Purity 726 05/09/2022 Purity 726 Podcast
Today’s photo of a bright shining sun and clear blue skies over the waters of the Hudson River comes to us from a friend who captured this shot from the vantage point of the Saugerties lighthouse back on April 28th. They reported that their visit was a short one because of the gale force winds that were blowing that day but vowed to go again when the weather was right.
Well, It’s Monday again and the winds of change have blown us through another weekend to find ourselves at the beginning of another work week but as much as things may change there are a few things that will endure through the years and one thing we can always count on.
One of the things that can remain and endure through the years is our families. This past weekend every day was about family. Friday, I went to a performance of “Almost Maine” at HVCC because my son Brennan was acting in it. Saturday, I spent the day at a small gathering my wife hosted for my stepdaughter, Rachel, who is only home from the Marine Corp for a short time before she ships out to Okinawa as part of her three year tour of duty. And yesterday, my brothers and I all returned to the family homestead in Hudson NY to honor my mom on Mother’s day.
As much as it was a pleasant weekend and I enjoyed the various aspects of spending time with my family, the visits reminded me of how much things have changed over the years and how the changes don’t seem to be slowing down. What may seem like the status quo of going through the motions of work, of holidays, and seasons year after year, is really revealed to be the progressive movement of time when we see how the older members of the family age and how the younger generations spring up and mature! It can seem that we blink and suddenly we are old, or the little kids are adults! And with those transitions we also see how we each develop our own identities and start our own families and everyone follows their own paths through life.
And unfortunately, as we go forward through time and space sometimes those close family relationships become more distant and sometimes the family ties founded by biology or formed through marriage wear thin, break, or are severed by death. Time and circumstances may prove to fundamentally change our family interactions through the years and that is why I encourage others on the path of Christian Discipleship to do a daily practice of gratitude, to thank the Lord for the things and people in their life, and I also encourage them to be intentional in expressing their appreciation and love for one another.
The narrative of Friday’s play wasn’t the greatest but there was no way I wasn’t going to see my son perform in it. I love my son and while we may not always see eye to eye I wanted him to know that I am proud of what he is doing and I tried to demonstrate that by showing up, hugging him, and complimenting him for his performance at the end of the show.
To be honest, I have only met my step daughter, Rachel, one other time, but I married her mother TammyLyn and now am part of her family, so I did my best to join in the festivities Saturday as members of Tammlyn’s family came to the house to let Rachel know that she was loved, supported, and would be missed while she was off serving her country.
And yesterday, although I inwardly cringe over the idea of Hallmark holidays, there was no way that I wasn’t going to express my love and appreciation for my mom on Mother’s Day. By going to her place, I also enjoyed the added bonus of seeing my dad, my brothers, and members of their families as we all came out for the same purpose. Now that I am married with two households and we are older and live away from one another, I don’t see what was once my immediate family very often at all anymore, and it was nice to see that our separate lives haven’t torn us apart as the gathering was friendly and harmonious.
As we move through this thing called life, it is important to obey the Lord’s command to love one another and with family gatherings things may not always be pleasant as we are all imperfect people and sometimes our gatherings can be seen as obligations rather than opportunities or we can focus on our differences more than what we have in common. So some of us may have “blown it” when it comes to relationships yesterday or in the recent past. We may have neglected somebody, taken someone for granted, or failed to be patient and said or done something we have regretted.
But the good news is today is a new day and the Lord gives us new days to provide us with the opportunity to make a change if we need to.
Over and above everything and the landscape of our human relationships, our heavenly Father loves us and has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ and in His Holy word to let us know we are loved and in Him have a family that will never be separated from one another and He provides us with forgiveness, love, and wisdom to transform our lives and relationships here on earth.
When we know the Father is for us, we know that nothing can be against us. And when we walk and talk with Him, He can guide us in the way that is best for our lives. He teaches us to turn from the dark things of this world, He teaches to forgive others or to seek their forgiveness, He teaches us to be patient, to be thankful, and He teaches us to love.
So as we enter into a new work week, be thankful if your weekend was pleasant and examine it if it wasn’t. Things may not always be perfect when it comes to family but if we follow the advice of our heavenly Father, we can have peace knowing we have His love and that He can help us in the ways we respond and can bless our efforts to be “peacemakers” if we need to be.
When we are in Christ, we know something that many people don’t. We know the Prince of Peace and we can become skilled His ways and impact the lives of others with His wisdom and with His love. So keep walking and talking with God and keep practicing the simple disciplines that consider His ways and keep us grounded in His presence.
A life walking in the Spirit is one where the fruit of the spirit grows in our lives and is one where the love, peace, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control can flow out of us and change the atmosphere in our interactions and in our relationships. The love God has given us can be shared and experience by others so be bold and courageous in showing up and letting others know that you appreciate them, and if the opportunity presents itself, let them know that there is a God in heaven who sent Jesus Christ to give us peace and to make us a part of His family forever.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God is one who answers our prayers and that He is present and available no matter where our travels will take us.
That line about “those who sail on distant seas” reminds me of a cruise I took back in 2018 where I was told that no matter where our ship took us over the ocean, we would never be further than 7 miles from land. Of course that was a little bit of nautical humor because, they were referring to that land that was straight down, at the bottom of the ocean!
As pleasant as a cruise can be, when I looked out at the 360 degree view of ocean with no land in sight, I was very aware of the real and present danger that we would be in if our ship should sink. I have heard a few tales of people lost at sea and know that as pretty as the ocean is, we should make no mistake, the ocean is a killer. The ocean’s environment is hostile to our lives.
