Scoreboard – Good News in a Mad World - Purity 949
Purity 949 01/23/2023 Purity 949 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a spectacular sunset sky over Port Noarlunga in South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) as Dave shared this brighter shot from halfway down the winding staircase that takes you to the beach below on social media earlier today.
Yesterday I shared a “moodier” sunset from the same location that Dave had captured because it seemed to be appropriate in the face of a couple of bad reports I received over the weekend. Little did I know that sullen disposition would turn into a real case of the Mondays as my work day was accompanied by a mild but unrelenting snow storm, challenging circumstances, and negative emotions of fear, anxiety, frustration, and condemnation that painted everything black.
The weather wasn’t good. Work was somewhat frustrating. The news I had gotten over the weekend wasn’t good. And I got a new report in the early morning hours that someone else in my life had suffered an unexplained fall and needed to be admitted in the hospital! With all of these things its difficult to remain positive, but it is even more difficult when your thoughts go negative.
“Nothing works! Everything breaks! What’s the Use? I hate this! Why can’t anything work? I’ll never be used by the Lord! What’s the point! Everyone lies! I can’t say anything! Don’t they realize what they are doing? Don’t they know what they have done? No one will accept me! Nothing changes! Everything Changes, nothing stays the same. Things just keep getting worse! Everyone hates me! There is nothing good in life! It’s not safe! I’m going to get hurt! I’m going to go off the road! Someone is going to hit me! There’s no time! I’ll never get out of this! Why do I bother! ”
While I can’t recall the exact content of all my thoughts yesterday… some of those might have gone through my mind. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t all happen at once, for the most part I remained positive, careful, and on task. No yesterday seemed to be a progressive campaign of negative mental chatter was sent by the spiritual forces of darkness.
As a facilitator of the Freedom in Christ course from Freedom in Christ ministries, I understand the fact that because of the unseen spiritual realities of existence, all of our thoughts aren’t necessarily our own and when our outlook on life becomes dark and focused on the world, ourselves, and the negative aspects of our lives it is safe to assume that we are being influenced by the deceiver and the “accuser of the brethren”, Satan and the demonic forces of darkness who only seek to kill, steal, and destroy our peace.
Sometimes we will see our “negative train of thoughts” and ask why am I doing this to myself? Why am I thinking about this? Why would I want to feel this way?
Well, the simple answer those questions is that we aren’t or at least we are not “driving that train of thought”. The enemy is tempting us to “get on board” and because those negative aspects of life are there and are “pressing” – we buy the ticket and are taken for a ride to condemnation, anger, fear, worry, or depression.
Ironically, the enemy can even use our hopes against us. If we are hoping for good outcomes, the enemy will be there to remind us that “nothing good happens to us” or will accuse us to convince us of why we are not worthy of good things.
The enemy can even use our love for others to drag us down. In contemplating the traumas and tragedies our friends and loved ones face, we can question God’s goodness and come away depressed. When we consider our family and friends who don’t know the Lord or who are locked into a lifestyle of worldliness or sin, we can fear for the immortal souls and doubt that they will ever come to faith.
The enemy can use our performance against us. No one does anything perfectly. Our work for ourselves, our employers, or for God’s kingdom will always be subject to judgement, criticism, and second guessing. The enemy loves to let us know when we are failing or when we could have done things better or how even the good we do won’t matter. With each passing day, the enemy can point to our advancing years and attempt to convince us of the futility of our efforts and our lives themselves as we slow age and can be tempted consider if our lives have meaning or purpose.
This maelstrom of existential laments and considerations can be daunting when we fail to remember who we are in Christ. Because the suffering of the world is a clear and present reality that we deal with every day, the enemy can steal our joy by getting us to focus on these circumstances rather than on the One who is above them all and who is guiding them all for good.
The enemy wants us to have tunnel vision – where we focus on the negative aspects of our lives to the exclusion of the overwhelming positive aspects of our lives.
