of all creation who graciously gave us a “heads up” and revealed the truth of His plan of redemption, to put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, and who invites us to follow Him to discover our purpose in His kingdom.  

Ours is a personal God and before you start thinking that your purpose in Christ is to do a whole lot of good works for His glory, make sure you understand that our relationship with God is like any other relationship and that the main point of it is to spend time with one another, to spend “quality time” with God.  

While I am a big proponent of developing a daily spiritual practice of prayer and Bible Study, I also want to echo the sentiments of Dallas Willard from his book, Divine Conspiracy, where he said that our relationship to our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, with God benefits from “quality time”, where we seek to know the Lord and be in His presence with great intensity where we spend extended periods of time in silence and solitude and in the disciplines of prayer, bible Study, service, or worship.

My trip to Buffalo was a mini mission trip with a set destination and purpose but during the trip I followed the Lord’s call of where to pull over and spend some time with Him.  I left the road periodically take walks, see the sights, and appreciate what I was experiencing and thanked God for bringing me where I was and thanked Him for being with me.  

I gloried over the magnificence of His creation and reflected on all the people, places, and things that we have encountered since “we got together”. The change in my life has been so significant since that day I said “Yes” to Jesus that sometimes I am simply overwhelmed and have to remind myself, “Yup, that happened. I was there and You were with me. We did that!  This is me! This is US! ”  And I am not ashamed to say it, I absolutely love what God has done with my life. 

Although I am sure that I may be considered strange by some, I don’t care. The story God has written in my life since that day my idea to mock a Christian message got turned on its head and resulted in my tearful proclamation of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, is simply amazing and perhaps the most surprising thing about it is that the tale of my new life in Christ simply does not end.  

It's one thing to another to another when you are walking in the Spirit and while everyday may not be filled with travelling adventures to distant lands, because I seeking to know Him and His presence, in prayer and Bible study or in just meditating, thinking about Him, there are always moments where I have joy or peace because I literally keep walking and talking with God through my day.  

Before Christ, I used to talk to myself, sometimes out loud, and would just think about what I wanted to do or what the grand exalted “I” thought about life.  My internal dialog and external musings were always focused on the small world of “Me-ville”.  What do I want? What did they do to ME? How dare they get in MY WAY. Or Why don’t they leave ME alone. Or I hate them!”

Like I used to say in recovery ministry, before Christ we are all opera singers: “ME, ME, ME, ME!” Passionate, self-obsessed, overly dramatic opera singers!

Okay I am sure there are some of you out there who are thinking this doesn’t apply to you. You are thinking that you don’t think too highly of yourselves and that you aren’t so vain as that.  But the bad news is that pride is a stick with two ends, if we don’t think highly of ourselves, we are holding the opposite end of the “pride stick”  “Nobody loves ME” I’M no good. Nobody helps ME.   SO for you although your voice may be low, you are also singing “me, me, me”, maybe just in lower case letters and a whispering tone.  

But when you put your faith in Christ, if you know who you are in Christ and realize that the Holy Spirit dwells in you,  you are no longer an “I” or a “ME”, capital or lower case letters.   

In Christ we become an “US”,  it’s not longer “ME against the world”, Tupac. When you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord is with you! He will never leave you or forsake you and because He is omnipresent, He is with you and available to you no matter where you go!  

Christianity is the story of US, You and God, and all the rest of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  While we might not always seem to be “in this together” on the human realm with the church and all of its expressions, if we are indeed in Christ, we are in this all together,  but the most important aspect of our new life in Christ is our direct and personal relationship with God.  

A lot of people point to the unity of the body of believers to be the most important thing or that loving others is the end all of what we are to do as Christians, and in many ways it is, but how do you “get there”.   

Christ directs us to love God first, and then love our neighbors as ourselves.  

So we have to first develop our love for God otherwise our love for our neighbors will just be some act, some duty to perform that we would rather not do.  

But when we love the Father, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit, when we love God, He gives us His eyes and His heart.   We  can be kind, forgiving, compassionate, and loving to others because we have received God’s abundant love and when we know it that love can pour out on others.  

So get intense about your relationship with the Lord. Spend some quality time with Him. Press into your spiritual practices to know the Lord more and to give Him and opportunity to change your heart and mind.  Keep walking and talking with God and one day you will be utterly amazed at where you have gone together and what you have experienced together.  One day you will see the changes He has done in you, and you will be thrilled to say “This really is me! This is what God has done in my life! This is US!”


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 3:16 (NLT2)
16  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Today’s verse is one of if not the most popular verses in scripture because it speaks the truth of who Jesus is and what happens when we believe in Him.  

Jesus is the Son of God, His One and Only Son, and He came to earth to teach about God’s kingdom and to command us to repent and to put our faith in Him.  

And as today’s verse tells us, when we put our faith in Christ we will not perish but will have eternal life.  

In this one verse, Jesus confirms Himself as God and He confirms the spiritual destiny for all mankind.  If we believe in Him, we have eternal life. If we don’t, we perish in places he described as dark and painful.

So let this good news be something to give you assurance, if you have faith in Christ, that you will live with Him forever,  And also let it encourage you to share this good news and bad news to warn those that don’t know Jesus so they can be saved and not perish.    