But since coming to faith in Christ, I don’t fear for my life like I once did and even though I was somewhat on edge when I considered the ocean depths that surrounded me I was comforted by the fact that nothing and no one could separate me from the love of God and that where ever my life would take me, the Lord was always with me.
Peace is the fruit of the Spirit that we can enjoy continuously when we remember that God is with us and that He hears our prayers. Our conversation with God, our prayer life, is the means by which we can communicate to the Lord what we need and what we hope for. While we can’t push God’s hand like a genie in the Bible, our prayers are the way we get to grow in our relationship with God. To tell the Lord what we want and need and hope for in life is to draw the Lord into the depths of our hearts. To consider Him, and His wisdom and ways, is to know Him more.
The Lord is sovereign and He controls what happens and as we pray we can see the Lord either work in our lives by answering our prayers as we hope for or we can learn to grow and trust Him and to consider our experience in life and our walk of faith as we are challenged by the prayers requests we make that are not answered like we want.
God saves us through Jesus Christ, giving us eternal life. So if we are in Christ, we have been given everything we need: eternal life and the power to live by faith. The particulars will have to work themselves out and our understanding will have to be matured as we go forward but we should never doubt that the Lord is with us and for us.
He has already given us everything we need and our experiences in our walk of faith will cause us to grow into the people God wants us to be. Our prayers may not always be answered like we hope, but God is always going before us to insure that our way to Him and other good things will be clear. We don’t know what the Lord has in store for us from day to day be we can know that He is moving all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. So make it your purpose to pray, to hope for good things, to love God, and to always trust in Him.
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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
6 -The Goal of Life—Gladly Making Others Glad in God
It is impossible to risk your life to make others glad in God if you are an unforgiving person. If you are wired to see other people’s faults and failures and offenses, and treat them roughly, you will not take risks for their joy. This wiring—and it is universal in all human beings—must be dismantled. We will not gladly risk to make people glad in God if we hate them, or hold grudges against them, or are repelled by their faults and foibles. We must become forgiving people.
Don’t start raising objections about the hard cases. I am talking about a spirit, not a list of criteria for when we do this or that. Nor am I talking about wimpy grace that can’t rebuke or discipline or fight. The question is, do we lean toward mercy? Do we default to grace? Do we have a forgiving spirit? Without it we will walk away from need and waste our lives.
Forgiveness Is Good Because It Gives Us God
The biblical motive for being a forgiving person may be deeper than being forgiven. It is true to say: The motive for being a forgiving person is that we have been forgiven by God when we did not deserve it. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). But the bottom of this motive is not God’s forgiveness, but what God’s forgiveness gives. It gives us God.
Why do we cherish being forgiven by God? There are answers to this question that would dishonor him, because there are benefits from forgiveness that a person may love without loving God. We might say, “I cherish being forgiven by God because I hate the misery of a guilty conscience.” Or “… because I hate the prospect of pain in hell.” Or “… because I want to go to heaven to see my loved ones and have a new body with no sickness.” Where is God in these reasons for cherishing forgiveness? In the best case he is there in all these reasons as the real treasure of life.
If so, then these delights are really ways of cherishing God himself. A free and clean conscience enables us to see more of God and frees us to enjoy him. Escape from hell at the cost of Christ’s blood shows us more of God’s commitment to merciful holiness and his desire for our happiness. The gift of seeing loved ones highlights God’s wonder in creating relationships of love. Getting a new body deepens our identification with the glorified Christ. But if God himself is not there in these gifts—and I fear he is not for many professing Christians—then we do not know what forgiveness is for.
Forgiveness is essentially God’s way of removing the great obstacle to our fellowship with him. By canceling our sin and paying for it with the death of his own Son, God opens the way for us to see him and know him and enjoy him forever. Seeing and savoring him is the goal of forgiveness. Soul-satisfying fellowship with our Father is the aim of the cross. If we love being forgiven for other reasons alone, we are not forgiven, and we will waste our lives.
What, then, is the root motivation for being a forgiving person? “Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We are to forgive “as God … forgave” us. God forgave us in such a way that infinite joy in his fellowship becomes ours. God is the goal of forgiveness. He is also the ground and the means of forgiveness. It comes from him; it was accomplished through his Son; and it leads people back to him with their sins cast into the deepest sea. Therefore the motive for being a forgiving person is the joy of being freely and joyfully at home with God. At great cost to himself God gave us what we needed above all things: himself for our enjoyment forever. God’s forgiveness is important for one reason: It gives us God!
What Forgivers Want to Give
Our impulse for being forgiving people is the joy we have in a forgiving God. Not just in being forgiven, but in being given joy in God by being forgiven. If we do not see this and experience this, we will probably turn God-centered motives into a kind of benevolence that tries to do good for man without knowing what the greatest good really is—namely, all-satisfying pleasure in God. But if we experience forgiveness as the free and undeserved gift of joy in God, then we will be carried by this joy, with love, into a world of sin and suffering. Our aim there will be that others, through Jesus Christ, will find forgiveness and everlasting joy in God.
Joy in God overflows in glad-hearted mercy to people, because joy in the merciful God cannot spurn being merciful. You cannot despise becoming what you enjoy about God. Joy in the God who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for undeserving sinners cannot return evil for evil. That joy will love being merciful (Micah 6:8). Joy in the God who is slow to anger cannot coexist with its own impatience. It will fight for the triumph of what it admires in God. Joy in the God who spends eternity showing “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us” (Ephesians 2:7) delights to be generous and looks for ways to give.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship