Fully Engaged Life of Presence – Walking in the Spirit = Purity 600
Purity 600 12/13/2021 Purity 600 Podcast
Today’s photo a roadside shot of Old Glory on the outskirts of the village of Castleton-on- the Hudson NY comes to us from yours truly as the Spirit led me to pull over and to grab a quick pic of what was a stunning sunset view on the way home Friday. What isn’t clear in this picture is the fact that NY State Thruway Bridge that goes over the Hudson was perfectly silhouetted in the distance and is barely discernable on the horizon here.
Sometimes in life you just have to be there and no matter how we try to convey to others the beauty or the significance of our experiences, our best efforts to share them pale in comparison what they were.
As someone who attempts to encourage others to seek the Lord and to live in the mystery of His presence on a continual basis, I often try to convince others of the subtle but significant difference that a life of faith and walking in the Spirit can make.
Ironically, even though I try to live my life in the Lord’s presence and make a habit of “walking and talking with God” on a daily basis, I sometimes forget just how magnificent life can be as I approach situations with an open heart and an open mind and just go where the Spirit leads me.
When you are walking in the Spirit you will just stop and look around to see where the Lord has brought you, you will stop on a roadside to appreciate the beauty of the moment, and you will surrender to the moment to enjoy the company of friends or family where you will discuss the things of God or just to express your care, concern, or appreciation for their presence in your life.
This idea and realization of the “fully engaged life” of presence really was highlighted yesterday as I went from one interaction to another just enjoying being alive, appreciating the Lord for who He is, and loving the people in my life.
I start the days early, like insanely early, but I don’t drag myself out of bed because my risings are full of purpose as I use the first part of each day to thank the Lord for my life and all I have and then to reflect on and share my experience with others via the blog and podcast.
This rich and dynamic life in the Spirit never fails to provide me with something to say about the goodness of God or to point to how our Christian faith can be utilized to help us to connect with the Lord and guide us through life.
Yesterday, on Sundays, I don’t blog and just found myself listening to some pop music via Amazon Music and was struck by a few things. I look for the good in things and was able to find a few pop songs whose lyrics weren’t profane or self-aggrandizing which spoke about love and how people need each other. But I also found a disturbing amount of songs that lamented that the difficulties of human relationships caused the artists to come to the conclusion that they were better off alone.
The range from desperately needing someone’s love to deciding one was better off alone painted a picture of a before and after experience of trying to meet all our needs for happiness in other people.
While God provides us with others to love and live with, we were never intended to find our fulfillment in our human relationships. Life is a journey from birth to death and beyond and if we consider eternity we can realize that if we are only focusing on what will make us happy from birth to death, we are missing something. We must consider what happens after death and seek to find a fulfillment that will carry us into the days and eons beyond this life. The only way we can do that is to come into a relationship with the Creator of all things.
So our search for fulfillment requires that we seek meaning and purpose for our entire experience: our mental, physical, relational, and spiritual lives that go beyond the here and now.
God has provided us a way to have peace with Him now: faith in Jesus Christ. Our reconciliation with God through faith in Christ provides us with the forgiveness of our sins and the reception of a new spiritual life that will never perish. When we receive the gift of a new life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we can live free of fear and share the love that the Lord has poured into us. We can appreciate God’s creation and everything He provides us with: the people, places, and things He has put in our lives.
So it was within that context that I went from one experience to the next yesterday enjoying the conversations, the travel, the worship, the food (yes the cookies), and the relationships. I spoke to my fiancé about how awesome it was just to be in her presence and to go where ever the day led us, knowing that the Lord has brought us together and we can now take the love we have for Him and one another and just “keep going” wherever He leads us.
I was “present” with my friends, family, and Lord yesterday and it made the day simply wonderful.
So, I know its Monday and the stress of a new work week and a quickly approaching Christmas may be upon you, but I would like to encourage you to take a moment to draw close to your Lord in prayer today and to ask Him to help you keep Him and His wisdom, guidance, and strength at the forefront of your mind as you go about your day. When you consider the things of God and apply His wisdom to your walk, you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to experience His presence and peace moment to moment.
Peace on earth can begin with you drawing close to the Lord in gratitude and humility. When your eyes are opened to all He has done and is doing in the world, you can find peace and be motivated to love your life and everyone in your path.
So either start or keeping walking and talking with God. The word refers to Jesus Christ as our Emmanuel, God with us. When you walk and talk with Him, you can know and experience just how true that is. God is with us. So enjoy His presence and keep going with Him.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Acts 16:31 (NLT2)
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”
Today’s verse reminds us of the means of our salvation and the impact that our lives can have on those around us.
Now while this verse is often used to give people assurance that God can save your entire family, and frankly is sometimes preached that God WILL save your entire family, I feel compelled to point to the whole counsel of scripture that is replete with the concept that each individual must place their faith in Christ to be saved.
We are not saved by familial faith associations. I’m not saved because my grandmother believed in Jesus. I am saved because I personally believed in Jesus, meaning I put my faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ to be sufficient for the forgiveness of my sins, to make peace with God and to be brought into His kingdom as His adopted child.
We have to remember to consider the context of scripture when we seek to stand on the word to receive the promises of God. This verse is from the Book of Acts which is a retelling of the history of the early church. This verse is drawn from the account of the Apostle Paul being miraculously set free from prison through divine intervention as the Lord sent a massive earthquake to shake the prison’s foundations causing the prison doors to be opened and all the prisoners’ chains to fall off.
Upon seeing all the prisoners escaping, the jailer was on the verge of committing suicide, when Paul intervened to explain what had happened and to offer salvation and eternal life to the jailer, and all his family, provided that they would “believe in the Lord Jesus”. Oh by the way, making Jesus Lord means you agree to follow Him.
The verses that follow today’s verse tell us that Paul and Silas share a gospel message and that the jailer and all that were in his household all believed in Jesus and proved it by their care for the Apostles and through their decision to get immediately baptized.
So yes, in this instance, the jailer and his entire family were saved because the jailer and each person in his family, heard the word of God and each decided to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.
So if you believe and want your entire family to be saved, these scriptures should not be taken as a guarantee or some magical spell that all your family will be saved but should encourage you to provide them with the opportunity to hear the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make the decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives.
We can pray for our family’s salvation with this verse. We can preach to them or have them listen to or read a gospel presentation. We can encourage them to seek the Lord and see that He is good. But our entire families must individually believe in Jesus, place their faith in Him, and make Him the Lord of their lives.
God can save our entire families, but they are not saved though our faith. We can hope, pray, and preach but they must decide to choose the everlasting life that comes when they make Christ the Lord of their lives.
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.
WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
The Bible teaches so clearly and so consistently what John proclaims in the first chapter of his gospel: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
Out of His fullness we have received. There is no way that it can mean that any of us have received all of His fullness. It means that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, is the only medium through which God dispenses His benefits to His creation.
Because Jesus Christ is the eternal Son, because He is of the eternal generation and equal with the Father as pertaining to His substance, His eternity, His love, His power, His grace, His goodness, and all of the attributes of deity, He is the channel through which God dispenses all His blessing.
If you could ask the deer that goes quietly down to the edge of the lake for a refreshing drink, “Have you received of the fullness of the lake?” the answer would be: “Yes and no. I am full from the lake but I have not received from the fullness of the lake. I did not drink the lake. I only drank what I could hold of the lake.”
And so, of His fullness, out of the fullness of God, He has given us grace upon grace according to our need, and it is all through Jesus Christ, our Lord. When He speaks, when He provides, while He sustains, it is because it can be said that He upholds all things by the word of His power and in Him all things consist.
Now, here is a thought I had one day: it could have been very easy for God to have loved us and never told us. God could have been merciful toward us and never revealed it. We know that among humans it is possible for us to feel deeply and still tell no one. It is possible to have fine intentions and never make them known to anyone.
The Scriptures say that “no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
The eternal Son came to tell us what the silence never told us.
He came to tell us what not even Moses could tell us.
He came to tell us and to show us that God loves us and that He constantly cares for us.
He came to tell us that God has a gracious plan and that He is carrying out that plan.
Before it is all finished and consummated, there will be a multitude that no man can number, redeemed, out of every tongue and tribe and nation.
That is what He has told us about the Father God. He has set Him forth. He has revealed Him—His being, His love, His mercy, His grace, His redemptive intention, His saving intention.
He has declared it all. He has given us grace upon grace. Now we have only to turn and believe and accept and take and follow. All is ours if we will receive because the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us!
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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