A Graveyard of Skeletons from My Closet- Purity 862
Purity 862 10/13/2022 Purity 862 Podcast
Today’s photo of trees in their autumn colors along a road running past a cemetery comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while at work on 56 Road in Petersburgh where the vibrant leaves and cell service aren’t the only things that were dead!
Hey, I am not a tree specialist or a meteorologist or whoever would declare that it is “peak” season for the fall foliage in upstate New York, but even though the skies yesterday were overcast and would eventually open up to rain, as I drove through Averill Park, East Greenbush, Postenkill, and Petersburgh yesterday I couldn’t help but notice that the landscape was positively alive with the colors of autumn. So if we are blessed with clear or sunny weather this weekend, get out there and check out the beauty of the season because I highly suspect that we are at the peak of the season and colors will begin to lose their luster as the irony is that those vibrant colors of autumn are actually a sign that those leaves are dying!
Say it ain’t so MT! Hey that’s the harsh reality of life but also the beauty of our world, the leaves of autumn and all of us are only here for a short time and then we face the limits of our own mortality. Because we have but one life to live, we have to make them count.
And while that may sound like a lead into a cry of YOLO, you only live once, that could lead to a hedonistic search for fun, thrills, and personal fulfillment, I am actually going to to encourage you to look past the pleasures of the flesh, the collecting of experiences, and the accumulation of earthly treasures and point you to the big picture and exhort you to get right with God by placing your faith in Christ and by following Him in the way you live your life.
Oh don’t get me wrong, we can still enjoy our lives by seeing the beauty that is all around us, experiencing the good things in life, and loving the people in our lives, I am merely suggesting that you raise your joy and peace by doing all of that in the context of a covenant relationship with God that will take away your fear of death and that will cause you to see what in this world really matters.
As much as we are increasingly becoming a society that is aware of the importance of good mental health and that encourages “self care”, I feel that most of the advice that people give to one another in how to find peace and enjoy their lives is missing something.
Ironically, while some would ignore our own mortality, most people are aware of the brevity of life and enthusiastically encourage one another the “live it up” or to “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” but other than telling people to enjoy this life, the advice regarding what happens after this life is either silent or based on “wishes”, personal opinions, universal hopes, or some sentimental atheistic hogwash instead of the word of God, that tells us that there is ONE WAY to God, and the MAN that changed the world told it to us straight:
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
And to prove He was on the level, that His word is true, Christ rose from the dead, proving He was who He said He was.
In Luke 22:70 (NKJV) those who put Him on trial asked:
70 … "Are You then the Son of God?"
And Christ …”said to them, "You rightly say that I am.
Christ told them who He was but they couldn’t or wouldn’t believe and they killed Him for it. But He came back and calls everyone to follow Him.
The Apostle Paul describes our faith in terms of life and death, that we will live with Christ but die to our old life and to sin that plagues us when we fail to know who we are in Christ and start living out our faith.
Romans 6:3-14 (NKJV)
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
If you need good news, there it is. We need not fear death. We have power over sin. And we can walk in newness of life.
But sometimes we have to let some aspects of our old life die in order to live that new life and sometimes it hurts.
Yesterday, I decided to spin back my photo archive to get the photo of the day. My spin took me back to the distant country of 2019. After I finished yesterdays blog I went into close my photo app but before I did I decide to delete some old photos from where I had landed and much to my shock and my shame I discovered some photos of texts messages from someone in my past that I decided to break relationship with because our “friendship” was in a grey area that could lead to sin and even though our interactions where pure on my part, as I just offered prayer and support, I knew that because of my history, I shouldn’t be the one giving prayer and support to this person because they had developed an unhealthy attachment and dependence on me.
So I did the hard and harsh thing, I set up boundaries to effectively end their communications with me. I had saved the text from me telling this person to contact other people for support and requesting they not contact me anymore because I felt I had to have them “on file” in case something messy happened.
Luckily, although they were hurt and angry at my request to be left alone, this person did stop contacting me and no sooner did our contact end that their interest in discipleship and prayer seemed to evaporate.
I have enough skeletons in my closet from my pre-Christ existence and from those “Left Behind” as I have walked along the path of Christian Discipleship to fill a small graveyard.
When we start to follow Jesus, we leave our old lives behind and some times people will leave us and sometimes we will have to leave them as our new existence calls us to a life free from sin and some of our old associations are mired in it.
But we leave behind the world of darkness and all its casualties because we are going in opposite directions, while they are slowly dying and hiding from the light, we are walking towards it and we ain’t going back.
So yeah, I was reminded of how cold I had to be to someone in my past and how that person is just one of many that I am no longer in fellowship with because while they stayed in the dark, I have been compelled to keep going to the light. And while I am not proud of how harsh I was, I don’t regret doing it because I did what was right.
So, enjoy this life, but let the enjoyment of this world ever get in the way of your relationship with the Lord. Just like those autumn leaves that seem so vibrant and beautiful but are dying, this world, and the people who are oh so nice but who reject Jesus Christ, are slowly dying too and if we were to follow them our path would lead to destruction.
So whistle past that graveyard full of dead men’s bones because you are alive in Christ and you are going to live forever. And even though, we may have to separate ourselves from those who are perishing at times, we will never regret doing the right thing when we go into God’s kingdom beyond this life.
So keep walking and talking with God and try to show people the way that leads to life but be wise in who you spend your time with and realize when you have to set up boundaries to keep your light shining.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Timothy 2:5-6 (NKJV)
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the exclusivity of Christ to Save. There is ONE Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus and in time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Today’s verses tell us that Christ paid the cost for all of us and that He stands between us and God. We can only have peace with God through Him and in time everyone will know that He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
So rejoice that you know it, share that knowledge with others, and be wise and discerning with how you spend your time and live your life to be a living expression of the hope that you have found in Christ.
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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
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 Sermon on the Mount
On the “Extraordinary” of Christian Life
The Beatitudes – Continues
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Who is pure in heart? Only those who have completely given their hearts to Jesus, so that he alone rules in them. Only those who do not stain their hearts with their own evil, but also not with their own good. A pure heart is the simple heart of a child, who does not know about good and evil, the heart of Adam before the fall, the heart in which the will of Jesus rules instead of one’s own conscience. Those who renounce their own good and evil, their own heart, who are contrite and depend solely on Jesus, have purity of heart through the word of Jesus. Purity of heart here stands in contrast to all external purity, which includes even purity of a well-meaning state of mind. A pure heart is pure of good and evil; it belongs entirely and undivided to Christ; it looks only to him, who goes on ahead. Those alone will see God who in this life have looked only to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Their hearts are free of defiling images; they are not pulled back and forth by the various wishes and intentions of their own. Their hearts are fully absorbed in seeing God. They will see God whose hearts mirror the image of Jesus Christ.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship