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Showing posts with label 2 Peter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2 Peter. Show all posts

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Homeward Bound – Christ’s Incredible Journey is Far Away but One Day Closer- Purity 597

Homeward Bound – Christ’s Incredible Journey is Far Away but One Day Closer- Purity 597

Purity 597 12/09/2021  Purity 597 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a man’s best friend leading the way up Waite Rd in Easton NY  under an overcast December sky comes to us from yours truly as I decided to capture a picture of my canine friend, Harley as “I took him” for a walk on Sunday.  

When I look at this photo I think of those old Homeward Bound movies, about a group of animal friends that take an incredible journey to make it back to their family, and can imagine that Harley is setting out on a mission of his own to find his owner, Rachael Pinter, who is far away completing the process of becoming a Marine on Paris Island in South Carolina. 

Little does our friend Harley know that his incredible journey isn’t necessary as his owner is one day closer to home as she graduates tomorrow and will begin her own incredible journey to be reunited with him.  They are each one day closer to being “home” in each other’s company. 

Likewise, I am currently separated from my fiancé who has travelled to the Palmetto State to share in the joy of Rachael’s accomplishment.  Although we are graphically separated by 788 miles, the physical distance between us doesn’t diminish the love we have for one another.   One of the songs on the “TammyLyn playlist” that I have compiled long before she went away is The Cure’s “Lovesong”: which proclaims: 

“Whenever I'm alone with you

You make me feel like I am free again

Whenever I'm alone with you

You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away

I will always love you

However long I stay

I will always love you

Whatever words I say

I will always love you

I will always love you”

This latest road trip that has increased the physical distance between my fiancé and me has verified the truth of these words for our relationship. No matter how far away we are from one another, I will always love you, TammyLyn.  

As much as I can love my fiancé and as much as a young women can love her dog, God’s love for us is so much greater and in this season of Advent we shouldn’t forget two things about our relationship with Him:  

1.     For the Christian, no distance, and no circumstances, can separate us from God’s love.

Yeah those words in Romans 8:38-39 that declare this truth are written to Christians, so although God loves all of His creation, some will refuse to come to faith in Christ and will separate themselves from God.  We don’t celebrate the coming of the newborn King because it doesn’t matter who we put our faith in.  

The Christian has been sealed by Christ’s atonement and can fully enjoy God’s love right now and for all of eternity. That’s one. 

2.    Christ is coming back.

Although we don’t know the time of His return and it may be far away, Christ’s “incredible journey on earth” that began with His birth and will culminate in His return to rule and reign can be fulfilled any day, without warning, and is one day closer. 

As much as we might be counting down the days to Christmas, we mustn’t forget that Christ isn’t being “born again” in a manger in Bethlehem each December 25th.  “Baby Jesus” doesn’t really exist anymore guys.  Just like “Baby MT” has moved on from infancy, Jesus did become a man, preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, was persecuted, crucified, died, and rose again with a glorified body. 

We shouldn’t think of Christ as a baby anymore. Neither should we think of Him as perpetually nailed to a cross.  Christ is risen! Remember? The glorified Christ, whose body was approximately 33 years old at the time of His resurrection, is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead, right?

When you speak about “Baby Jesus” in anything more than as a historical fact of the Incarnation of the Word made flesh, you reveal your ignorance, or immaturity, and are perhaps displaying more than you should of your “childlike” faith and understanding of the spiritual realities that God has proclaimed.

When we think about the “coming of Jesus” this Christmas season, although we should remember and rejoice over the original incarnation, we really should think of the “present day Christ” who is fully grown/glorified, alive, and waiting for the day of His return.

The Christian’s hope is a living hope with a future fulfillment. We are not looking back at “baby book” for our hope.  The NLT version of Hebrews 11:1 puts it clearly:

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT2)
1  Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

 It’s Thursday, December 9th and we are all one day closer to Christmas, but for the Christian although we are physically separated from our Lord and Savior, the love that God has is for us is not diminished and we are to have faith that Christ’s return will actually happen and our faith should be edified by the of the truth of God’s word that  assures us that even though we can’t see it, Christ’s incredible journey to reclaim the earth is a certainty that will come to pass.

So keep walking and talking with God, share the good news that Christ came to save that which was lost and that He is coming back for those that were found to bring them home for good.

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

2 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT2)
10  So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
11  Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today’s verses encourage us to walk the walk and talk the talk of being an authentic Christian and that if we walk out our faith on the path of Christian Discipleship we need not worry about our “spiritual relationship status” and are assured of our grand entrance.  

Now don’t get this twisted, we don’t “walk out our faith” by living according to the Biblical principles of morality to gain the grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Peter’s letter is to his brothers and sisters in Christ.  In Christ.  They made it already.  When you put your faith in Christ, you are “in”.  Nothing can separate you from the love of God, remember? 

So Peter is encouraging a victorious experiential life of purpose for his brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Yeah, you are in the kingdom. I know it’s hard to believe. It might seem too good to be true. But it is true.   

One way we can settle the uncertainty about whether we are in the kingdom, is to answer the Lord’s call to be sanctified, to be more like Jesus, by living like He would.   

Why? So we can be saved? NO!

So we can experience the fruit of the Spirit and the full assurance that we are children of God.  

We walk out our faith so we can not only be assured that we are not a false convert, because in reality you really can’t fall away – but some men and women who proclaim their “relationship status” as a Christian will one day be discovered as false because their lives and their hearts have not been given to Christ; we walk out our faith to also encourage others to place their faith in Christ to join us in our grand entrance into God’s kingdom.  

So work hard to prove who you already are in Christ.  Our “work” is to remind ourselves – “Yes, I really am a Christian”  and to show others that “That’s a good thing to be!”.  When we “work hard” to live out our faith, we reap the benefits of the fruit of the Spirit and may just also play a part in God’s claiming more souls for His harvest. 

Our “hard work” to prove we are “among those God has called and chosen”, results in peace, love, and joy as we walk ever closer to being reunited with Jesus.  We can have the assurance of our status as God’s called and chosen by living our faith every day.

So walk that walk of a Christian, not only will it give you peace and empower you to meet your purpose in Christ, it just may be used by God to give you company of more saints that God allows you to usher into His kingdom.

     

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. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 13, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 13

CHRIST—THE CHANNEL OF GRACE

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

JOHN 1:17

The idea that the Old Testament is a book of law and the New Testament a book of grace is based on a completely false theory.

There is certainly as much about grace and mercy and love in the Old Testament as there is in the New. There is more about hell, more about judgment and the fury of God burning with fire upon sinful men in the New Testament than in the Old.

If you want excoriating, flagellating language that skins and blisters and burns, do not go back to Jeremiah and the old prophets—hear the words of Jesus Christ!

Oh, how often do we need to say it: the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. The Father in the Old Testament is the Father in the New Testament.

Furthermore, the Christ who was made flesh to dwell among us is the Christ who walked through all of the pages of the Old Testament.

Was it the law that forgave David when he had committed his great sins? No, it was grace displayed in the Old Testament.

Was it grace that said, “Babylon is fallen, the great harlot is fallen, Babylon is fallen” (paraphrase of Revelation 18:2)? No, it was law expressed in the New Testament.

Surely there is not this great difference and contrast between Old and New Testaments that many seem to assume. God never pits the Father against the Son. He never pits the Old Testament against the New.

The only contrast here is between all that Moses could do and all that Jesus Christ can do. The Law was given by Moses—that was all that Moses could do. Moses was not the channel through which God dispensed His grace.

God chose His only begotten Son as the channel for His grace and truth, for John witnesses that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

All that Moses could do was to command righteousness. In contrast, only Jesus Christ produces righteousness.