As always, I invite all to go to 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 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Disciple and the Unbelievers Continues

When we judge, we encounter other people from the distance of observation and reflection. But love does not allot time and space to do that. For those who love, other people can never become an object for spectators to observe. Instead, they are always a living claim on my love and my service. But doesn’t the evil in other people necessarily force me to pass judgment on them, just for their own sake and because of our love for them? We recognize how sharply the boundary is drawn. Love for a sinner, if misunderstood, is frightfully close to love for the sin. But Christ’s love for the sinner is itself the condemnation of sin; it is the sharpest expression of hatred against sin. It is that unconditional love, in which Jesus’ disciples should live in following him, that achieves what their own disunited love, offered according to their own discretion and conditions, could never achieve, namely, the radical condemnation of evil.

If the disciples judge, then they are erecting standards to measure good and evil. But Jesus Christ is not a standard by which I can measure others. It is he who judges me and reveals what according to my own judgment is good to be thoroughly evil. This prohibits me from applying a standard to others which is not valid for me. When I judge, deciding what is good or evil, I affirm the evil in other persons, because they, too, judge according to good and evil. But they do not know that what they consider good is evil. Instead, they justify themselves in it. If I judge their evil, that will affirm their good, which is never the goodness of Jesus Christ. They are withdrawn from Christ’s judgment and subjected to human judgment. But I myself invoke God’s judgment on myself, because I am no longer living out of the grace of Jesus Christ, but out of a knowledge of good and evil. I become subject to that judgment which I think valid. For all persons, God is a person’s God in the way the person believes God to be.

Judging is the forbidden evaluation of other persons. It corrodes simple love. Love does not prohibit my having my own thoughts about others or my perceiving their sin, but both thoughts and perceptions are liberated from evaluating them. They thereby become only an occasion for that forgiveness and unconditional love Jesus gives me. My refraining from judgment of others does not validate tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner; it does not concede that the other person is somehow right after all. Neither I nor the other person is right. God alone, God’s grace and judgment is proclaimed to be right.

Judging others makes us blind, but love gives us sight. When I judge, I am blind to my own evil and to the grace granted the other person. But in the love of Christ, disciples know about every imaginable kind of guilt and sin, because they know of the suffering of Jesus Christ. At the same time, love recognizes the other person to be one who received forgiveness under the cross. Love sees the other person under the cross, and that is what enables it to have true sight. If my intent in passing judgment were really to destroy evil, then I would seek evil where it really threatens me, namely, in myself. But the fact that I seek evil in another person reveals that in such judgments I am really seeking to be right myself, that I want to avoid punishment for my own evil by judging another person. All judging presupposes the most dangerous self-deception, namely, that the word of God applies differently to me than it does to my neighbor. I claim an exceptional right in that I say: forgiveness applies to me, but condemnation applies to the other person. Judgment as arrogation of false justice about one’s neighbor is totally forbidden to the disciples. They did not receive special rights for themselves from Jesus, which they ought to claim before others. All they receive is communion with him.

But it is not only judging words which are forbidden to the disciples. Proclaiming salvific words of forgiveness to others also has its limits. Jesus’ disciples do not have the power and the right to force them on anyone at any time. All our urging, running after people, proselytizing, every attempt to accomplish something in another person by our own power is in vain and dangerous. In vain—because swine do not recognize the pearls thrown before them; dangerous—because not only does this defile words of forgiveness, not only does it make the other person I am to serve into a sinner against holy gifts, but even the disciples who are preaching are in danger of being needlessly and pointlessly harmed by the blind fury of hardened and darkened hearts. Squandering cheap grace disgusts the world. Then the world will turn violently on those who want to force on it what it does not desire. This signifies for the disciples a serious limitation on their work. It agrees with the directive in Matthew 10 to shake from their feet the dust of any place that does not hear the word of peace. The driving restlessness of the group of disciples, who do not want to accept any limitation on their effectiveness, and their zeal, which does not respect resistance, confuses the word of the gospel with a conquering idea. An idea requires fanatics, who neither know nor respect resistance. The idea is strong. But the Word of God is so weak that it suffers to be despised and rejected by people. For the Word, there are such things as hardened hearts and locked doors. The Word accepts the resistance it encounters and bears it. It is a cruel insight: nothing is impossible for the idea, but for the gospel there are impossibilities. The Word is weaker than the idea. Likewise, the witnesses to the Word are weaker than the propagandists of an idea. But this weakness liberates them from the sick restlessness of a fanatic; they suffer with the Word. Disciples may retreat, or even flee, as long as they are retreating and fleeing with the Word,[224] as long as their weakness is the weakness of the Word itself, as long as they do not abandon the Word in their flight. They are nothing but servants and tools of the Word, and should not want to be strong when the Word is weak. If they wanted to force the Word onto the world by all means, then they would make the living Word of God into an idea, and the world will justifiably fight back against an idea which cannot help it at all. But it is as weak witnesses that they do not flee, but remain—to be sure, only where the Word is. Disciples who would know nothing about this weakness of the Word would not have come to know the secret of God’s lowliness. This weak Word, which suffers contradiction by sinners, is the only strong, merciful Word, that can make sinners repent from the bottom of their hearts. The Word’s power is veiled in weakness. If the Word came in full, unveiled power, that would be the final judgment day. The great task of recognizing the limits of their mission is given to the disciples. But when the Word is misused, it will turn against them.[1]

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

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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), 170–173.

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