Brothers from Another Mother – Fellowship of the Saints - Purity 598
Purity 598 12/10/2021 Purity 598 Podcast
Today’s original drawing of a tree reflected in water, underneath a pink early morning or sunset sky comes to us from our brother in Christ across the pond, Philip Hand. For anyone who thinks that Philip might have a psychedelic bent, they should know that his drawing is merely his artistic attempt to reproduce a photo of one of God’s creative masterpieces that he saw online.
As awesome as Philip’s poems and drawings are, he uses his talents not to impress his fellow man but continually uses his work to point to God and encourages others to find the healing and hope of a new that His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provides to all who place their faith in Him. I have taken the liberty of calling this original piece of Mr. Hand’s as “The Tree of Life” because of the subject matter, the Biblical tie in that spans from Genesis to Revelation, and the faith that resides within the artist.
It's Friday and if you can’t think of anything else to be thankful for this morning, you can thank God for that! But then you should probably think again and remember your salvation and all the blessings that you have enjoyed in this life and thank God for those too.
As part of my daily spiritual practice of gratitude, I begin my daily prayers by thanking the Lord for another day in His kingdom and then go from there listing my thanks for my body, my mind, my health, my home, my children, my love, my family, my job, my car, my cat, etc.
Today I was particularly thankful for my brothers in Christ and the fellowship of the saints.
Just a heads up to my brethren who are so grateful for the Lord’s forgiveness of their sins, that they humbly identify themselves as a “sinner saved by grace”. You were a sinner that was saved by grace but after you were saved you became a saint.
Please don’t get it twisted. I understand that our salvation is a past, present, and future process and until we are glorified we will not be perfect like Jesus and will sin, either by doing what we shouldn’t or not doing what we should as Christians. So there you go “Romans 7 guys” I admitted sin is still an issue but if you are identifying as a sinner more than a saint, you need to turn the page to Romans 8 and own the empowered promise of God’s word that continually reminds us of the gift of our freedom in Christ to be progressively to sanctified.
As the Apostles epistles indicate, a “saint” is a common term for a follower of Jesus Christ and need not be thought of as some spiritual super star who has special access to God as some denominations have corrupted the idea of what a saint is, creating a system of merits that simply not Biblical and antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sorry, brothers I certainly didn’t mean disrupt our unity, I just wanted to say that Christ has made you a saint by faith and He has made you free and you can enjoy it by faith as well.
Anyway, I had a bear of a day at work yesterday where I encountered one perplexing issue after another and scrambled to find solutions and was feeling highly condemned by my lack of skills and proficiency in my current job function and was on the verge of having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” when I finally made a call to a fellow Community Freedom Ministry Associate who had reached out to connect and possibly build a relationship where I could assist the people of his congregation to go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.
As the senior pastor of his church, this fellow member of the CFM network of Freedom in Christ Ministries, wanted to be professional in ministering to his flock and realized that he should utilize the resources at his disposal and enlist the help of others in administering the Steps to Freedom in Christ.
As a pastor, or a counselor, it is highly advisable at times to refer those who are seeking help to others for various reasons. Rather than muddying the waters of relationship dynamics or advising someone in an area where we don’t feel comfortable, we should develop a network of associates that we can refer people to find the help they need and not be afraid to make a referral when we need to.
So my “bad day” was transformed as I enjoyed talking to another kindred spirit whose purpose in life was to not only help people to find their salvation by placing their faith in Christ but who also understood and wanted to share how our lives can be transformed by realizing and living out our freedom in Christ. I didn’t know this man from Adam but after a few moments of conversation I knew we had mutual friend in Jesus and a mutual purpose in helping the body of Christ to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts through their faith and with the help of the framework of prayer that is laid out in the Steps to Freedom in Christ.
While I am not sure of what will result of our new association, I know that I have a new friend, ally, and brother in Christ.
This simple conversation took me out of the funk caused by the circumstantial chaos of my day by reminding me of my identity and purpose in Christ and it encouraged me that there were more men of faith like me out there who cared and were doing the same work to share the hope and freedom of Christ.
A life of walking in the Spirit is never boring. That conversation with my newfound friend would have been enough to make my day but after work I had the pleasure of going to a Christian Men’s Christmas party of sorts at Starpoint Church in Clifton Park.
There was 25 of us in attendance for the annual Christmas “Men's Sock Exchange”. The event was themed as a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that men are often given socks as gifts at Christmas so the people at Starpoint decided to do a “white elephant” gift exchange with socks as the gift. The socks ranged in style from the highly practical and useful to absolutely bizarre and hilarious. I myself ended up with a pair of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer socks that I immediately regifted to my daughter Haley who’s into crazy socks upon returning home.
Other than exchanging socks, the men got to enjoy some food and fellowship. As an icebreaker we all introduced ourselves and share a story or a few words about our “favorite Christmas memory” which ranged from tales of receiving coveted childhood treasures, to spending special times with family in years gone by, to a testimony of a special Christmas in a foreign land “far from home”.
While any group of men could have had a similar event, the thing that brought us together and that allowed us to be vulnerable and to share insights from our lives was our common bond of our faith in Jesus Christ. While we had different ages, occupations, and experiences, we had all chosen to come together and to enjoy each other’s company as a band of brothers in Christ.
So in this world that has increasing caused us to be separated from one another, where the number of people who live alone has gone from 1 in 20 in 1960, to 1 in 3 in 2021, 25 men came together to have some fun and to encourage one another that they were not alone in their faith.
So as we draw closer to Christmas, let us draw closer to alone another and be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ. As saints, we will spend eternity together so why not get to know each other now and encourage each other as we all follow the call and purpose the Lord has for us.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Psalm 127:3 (NLT2)
3 Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Today’s verse reminds us of where our good gifts come from and that what can be seen as a responsibility, or a burden, should be embraced as a gift.
If you have been blessed with children, you know what a responsibility and burden on your life that can be. As a parent we are called to lead by example and to provide for our family’s needs. Parenting can be a thankless job of toil and, let’s face it, it isn’t for everybody. As parents, we will be called at all hours to do things that we would have thought as simply unimaginable in our single days.
So why would we choose to do it?
Even though the Lord calls us to be fruitful and multiply, we could surmise that there are plenty of people in the world now and decide that being a parent isn’t necessary or the call on our lives. So mere obligation to that divine directive isn’t a great reason to have children.
The best reason to have kids is to build a family where the love of God that flows through husband and wife can be passed on to the next generation and to be passed on further into the world. It is for love that we should make the decision to try to have kids. It’s only the love of parent that will cause you to stay and do the things you need to do for your kids.
However, today’s verse reminds us that children are a gift from God. Some people can’t have kids naturally. So we should remember that God really has blessed you with not only the physical ability to reproduce but has also filled your heart to be a parent for the right reason: love.
Being a parent gives us a small idea of the love that God has for us, as we play a part in the creation of new life and how we are naturally bonded to our offspring and committed to their wellbeing.
For those of us who have lost children, we also know that sending Christ to die for us wasn’t an easy thing for God the Father to do. But as a Father to us all, the Lord put His redemptive plan into action because of His love for us and to bring His wayward children home.
So this Christmas remember the immense gift that has been given to you if you have children, or the sacrifices your parents or others have made for you if you don’t. These relationships give us a small idea of the love that God has for us and that the purpose of Christmas was to remind us of all of the love that the Father had for us by sending His Son to be born in a manger, suffer, and die for us.
The Lord has the gift of eternal life for those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. And if you know Him, we should share the gift others.
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. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven, for Day 14, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
LET US PREPARE NOW
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
It was John Milton who said that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Indeed hope is such a vital thing that were it to die out of the heart of mankind, the burden of life could not long be sustained.
But precious as this hope may be, it is yet, when it is ill-founded, a dangerous thing. The hope, for instance, which almost all people feel, of long life here on earth, can be for many a deadly snare, a fatal delusion. The average man, when he thinks of his future, suspends reason, falls back on unreasoning hope, and creates for himself an expectation of peaceful and unnumbered days yet to come. This blind optimism works all right till the last day, that inevitable last day that comes to all; then it betrays its victim into the pit from which there is no escape.
The perils of groundless hope threaten the Christian too. James sharply rebuked the believers of his day for presumptuously assuming an earthly future they had no real assurance would be theirs:
Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Would it not be good for us to put away the vain dream of countless earthly days and face up to the blunt fact that our days on earth may actually not be many?
For the true church, there is always the possibility that Christ may return. Some good and serious souls hold this to be more than a possibility, for it seems to them as it seems to this writer that “the earth is grown old and the judgment is near,” and the voices of the holy prophets are sounding in our ears.
And when He comes, there will not be a moment’s notice, not an added day or hour in which to make frantic last-minute preparations.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Altogether apart from the prophetic expectations of devout men, there is the familiar fact of death itself. Of those Christians who had died, Paul said simply, “Some are fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6). What a vast and goodly company they make, those sleeping saints, and how their number will be increased this year. And which ones among us can give assurance that he may not join them before all the days of the year have run their course?
Since we know not what a day may bring forth, does it not appear to be the part of wisdom to live each day as if it were to be the last? Any preparation we will wish we had made, let us make it now. Anything we will wish we had done, let us do it today. Any gift we will wish we had made, let us make it while time is on our side.
At the great unveiling, there will be other emotions beside joy. There will be grief and shock and self-reproach and disillusionment. But it need not be so for you and me if we will but use the information we have at hand, if we will but take advantage of the opportunities that lie beside our pathway and the promises that just like uncut diamonds from the sacred Scripture. Yesterday may have been marked by shameful failure, prayerlessness, backsliding. Today all that can be changed and tomorrow—if there is for us an earthly tomorrow—can be filled with purity and power and radiant, fruitful service. The big thing is to be sure we are not lulled to sleep by a false hope, that we do not waste our time dreaming about days that are not to be ours. The main thing is to make today serve us by getting ready for any possible tomorrow. Then whether we live or die, whether we toil on in the shadow or rise to meet the returning Christ, all will be well.
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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