All that Moses could do was to forbid us to sin. In contrast, Jesus Christ came to save us from sin.

Moses could not save, but Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior.

Grace came through Jesus Christ before Mary wept in the manger stall in Bethlehem.

It was the grace of God in Christ that saved the human race from extinction when our first parents sinned in the garden.

It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born that saved the eight persons when the flood covered the earth.

It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born but existing in preincarnation glory that forgave David when he sinned, that forgave Abraham when he lied. It was the grace of God that enabled Abraham to pray God down to ten when He was threatening to destroy Sodom.

God forgave Israel time and time again. It was the grace of God in Christ prior to the incarnation that made God say, “I have risen early in the morning and stretched out my hands unto you!”

The apostle John speaks for all of us also when he writes of the eternal Son and reminds us that we beheld His glory.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Homeless Refugee – Seeing the Signs, but Deciding not to Play Crazy 8’s - Purity 596


 Homeless Refugee – Seeing the Signs, but Deciding not to Play Crazy 8’s - Purity 596

Purity 596 12/08/2021  Purity 596 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the bright light of sunset over an otherwise dull and almost colorless landscape near Easton NY comes to us from my fiancé who captured this sight near the end of November on the way home from work.  My betrothed is on my mind today because she is currently travelling from New York to South Carolina where she will reunite with her daughter, Rachael who will be going through graduation ceremonies from the United States Marine Corp on Friday. 

While I haven’t met my future “stepdaughter”, I am immensely proud of her accomplishment and her decision to serve our country. My brother, Michael, is a Marine so I have a small idea of what Rachael’s decision involves and it is my dear hope that she doesn’t decide to use her newly acquired killing skills to dispose of the man who proposed to her mother in her absence.  But seriously, I am looking forward to meeting Rachael and can’t wait until TammyLyn and all her kids are back in the Empire State on Saturday.   Until then I will be praying for their safety and wellbeing.  

I apologize for “mailing in today’s message” but I have my wires crossed this morning as my heart is preoccupied with TammyLyn’s safe travels and the message I received today wasn’t clear. 

Suffice to say I received a message that involved Christian numerology that pointed to the number 8 and how it points to Christ the Redeemer.  I am by no means any expert in Christian numerology and didn’t want to craft a message that would point to the importance of numbers rather than the appearance of Christ, so I scrapped the whole thing before I got started.

The number 8 seemed to occur a lot in my exodus from my former life and at different times in my faith walk I have interpreted its appearance a sign that God was directing my path, but I didn’t want to present it as “gospel” or make it a thing. 

Sometimes our spiritual experiences can be very meaningful and profound to us but are hard to convey to others and when we talk about “the numbers”  it sounds like we are a little unbalanced.  There may be something to “the numbers” in our walk but man is it difficult to draw conclusions from them or to understand what they mean.  It’s difficult to discern whether or not “the numbers” are pointing to something meaningful or if we are just crafting a meaning and creating a narrative in which “the numbers” work.   

So instead of making a message about the number 8 and inviting you down the rabbit hole, I have decided to stay above ground.  Besides if I told you about the mystery of “the numbers”, I’d have to kill you…. or outsource the contract to some one that has recently been “born again hard” and trained to kill.   

But seriously, again, when we walk in the spirit we have to be careful what messages we listen to and which ones we share and when we are disturbed in our emotions/souls or preoccupied by other concerns in our circumstances it is probably best to err on the side of caution and remain silent.  

So for today’s message I decided to get a little help from my friend from the UK, Philip Hand.  Philip sent me the following message and poem not long ago and I thought I should share it to encourage my friends today. Philip wrote to me the following message and the poem “Homeless Refugee” that was inspired by his pondering. Philip writes:   

“There is an old saying that we don't understand someone until we have walked a mile in their shoes. If we see people through eyes of compassion instead of hate, it turns the world into a different place.

