Just Breathe… and Follow Him - Purity 939
Purity 939 01/11/2023 Purity 939 Podcast
Purity 939 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of an ascending boardwalk bridge bathed in sunlight underneath a clear blue sky comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from “Port A” back on May 7th of 2022 with the simple caption: “Ahhhhh… just breathe”.
Well it’s Thursday again, and as is my habit I share my friends’ photo as a visual representation of the path of Christian Discipleship and I share her sentiment to encourage anyone who would hear or read this message to pause and rest in the moment and to consider drawing closer to God with the way you live your life.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a life of peace and joy is the tendency for us to think of our relationship with the Lord as being separate from the rest of our lives. Our society and even our “church culture” can paint the picture that God is to be enjoyed in the four walls of a church and be left there to be visited once a week or on special occasions. The belief that there has to be a separation of “church” and the rest of our lives seeks to put God in a box but invariably keeps the ones who hold such a view in a doubleminded world view and limited in their faith and in experiencing the fruit of the Spirit from growing in their lives.
Such a categorization and division of the holy and the secular would have us serving two masters and unfortunately the time spent in each realm would reveal that we might relate to the world more than we do to God.
So how do we resolve this?
Do we pack up our stuff and camp out on the church’s front lawn or let the pastor know that we are officially drawing closer to God so we will be setting up house in whatever space they can provide us?
While those ideas would certainly show where your heart is, a better idea would be to welcome the Lord to move in with you and to ask Him to go with you as you walk through life.
The good news is that you won’t be disrupting God. He’s omnipresent, everywhere at once, so He doesn’t even have to pack a bag to be your travelling companion through life. The truth is that if you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit lives in you already and He will be happy to pour out into all the aspects of your life.
Now the idea of going on some spiritual journey might be a little scary to some, as we don’t know what that is like or because we fear what the Lord will have us do. Or we could fear that following the unseen God is just crazy. To that I would echo the Lord’s sentiments from His word in:
Joshua 1:9 (NKJV) where God said
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) where Moses
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
And in case you are one of those “that was written to the nation of Israel” guys. Here is a verse directly concerning “us” - the church, Christians:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) where Paul, writing
about Christians said:
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
It is the Same God from the Old to the New Testament, and His word encourages that:
God is with us wherever we go, So let’s talk to Him.
God will never leave us or forsake us, So let’s draw on His presence, strength and guidance to lead us.
And God’s Spirit lives in us, to give us the power to overcome our fears, to love like He loves, and He assures us that following Him can be done with a sound mind.
So just breathe and follow Him.
I’m sharing a link from open bible dot info’s list of “Do not fear” verses on the blog today (https://www.openbible.info/topics/do_not_fear) to encourage you and to assure you that you need not fear developing your relationship with the Lord. He will teach you through His word and His presence, if you just stop, take a deep breath and decide to follow where ever He leads you.
Don’t worry. He will most likely lead you to a body of Bible believing Christians where you can grow and discover His purpose for your life.
If you are local to the capital district I am sharing the link to this week’s “Pray Together prayer event. ( https://starpoint.church/events/?fbclid=IwAR2Bi4rGW8KfvIZKXwIe8njRlmmYvMb8MRTESB5b2WDLvRdCytqKB9_oQ-g?sapurl=LytlMzE4L2xiL2V2Lyt3MzNoM3ljP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZSZyZWNlbnRSb3V0ZT1hcHAud2ViLWFwcC5saWJyYXJ5LmNhbGVuZGFyJnJlY2VudFJvdXRlU2x1Zz0lMkI5emdrZ3I1) Consider it my invitation to you to “Come and See” what the Lord may do in this event. And to possibly join one of the four churches represented here.
If you are not local and yearn for a deeper walk with God and to experience your freedom in Christ, I am sharing a link to Freedom in Christ Ministries where you can boldly step out and join an online class (https://www.ficm.org/courses/level-1-get-started/ ). I will be leading the Freedom in Christ course for Men, on Tuesday nights, but there are many to choose from and I know that any one of them can help you in further developing your relationship with God. Classes begin near the end of the month, so sign up today.
Whether you can make it to the local prayer event, sign up for a class, or not, let me encourage you to “just breathe” and to make the daily decision to keep walking and talking with God and to discover the life of abundant peace and joy, and the other fruit of the Spirit, that He has for you.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Ephesians 3:19 (NLT2)
19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Today’s verse encourages us that we are made complete when we experience God’s love that provides us with all the fullness of life, even though it may be too great to understand.
I remember a worship song that considered the question of God’s Amazing love. There are others but Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Love” states:
forgiven because You were forsaken,
I'm accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your sprit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.
How can it be?
That You, my King would die for me?
I know it's true.
It's my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.”
It's difficult to understand why God would send His Son to die us, but He did and He did it because of His love for us.
And when we know God’s love, and make Jesus our Lord and Savior, it fills the empty our lives that only God was meant to fill. God’s love gives us the fullness of life and so I echo Paul’s prayer that even though you may not be able to fully understand it: I pray that you experience the love of Christ and allow Him to give you the fullness of life and the power that only comes from God.
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. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”
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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ADMINISTRATION continues
3. God governs the children of men
We fully appreciate the fact that this is the most difficult part of our subject, and, accordingly, it will be dealt with at greater length in the pages that follow; but at present we consider the fact of God’s government over men in general, before we attempt to deal with the problem in detail.
Two alternatives confront us, and between them we are obliged to choose: either God governs, or He is governed; either God rules, or He is ruled; either God has His way, or men have theirs. And is our choice between these alternatives hard to make? Shall we say that in man we behold a creature so unruly that he is beyond God’s control? Shall we say that sin has alienated the sinner so far from the thrice Holy One that he is outside the pale of His jurisdiction? Or, shall we say that man has been endowed with moral responsibility, and therefore God must leave him entirely free, at least during the period of his probation? Does it necessarily follow because the natural man is an outlaw against heaven, a rebel against the Divine government, that God is unable to fulfil His purpose through him? We mean, not merely that He may overrule the effects of the actions of evil-doers, nor that He will yet bring the wicked to stand before His judgment-bar so that sentence of punishment may be passed upon them—multitudes of non-Christians believe these things—but, we mean, that every action of the most lawless of His subjects is entirely beneath His control, yea that the actor is, though unknown to himself, carrying out the secret decrees of the Most High. Was it not thus with Judas? and is it possible to select a more extreme case? If then the arch-rebel was performing the counsel of God is it any greater tax upon our faith to believe the same of all rebels?
Our present object is no philosophic inquiry nor metaphysical causistry, but to ascertain the teaching of Scripture upon this profound theme. To the Law and the Testimony, for there only can we learn of the Divine government—its character, its design, its modus operandi, its scope. What then has it pleased God to reveal to us in His blessed Word concerning His rule over the works of His hands, and particularly, over the one who originally was made in His own image and likeness?
“In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). What a sweeping assertion is this! These words, be it noted, were addressed, not to one of the churches of God, not to a company of saints who had reached an exalted plane of spirituality, but to a heathen audience, to those who worshipped “the unknown God” and who “mocked” when they heard of the resurrection of the dead. And yet, to the Athenian philosophers, to the Epicureans and Stoics, the apostle Paul did not hesitate to affirm that they lived and moved and had their being in God, which signified not only that they owed their existence and preservation to the One who made the world and all things therein, but also that their very actions were encompassed and therefore controlled by the Lord of heaven and earth. Compare Dan. 5:23, last clause!
“The disposings (margin) of the heart, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:1). Mark that the above declaration is of general application—it is of “man,” not simply of believers, that this is predicated. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9). If the Lord directs the steps of a man, is it not proof that he is being controlled or governed by God? Again: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). Can this mean anything less than, that no matter what man may desire and plan, it is the will of his Maker which is executed? As an illustration take the “Rich Fool.” The “devices” of his heart are made known to us—“And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Such were the “devices” of his heart, nevertheless it was “the counsel of the Lord” that stood. The “I will’s” of the rich man came to nought, for “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee” (Luke 12).
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1). What could be more explicit? Out of the heart are “the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23), for as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). If then the heart is in the hand of the Lord, and if “He turneth it whithersoever He will,” then is it not clear that men, yea, governors and rulers, and so all men, are completely beneath the governmental control of the Almighty!
No limitations must be placed upon the above declarations. To insist that some men, at least, do thwart God’s will and overturn His counsels, is to repudiate other scriptures equally explicit. Weigh well the following: “But He is one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13). “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11). “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa. 14:27). “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else! I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:9, 10). There is no ambiguity in these passages. They affirm in the most unequivocal and unqualified terms that it is impossible to bring to naught the purpose of Jehovah.
We read the Scriptures in vain if we fail to discover that the actions of men, evil men as well as good, are governed by the Lord God. Nimrod and his fellows determined to erect the tower of Babel, but ere their task was accomplished God frustrated their plans. God called Abraham “alone” (Isa. 51:2), but his kinsfolk accompanied him as he left Ur of the Chaldees. Was then the will of the Lord defeated? Nay, verily. Mark the sequel. Terah died before Canaan was reached (Gen. 11:31), and though Lot accompanied his uncle into the land of promise, he soon separated from him and settled down in Sodom. Jacob was the child to whom the inheritance was promised, and though Isaac sought to reverse Jehovah’s decree and bestow the blessing upon Esau, his efforts came to naught. Esau again swore vengeance upon Jacob, but when next they met they wept for joy instead of fighting in hate. The brethren of Joseph determined his destruction but their evil counsels were overthrown. Pharaoh refused to let Israel carry out the instructions of Jehovah and perished in the Red Sea for his pains. Balak hired Balaam to curse the Israelites but God compelled him to bless them. Haman erected a gallows for Mordecai but was hanged upon it himself. Jonah resisted the revealed will of God but what became of his efforts?
Ah, the heathen may “rage” and the people imagine a “vain thing;” the kings of earth may “set themselves,” and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Christ, saying, “Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us” (Psa. 2:1–3). But is the great God perturbed or disturbed by the rebellion of his puny creatures? No, indeed: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” (v. 4). He is infinitely exalted above all, and the greatest confederacies of earth’s pawns, and their most extensive and vigorous preparations to defeat His purpose are, in His sight, altogether purile. He looks upon their puny efforts, not only without any alarm, but He “laughs” at their folly; He treats their impotency with “derision.” He knows that He can crush them like moths when He pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of His mouth. Ah, it is but “a vain thing” for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven. Such is our God; worship ye Him.
Mark, too, the sovereignty which God displayed in His dealings with men! Moses who was slow of speech, and not Aaron his elder brother who was not slow of speech, was the one chosen to be His ambassador in demanding from Egypt’s monarch the release of His oppressed people. Moses again, though greatly beloved, utters one hasty word and was excluded from Canaan; whereas Elijah, passionately murmurs and suffers but a mild rebuke, and was afterwards taken to heaven without seeing death! Uzzah merely touched the ark and was instantly slain, whereas the Philistines carried it off in insulting triumph and suffered no immediate harm. Displays of grace which would have brought a doomed Sodom to repentance failed to move an highly privileged Capernaum. Mighty works which would have subdued Tyre and Sidon left the upbraided cities of Galilee under the curse of a rejected Gospel. If they would have prevailed over the former, why were thy not wrought there? If they proved ineffectual to deliver the latter then why perform them? What exhibitions are these of the sovereign will of the Most High?
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 47–51.