God Has Left Me – Lies of the Enemy #34– Purity 1046
Purity 1046 05/18/2023 Purity 1046 Podcast
Purity 1046 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of waves crashing on the shores of Lake Ontario at Sunset comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as Rocco Saya captured this “stunner” of a sunset on Tuesday May 16th and shared it on social media yesterday. I took the liberty of titling it as “Crashing Waves Ontario Sunset” for my files but even that name fails to adequately express all that Saya put on film as the brilliant light of the sun made even the rocks on the shore glisten and that large expanse of clouds not only creates a frame for the sun but also a heavenly specter to behold in its own right.
Well, It’s Thursday and sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy how sometimes God puts everything together so brilliantly that even we can see His hand at work. We can so often forget that , not only has God “got this”, He’s got everything, all the time.
Last night I stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit as I tried something a little different as I led the Celebrate Freedom (Recovery/Discipleship) Growth Group through Lesson 2 of the Celebrate Recovery Course material as I decided to respond to the feedback for our “growth group” to be more like a “growth group”.
For those new to the term – like me apparently – a growth group at my local church is a small group that gets together to discuss the material from the Pastor’s sermon as an opportunity to come together for food, fellowship, and prayer. Last week I led our “Recovery Growth Group” - like a Celebrate Recovery Ministry – where I taught the lesson and led a worship sing along before breaking into separate discussion groups for the men and women, Celebrate Recovery Style.
Although that first night was somewhat of a success, I received feedback that some wanted the Recovery Growth Group to be more of a discussion than a lecture, like at a “growth group”. So I faced the seeming dilemma to present the material from the Celebrate Recovery material but to make the evening more relational. As an online discipleship course leader, and as many a “growth group” leader would tell you, I know that in order to have a ”discussion”, the people gathered to discuss whatever topic have to some knowledge of the material discussed. In my church’s small groups, the group has heard the pastor’s message BEFORE we meet. In the Freedom in Christ course I lead, the men have watched the videos and done the discussions BEFORE we meet,
So I had to think of a way to simultaneously present the material but somehow include the group, some of whom admitted to having NO exposure to the Celebrater Recovery material before, and I got the idea that me calling on people from the podium I “lectured” at would not suffice.
So I came up with an idea that was a little unorthodox for this “teacher” that turned out to be a lot less work and a whole lot more relational. Faced with the paradox of having to present new material and to make the people, who didn’t know the material, as part of the process, I decided to just “give them the lesson” quite literally.
Last night, we put the chairs in a circle and I left the podium in the other room I had borrowed it from the week before, and so, to me our set up looked more like “group therapy” than a class, As we started the evening, the female leader led us in prayer before each person in the group was directed to introduce or re-introduce themselves and share one thing they were thankful for.
Our mission at Celebrate Freedom is to make our group a positive experience and I know that one of the four habits of joy-filled people is APPRECIATION – So everyone, even though some admitted to be struggling with fatigue, stress, anger, or depression to some degree, gave thanks for something. Some gave thanks for the group (in week 2) and for the opportunity it created as a means of turning it around.
And right on the heels of giving thanks I directed everyone to get up and praise the Lord in song as we sang along with Shane & Shane’s “You’ve Already Won” – karaoke style.
After that was the big test, as I advised the group that we would all be presenting the lesson together as I literally took the lesson and cut it into parts – and said that each of us would “do our part” by reading our section of the lesson and I gave everyone the liberty of expanding on what they presented with their thoughts or experiences from their testimony if they felt led. I know, its not a revolutionary idea, and I also know from experience in my school days, that this method can be a real train wreck when even the most robust material can be come boring as the disinterested read or fumble through their section with a bored or unaffected monotonous tone. I think we may have all had that experience where teacher “made us read” the lesson and how utterly painful it can be. But I let go and let God, and of course, as those who have done that before know, something unexpected happened.
Although I had prepared the sections of the lessons and even numbered them before passing them out, somewhere between the copy machine and the distribution of the sections through the group – 4 sections – from the middle just “magically disappeared” so when it sections got to the end of the group there was nothing to pass along. I knew something was wrong because there were 15 pieces to this puzzle and even though I didn’t have a head count of the group at the time I didn’t think we had over 15 people in attendance. But I figured there must be 16 of us and carried on with the lesson by reading the first part and the teaching moved to the next person. Thankfully the group all could read (something you really shouldn’t assume – what a disaster that would have been as my exercise would shamed the illiterate and sent them running for the door), but they all could read, and they read the material audibly and with enthusiasm as everyone could relate to what was being “taught” – Amen?
And then we got to lucky number 7, and silence. I didn’t quick count and said “7?” to which everyone just shook their head to admit that they weren’t number 7. The closest person to 7 was 11! 7-11, hmm? Anyway, luckily I decide to keep a “master copy” of the lesson and picked up 7 and had the woman on my left read section 8, and she volunteered to read section 9 too – which just so happened to speak to her current situation and that caused her to share a part of her “story” with the group.
I saw the work of God’s hand in this and said as much in the moment, pointing out that while I didn’t know where those missing sections were, God knew, and He arranged for this section to fall to this woman, because He knew that it would “speak” to her and just so you know that God is good, it so happened to be this first night in our group. You can’t make this stuff up!
Anyway there was still one missing section to cover so, I volunteer ed to take it and said, “ I wondered what God has for me?” - And so while it could have been something totally unrelated to my experience, it wasn’t – the 10th section was on “Loneliness” – and I confessed that it was relevant – that before the Lord called me into His kingdom – I was a loner – I spent my time alone in a basement and never would have dreamed that I would be teaching or leading a group – Christian or otherwise and I testified a little bit of how the Lord changed my life and how its not lonely anymore.
So as way of segways this might be a record but, speaking of loneliness – the lesson last night also taught on “separation” – on how some people talk about “finding God” as if God could be lost. But in our struggles through this world, we, even Christians, can feel that God has left us.
And that brings us to our current series the “Lies of the Enemy”, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.
So today’s big lie is:
Lie #33: God Has Left Me.
This lie of the enemy is supported by every “deist” out there. Deists believe that there is a God – somewhere out there- but He has no dealings with His Creation Or doesn’t involve Himself in the lives of men. For Deist – God hasn’t just left them- He’s left everybody!
But that is a lie, Christ came to the earth to dispel this lie. God gave us the Holy Spirit to testify to our spirits that we are not alone and that we are children of God.
As for atheists, their insistence on the nonexistence of God, keeps them blind or willfully ignorant of the Lord’s presence. For a “true atheist”, life is meaningless as they reason they came out of nothing and will cease to exist when they go back into nothing when they die.
But Christ overcame the grave. He rose from the dead and told all of us that there is an unseen kingdom beyond this world and life and a judgement to come after death. Every culture on the earth believes in an afterlife and while there is much confusion on this topic, Jesus came to show us the truth and warn us of the one way to a “good end”.
Jesus taught more about hell than heaven. He offered that faith in Him was the one way to God the Father and warned that for those who “didn’t know Him” there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So yikes, for the non-believing – you wish that God would leave you – because you will be accountable for what you did with your life and how you rejected and rebelled against the God who made you.
For believing who have suffered trauma, loss, or tragedy or just feel that the Lord’ presence is no longer with you, don’t believe the lie that God has left you.
As our lesson last night taught:
Separation from God can feel real, but it is never permanent. Remember, He seeks His lost! When we can’t find God, we have to ask ourselves “Who moved?” and come to the conclusion that … “it wasn’t God.”
Whether from sin, suffering, or just business, we are the one’s who forget that God will never leave us or forsake us. God is omnipresent – everywhere at once – we couldn’t escape from Him if we tried – but we can feel like He’s not there when we fail to follow Him.
So if you feel that “God has left me” is true about you, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. That’s a lie! I’m here to tell you that God is with you and that you only need to seek Him to find Him. Go to His house – a church. He’s there. Read His word. He’s there too. Look all around you, He made it all – He’s there. Repent of you sin, ask Him for His help, and speak and listen to Him in prayer – and believe – and you will know the truth that He has never left you and when you put your faith in Jesus, you will never be separated from His love.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
Today’s verse offers excellent marriage advice to husbands to love their wives as they love their own bodies – that a man who loves his wife shows love for himself because the love he gives to his wife is often repaid in spades.
When we give love, we receive love. This is the most excellent advice that I know is true as my wife appreciates and reciprocates the love that I give to her. I am truly blessed with the Christian wife that the Lord brought into my life, and I will obey His word and love her like I love my own body.
Oh and just to reiterate God being with us. The next verses tell us:
29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.
30 And we are members of his body.
We are members of Christ body and the love we receive from Him should be spread to those around us.
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 begin sharing from The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
A.W. Pink's The Holy Spirit 1 -The Holy Spirit
In the past having given consideration to the attributes of God our Father, and then to a contemplation of some of the glories of God our Redeemer, it now seems fitting that these should be followed by this series on the Holy Spirit. The need for this is real and pressing, for ignorance of the Third Person of the Godhead is most dishonoring to Him, and highly injurious to ourselves. The late George Smeaton of Scotland began his excellent work upon the Holy Spirit by saying, “Wherever Christianity has been a living power, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has uniformly been regarded, equally with the Atonement and Justification by faith, as the article of a standing or falling church. The distinctive feature of Christianity as it addresses itself to man’s experience, is the work of the Spirit, which not only elevates it far above all philosophical speculation, but also above every other form of religion.”
The Importance of Studying the Holy Spirit
Not at all too strong was the language of Samuel Chadwick when he said, “The gift of the Spirit is the crowning mercy of God in Christ Jesus. It was for this all the rest was. The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit all the rest would be useless. The great thing in Christianity is the gift of the Spirit. The essential, vital, central element in the life of the soul and the work of the Church is the Person of the Spirit” (Joyful News, 1911).
The great importance of a reverent and prayerful study of this subject should be apparent to every real child of God. The repeated references made to the Spirit by Christ in His final discourse (John 14 to 16) at once intimates this. The particular work which has been committed to Him furnishes clear proof of it. There is no spiritual good communicated to anyone but by the Spirit; whatever God in His grace works in us, it is by the Spirit. The only sin for which there is no forgiveness is one committed against the Spirit. How necessary is it then that we should be well instructed in the Scripture doctrine concerning Him! The great abuse there has been in all ages under the pretense of His holy name, should prompt us to diligent study. Finally, the awful ignorance which now so widely prevails upon the Spirit’s office and operations, urges us to put forth our best efforts.
Yet important as is our subject, and prominent as is the place given to it in Holy Writ, it seems that it has always met with a considerable amount of neglect and perversion. Thomas Goodwin commenced his massive work on The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Salvation (1660) by affirming, “There is a general omission in the saints of God, in their not giving the Holy Spirit that glory that is due to His Person and for His great work of salvation in us, insomuch that we have in our hearts almost forgotten this Third Person.” If that could be said in the midst of the balmy days of the Puritans, what language would be required to set forth the awful spiritual ignorance and impotency of this benighted 20th century!
In the Preface to his Lectures on “The Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit” (1817), Robert Hawker wrote, “I am the more prompted to this service, from contemplating the present awful day of the world. Surely the ‘last days’ and the ‘perilous times,’ so expressly spoken of by the Spirit, are come (1 Tim. 4:1). The flood gates of heresy are broken up, and are pouring forth their deadly poison in various streams through the land. In a more daring and open manner the denial of the Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit is come forward and indicates the tempest to follow. In such a season it is needful to contend, and that, ‘earnestly, for the faith once delivered unto the saints.’ Now in a more awakened manner ought the people of God to remember the words of Jesus, and ‘to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ ”
So again, in 1880, George Smeaton wrote, “We may safely affirm that the doctrine of the Spirit is almost entirely ignored.” And let us add, Wherever little honor is done to the Spirit, there is grave cause to suspect the genuineness of any profession of Christianity. Against this, it may he replied, Such charges as the above no longer hold good. Would to God they did not, but they do. While it be true that during the past two generations much has been written and spoken on the person of the Spirit, yet, for the most part, it has been of a sadly inadequate and erroneous character. Much dross has been mingled with the gold. A fearful amount of unscriptural nonsense and fanaticism has marred the testimony. Furthermore, it cannot be denied that it is no longer generally recognized that supernatural agency is imperatively required in order for the redemptive work of Christ to be applied to sinners. Rather do actions show it is now widely held that if unregenerate souls are instructed in the letter of Scripture their own willpower is sufficient to enable them to “decide for Christ.”
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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)
For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge
“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).
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