I asked the question: “What would we do If our world was turned on its head, as it does for many people who live, breathe, and know joy and pain as we do?

 

“Homeless Refugee


What would we do, what would we see if we became homeless refugees?

Made to move on, no place to rest.

Begging for bread treated like a pest.

Blindness itself might be forgiven

but to walk on past as if we were driven.

Broken, lost, scared

now that's just not fair.

 

Does anybody see?

Does anybody care?

Is there any hope for us in this dark world, out there?

 

The Lord himself came down from heaven to save the lost.

To take our fears and wipe away our tears.

 

He knew the cost; he paid the price.

For us he laid down his Holy life.

 

Broken, battered, and nailed to a tree,

so great a price was paid for me.

 

Healing the heartache and sharing the pain.

 

Conquering death, rising again.

 

Forgiveness, set free and life without end.

If only we would trust in King Jesus.

Our God.

Our Savior.

Our friend...”

-Philip Hand

So if you are on the road or just feeling all alone like a homeless refugee, know that today is the 8th of December and some people say that number points to Christ the Redeemer and when you put your faith in Him, you are given a new life and the protection that comes from the Lord God Almighty. 

If there is nothing else you take away from today’s musings know that God loves you. We know this because Jesus Christ came for us. He’s no longer “away in a manger”. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is alive and well and He will come again to rule and reign forever.   And when you place your faith in Him, you have a home forever and you will never be alone again.  

So keep walking and talking with God. He will protect you. He will guide you in the way you should go, and He will lead you home.

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT2)
5  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,
6  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
7  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s verses are a continuation from yesterday’s verse 4, that spoke about the promises of God and how we are to share His divine nature and “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires”.  

Today’s verses encourage us to respond to the promises we receive when we come to faith in Christ. The Apostle Peter is encouraging us to “make every effort” to grow as Christians by endeavoring to pursue “moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love for everyone.”  

The progression of this list towards love for everyone indicates that our Christian faith is much more than just following a bunch of rules. We are to develop our minds and hearts to not only abstain from sin but to be a living expression of God’s love, which is to be shared with all people.   

Peter rightly points out that when we live out our faith in this progressive and continuous manner we will be more “productive and useful” in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. We will know Him more and will become more aligned to the purpose that God has for us.  

So we should never be bored in our Christian faith, God has given us precious promises when we come to faith in Christ, but we are called to continue to grow and mature in our minds, in our personal conduct, in our emotions, in our love for others, in our relationship with God, and into our purpose for His kingdom.  

So make every effort to respond to the promises that you have received from God. God has a plan for your life that includes your personal growth but also is meant to share the love of God with others.  Our lives of faith are supposed to be a rich dynamic experience and a process of sanctification and abounding love.  So make every effort to take each step in the marvelous progression that the Lord has put before us where we will see ourselves transformed as we fulfill the purposes that God has for 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 continue sharing from A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 12, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 12

CHRIST CAME FOR ALL

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

JOHN 3:17

When the Word says that God sent His Son into the world, it is not talking to us merely about the world as geography. It does not just indicate to us that God sent His Son into the Near East, that He sent Him to Bethlehem in Palestine.

He came to Bethlehem, certainly. He did come to that little land that lies between the seas. But this message does not have any geographical or astronomical meaning. It has nothing to do with kilometers and distances and continents and mountains and towns.

What it really means is that God sent His Son into the human race. When it speaks of the world here, it does not mean that God just loved our geography. It does not mean that God so loved the snowcapped mountains or the sun-kissed meadows or the flowing streams or the great peaks of the north.

God may love all of these. I think He does. You cannot read the book of Job or the Psalms without knowing that God is in love with the world He made. But that is not the meaning in this passage. God sent His Son to the human race. He came to people. This is something we must never forget: Jesus Christ came to seek and to save people. Not just certain favored people. Not just certain kinds of people. Not just people in general.

We humans do have a tendency to use generic terms and general terms and pretty soon we become just scientific in our outlook. Let us cast that outlook aside and confess that God loved each of us in a special kind of way so that His Son came into and unto and upon the people of the world—and He even became one of those people!

If you could imagine yourself to be like Puck and able to draw a ring around the earth in forty winks, just think of the kinds of people you would see all at once. You would see the crippled and the blind and the leprous. You would see the fat, the lean, the tall, and the short. You would see the dirty and the clean. You would see some walking safely along the avenues with no fear of a policeman but you would see also those who skulk in back alleys and crawl through broken windows. You would see those who are healthy and you would see others twitching and twisting in the last agonies of death. You would see the ignorant and the illiterate as well as those gathered under the elms in some college town, nurturing deep dreams of great poems or plays or books to astonish and delight the world.

People! You would see the millions of people: people whose eyes slant differently from yours and people whose hair is not like your hair.

Their customs are not the same as yours, their habits are not the same. But they are all people. The thing is, their differences are all external. Their similarities are all within their natures. Their differences have to do with customs and habits. Their likeness has to do with nature.

Brethren, let us treasure this: God sent His Son to the people. He is the people’s Savior. Jesus Christ came to give life and hope to people like your family and like mine.

The Savior of the world knows the true value and worth of every living soul. He pays no attention to status or human honor or class. Our Lord knows nothing about this status business that everyone talks about.

When Jesus came to this world, He never asked anyone, “What is your IQ?” He never asked people whether or not they were well traveled. Let us thank God that He sent Him—and that He came! Both of those things are true. They are not contradictory. God sent Him as Savior! Christ, the Son, came to seek and to save! He came because He was sent and He came because His great heart urged Him and compelled Him to come.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Preoccupied with Occupation - Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man - Purity 595


 Preoccupied with Occupation - Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man  - Purity 595

Purity 595 12/07/2021  Purity 595 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of a group of fishermen in the waning hours of daylight under an October sky comes to us from a friend’s vacation to the Florida Keys from a couple of months ago.   The people in the photo could just be pleasure cruisers on vacation like my friend but I declare them to be “fishermen” to highlight our minds’ tendency to label and identify our experience and to open the door to examine how we identify ourselves by the things we do.    

When I saw this photo originally, I immediately thought of the old nursery rhyme “Rub-A-Dub-Dub” which says:

“Rub-a-dub-dub,

Three men in a tub,

And who do you think they be?

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,

And all of them out to sea.”

Ironically, I didn’t remember that last line about them being out to sea, which actually makes my thinking of this nursery rhyme even more appropriate.  But yeah, it’s funny how the mind makes associations to things and the nursery rhyme points to our penchant for classifying people by their occupations.   

A “full time employee” spends 40 hours a week doing their job so its only natural to identify people by their occupations. It’s one of the first things we go to when we introduce ourselves or when we meet someone new. 

“Drone”, “Bumbling fool”, “Corporate sellout”, or “Master of my own Domain” are fun ways to answer the question of what your occupation is but if you are coy or vague when questioned about your “career”, inquirers may even be bold enough to say, “What exactly is it that you do?”

We love to label people and put them in a box.  Our occupations indicate the type of people we are, the amount of money we make, and what our skills are.  

Some people are very proud of their accomplishments and rightfully so.  Our occupations may have required years of study, training, and hard work to arrive at and people deserve a measure of respect for choosing the hard path that led them where they are. Our jobs are serious business after all.  

Even the Bible identifies people by their occupations. David was a shepherd, Luke was a doctor, Matthew was a tax collector, and Peter was a fishermen.   What we do while we are on the earth defines us to some extent but what God says about us will ultimately be the most important thing. 

God wants us to be more than our jobs. As Christians, He calls us to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and with integrity and even though we may have an occupation before we come to Christ, the new life He gives us tends to change things.  

David went from a lowly shepherd to the anointed King of Israel.

