Let It Shine, Shine, Shine All Around the World - Purity 797
Purity 797 07/29/2022 Purity 797 Podcast
Today’s photo of “Daybreak on the Indian River, Wabasso Florida,” comes to us from a friend who I have come to be able to rely on to continually bring stunning views of God’s creation as they always have an eye on the sky and periodically share what they have seen on social media.
This morning I came across this photo but momentarily was absolutely clueless about its origins but as I considered the list on my “usual suspects”, I said to myself: “Of Course!” when I remembered this friend because I have used their work for a long time now as I have followed their travels from the earliest days of the re-emergence of my blog. Unfortunately, life isn’t always sunshine and currently this friend is dealing with a health issue and this morning as I highlight their work, I am also petitioning the Lord with prayer for their healing and the continuation of their active lifestyle that brings his friends joy.
And also as it’s Saturday, it is my prayer that all my friends find some joy this last weekend of July.
It’s funny how the simplest, and sometimes silliest things, can change our mood and deliver us from the “blahs” and put a smile on our face.
The caption of today’s photo: “Daybreak on Indian River” made me think of the old Barry Manilow song: “Daybreak”. As any child of the late 70’s & 80’s can tell you, “Barry Manilow was a thing” as in a big thing. My mother was a big fan of Barry in his hey day, and even though my mom was a working woman that had 4 sons to raise and seemingly didn’t have a lot of hobbies and interests other than working and taking care of her family, she actually went to a Barry Manilow concert! My mother wasn’t the only fan of Barry’s. For a time Barry was everywhere! I have friends who were in band in high school and they can attest to the fact that they performed his songs in marching band and at school assemblies.
So because of my friend’s awesome photo and a distant memories of the past, I decided to take a look at the lyrics to Barry Manilow’s “Daybreak” and was surprised that, if we are daring enough, Christians could commandeer this song and use it to encourage us in our faith. The lyrics say:
“Singing to the world
Its time we let the spirit come in”
Excuse me let the SPIRIT come in? As in the Holy Spirit? Preach Barry, Preach!
“Let it come on in
I'm singing to the world
Everybody's caught in the spin
Look at where we've been
We've been running around
Year after year
Blinded it with pride
Blinded it with fear
But its daybreak
If you wanna' to believe
It can be daybreak
Ain't no time to grieve
Say its daybreak
If you 'll only believe
And let it shine, shine, shine all around the world”
I am sharing a link to a video of the song that highlights the lyrics on the blog today (https://youtu.be/kx0vDspgdLc) Man, what an simple uplifting song that can encourage us in our faith. But when we sing that song let’s make it specific, in our hearts and minds and know that it is faith in Christ alone that can let the Spirit come in and that it is He who can give us the power to know peace and joy regardless of our circumstances.
As someone who is familiar with depression, I can attest that our faith in Christ, the acceptance of who we are in Christ, and the recognition of all that the Lord has done through His creation, throughout history, and in our lives is the remedy for all the negative thoughts and feelings that can keep us down.
If you want to believe, it can be daybreak! And let me tell you brothers and sisters, when you live in the joy of all that the Lord has done and is actively doing in the world and in our lives, we can be grateful and rejoice with each new “daybreak”.
So sing it to the world! Get past your pride. Get past your fears. Put your trust in Christ as Lord and Savior and live according to God’s wisdom and ways and you can have peace and joy and you can let it shine, shine, shine all around the world.
So keep walking and talking with God. At each daybreak give Him your gratitude and praise and make the daily decision to walk with Him. When you trust in Christ, He will transform your life by giving you the power to overcome all the things that drag you down and by reminding you that in Him alone you have found the life of peace that you have been looking for.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
Today’s verse reminds us what a disciple of Christ is: someone who remains faithful to His teachings.
I think sometimes we can have a big misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian. We are often encouraged to “believe in Jesus” and I think that some of us might really not know what that means. I get the impression that some “Christians” believe in Jesus like a superstitious talisman and their faith in Christ is something where they will attest to historical moments from His life as the proof of their belief in Him.
They say things like: “Christ was born of the virgin Mary, was crucified, died and rose again! Amen?”
While these facts are all true, and we are to believe they are true as part of belief in and faith in Christ, today’s verse indicates that His disciples are encouraged to do more that just be able to recite biographical facts about Christ.
While it is very important to know the historical and theological facts about Jesus, and it’s a huge topic – called Christology -, Christ instructed his disciples to remain faithful to His teachings, and again, likewise, through His other instructions to His disciples in scripture we should understand the Christ didn’t expect His disciples to just intellectually know what he said and be able to repeat them.
As much as we are to know what “The Sermon on the Mount” and “The Great Commission” teachings say, we are also are to remain faithful to all of Christ’s teachings by trying to apply their wisdom to the way we live our lives.
Christ’s teachings are the Word of God and they are to renew our minds and change they way we live. That’s how we are to remain faithful to His teachings, to be able to repeat them but to also be a living example of them, as much as we can.
So Abide in Christ’s word, be faithful to His teachings by knowing what they say and by applying them to the way you live your life to show the world God’s love and to demonstrate that you are truly a disciple of Jesus 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
10 Christ and No Other
In africa a recurring problem for tribal people who turn to christ is what to do with their household gods and the deities whom their ancestors worshiped. Should they forsake them and destroy all their cultic images and paraphernalia? Or should they hold onto them and try to worship Christ together with their tribal deities? This decision is incredibly difficult for a tribal chief who fears that forsaking the gods of his ancestors might mean big trouble, even death, for him and his people.
In Paul’s day Christians struggled with the same issue. New converts certainly would have asked: Why not continue celebrating the mystery rites of Cybele or Dionysus? Why not wear an amulet invoking gods and angels for protection from evil spirits? Why not worship Hekate or Selene for the protection they can provide from the astral spirits or dangerous wildlife spirits? Would not spirituality be enhanced by performing the mystery rites of Demeter or by observing the days that are sacred to Artemis or to Yahweh?
The Colossian Christians, in particular, were undoubtedly entertaining many such questions. Living in a valley about 100 miles inland from Ephesus and only eleven miles away from Laodicea, the fledgling church at Colossae was struggling to resist the influence of other religious traditions. In a spiritual environment where syncretism was an accepted part of life, these Christians were tempted to compromise their fidelity to Christ alone.
To all Christians who are tempted to syncretize their faith, Paul gave a very clear response in the epistle to the Colossians. Yahweh continues to be a jealous God. He wants all believers to give their wholehearted and undistracted devotion to him and to his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Problem at Colossae: Christ Plus Something Else
Paul perceived a dangerous teaching was threatening the health and stability of the Colossian church. Although it is difficult to interpret the details of the aberration with certainty, it appears a group of people within the church were advocating that the rest of the church join them in a number of practices that were not a part of the Christian tradition or apostolic teaching. These practices seemed to be rooted in a syncretistic view of Christianity in which elements of mystery initiation, Jewish ritual observances and magical practices were combined with the gospel. In his letter Paul revealed the demonic nature of this false teaching and its accompanying practices. He called the church to a fresh commitment to the purity of the gospel.
Like all other cities of the Mediterranean world during Paul’s time, numerous gods and goddesses were worshiped at Colossae. Since archeologists have never excavated this ancient city, we know little about its religions from inscriptions, temples or cultic images. Fortunately a number of Colossian coins have been discovered bearing the images of a few of the deities worshiped there. Among them were Isis, Sarapis, the Ephesian Artemis, the Laodicean Zeus, Demeter, Men, Selene and Helios. We can assume that magical practices and astrological beliefs were part of the spiritual outlook of the Colossian citizens because they were so deeply rooted in the coastal cities of Asia Minor. There is also evidence for a fairly large Jewish population in Colossae and the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis. Thus there was probably a Jewish synagogue in or near the city.
There is also evidence that the false teaching had an explicit connection with mystery initiation. This connection may be seen at a place in the letter where Paul is describing the nature of the false teaching as part of his polemic. Unfortunately this connection is not clear in many of the modern English translations of the New Testament. In Colossians 2:18, Paul warned the Colossian Christians: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions” (NIV; italics mine). Years ago, Sir William Ramsay, the distinguished authority on the geography and religions of Asia Minor, suggested that the italicized part of the verse should more precisely be translated: “what he had seen when he performed the higher stage of the [mystery] ritual” (italics mine).
The varying translations revolve around the interpretation of one very important word in the verse, which occurs only here in the New Testament. The word is actually quite rare in all of Greek literature, and every translator has had difficulty determining the exact meaning of it in this context. Literally, the phrase reads, “what he had seen, entering.” Some have tried to explain the word as “entering” in the sense of “investigating” or “explaining.” Ramsay based his interpretation on the appearance of the word in a series of religious inscriptions found just a few years earlier in a cultic sanctuary. The word appeared a number of times and seemed to refer to the climax of the initiation rites to the mysteries of the god Apollo at his temple at Claros on the west coast of Asia Minor. What heightened the significance of this discovery for interpreting Colossians was the fact that one of the groups coming to the Apollo temple was from Laodicea, Colossae’s nearest neighbor.
All of this seems to point to the fact that the false teaching at Colossae had a very close tie with initiatory rites into the mystery religions. It is possible a faction in the Colossian church was suggesting that their fellow believers join them in celebrating the mystery rites of a local deity, or perhaps even in establishing a Christian mystery initiation. Ramsay suggested there was a rival leader in the congregation who was introducing ideas that he had brought over from his old belief in the mystery religions, resulting in a mystic form of Christianity.
The dangerous teaching at Colossae also had an explicit connection with magical practices. The phrase “worship of angels” (Col 2:18) offers some evidence for this connection. It is quite possible Paul was denouncing a magical invocation of angels. It is not ntr. Floyd V. Filson (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, necessary for us to think only of good angels surrounding the throne of Yahweh. Christians and Jews were not the only ones who used the word angel for supernatural beings or spirits. Pagans also used the word angel in reference to their deities (such as Hekate) and to refer to intermediary spirits. Understood in this sense, Paul warned the Colossians not to get involved in calling on other gods or supernatural beings for protection or to perform a given task. For Paul this was tantamount to worshiping them. Christ alone deserved their worship.
This disrupting faction was presenting its teaching as a “philosophy” (2:8). This word does not necessarily imply an adherence to the ideas of a particular Greek philosopher or philosophical school of thought. Philosophy was a term that was used quite broadly, even in the sense of magical practices. Paul’s opposition to it was clear when he described their “fine-sounding arguments” (2:4) as “hollow” and “deceptive” (2:4, 8).
This teaching was not merely intellectual with no impact on the way day-to-day life was lived out. There were quite a number of ascetic practices that Paul alluded to in his characterization of it. The ascetic behavior extended to a “harsh treatment of the body” (2:23), perhaps implying even bodily mutilations. Self-flagellation was typical of the behavior of adherents to the cults of Cybele and Attis, which were known to exist in the area. Food and ritual observances also played a role in this “philosophy.” Paul cautioned the believers to allow no one to place upon them ritual demands in the realm of food and drink or with regard to religious festivals, new moons and sabbaths (2:16). Paul also scorned a prohibiting phrase that the adherents of this teaching had apparently cited: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” (2:21).
The rival teaching thus appeared to have elements from the mystery religions, magical practices and even Jewish beliefs (sabbaths). It was unequivocally a syncretistic “philosophy”—Christianity plus something else.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 138–141.