Practicing Solitude and Silence – Knowing When to Retreat - Purity 931
Purity 931 01/03/2023
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Today’s photo of the reflection of the forest shoreline in the waters of Cliffiside Lake with the shadow of trees in the foreground comes to us from Fred Dimmick who captured and shared this scene from Highlands NC on social media on January 1st. Fred started off the New Year right and I look forward to sharing more of his “views” as the year progresses.
Well, it’s Tuesday, and for the vast majority of us – “it’s back to life, back to reality”- but not for me! I didn’t ask for this “extra day off” but am glad to have it. My job requires us to work the occasional Saturday and my occasion is this weekend. So, while I won’t be looking forward to the “one day” weekend ahead of me, I will be using today to fully recharge my batteries by spending the day practicing solitude in a full day retreat where I will use the hours I normally would be working in prayer, fasting, and study as I plan to review John Eldredge’s “Resilient” to, as the subtitle says, “restore my soul in these turbulent times”.
Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) Jesus instructed us:
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
So after posting this message, I will be shutting the door and going to the secret place and don’t plan on re-emerging until the study is done.
In our modern lives we are often busy going from one thing to the next, charging ahead but today the Lord has put it on my heart to unplug and rest in His presence in relative silence.
Solitude and Silence are practices that don’t get a lot of headlines but are spiritual disciplines that should be regularly utilized in our walk.
In this noisy cramped world, we need to shut it off every once in awhile and go solo into His presence and listen to the Lord’s got to say.
So although the vast majority of us might not be able to do this today, I encourage you to schedule some time for just you. Take a “day trip” with the Lord – take time to get alone and get quiet and see what He has to say to you. Spending time in solitude and silence may make it possible to hear what He has to say and to see what direction your path will take next.
Keeping it short and sweet today. So until you get that time alone, keep walking and talking with God.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Today’s verse was under the heading: “When the evil around you seems powerful…” and so Revelation 20:10 tells us the final destination of the devil in the lake of fire where he, along with the beast (the Anti-Christ) and the false prophet who are yet to be revealed, will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Hell is not Satan’s kingdom it is his prison. He is not the equal and opposite of God. He is a created being, a fallen – rebellious angel who will be Hell’s most infamous inmate. While there is evil in this world and in the spirit realm, those forces of darkness will not prevail and will be judged and punished for their wickedness.
Those who put their faith in Christ alone will be forgiven and saved from God’s wrath and so for the Christian this verse while rather dark is actually good news and is declaring God’s supremacy and His reclaiming of His kingdom.
So no matter how dark things may seem to be getting in our world, and scripture indicates that things get worse before they get better, ultimately justice and goodness will prevail as God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So Christians should be filled the hope for that future fulfillment and be diligent in sharing the good news of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ and endure through whatever trials we may face now knowing and trusting that God will put everything right in the end, and that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and that are called to His purpose.
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
The sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we say that God is sovereign we affirm His right to govern the universe which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay, i.e., that He may mould that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.
Sovereignty characterizes the whole Being of God. He is sovereign in all His attributes. He is sovereign in the exercise of His power. His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills. This fact is evidenced on every page of Scripture. For a long season that power appears to be dormant, and then it is put forth in irresistible might. Pharaoh dared to hinder Israel from going forth to worship Jehovah in the wilderness—what happened? God exercised His power, His people were delivered and their cruel task-masters slain. But a little later, the Amalekites dared to attack these same Israelites in the wilderness, and what happened? Did God put forth His power on this occasion and display His hand as He did at the Red Sea? Were these enemies of His people promptly overthrown and destroyed? No, on the contrary, the Lord swore that He would “have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16). Again, when Israel entered the land of Canaan, God’s power was signally displayed. The city of Jericho barred their progress—what happened? Israel did not draw a bow nor strike a blow: the Lord stretched forth His hand and the walls fell down flat. But the miracle was never repeated! No other city fell after this manner. Every other city had to be captured by the sword!
Many other instances might be adduced illustrating the sovereign exercise of God’s power. Take one other example. God put forth His power and David was delivered from Goliath, the giant; the mouths of the lions were closed and Daniel escaped unhurt; the three Hebrew children were cast into the burning fiery furnace and came forth unharmed and unscorched. But God’s power did not always interpose for the deliverance of His people, for we read: “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Heb. 11:36, 37). But why? Why were not these men of faith delivered like the others? Or, why were not the others suffered to be killed like these? Why should God’s power interpose and rescue some and not the others? Why allow Stephen to be stoned to death, and then deliver Peter from prison?
God is sovereign in the delegation of His power to others. Why did God endow Methuselah with a vitality which enabled him to outlive all his contemporaries? Why did God impart to Samson a physical strength which no other human has ever possessed? Again; it is written, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18), but God does not bestow this power on all alike. Why not? Why has He given such power to men like Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller? The answer to all of these questions is, Because God is Sovereign, and being Sovereign He does as He pleases.
God is sovereign in the exercise of His mercy. Necessarily so, for mercy is directed by the will of Him that showeth mercy. Mercy is not a right to which man is entitled. Mercy is that adorable attribute of God by which He pities and relieves the wretched. But under the righteous government of God no one is wretched who does not deserve to be so. The objects of mercy, then, are those who are miserable, and all misery is the result of sin, hence the miserable are deserving of punishment not mercy. To speak of deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms.
God bestows His mercies on whom He pleases and withholds them as seemeth good unto Himself. A remarkable illustration of this fact is seen in the manner that God responded to the prayers of two men offered under very similar circumstances. Sentence of death was passed upon Moses for one act of disobedience, and he besought the Lord for a reprieve. But was his desire gratified? No; he told Israel, “The Lord is wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee” (Deut. 3:26). Now mark the second case: “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (2 Kings 20:1–6). Both of these men had the sentence of death in themselves, and both prayed earnestly unto the Lord for a reprieve: the one wrote: “The Lord would not hear me,” and died; but to the other it was said, “I have heard thy prayer,” and his life was spared. What an illustration and exemplification of the truth expressed in Romans 9:15!—“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
The sovereign exercise of God’s mercy—pity shown to the wretched—was displayed when Jehovah became flesh and tabernacled among men. Take one illustration. During one of the Feasts of the Jews, the Lord Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He came to the Pool of Bethesda where lay “a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.” Among this “great multitude” there was “a certain man which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.” What happened? “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answer Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but when I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:3–9). Why was this one man singled out from all the others? We are not told that he cried “Lord, have mercy on me.” There is not a word in the narrative which intimates that this man possessed any qualifications which entitled him to receive special favor. Here then was a case of the sovereign exercise of Divine mercy, for it was just as easy for Christ to heal the whole of that “great multitude” as this one “certain man.” But He did not. He put forth His power and relieved the wretchedness of this one particular sufferer, and for some reason known only to Himself, He declined to do the same for the others. Again, we say, what an illustration and exemplification of Romans 9:15!—“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
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