Peter went from a fisherman to a Fisher of Men, as he led thousands to come to faith in Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. 

Matthew went from someone who kept “account of the books” to write a book of the account of Jesus’ earthly ministry, death, and resurrection.

Luke went from a physician to men’s bodies to write a book that would give mankind the answers to give them the healing of eternal life.     

When we come into relationship with the Lord by putting our faith in Jesus, He gives us a purpose beyond our occupations. We become light bearers and carry the hope for everlasting life.  The quality of our lives takes on greater purpose and meaning when we follow the Lord’s call to represent Him wherever we are.

Paradoxically, if we only worry about our careers and what we can accomplish for ourselves and how we can accumulate wealth, we will find ourselves spiritually destitute.  The wealth, prestige, and accolades of the world will mean nothing if we don’t have peace with God and if Jesus doesn’t know us on judgement day.  

Christ came to set us free from the “works of the devil” and to make us new creations.  

When I thought about these concepts of work, identity and how Christ makes us new, I thought of the old George Michael song, NO not LAST CHRISTMAS, which is quite popular this time of year… No I was thinking of Freedom! ’90, yeah I’m old, and that line that says: “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man”  It’s really a great song about reinventing or being true to yourself but let’s find and live out our “Freedom! 2021” in Christ.

Our relationship with God forever changes our identity.  We are more than our jobs.  When we place our faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s royal family, and we become ambassadors to His kingdom.  Now that’s a job that we can be simultaneously proud of and be humbled by.   

Because we were sinners saved by grace who are now saints who sin, we may not feel we are qualified for our new positions, but God knew us before we were born and chose us to be His. He knew what our skills were going to be and what our limitations are, but He chose us anyway.  He knows us personally and even though we may feel we are not worthy of it, He has a new life of purpose and meaning for us to walk into.   

Unlike George Michael’s song that spoke about somehow living up to the image of himself that “rock and roll TV” created and his desire to “take these lies and make them true somehow”,  we as Christians are called to align ourselves with God’s word, our identity in Christ, and His purpose for His kingdom.   We are to take these TRUTHS of what God says about us as His redeemed and adopted children and make them REAL in our lives! 

Somehow? It’s a not as mysterious as all that. We are to be true to who we are in Christ and walk in the Spirit to receive God’s guidance and direction for where we should go and what we should do. 

Our Biblical examples of David, Peter, Matthew, and Luke don’t speak of instant attainment of their purpose for God’s kingdom.  None of their journeys were a quantum leap to victory, nor were their paths suffering free, but all of them knew that God was real and that He was faithful to His promises and even though their lives of faith weren’t perfect, they knew that they could be used for God’s glory and lived their lives with that higher occupation in mind.  

So, whether you’re a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, know that in Christ you are more than what your earthly occupation is.  Your job isn’t a mistake. God has put you there to represent Him. So do your job to the best of your ability and with the integrity that would show those around you that you have been set apart by God to give Him glory.  

We are more than our jobs. We are ambassadors for God’s kingdom, and we are to listen for His call on how we should represent Him and be open to new assignments if He should call us out of our “lowly” positions to ones that will allow us to rise to the heights that He has called us to fulfill for His honor and glory. 


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Peter 1:4 (NLT2)
4  And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Today’s verse reminds us that in Christ we have been given great and precious promises and that one of the purposes of receiving those promises is to share them. 

In Christ, we receive eternal life. In Christ we are set free from sin and death.  Those  and the many others that are detailed in scripture are great promises.  When we come to faith in Christ we are given the riches of His grace. We go from spiritually dead to spiritually alive. 

Individually, these are awesome. All our fears should rightfully fade into obscurity as we realize that we are accepted and secure in our new relationship with God because of Christ.  

But we are also significant. We are not just given “presents”. We are given an identity and a purpose, and we are called to live out our lives in God’s presence.  

Today’s verse shares two aspects of our purpose. 

