Becoming Resilient - Purity 932
Purity 932 01/04/2023 Purity 932 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a waterfall over a large outcropping of rock with trees drawing close to get a drink, under blue skies comes to us from Fred Dimmick who captured this view on January 1st during his new Years day visit to Cliffside Lake in Highland NC.
Being unfamiliar with the lay of the land around Cliffside Lake, its hard to say but based on the other photos Fred shared of his trip, it looks to me that Fred may have had to “climb down into it” to get this shot but whether it required much or little effort to capture it, I appreciate it, and thought it was a good visual representation of arriving at the first “hump day” of the new year as I am finally returning to work after an extended Christmas stay-cation and for me it not only feels like I am going up hill but it feels like there is some rushing resistance to going in and resuming my regular work responsibilities.
Well, it’s Wednesday, and due to my vacation and some creative scheduling at work it feels like a Monday because I have had a few irrational thoughts and temptations to “not go in”. The flesh or the devil was suggesting I extend my vacation, call in sick, or just quit to remain in the peace of “doing nothing”.
But while God has given us free will to choose our path, I know that any efforts to “feel good again” or “to be happy” that only involve creating pleasant circumstances and that ignores logic and our responsibilities is either selfish or the schemes of the enemy and will usually lead to feelings of dissatisfaction if not out right negative consequences.
Sure I could call in sick, but I’m not sick, that would be a lie. So we can’t or shouldn’t do that. Once we start living a lie, we open the door the enemy and disrupt our harmony with God. Disciples of Jesus follow the “Truth”, The Way, and The Life, Lying and living dishonestly is the polar opposite of the way we should go and not only goes against the word of God, it is in direct opposition of who we are in Christ. It’s not only denying God’s word, lying and being dishonest denies our identity as adopted children of God’s royal family. It is behavior most unbecoming for children of the King, and it leads to trouble. So let’s not do that.
Sure I could use up more vacation time, but should I? I don’t think so. The truth is I think I have had too much time off and unfortunately because I was in “vacation mode” I unwittingly took a vacation from one of the core disciplines of my daily spiritual practice which I believe was a big reason or at least a contributing factor of why I seemed to abandon my senses and over indulged in sweets and foods that I know that pack on the pounds.
So this morning as much as the flesh and the devil tried to convince me to “take one more day” or to “just quit!”, I am going back to work, in more ways than one. Not only am I going back to my “day job”, I have already returned to my senses in terms of the foods I will consume and have started the practice that I allowed to go by the wayside over the last week.
Yesterday, I realize hadn’t been praying in the mornings like I normally do. At my countryside home my “prayer closet” is literally that – a closet – and while TammyLyn has made space for me there with a desk and enough space to pray because the set up is different than my place down by the River, I let my morning prayers slip.
What’s so important about morning prayer?
Well, besides drawing close to God to thank Him for all that He does, my morning prayers also include a “stronghold buster” that sets my intention to be mindful of my health goals. So during my vacation, while I did manage to exercise in the cramped confines of the living room, I failed to pray like I normally do and would just go straight to Bible Study and blogging. The technological limitations of countryside made the overall process slower so even though I didn’t pray, I ended up finishing around the same time or much later that I normally do while at my place in Stuyvesant. So I quickly adapted to not praying and didn’t even realize I wasn’t doing it and the consequences of not setting my intention to “break that stronghold” resulted in compromise.
So yesterday, I was highly convicted about this “vacation” and decided to repent and resume my prayer life and to take the last day of my time off to do a mini retreat in my home. I spent the work day hours yesterday in my room fasting, praying, and reading/listening to John Eldredge’s “Resilient”.
I have his book on Kindle and Audible so after I uploaded yesterday’s blog and podcast, I shut off my phone and started listening and reading through “Resilient”, highlighting the key points in the text on Kindle while I listened to Eldredge read through his work on Audible.
The audiobook is actually an extended edition of the book and includes Eldredge leading you through the “skills” at the end of each chapter and in other places in later in the book. The “skills” are guided prayer/meditation sessions that draw you closer to the Lord. Eldredge has developed an App. “One Minute Pause” that you can download for free and use to make these “skills” a part of your faith walk. The App even includes a free program of these “skills”, “30 days to Resilient”, where you can build your capacities of mental and emotional resilience through your faith with morning and evening “pauses”.
So as I read through, highlighted, and listened to Resilient, I also “paused” at each “skills” session to go through the guided prayers/meditations. I started the “retreat” around 6:30 am and even though the audiobook is only 6 hours and 41 minutes long, I didn’t finish the book and the “retreat” until 4:30pm or so. So I spent the whole day, about 10 hours, just being fed some really good teaching based on God’s word and in prayer. I only took a few breaks to fill my water bottle and to use the bathroom and did a 20 minute cardio session as I drew close to the end. Chapter 9 is a longer chapter and Eldredge in his audio book suggests taking a break midway through and I took his advice.
So how was it?
It was quite the experience. I highly recommend “Resilient” and would encourage everyone listening or reading this message to go out and get it. I am so on board with the “skills” that I learned that I downloaded the “One Minute Pause” App and started the “30 days to Resilient” this morning.
While I would still recommend Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Victory Over the Darkness, Bondage Breaker, Freedom in Christ – The Steps to Freedom in Christ” for anyone new to the path of Christian Discipleship to learn the paradigm shifting truths of the reality of the spiritual forces of darkness, who we are in Christ and to establish our freedom in Christ by going through “The Steps” first. I would recommend “Resilient” and suggest that it’s “skills” should be experienced and be considered for possible integration for one’s spiritual practice.
While I am new to the material and realize that every Christian path is different, I would say that “Resilient” needs to become part of the library of anyone who is serious about following the Lord. While the skills – prayerful – meditations – may not be for everybody, your free to choose that for yourselves, the material in the book, which addresses the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic and the possible dangers that face the body of Christ in its wake, makes “Resilient” more than worthy for purchase. Simply stated, I believe “Resilient” is necessary reading for the church in the 21st century.
As compelling t\as he implications that our recent and current events may mean in terms of prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ, Eldredge’s book should be read simply because of the fundamental truths it contains regarding the ability for the Lord to empower us and to make us resilient in these days and times.
So its back to work and back to reality, but I go back with a renewed sense of hope and the assurance that the path of Christian Disciple is the way to go. In these days and times we need to be “resilient” – to be able to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions – and when we keep walking and talking with God we receive the strength, guidance, and love to be just that.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Timothy 2:3-4 (NLT2)
3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.
Today’s verses encourage us to endure suffering as a good Christian soldier and indicates that we shouldn’t get tied up in the concerns of this world but seek to please the One who enlisted us.
Yup, we’re in the army now, Christian soldiers, but before you look to put a “whippin’” on somebody realize that our battles involve enemies that are not flesh and blood and that most of the fighting we will have to do will be on the battlegrounds of our hearts and minds.
And the Apostle Paul “gets it”. He knows that resisting the flesh, the enemy, and this world system isn’t easy. It will involve suffering that simply we will have to endure.
The world will increasingly hate us for following Christ but even though the world will reject you, keep in mind that this world is temporary and we have been “drafted” into an eternal kingdom by the highest authority and power that exists, God. So listen to Paul and don’t get “tied up in the affairs of civilian life” and seek only to march to God’s calling and to please Him.
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 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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY DEFINED, continues
God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. Ah! that is a hard saying, who then can receive it? It is written, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27). When we say that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love, we mean that He loves whom He chooses. God does not love everybody*; if He did, He would love the Devil. Why does not God love the Devil? Because there is nothing in him to love; because there is nothing in him to attract the heart of God. Nor is there anything to attract God’s love in any of the fallen sons of Adam, for all of them are, by nature, “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). If then there is nothing in any member of the human race to attract God’s love, and if, notwithstanding, He does love some, then it necessarily follows that the cause of His love must be found in Himself, which is only another way of saying that the exercise of God’s love towards the fallen sons of men is according to His own good pleasure†.
In the final analysis, the exercise of God’s love must be traced back to His sovereignty or, otherwise, He would love by rule; and if He loved by rule, then is He under a law of love, and if He is under a law of love then is He not supreme, but is Himself ruled by law. “But,” it may be asked, “Surely you do not deny that God loves the entire human family?” We reply, it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13). If then God loved Jacob and hated Esau, and that before they were born or had done either good or evil, then the reason for His love was not in them, but in Himself.
That the exercise of God’s love is according to His own sovereign pleasure is also clear from the language of Eph. 1:3–5, where we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him. In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.” It was “in love” that God the Father predestined His chosen ones unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, “according”—according to what? According to some excellency He discovered in them? No. What then? According to what He foresaw they would become? No; mark carefully the inspired answer—“According to the good pleasure of His will.”
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