After I suffered through my “no good terrible day”, I realized that I had been drawn into this tunnel of frustration and hopelessness, when in reality I have an amazing life that is surrounded by good things.
Circumstantially, I am blessed with:
A job that provides. A home. A wife who loves me. A collection of possession that work. Relatively good health. Friends. A loving family. Pets. Food and Water.
Those things didn’t go away just because some snow fell on a Monday and some bad things have happened to some of the people I care about.
Anyone could be grateful for these blessings but when we focus on the negative aspects of our lives, we can feel like we don’t have anything good at all.
As awesome as these things are and should be remembered to keep us grounded in reality and grateful, they are all subject to change and we could lose them at any minute.
Yikes, What are you trying to do M.T.? I was just starting to feel better!
Well, I want you to find the peace and joy goes beyond the good circumstances of our lives by pointing to the ultimate good that comes through faith in Christ alone.
The one unshakable and unchanging thing we can hold on to in life is God. He is only one that we know who will never leave us or forsake us and who gives us a new life and an enduring hope.
If nothing else good should come on this earth, we know that because of our faith in Christ, we will overcome. In Christ, we have the ultimate victory that is never lost!
In sports circles, sometimes a team that is thoroughly beaten will make a good play and out of their frustration will boast and try to rub it in their opponent’s faces. But even though the eventual victors had been shown up momentarily, the mature ones will remind their nemesis of their imminent victory, by simply saying: “Scoreboard.”
In Christ, we have won. We have all we need for life and godliness. Although there may be suffering here on earth, we are victorious.
For the Christian, our “Scoreboard” is Jesus. He has won the victory and given it toous.
Although the enemy will try to convince us that he will never stop ruling this world and causing mayhem, those of us in Christ, can look to Jesus – our “scoreboard” and know that beyond the chaos of this mad world, a kingdom is coming. The victory has already be won and when we focus on Jesus and on who we are in Christ, our tunnel vision is shown to be spiritual blindness and light of God’s goodness opens up the heavens as we see just how big God is and how deep, how wide, and how high His love goes.
So, if you train of thoughts take you into a dark place, remember to turn on the light and remind yourself of who you are in Christ and of the victory that we have with us everyday. God is with us so rather than dwelling on the negative reports from a mad world, keep walking and talking to Him to know the peace and joy that go beyond the circumstances that surround us. \
In Christ, we live forever and when we walk by faith we are anchored to the victory that Christ has won. So keep walking and talking with God and remind yourself that everyday is a good day when you are alive and well in His kingdom.
Today we will skip the Bible verse of the day and read from the Who I Am in Christ list because we need to know this, and live this every day:
Who I am in Christ
I AM ACCEPTED IN CHRIST
I am God’s Child (John 1:12)
I am Christ’s Friend (John 15:15)
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am united with the Lord and one with Him in Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17)
I have been bought with a price; I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20)
I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1)
I have been adopted as God’s child (Ephesians 1:5)
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:14)
I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
I AM SECURE IN CHRIST
I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1)
I am assured that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
I am free from the condemning charges against me (Romans 8:33-34)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35, 38-39)
I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
I can find grace and mercy to help me in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)
I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil 1:6)
I AM SIGNIFICANT IN CHRIST
I am the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14)
I am a branch of the true vine, a channel to His life (John 15:1,5)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
I am God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)
I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)
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 SALVATION, continues.
3. The Sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit in Salvation continues
Each of the three Persons in the blessed Trinity is concerned with our salvation: with the Father it is predestination; with the Son propitiation; with the Spirit regeneration. The Father chose us; the Son died for us; the Spirit quickens us. The Father was concerned about us; the Son shed His blood for us, the Spirit performs His work within us. What the One did was eternal, what the Other did was external, what the Spirit does is internal. It is with the work of the Spirit we are now concerned, with His work in the new birth, and particularly His sovereign operations in the new birth. The Father purposed our new birth; the Son has made possible (by His “travail”) the new birth; but it is the Spirit who effects the new birth—“Born of the Spirit” (John 3:6).
The new birth is solely the work of God the Spirit and man has no part or lot in it. This from the very nature of the case. Birth altogether excludes the idea of any effort or work on the part of the one who is born. Personally we have no more to do with our spiritual birth than we had with our natural birth. The new birth is a spiritual resurrection, a “passing from death unto life” (John 5:24) and, clearly, resurrection is altogether outside of man’s province. No corpse can re-animate itself. Hence it is written, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). But the Spirit does not “quicken” everybody—why? The usual answer returned to this question is, Because everybody does not trust in Christ. It is supposed that the Holy Spirit quickens only those who believe. But this is to put the cart before the horse. Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it. This ought not to need arguing. Faith (in God) is an exotic, something that is not native to the human heart. If faith were a natural product of the human heart, the exercise of a principle common to human nature, it would never have been written, “All men have not faith” (2 Thess. 3:2) Faith is a spiritual grace, the fruit of the spiritual nature, and because the unregenerate are spiritually dead—“dead in trespasses and sins”—then it follows that faith from them is impossible, for a dead man cannot believe anything. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8)—but they could if it were possible for the flesh to believe. Compare with this last-quoted scripture Heb. 11:6—“But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Can God be “pleased” or satisfied with any thing which does not have its origin in Himself?
That the work of the Holy Spirit precedes our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thess. 2:13—“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit?” We answer, the new birth. In Scripture “sanctification” always means “separation,” separation for something and unto something or someone. Let us now amplify our assertion that the “sanctification of the Spirit” corresponds to the new birth and points to the positional effect of it.
Here is a servant of God who preaches the Gospel to a congregation in which are an hundred unsaved people. He brings before them the teaching of Scripture concerning their ruined and lost condition: he speaks of God, His character and righteous demands; he tells of Christ meeting God’s demands, and dying the Just for the unjust, and declares that through “this Man” is now preached the forgiveness of sins; he closes by urging the lost to believe what God has said in His Word and receive His Son as their Lord and Saviour. The meeting is over; the congregation disperses; ninety-nine of the unsaved have refused to come to Christ that they might have life, and go out into the night having no hope, and without God in the world. But the hundredth heard the Word of life; the Seed sown fell into ground which had been prepared by God; he believed the Good News, and goes home rejoicing that his name is written in heaven. He has been “born again,” and just as a newly-born babe in the natural world begins life by clinging instinctively, in its helplessness, to its mother, so this new-born soul has clung to Christ. Just as we read, “The Lord opened” the heart of Lydia “that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” (Acts 16:14), so in the case supposed above, the Holy Spirit quickened that one before he believed the Gospel message. Here then is the “sanctification of the Spirit:” this one soul who has been born again has, by virtue of his new birth, been separated from the other ninety-nine. Those born again are, by the Spirit, set apart from those who are dead in trespasses and sins.
A beautiful type of the operations of the Holy Spirit antecedent to the sinner’s “belief of the truth,” is found in the first chapter of Genesis. We read in verse 2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The original Hebrew here might be literally rendered thus: “And the earth had become a desolate ruin, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” In “the beginning” the earth was not created in the condition described in verse 2. Between the first two verses of Genesis 1 some awful catastrophe had occurred—possibly the fall of Satan—and, as the consequence, the earth had been blasted and blighted, and had become a “desolate ruin,” lying beneath a pall of “darkness.” Such also is the history of man. Today, man is not in the condition in which he left the hands of his Creater: an awful catastrophe has happened, and now man is a “desolate ruin” and in total “darkness” concerning spiritual things. Next we read in Genesis 1 how God refashioned the ruined earth and created new beings to inhabit it. First we read, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water.” Next we are told, “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” The order is the same in the new creation: there is the first the action of the Spirit, and then the Word of God giving light. Before the Word found entrance into the scene of desolation and darkness, bringing with it the light, the Spirit of God “moved.” So it is in the new creation. “The entrance of Thy word giveth light” (Psa. 119:130), but before it can enter the darkened human heart the Spirit of God must operate upon it.
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