Purity 300 12/25/2020
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FRIENDS!
Today’s photo was taken by a friend who captured this sunset scene near their home in Stottville NY..
I share it as a reminder that although Christmas has finally arrived, the sun will be setting on this day before we know it.
So celebrate and show the love that God showed, and continues to show, us to your friends and family today!
(There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access. Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)
This morning’s verse comes from “The Magnificat” – Mary’s song of praise in response to being chosen to birth the Christ:
Luke 1:46-48 (NLT2)
46 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
Instead, having finished the Gospels of Matthew in November, and then John yesterday, I turned to Luke’s gospel this morning, that presents the events leading up to Christ’s birth and the Christmas story in Chapter two.
I share these verses this morning to reminded us that we are to “rejoice in God my Savior” because, just like the virgin Mary, the Lord took notice of us “lowly servants” and from now on all generations can call us blessed.
While we didn’t birth Jesus, we have been chosen and adopted into God’s family through our faith in Him.
And as members of God’s royal family, we can rejoice at the amazing grace that saved wretches like us but at the same time look to serve God’s Kingdom by sharing the good news of the resurrection power that lies in putting our faith in Jesus and by delivering our personal testimonies of what the Lord has done and continues to do in our lives, as we have entered into a rich and robust relationship with the Lord that will never end.
In Christ, we are all highly favored and all generations can rightly call us blessed.
Rejoice and follow where the Lord leads you!
Although we have gained much in Christ, we will experience losses throughout our lives on earth and it is my prayer that the author’s information and advice is helpful to those feeling the pain of losses this holiday season.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:
Dealing with Loss
As I looked, the poplar rose in the shining air
Like a slender throat,
And there was an exaltation of flowers,
The surf of apple tree delicately foaming.
All winter, the trees had been silent soldiers,
A vigil of woods, their hidden feelings
Scrawled and became scores of black vines,
Barbed wire sharp against the ice-white sky.
Who could believe then in the green,
Glittering vividness of full-leafed summer?
Who will be able to believe, when winter again begins
After the autumn burns down again, and the day is ashen,
And all returns to winter and winter's ashes,
Wet, white, ice, wooden, dulled and dreary, brittle or frozen,
Who will believe or feel in mind and heart
The reality of the spring and of birth,
In the green warm opulence of summer,
And the inexhaustible vitality and immortality of the earth?
Dalmore Schwartz, "The Deceptive Present"
How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know that is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast.
A. W. Tozer
Roxanne and David had been married for five years. David was a successful businessman who was deeply devoted to his wife and children. One Sunday afternoon, as David packed his bags for his next trip out of town, the couple started to quarrel. Roxanne was bothered by a minor demand David had placed on her. Words were exchanged, a brief apology came and life went on. Later that day the couple chatted quietly as they rode together to the airport. Roxanne kissed David as he boarded the plane. He turned, smiled and waved as he entered the loading tunnel to the waiting aircraft.
Roxanne never saw David alive again. The trip to his destination and the meetings were uneventful. David then boarded the airplane and headed home. The aircraft developed mechanical problems and attempted to land in a crippled condition. The pilot and an off-duty pilot who happened to be on board were responsible for saving some of the lives on board. David, however, was thrown from the aircraft and killed, along with many other passengers. It was a terrible catastrophe.
Roxanne was torn with pain, and went through many turbulent reactions to her loss. Scrambling for some explanation for why the tragedy had happened, she began to blame herself. If I hadn't complained or argued with David, he would still be alive, she reasoned. Blaming herself for his death only compounded her sense of loss.
The Response of Sadness
The melancholy that followed Roxanne's loss is called reactive depression. This emotional response to any crisis of life is the most common form of depression. But the crisis itself did not cause the depression. Our mental perception of external events based on what we believe, and how our minds have been programmed, are what determine how we feel and react to any crisis.
People typically go through a very predictable cycle when they experience a crisis, as depicted in the following diagram:
Most of us settle into a lifestyle we assume will continue indefinitely, or hopefully improve. We make plans for the weekend and summer vacations, assuming that life will go on as scheduled. Daily events are scheduled with the hope that we will still be alive, our health will be okay, and that all the conditions necessary for life to go on as it is will be favorable. According to the poet Dalmore Schwartz, quoted at the beginning of this chapter, it is hard for us even to imagine in the summer of our souls what it will be like in the winter of our discouragement. We don't even want to think about it.
Some people take a fatalistic approach to tomorrow. They say with Solomon, when he limited his view to things under the sun, "That which has been is that which will be....So there is nothing new under the sun" (Eccles. 1:9). Such people make no realistic plans, and consequently they end up having no meaningful future.
Others, even Christians, presume upon the future. James has some sobering advice for those who do that:
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins (James 4:13-17, NIV).
The good, which we ought to do, is the Lord's will, so we must choose to live a responsible life one day at a time. The will of God will not take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. If God takes care of the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air, will He not much more provide for you? Jesus asks (see Matthew 6:30). Because your heavenly Father knows your needs, "Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:32-34).
This does not mean we don't make plans for tomorrow. We have to do some planning to live responsibly. However, the primary purpose for setting goals and making plans for the future is to give us meaningful direction for our lives today. Because we don't have control over many circumstances that can totally disrupt those plans, we need to say, "Lord willing, tomorrow we will do whatever, and regardless of what tomorrow holds, we will trust Him." This requires us to mentally and emotionally prepare for impermanence.
Preparing for Impermanence
Nothing will be as it is five years from now. There is no permanence; there is only change. Tennessee Williams said, "We are all terrorized by the idea of impermanence." The Lord tried to prepare His disciples for this reality when He told them three times "that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly" (Mark. 8:31, 32).
The disciples' first response was denial. Peter actually rebuked the Lord (see Mark 8:32). When He told them a second time what was going to happen to Him, they didn't understand what He meant, and were afraid to ask (see Mark 9:32). They didn't want to talk about it.
Finally, as Jesus and His fearful disciples approached Jerusalem, He told them a third time what was going to happen (see Mark 10:32-34). His purpose for telling them in advance was to teach them the principle that the Messiah must die to purchase salvation for humankind, and to give them hope when they faced persecution. He wanted to assure them that even though He would be killed, He would rise again.
Hope does not lie in the possibility of permanence, or in avoiding trials and tribulations. Hope lies in the proven character that comes from persevering through them. Neither does our hope lie in the eternal preservation of our physical bodies. Our hope lies in the Resurrection.
To survive the crises of life, we must have an eternal perspective, because time, as Tozer said, is a devouring beast for those who are outside of Christ. Without such a perspective, we cannot see the hope of summer during the emotional winters of our soul. The "deceptive present" masks the possibility of any hope for tomorrow. The psalmist's statement, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones" (Psalm 116:15), doesn't make sense from a time-bound perspective. But it makes complete sense from an eternal perspective.
Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.
God bless you all!