Look on Your Works and Despair but look on God’s Work and Rejoice! - Purity 902
Purity 902 11/30/2022 Purity 902 Podcast
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Today’s photo of the Hudson River being diverted into what becomes Champlain Canal underneath a sunset sky featuring pink clouds reflected in the surface of the waters as the Hudson pours into itself comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene on Saturday’s walk at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville. If you’ve never been there, this is quite a scene to behold as the workings of man and the creation of God come together to give the Lord glory as this manmade dividing line creates a waterfall where naturally there wouldn’t be one. Unpictured in this photo there are also large stone monoliths in the waters of the Hudson towards the right that once were the supports of a trolley bridge that is no longer there. I am including a couple of photos that attest to there existence on the blog today if you want to see what I’m talking about. Without the bridge, these stone pillars seem to be the remnant of some long lost pagan society but instead of pointing to some pagan god, they actually bear witness of the futility of the works of man’s hands as time has erased what these pillars were placed for.
They look like something out of the Lord of the Rings, and they remind me of the Percy Byshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” which says: (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias)
“I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is , King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
As mighty as that trolley bridge must have seemed in its hay day, it now itself has faded away leaving behind the stone pillars that man travelled over. Just like the mighty works of King Ozymandias, the trolly bridge that once crossed the Hudson River is gone and testifies to man’s inadequacy to create anything that will last forever.
Well it’s hump day and I thought today’s photo was a good visual representation of us pouring over the midweek summit of the last day of November of 2022. The month of November couldn’t last either and tomorrow we enter into Christmas month, December, and as we do should recall the actual King of Kings, Jesus Christ, and not Ozymandias – sorry whoever you were.
I looked it up, and apparently Ozymandias was a Greek Name for the pharaoh Ramesses II who ruled Egypt from 1279-1213 B.C.. Although He ruled for 66 years, a long time for sure by human standards, he is just a footnote in human history and his power is gone. Other than being remembered by Shelley’s poem, the historical record, and statue fragments and relics in museums, Ramesses and his kingdom didn’t last.
Remembering someone like this, a king who ruled for nearly seventy years, and who has been forgotten by most of us could cause us to despair. I’m not a king and there are no statues of me, and it is doubtful that any of my writings will be remembered over three thousand years from now. Time passes so quickly and where will we be in another 50 years? While I could live to see 100 the insurance actuaries would bet against it. If no one remembers my name or work, what will happen? I don’t even know the names of my great grandparents! Will I just disappear forever as my bones turn to dust and all the things I touch with my hands also fades away?
Pretty depressing thoughts right?
So, why am I filled with joy? Because I know the Truth! Capital T, Truth – Jesus Christ!
Yeah, the telling of history and what we can figure out through our own observations can lead us to draw some very logical and very dismal projections for the future. The History Channel’s show, The Universe – has an episode called the “Death of the Universe”, I recall that spelled out the scientific “facts” that the stars would some day burn out and the universe will fade to black, leaving everything and everyone dead.
But while this is very logical, the thing that people forget is that our existence doesn’t make any sense! The universe exploded into being out of nothing and is still expanding. God is still creating, and He sent Jesus Christ to tell us that what seems natural and logical will be interrupted by the One who built this thing in the first place. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, AFTER Jesus returns and rules the earth for a thousand years!
So hold on to your hats, they say it ain’t over until it is over, and apparently life will never end as God is eternal and is over and above the created universe. And those who enter into His eternal kingdom, by putting their faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, will be with Him for eternity. Not 66 years, forever! And ever!
I always point to Christ’s words in John 11, where He said
John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25 … "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Well, do you? Because you should, Christ proved He was God after saying this by raising Lazarus from the dead! And that wasn’t enough, shortly thereafter, Christ Himself was raised from the dead! Hey guys, that’s God over there! Jesus is the Son and God the Son.
Believe on Him and live, dig on His mighty works and tremble! But you don’t have to be afraid! He calls us to believe in Him and live! If we are trembling it should be in response to the incredible joy that comes from knowing that we found the answer to everything. We found eternal life, in Christ.
So as we leave what is forecasted to be the “November Rain” behind today, let’s rejoice because we know the Truth, we know the real King of Kings, and when we know that we can peace and joy all the days of our lives here on earth because we know there is more to this life than meets the eye and we have been blessed to know this.
So keep walking and talking with God. He doesn’t go away and when we put our faith in Christ, we don’t go away either. So you might as well get to know the One who will never leave us or forsake us and the One who gave us a hope for all time by learning about Him and telling Him the things He already knows about you.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Today’s verse reminds us that we cannot hold on to our lives and it is only in surrendering our lives to God that we will not lose the life we have.
Enough said? No matter what we build in this life, time and history shows us that the material things we create, all our stuff, will most likely turn to dust.
Scripture tells us that our works don’t cut it, it is through faith alone, in Christ alone, that we are to be forgiven of our sins and given new eternal lives.
So what are you living for? Some fat retirement? To leave some money for your kids, who will spend it? While that is a nice thing to do, it’s impact will be finite. The money will be spent and no matter how cherished and cared for your family heirlooms are, eventually they will be given to someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t care and will sell them or throw them in the trash.
Don’t put your faith in your stuff! That’s hanging on to your life! These things are idols and need to see as that.
I have a lot of things I like and would be sad to part with them but if God told me to get rid of them? See ya! Including my life…..
Whoa… Don’t get it twisted I am not running after martyrdom anything like that but if we properly understand who we are in Christ and the implications of eternity in God’s kingdom, we will realize that we don’t really “own” anything. Everything has been given to us through God.
So start giving up your life for the Lord’s sake, and you won’t waste your life in silly pursuits that won’t last. You will save your life in the pursuits that give God glory and, not for nothing, could result in sweet eternal rewards, just sayin’…
But God is His own reward. He is the only thing that matters, and we will spend eternity with Him, so surrender to His will and discover what life is all about and watch as the fruit of the Spirit grow in your life.
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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
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.
(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)
“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
¶ “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:26–39).
The messenger stays with the word and the word stays with the messenger now and forever. Jesus encourages his messengers three times with the call “be not afraid!” Whatever happens to them now in secret will not remain in secret, but will be revealed before God and the people. The most secret suffering inflicted on them has the promise to be revealed as a judgment over the persecutors and as glory for the messengers. Likewise, the messengers’ witness will not remain hidden, but become a public witness. The gospel should not become some sectarian affair. Instead, it is meant to be preached in public. Today it may still have to live off in a corner here and there. But in the last days this preaching will fill the whole globe either for salvation or for condemnation. The Revelation of John prophesies: “Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people” (14:6). Therefore, “be not afraid!”
Human beings should not be feared. They cannot do much to the disciples of Jesus. Their power stops with the disciples’ physical death. The disciples are to overcome fear of death with fear of God. Disciples are in danger, not from human judgment, but from God’s judgment, not from the decay of their bodies, but from the eternal decay of their bodies and souls. Anyone who is still afraid of people is not afraid of God. Anyone who fears God is no longer afraid of people. Daily reminders of this statement are valuable for preachers of the gospel.
The power which is given to people for a short time on this earth is not without God’s knowledge and will. If we fall into human hands, if we suffer and die by human violence, we may be sure that everything comes from God. God, who lets no sparrow fall to the ground without the divine will and knowledge, will not permit anything to happen to God’s own people except what is good and useful for them and their cause. We are in God’s hands. Therefore, “be not afraid!”
Time is short. Eternity is long. It is the time of decision. Those who remain faithful to the word and the confession here will find that Jesus Christ will stand by them in the hour of judgment. He will know them and stand with them when the accuser demands they be judged. The whole world will be witnesses when Jesus names our name before his heavenly Father. Those who have held on to Jesus in this life will find that Jesus will hold on to them in eternity. But those who are ashamed of this Lord and his name, those who deny him, will find that Jesus is ashamed of them in eternity and will deny them.
This final separation has to commence here on earth. The peace of Jesus Christ is the cross. The cross is God’s sword on this earth. It creates division. The son against the father, the daughter against the mother, the household against its head, and all that for the sake of God’s kingdom and its peace—that is the work of Christ on earth! No wonder the world accuses him, who brought the love of God to the people, of hatred toward human beings! Who dares to speak about a father’s love and a mother’s love to a son or daughter in such a way, if not either the destroyer of all life or the creator of a new life? Who can claim the people’s love and sacrifice so exclusively, if not the enemy of humanity or the savior of humanity? Who will carry the sword into their houses, if not the devil or Christ, the Prince of Peace? God’s love for the people and human love for their own kind are utterly different. God’s love for the people brings the cross and discipleship, but these, in turn, mean life and resurrection. “Anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” This affirmation is given by the one who has the power over death, the Son of God, who goes to the cross and to resurrection and takes those who are his with him.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship