First things First - Purity 935
Purity 935 01/07/2023 Purity 935 Podcast
Purity 935 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of the sun over a stream or inlet of Cliffside Lake in Highlands NC comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this photo on social media on the first of the year. This is the third and final photo that Fred shared from that First Day trip, and it may be only seven days into the new year and it may seem that the photo of the day has been dominated by Mr. Dimmick lately but I thought all of his photos were all more than worthy to be used to give God glory. And that is the first thing, we always want to do when we are appreciating nature, to recognize the beauty that we see as the Lord’s handiwork and to give credit where credit is due, to worship the Creator and not the creation.
Well, It’s the first Saturday of 2023, and although I have to work today I am still staying positive because my job provides for my financial needs and even though I could imagine better ways to make a living, this is the way that I am making a living. So I will be content and remember all the ways my job has blessed me and continues to bless me rather than pine away for something else. Yes, if we are discontented with our current situations in life, I suppose we have three choices: we can ruin our mental health by lamenting over our current state, we can decide to be content with it, or we can set goals and take action to change it. Two out of three of those choices will provide the space we need for peace and joy in our life. So whether you decide to stay or go, don’t lose your peace by dwelling on the negative aspects of life. That’s the enemy’s trap, to deceive us by painting everything in a negative light.
I can also be content today because I am in relatively good health. Sure, I still need to do some work and be disciplined if I ever want to accomplish my health goals, to change that BMI number to a “normal” range and to possibly lose enough weight to make my need for a sleep apnea machine to disappear, but I can’t change that overnight and the truth is that I am in better shape now at 50 than I was in my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. So I may not be where I want to be yet, but I can rejoice over where I am today. I can be content with where I am but still endeavor to make things even better.
As for our health, things can change quickly. Today we are asking for prayers for Fred Dimmick because his health turned south quickly, and we learned yesterday that he is slated for surgery today for appendicitis. So, we will be praying for Fred’s surgery, healing, and recovery today and will continue to pray for him until he is back on his feet.
My other friend Bob Griffin is battling cancer. We are also praying for Bob daily.
So yeah, I work today – on a Saturday boo hoo – but I am not going in for surgery, and I am not battling cancer. The point is that no matter what our situations are, there are, most likely, other people who are going through things that would make our plight seem to be a walk in the park. The point is not to figure out who has it worse but to encourage all of us to recognize the positive aspects of where we are no matter what our circumstance are.
If we have Christ, we have everything we need. And if we look at our circumstances truthfully, don’t take our blessings for granted, and do some comparative analysis we will see that we have many things to be thankful for and thus we have things to thank God for.
As I rise each day, I practice gratitude. G iving thanks to God, keeps me grounded in the reality of just how wonderful my life is – regardless of the problems and trials I may have to face. When you stay close to God and continually give thanks for Him, what He has done, and what we have received, we can not only face trials with strength and hope for good outcomes, we can be content and be at peace with whatever we receive. That’s why I make gratitude, one of the first things I do each morning.
Gratitude is form of prayer, as we are thanking God, and after I thank Him for a new day and the continual good things in my life, I go to the Lord with the challenges I and others face. I pray for my friends who facing hard things. I pray for people who are asking for prayer though my local church. I pray for my family, and I pray for people to either put their faith in Christ or to follow Him. So prayer is another one of the first things I do each day.
I have discovered that it is by abiding with God, and by following His lead, that our lives are transformed from exercises in frustration and bitter disappointments to lives of peace, wonder, and joy. So it is my prayer that other people trust the Lord enough to follow Him so they can discover this too. That’s what this blog is all about – I’m pointing to the Truth, the Way, and the Life – to Jesus – and the new abundant life that results from our decision to follow Him, come what may.
Another thing I like to keep first is Bible study. My musings and speculations are compelling I suppose. I can figure out some things from the cause and effect results of my actions, but God’s word tells us the truth. The Bible tells us what is right and wrong and gives us the wisdom we need in life. God’s word is our guidebook and when we follow it we tend to prosper, but even if we don’t, it reminds us that God is still in control and is somehow working all things together for good.
So because I ran out of time to share the “Bible Verse of the day” over the last few days I am sharing it now:
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
2 Timothy 2:10-13 (NLT2)
10 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
11 This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him.
12 If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.
Today’s verses encourage us that our attitude towards life is that we should be willing to endure anything if it could possibly bring salvation to others or glory to God.
Ironically, our endurance itself can give glory to God. Bob Griffin, who is in pain and battling cancer, took to Instagram the other day to encourage others to take their pains to God in prayer. Bob’s endurance and his faithfulness to point others to the Lord gives God glory. Bob is no stranger to pain, as His testimony that I share on the MT4Christ247 YouTube channel can tell you. But it is because Bob has walked through the fire with the Lord before that he can still trust Him and encourage others to put their faith in Jesus and follow Him.
As these verses say: If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him.
But if we deny Him, He will deny us.
But even if we are unfaithful, God doesn’t follow suit.
God remains faithful because that’s who He is: faithful and true – and He can’t deny who He is.
These are just a few verses from the word of God that can give us the hope to endure through our trials and can remind us of our eternal relationship with the Father. When we know this, we can endure, we can be content, and we can face possible death and whatever hardships this world may throw at us with peace and confidence because we know that God is faithful.
The life giving wisdom from God’s word is the reason why Bible study is one of the first things I do each day.
Right now there is a worship song on the Christians stations that speaks the truth to keep the first things first. God’s the first thing and He is the One we need to connect with. The song is “First things First by Consuming Fire” and the lyrics echo my heart’s intention. A portion of that song that speaks to God says:
don't wanna love what the world loves
I don't wanna chase what the world does
I only want you
I only want you
I seek Your will
Not my own
Surrender all my wants to you
Keep the first thing first
To live Your truth
Walk Your ways
Set my eyes
Lord I fix my face on you
All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first”
God and our relationship with Him is THE FIRST THING. So each day we should surrender our will and ways for the wisdom of the Lord. We should make the first things we do each day things that will draw us close to God. Gratitude, prayer, Bible study, and praising the Lord are easy ways to come into God’s presence and give you the peace and confidence to remain content with whatever circumstances each new day brings.
So, if you have the day off today enjoy it, but remember to keep the first things first by choosing to keep on walking and talking with God.
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
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN CREATION, concludes
Look at the animal kingdom and note the wondrous variety. What comparison is possible between the lion and the lamb, the bear and the kid, the elephant and the mouse? Some, like the horse and the dog, are gifted with great intelligence; while others, like sheep and swine, are almost devoid of it. Why? Some are designed to be beasts of burden, while others enjoy a life of freedom. But why should the mule and the donkey be shackled to a life of drudgery while the lion and tiger are allowed to roam the jungle at their pleasure? Some are fit for food, others unfit; some are beautiful, others ugly; some are endowed with great strength, others are quite helpless; some are fleet of foot, others can scarcely crawl—contrast the hare and the tortoise; some are of use to man, others appear to be quite valueless; some live for centuries, others a few months at most; some are tame, others fierce. But why all these variations and differences? What is true of the animals is equally true of the birds and fishes.
But consider now the vegetable kingdom. Why should roses have thorns, and lilies grow without them? Why should one flower emit a fragrant aroma and another have none? Why should one tree bear fruit which is wholesome and another that which is poisonous? Why should one vegetable be capable of enduring frost and another wither under it? Why should one apple tree be loaded with fruit, and another tree of the same age and in the same orchard be almost barren? Why should one plant flower a dozen times in a year and another bear blossoms but once a century? Truly, “whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in the earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psa. 135:6).
Consider the angelic hosts. Surely we shall find uniformity here. But no; there, as elsewhere, the same sovereign pleasure of the Creator is displayed. Some are higher in rank than others; some are more powerful than others; some are nearer to God than others. Scripture reveals a definite and well-defined gradation in the angelic orders. From arch-angel, past seraphim and cherubim, we come to “principalities and powers” (Eph. 3:10), and from principalities and powers to “rulers” (Eph. 6:12), and then to the angels themselves, and even among them we read of “the elect angels” (1 Tim. 5:21). Again we ask, Why this inequality, this difference in rank and order? And all we can say is “Our God is in the heavens, He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3).
If then we see the sovereignty of God displayed throughout all creation, why should it be thought a strange thing if we behold it operating in the midst of the human family? Why should it be thought strange if to one God is pleased to give five talents and to another only one? Why should it be thought strange if one is born with a robust constitution and another of the same parents is frail and sickly? Why should it be thought strange if Abel is cut off in his prime, while Cain is suffered to live on for many years? Why should it be thought strange that some should be born black and others white; some be born idiots and others with high intellectual endowments; some be born constitutionally lethargic and others full of energy; some be born with a temperament that is selfish, fiery, egotistical, others who are naturally self-sacrificing, submissive and meek? Why should it be thought strange if some are qualified by nature to lead and rule, while others are only fitted to follow and serve? Heredity and environment cannot account for all these variations and inequalities. No; it is God who maketh one to differ from another. Why should He? “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight” must be our reply.
Learn then this basic truth, that the Creator is absolute Sovereign, executing His own will, performing His own pleasure, and considering nought but His own glory. “The Lord hath made all things FOR HIMSELF” (Prov. 16:4). And had He not a perfect right to? Since God is God, who dare challenge His prerogative? To murmur against Him is rank rebellion. To question His ways is to impugn His wisdom. To criticize Him is sin of the deepest dye. Have we forgotten who He is? Behold, “All nations before Him as are nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God?” (Isa. 40:17, 18).
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