The first aspect of our purpose is to share His divine nature. 

We can share God’s divine nature in two ways.

1.    We can be conformed to the image of Christ and share His nature by being joyous, peaceful, good, patient, self-controlled, kind, faithful, gentle, and loving to others around us.  

2.    We can also share in His divine nature by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to welcome others into His kingdom.

The second aspect of our purpose is our sanctification, that process of repenting of our sin and progressively living according to God’s way instead of our former ways.    We can “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” by living according to who we are in Christ rather than who we used to be.  

 

So, enjoy the precious promises that God has given to us because of our faith in Jesus Christ.  Our journey of faith isn’t just enjoying the presents that we have been given by ourselves.  Like most good gifts, we will enjoy the promises of God even more when we share them with others.   

 

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. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 11, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 11

THE LOGIC OF THE INCARNATION

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh.

1 TIMOTHY 3:16

Probably no other doctrine in the entire Word of God carries in it greater difficulties than the doctrine of the incarnation. Paul called it the “mystery of godliness,” and later writers either passed over its difficulties without trying to explain them or else involved the whole thing in a maze of explanations that offered little real help to an understanding of it. And we can easily see why this is so.

The incarnation brings to us the essential mystery of being. It touches almost every phase of human thought and makes demands upon philosophy and metaphysics, as well as upon theology. The great doctors have felt this deep mystery whenever they have come to the consideration of the subject and have tiptoed along the borders of it with deepest reverence. That is proper and right; such an attitude well becomes us who are but dust and ashes.

At the risk of being charged with inexcusable boldness, we venture the assertion that while the incarnation is mysterious, it is not illogical or contrary to reason. We would not presume to settle with a pen stroke those profound and awful mysteries that have stilled the voices of the ages and brought men and angels to their knees in worship; but we would dare to say that in our opinion the act of becoming man was altogether reasonable from God’s standpoint. It placed no strain upon the divine nature and admitted into the scheme of God nothing unnatural or inconsistent. The reasons for so believing are these:

Man was originally made in the image of God. “God created man; in the likeness of God made he him.” This is a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. It is not necessary to understand all that is included in this doctrine, for even here we run into some real theological problems. But faith can soar where reason can never climb, and it is only necessary that we believe the truth. Its power over us depends upon our believing it, not upon our understanding it. The fact is all that matters: man was made in the image of God.

Now, if man was made in the image of God, then God must certainly carry something of the image of man. (That sin has marred the image and introduced a foreign and destructive element into human nature does not detract from the force of the argument.) If a boy looks like his father, it must surely follow that the father must look like the boy. Somewhere within man’s nature, twisted and deformed as it may be, there is godlikeness. This will not be seriously questioned by anyone who knows his Bible. No student of Christian theology would deny this as a fact, though he might reject the conclusions we draw from the fact.

If in the infinite condescension of God, mankind was made with a nature somewhat like its Creator, then is it not reasonable that God could clothe Himself with human nature in the mystery of incarnation, and all within the framework of easy possibility without the embarrassment of uniting things unlike each other?

When the ancient Word stood up in human flesh, He felt at home. He was not out of His element, for had He not heard the Father say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”? There was no jar, no wrench caused by the forced union of dissimilar natures.

It is our humble opinion that the “exile” element in the earthly experience of our Lord has been greatly overplayed. That He was sad and lonely and far from home, a stranger in a strange land, is an idea that has grown up around the beautiful and simple fact, but it is not necessarily a part of the fact. So far as we can recall there is nothing in the record to give the impression that His presence in human flesh was an unnatural or painful experience. He happily called Himself “the Son of Man,” not an exile among men.

All this is not to attempt to take away from the valid mystery that surrounds the incarnation or to lessen the awe with which we contemplate the wonder of the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us. It is rather to clear away unauthorized notions and give the beauty of the incarnation a chance to make its own impression upon us. That impression will be deep enough without our adding anything to it.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship