Beyond Broken Resolutions - Return to Freedom - Purity 954
Purity 954 01/31/2023 Purity 954 Podcast
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Today’s photo of the fading light of day reflected on the Hudson River comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to capture this “down River” view as I pulled into the driveway of River House on the last Friday of January in 2023.
Well, it’s Tuesday and the last day of January and although it is the end of the first month of the new year I am looking forward to new beginnings. Yesterday, I was offline for a sick day and although I took a day off from blogging and podcasting as well, I do feel better today because of the rest for my body and the restoration of my soul I experienced because although I skipped my physical exercise regimen, I took the time in the early morning hours to do The Steps to Freedom in Christ. So now I am rested and restored and ready to begin again!
Not only am I ready to resume my regular work responsibilities, I am also ready to do what I can to help and encourage other Christians to discover who they are in Christ and to either establish or deepen their freedom in Christ. Tonight, I begin leading a new Freedom in Christ course on Zoom and am looking forward to teach, and to remember, what I have come to know about our new lives in Christ and how the acceptance of our new identities as children of God is the key to our freedom and victory.
Quite frankly, I look forward to the new course for myself as much as for the men that have signed up for the course! The last few months of 2022 and the first month of the new year has been a mixed bag of inconsistencies as I have compromised my health goals with holiday fleshly indulgences and I fell victim to an episode of wishful thinking that led to discontent and a momentary loss of reason. So tonight, it’s back to basics and a return to sanity as I am choosing to take the momentum of the new course as a launching pad to get back on the path of Christian Discipleship with the enthusiasm of one who knows what works. When I deny myself, pick up my cross, and just abide in the Lord’s presence and follow His lead, my life is filled with the simple peace and joy that comes from just doing what is “right”.
To get as basic as we can see that this was one of God’s first instructions to man as He said to Cain in:
Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT2) where He said:
6 “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
Now, don’t get me wrong I wasn’t living in a licentious life of sin like my old man over the last few months but I did seek comfort from the things of the world here and there and I “wished-prayed” for God to be genie with the hope that He would deliver me from my secular day job and bless my socks off with a new home and comparable salary, just like that!
I had forgotten to be disciplined in my approach to life by seeking comfort from the world in food and entertainment and was hoping to be “transported” to a better place rather than focusing on my walk day to day and trusting the Lord to lead me in the things that I have already planned for this year.
So I am declaring today to be the start of a new chapter of this ongoing journey of pursuing the Lord and His plan for my life by keeping it simple.
Yesterday, I did my periodic housecleaning by going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ so I am feeling light as a bird as I have dropped any and all baggage I may have been carrying since the last time I did the steps. Through the Steps and coming before the Lord in prayer, I have dealt with some rather recent disappointments, losses, and bitterness from the slights and unjust treatments I felt I had received as I walked from the Fall of 2022 to now.
As if to confirm the new beginning, as I returned to my regular exercise routine Amazon Music offered up Sia’s Bird Set Free which ends with the victorious declrartion:
I don't care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I shout it out like a bird set free
No, I don't care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I'll shout it out like a bird set free
shout it out like a bird set free
I'll shout it out like a bird set free”
That song always lifts my spirits, as I remember walking through the fire with the Lord to my new life in Christ, to my new place down to by the River, and to the love I have with my wife, TammyLyn.
Our freedom and our victory is found in Christ alone and it is never lost. If we forget who we are and wander off the Lord is always there to restore us and to encourage us to follow Him in the way that leads to peace.
As those lyrics faded away, my spirit was raised ever higher as The Holy Spirit caused me to remember
John 8:36 (NKJV) where Jesus told us:
36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Because of Jesus, I am free and it’s a fine time to remember that and to walk in it.
So if your new year’s resolution has been blown, like many have been, celebrate the last day of the month of broken resolutions, by choosing to begin again based on who you are in Christ. Jesus has set us free and sometimes we just need to remember that to walk into the new life we already have. So keep walking and talking with God by keeping things simple and just taking care of what is a head of you and trusting Him to guide you the rest of the way into the thing unseen.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Isaiah 49:13 (NKJV)
13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us how the Lord comforts His people and has mercy on His afflicted.
“His afflicted?” – Say What? I thought that walking with the Lord would be a continual journey into Eden like gardens of happiness and peace!
While we can enjoy mountain top heights of joy as we experience moments of accomplishments and victory, today’s verse reminds us that we will also experience the reality of the “joy of the Lord being our strength” when we receive His mercy while being afflicted. When we seek happiness or comfort from the world and forget about who we are in Christ, it doesn’t take long for us to long for the comfort to our souls that only the Lord can bring.
If we are not careful, we can easily be tempted to take a rest from seeking the Lord and go back to old patterns of seeking happiness from the things of this world. But it doesn’t take long for us to remember that the things of the world never satisfied us in the first place and we soon see the errors of our ways and may even condemn ourselves of not being worthy of restoration from the Lord and may even persist in going the wrong way for a while which only make our condition worse. When you experience the goodness of God in your life, nothing else will work and we can feel the affliction that comes from forsaking His path.
Like the prodigal son, our brokenness – our affliction- will show us that we are far from home and the goodness that we once knew. But when we turn back to our Heavenkly Father, we learn that He has been waiting for us to return to Him and He graciously showers us with the comfort and the mercy we desperately need and our joy and our peace is restored.
So return to the Lord and know He is good! And when you rejoice you too can shout it out for the world to hear:
“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.” ___________________________________________
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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN REPROBATION continues
In Romans 9 the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in its application to both the elect and the reprobate is treated of it length. A detailed exposition of this important chapter would be beyond our present scope; all that we can essay is to dwell upon the part of it which most clearly bears upon the aspect of the subject which we are now considering.
V. 17: “For the Scripture saith unto Pharoah, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” These words refer us back to vv. 13 and 14. In v. 13 God’s love to Jacob and His hatred to Esau are declared. In v. 14 it is asked “Is there unrighteousness with God?” and here in v. 17 the apostle continues his reply to the objection. We cannot do better now than quote from Calvin’s comments upon this verse. “There are here two things to be considered—the predestination of Pharaoh to ruin, which is to be referred to the past and yet the hidden counsel of God—and then, the design of this, which was to make known the name of God. As many interpreters, striving to modify this passage, pervert it, we must observe, that for the word ‘I have raised thee up,’ or stirred up, in the Hebrew is, ‘I have appointed,’ by which it appears, that God, designing to show that the contumacy of Pharaoh would not prevent Him to deliver His people, not only affirms that his fury had been foreseen by Him, and that He had prepared means for restraining it, but that He had also thus designedly ordained it and indeed for this end,—that He might exhibit a more illustrious evidence of His own power.” It will be observed that Calvin gives as the force of the Hebrew word which Paul renders “For this purpose have I raised thee up,”—“I have appointed.” As this is the word on which the doctrine and argument of the verse turns we would further point out that in making this quotation from Exodus 9:16 the apostle significantly departs from the Septuagint—the version then in common use, and from which he most frequently quotes—and substitutes a clause for the first that is given by the Septuagint: instead of “On this account thou hast been preserved,” he gives “For this very end have I raised thee up!”
But we must now consider in more detail the case of Pharaoh which sums up in concrete example the great controversy between man and his Maker. “For now I will stretch out My hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in every deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Ex. 9:15, 16). Upon these words we offer the following comments:
First, we know from Exodus 14 and 15 that Pharaoh was “cut off,” that he was cut off by God, that he was cut off in the very midst of his wickedness, that he was cut off not by sickness nor by the infirmities which are incident to old age, nor by what men term an accident, but cut off by the immediate hand of God in judgment.
Second, it is clear that God raised up Pharaoh for this very end—to “cut him off,” which in the language of the New Testament means “destroyed.” God never does anything without a previous design. In giving him being, in preserving him through infancy and childhood, in raising him to the throne of Egypt, God had one end in view. That such was God’s purpose is clear from His words to Moses before he went down to Egypt to demand of Pharaoh that Jehovah’s people should be allowed to go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to worship Him—“And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all these wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Ex. 4:21). But not only so, God’s design and purpose was declared long before this. Four hundred years previously God had said to Abraham, “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them: and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge” (Gen. 15:13, 14). From these words it is evident (a nation and its king being looked at as one in the O. T.) that God’s purpose was formed long before He gave Pharaoh being.
Third, an examination of God’s dealings with Pharaoh makes it clear that Egypt’s king was indeed a “vessel of wrath fitted to destruction.” Placed on Egypt’s throne, with the reins of government in his hands, he sat as head of the nation which occupied the first rank among the peoples of the world. There was no other monarch on earth able to control or dictate to Pharaoh. To such a dizzy height did God raise this reprobate, and such a course was a natural and necessary step to prepare him for his final fate, for it is a Divine axiom that “pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Further—and this is deeply important to note and highly significant—God removed from Pharaoh the one outward restraint which was calculated to act as a check upon him. The bestowing upon Pharoah of the unlimited powers of a king was setting him above all legal influence and control. But besides this, God removed Moses from his presence and kingdom. Had Moses, who not only was skilled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians but also had been reared in Pharaoh’s household, been suffered to remain in close proximity to the throne, there can be no doubt but that his example and influence had been a powerful check upon the king’s wickedness and tyranny. This, though not the only cause, was plainly one reason why God sent Moses into Midian, for it was during his absence that Egypt’s inhuman king framed his most cruel edicts. God designed, by removing this restraint, to give Pharaoh full opportunity to fill up the full measure of his sins, and ripen himself for his fully-deserved but predestined ruin.
Fourth, God “hardened” his heart as He declared He would (Ex. 4:21). This is in full accord with the declarations of Holy Scripture—“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:1); “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1). Like all other kings, Pharaoh’s heart was in the hand of the Lord; and God had both the right and the power to turn it whithersoever He pleased. And it pleased Him to turn it against all good. God determined to hinder Pharaoh from granting his request through Moses to let Israel go until He had fully prepared him for his final overthrow, and because nothing short of this would fully fit him, God hardened his heart.
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), 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)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship