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Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts

Thursday, November 3, 2022

That All You Got? Freedom from Unforgiveness - The Lord Has More for You - Purity 879

 

That All You Got?  Freedom from Unforgiveness - The Lord Has More for You - Purity 879

Purity 879 11/03/2022 Purity 879 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the of the clear still waters of Queechy lake comes to us from a friend or share this photo on social media from what they think may be their last paddle of the season on Saturday October 29th.  however in the comments of the photo’s post a friend playfully challenged our paddling enthusiast, asking the question “That all you got?”

Well is it?  knowing the weather in upstate New York, the challenger may have a point. While we are in November now and can reasonably expect anything from snow to near 70 degree temperatures, like today, we don't know always know what the future will hold and what we will be capable of unless we challenge ourselves to stretch and the see just what it is we can do. Rather than looking at the limitations on our lives we should ask the question can I do this?

well it's Thursday again and I share this photo of a kayak on a lake as another visual example of a pathway of sorts to encourage my friends to get on or keep walking on the path of Christian discipleship because while things may be impossible for man Christ said that all things are possible with God and while we think we might not be able to do something in our own strength, if it is in His will, God will help us to accomplish things we never dreamed of being possible.

Last night I led one of the men the from the Freedom in Christ course through the Steps to Freedom in Christ and while he admitted to having thoughts that denied that the process of going through the steps in repentance would be successful, a funny thing happened. After he forgave all the people in his life for all the offenses they have ever done to him, those condemning and doubting voices were silenced.

I have to admit that for a second there I thought I was going to have to square off against  manifestation of the enemy but together we prayed, stood in the authority that we had in Jesus Christ and after the step on forgiveness the rest of the process was relatively peaceful as this man confessed rebellion, pride, and all the known sins in his life, renounced and broke spiritual soul ties to people in his sexual past, and cancelled any generational sins of his ancestors.   The work of repentance of the Holy Spirit and this man's faith brought to the table was mighty to behold and at the end of the process when I asked him to listen in an extended moment of silence, he reported that things were quiet in his mind, and he had an abiding sense of peace.

Unforgiveness can be a real stronghold that can keep us in bondage to bitterness and to the literal spiritual forces of darkness.

So which was it? Was it demons, the hardness of this man's heart, or the baggage of a past filled with abuse that kept him from knowing peace?

The answer to that question might be only known by the Lord himself but the good news is that when we come before the Lord and forgive those who have offended us, the bondage of bitterness is broken. Something that many people would consider impossible: to forgive.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and to guide us in the way we should go. But the Lord is gracious and allows us to have free will, to freely choose what path will take in life. We can choose to live life like we've always had before coming to Christ, according to the worlds and our own wisdom, or we can listen to the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the word of God to know and experience the abundant life that Christ has for us.

This life of Christian discipleship is counterintuitive to how we've been conditioned to live without God, but it is possible. With God, we can turn from the world's ways, and we can be transformed. We can have peace, joy, love, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. The fruit of the spirit grows in our lives when we walk in the spirit and when we confess our sins and renounce the way we used to live we remove all the limits on what God can do for us.

So as we draw into the 4th day of the work week remember to ask yourself from time to time: that all you got?

The world, the flesh, and the devil will tell you that it's all over, that it's best to just pack it in and not try anything new, to just play it safe and stay safe in the shadows of what you're familiar with.

But Jesus Christ invites us to: “come and see”.

The Holy Spirit invites us to know what faith is and to experience his power to transform us and to give us a life of meaning and purpose that few in this world know of.

God the Father has made you for a purpose and He wants to have peace with you, through faith in Jesus Christ, and for you to be conformed in his image, to be the person that He created you to be.

So let go of the sins of the past, in Christ you're forgiven, and because you've received God's forgiveness, cast off the burden of bitterness that comes from holding on to offences against others by forgiving everyone for everything from the heart, as the Lord commands you.  

God doesn't want us to suffer anymore from the things that people have done against us. The solution to our problem of bitterness is forgiveness: to set the captive free and to realize it was you.

So keep walking and talking with God then follow the word of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, and you will discover that you have a lot more life to live, a lot more things to do, and a lot more hearts to touch then you thought you could.  with the Lord you'll discover they got a lot more of life left in store.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 12:9 (NLT2)
9  Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

Today's Bible verse encourages us to not be a pretender to really love others, to hate what is wrong, and to hold tightly to what is good.

One of the biggest drawbacks to pursuing a life of faith in Christendom is the perception that the people in the church are a bunch of phonies. Unfortunately, our experience may actually bear out that perception as our past relationships in the hallowed halls of the buildings called churches may have been plagued by hypocrisy and quite possibly abuse.

Some people say they don't want to be a part of a church because of the hypocrites in the church. Unfortunately, the truth is there's hypocrisy in everyone's lives. No one lives perfectly according to the standards that they would like to hold themselves to. No one. The only perfect person was Jesus Christ. And while we are called as Christians to follow Jesus the word of God clearly points out that we will not be able to perfectly live like Jesus did. That's why we need Jesus!

So what do we do with this hypocrisy? We won't be able to be perfect but today's verse I think is calling us to try to be genuine in our faith: to really love others, hate what is evil, and to hold on to what is good.

If you don't like the phonies in the church, don't be one by having the heartfelt intention to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love the Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

___________________________________________

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.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

Hidden Righteousness continues

What does Jesus say about all that? He says: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before others in order to be seen by them.” The call to be extraordinary is the great, inevitable danger of discipleship. Therefore, beware of this extraordinariness, of the way that discipleship becomes visible. Jesus calls a halt to our thoughtless, unbroken, simple joy in what is visible. He gives a sting to the extraordinary. Jesus calls us to reflection.

The disciples should have this extraordinariness only by way of reflection. They should heed it, watch out for it. The extraordinary is not supposed to happen in order to be seen. This means that the extraordinary deed should not be done for the sake of its being extraordinary. And it should not be seen just for the sake of being seen. The better righteousness of the disciples should not be an end in itself. Of course, what is extraordinary does have to become visible, it does have to happen, but—beware that you do not do it in order for it to become visible. Although the visibility of discipleship does have a necessary reason, which is the call of Jesus Christ, it is never a goal in itself. If it were, then the focus would no longer be on discipleship itself; then a moment of repose would occur, our following would be interrupted, and we would not be able to take it up again at the point where we had stopped to rest. We would immediately be sent back to begin all over again. We would have to take note that we are no longer disciples. So something has to become visible, but—paradoxically: beware that it does not happen for the sake of being seen by people. “Let your light shine before the people …” (5:16), but: pay attention to the hiddenness! Chapters 5 and 6 collide hard against each other. What is visible should be hidden at the same time; at the same time both visible and not to be seen. The reflection we have mentioned, thus, needs to be guided so that we do not stray into reflection about our extraordinariness. Our paying attention to our righteousness is supposed to support our not paying attention to our righteousness. Otherwise extraordinariness is no longer the extraordinariness of discipleship, but the extraordinariness of our own will and desire.

How are we to understand this contradiction? First, we ask: from whom should the visibility of discipleship be hidden? Not from the other people, for they are to see the light of Jesus’ disciples shining. Rather it should be hidden to those doing the visible deed of discipleship. They should keep on following Jesus, and should keep looking forward to him who is going before them, but not at themselves and what they are doing. The righteousness of the disciples is hidden from themselves. Of course, they, too, can see the extraordinariness, but not themselves in it; they remain hidden from themselves. They see the extraordinary only when they look at Jesus, and in him they do not see it as extraordinary, but as something obvious and normal. So what is visible really is hidden from them, in obedience to the word of Jesus. If the extraordinariness were important to them because it is extraordinary, then they would act like enthusiasts, out of their own power, out of the flesh. But because Jesus’ disciples act in simple obedience to their Lord, they view the extraordinary as only the normal act of obedience. According to Jesus’ word, the disciples can do nothing else but be the light that shines. They do not do anything to accomplish this; they are the light while following Christ, looking only to their Lord. Precisely because what is Christian is necessarily extraordinary, that is, in the indicative form [“you are”], it is at the same time normal and hidden. Otherwise it is not Christian, it is not obedience to the will of Jesus Christ.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 148–150.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Steps and the Facts of Forgiveness - Purity 871


The Steps and the Facts of Forgiveness - Purity 871

Purity 871 10/25/2022 Purity 871 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun heading toward setting over Lake Ontario comes to us from SUNY Oswego’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SUNYOswego)  as my alma mater recently invited potential students to apply now, to take advantage of the waiver of application fees that is in affect from now until November 6tth , promising excellent academic options and spectacular views like this to those who are accepted.   

I have recently seen an increase in ads from my old college and it makes me wonder about the state of the school because when I applied back in 1990, SUNY Oswego was one of the more coveted SUNY schools to attend and they didn’t have to advertise.  When I was accepted as a freshmen, I was positively thrilled because of the perceived prestige of the school, that didn’t just accept anyone, and the fact that it was a distant 3 and a half hours drive from my home in Hudson NY!  The feelings of joy of a new adventure in college and being free of all things Hudson was positively jubilant because it felt like I was going to begin a new life free from the things of the past and the perceptions of who I was based on who I was growing up in Hudson.  

And I was free and I was happy and I celebrated often, actually way too much,  and that in turn corrupted the dream of who I wanted to be when I applied to college in the first place resulting in 4 years of partying, meager grades, and no clue of what to do upon graduation, sending me back home hopeless, because I didn’t take advantage of those excellent academic options which led me to make the best of my bad situation which would be the ongoing theme for the next 16 years of my life until I learned what real acceptance was when I put my faith in Jesus and have been allowing Him to lead me out of the darkness of that distant past and all the years since.     

The great news is that I absolutely have no bitterness toward my alma mater, anyone I knew back then, or myself regarding the decisions I made in those college years because the Lord has helped me to resolve any of those offenses or regrets through forgiveness.  

Anything going back that far and any thing since has been resolved through the Lord, and a lot of it was done through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, which is a set of prayers, declarations, and renunciations that were developed by Dr. Neil Anderson, based on the word of God and used by the Holy Spirit to set people free in Christ. The Steps are a process of repentance that the Lord can use to help Christians resolve the personal and spiritual conflicts that would otherwise keep them in stuck in their sins and the bitterness of unforgiveness.

As I prepare to lead participants of the Freedom In Christ course through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, I answered the Lord’s call to “clean my own house” this morning by praying through the steps myself.  And I feel wonderful because I have renounced all my sins, failures, and selfish attitudes and forgiven everyone everything that may have caused some residual bitterness in my soul.  

I had last done the Steps in the spring and although I didn’t have as much to unload as I did the first few times I went through the steps, I was surprised by the fact that there were quite a lot of people to forgive since my last session. 

Oh People.  If we are in relationship with anyone we will have to forgive and even though I try to keep short accounts and forgive people immediately, over time our souls can be burdened of having to continually forgive the people in our lives who continue to unwittingly or purposely cause us offense.  Some situations and people don’t change too much over time and if we remain in relationship with them, we will have to forgive and even if we are diligent in doing so, it can be a huge relief to take their compounded offenses and lay them down for the Lord to remove from us.

So I have decided to forgive from the heart and feel light and free this morning and thought I would share the “facts on forgiveness” that are contained within the Steps to Freedom in Christ to teach or to remind all of us what forgiveness is not and what it is:

So here we go:  

     

Forgiveness Is Not Merely Forgetting

People who want to forget all that was done to them will find they cannot do it. Don’t put off forgiving those who have hurt you, hoping the pain will one day go away. Once you choose to forgive someone, then Christ can come and begin to heal you of your hurts. But the healing cannot begin until you first forgive.

Forgiveness Is a Choice, a Decision of Your Will

Since God requires you to forgive, it is something you can do. Sometimes it is very hard to forgive someone because we naturally want revenge for the things we have suffered. Forgiveness seems to go against our sense of what is right and fair. So we hold on to our anger, punishing people over and over again in our minds for the pain they’ve caused us.

But we are told by God never to take our own revenge (see Romans 12:19). Let God deal with the person. Let him or her off your hook, because as long as you refuse to forgive someone, you are still hooked to that person. You are still chained to your past, bound up in your bitterness. By forgiving, you let the other person off your hook; but he or she is not off God’s hook. You must trust that God will deal with the person justly and fairly, something you simply cannot do.

“But you don’t know how much this person hurt me!” you say. You’re right. We don’t, but Jesus does, and He tells you to forgive others for your sake. Until you let go of your anger and hatred, the person is still hurting you. You can’t turn back the clock and change the past, but you can be free from it. You can stop the pain; but there is only one way to do it—forgive from your heart.

Forgive others for your sake, so you can be free from your past.

Forgiveness Is Agreeing to Live with the Consequences of Another’s Sin

You are going to live with those consequences whether you like it or not, so the only choice you have is whether you will do so in the bondage of bitterness or in the freedom of forgiveness. No one truly forgives without accepting and suffering the pain of another person’s sin. That can seem unfair, and you may wonder, “Where is the justice?” The Cross makes forgiveness legally and morally right. Jesus died once for all our sins.

Jesus took the eternal consequences of sin upon Himself. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We, however, often suffer the temporary consequences of other people’s sins. That is simply a harsh reality of life all of us have to face.

Do not wait for the other person to ask for your forgiveness. Remember, Jesus did not wait for those who were crucifying Him to apologize before He forgave them. Even while they mocked and jeered at Him, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV).

Forgiveness Comes from Your Heart

Allow God to bring the painful memories to the surface, and then acknowledge how you feel toward those who’ve hurt you. If your forgiveness doesn’t touch the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete. Too often we’re afraid of the pain, so we bury our emotions deep down inside us. Let God bring them to the surface so He can begin to heal those damaged emotions.

Forgiveness Is Choosing Not to Hold Someone’s Sin Against Him or Her Anymore

It is common for bitter people to bring up past issues with those who have hurt them. They want the other people to feel as bad as they do! But we must let go of the past and choose to reject any thought of revenge. This doesn’t mean you continue to put up with the future sins of others. God does not tolerate sin and neither should you. Don’t allow yourself to be continually abused by others. Take a stand against sin while continuing to exercise grace and forgiveness toward those who hurt you. If you need help setting scriptural boundaries to protect yourself from further abuse, talk to a trusted friend, counselor or pastor.

Forgiveness Cannot Wait Until You Feel Like Forgiving

You will never get there. Make the hard choice to forgive even if you don’t feel like it. Once you choose to forgive, Satan will lose his power over you in that area, and God will heal your damaged emotions. Freedom is what you will gain right now, not necessarily an immediate change in feelings.

Now you are ready to begin. Starting with the first person on your list, make the choice to forgive him or her for every painful memory that comes to your mind. Continue until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain caused by that individual. Then work your way down the list in the same way.

As you begin forgiving people, God may bring to your mind painful memories you’ve totally forgotten. Let Him do this even if it hurts. God wants you to be free; forgiving those people is the only way. Don’t try to excuse the offender’s behavior, even if it is someone you are really close to.

Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive.” He is already helping you and will be with you all the way through the process. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive …” because that bypasses the hard choice we have to make. Say, “Lord, I choose to forgive …”[1]

So that’s it – at this point the Steps would direct you to start forgiving those in your life that the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance for you to forgive, naming the person, their offense against you, and how it made you feel.  The instructions read as follows:  

For every painful memory you have for each person on your list, pray aloud:

Lord,

I choose to forgive  (name the person) for  (what he/she did or failed to do), which made me feel  (share the painful feelings).

After you have forgiven each person for all the offenses that came to your mind, and after you have honestly expressed how you felt, conclude this step by praying aloud:

Lord,

I choose not to hold on to my resentment. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask You to heal my damaged emotions. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me. In Jesus’ name, amen.[2]

So if you have people to forgive, and want to be free of the bitterness that your unforgiving is causing you. Make a list and go through that process. All the text is on the blog as well as other entries from which you can go through all the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  

When we let go of the bitterness of unforgiveness, we can walk and talk with God with a renewed spirit and an experiential knowledge of what Freedom in Christ means.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 6:37 (NLT2)
37  However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.

Today’s Bible verse are the words of Jesus that assure us that if we come to Him and put our faith in Him as Lord and Savior, He will never reject us.  

That’s straight from the Messiah’s mouth.  So if you know someone who thinks that the Lord won’t accept them if they turn to Him in repentance and faith, show them this verse and assure them that in Christ all can be forgiven and all will be accepted in Him.  

This is the promise that gives us all hope. In Christ we are not rejected. We are accepted.  So go to Christ and keep going to Him to know the new life He has for you and the joy that comes from knowing you are accepted for ever more.

___________________________________________

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.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

Woman

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of infidelity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:27–32).

Our bond to Jesus Christ permits no desire without love. Instead, such desire is forbidden the disciple. Because discipleship is self-denial and a complete bond with Jesus, at no point may the disciple’s own desire driven will take over. Such lust, and even if it were only in a single look, disconnects us from discipleship and brings the whole body into hell. It causes human beings to sell their heavenly birthright for a bowl of porridge. They do not believe him, who can grant joy a hundredfold[97] to make up for desire denied. They do not trust what is invisible, but seize only the visible fruit of desire. They fall away from the path of discipleship and become separated from Jesus. Lack of faith is what makes lust impure. That is the only reason it is to be condemned. No sacrifice that the disciples make to be free of that desire which separates them from Jesus is too great. The eye is less than Christ, and the hand is less than Christ. If the eye and the hand serve lust and hinder the whole body from the purity of discipleship, then they, rather than Jesus Christ, should be sacrificed. The benefits of desire are small compared to the harm it does—you gain the desire of your eye or your hand for a moment, and you lose your whole body for eternity. Your eye, when it is serving impure desire, cannot see God.

At this point, must we not decisively face the question of whether Jesus intended his command to be taken literally or merely figuratively? Must not our whole life depend on a clear answer to this question? Must not the disciples’ attitude already determine the answer? Our own will advises us to flee from this decision, which appears to be so deadly serious. But the question itself is wrong and evil. It cannot be answered. If we were to say that, of course, the command is not meant to be taken literally, then we would already have dodged the seriousness of the command. But if we were to say, of course, it should be taken literally, this would only show that Christian existence is absurd on principle, and the command would lose its authority. It is precisely the fact that, for us, this basic question is not answered that binds us completely to Jesus’ command. Neither option offers us an escape. We are trapped and must obey. Jesus does not force his disciples into an inhuman constraint; he does not forbid them to look. But he guides the disciples to look to himself knowing that here the disciples’ view will remain pure, even when they look at a woman. In this way he does not impose on his disciples an unbearable yoke of the law, but mercifully helps them by way of the gospel.[3]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com 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



[1] Neil T. Anderson, The Steps to Freedom in Christ, ed. Pam Weston and Patti Pennington Virtue, Revised. (Gospel Light, 2001), 19–21.

[2] Neil T. Anderson, The Steps to Freedom in Christ, ed. Pam Weston and Patti Pennington Virtue, Revised. (Gospel Light, 2001), 22.

[3] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 125–126.

Monday, October 10, 2022

The Remedy to “Let’s Offend Everyone Day" - Purity 858


The Remedy to “Let’s Offend Everyone Day"  - Purity 858

Purity 858 10/10/2022 Purity 858 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of seagulls standing gathered on the sands of an unknown beach as the waves come crashing in comes to us from an anonymous friend who shared this scene on social media on or around April 12th of this year.  Rather than letting this simple scene of God’s beauty remain in my phone’s photo archive, I have decided to release it without knowing from whom or whence it came with a prayer that it won’t offend the photographer if they should happen to see it.

Well, It’s Monday and for many of us, we are enjoying an extended weekend because of the observance of a federal holiday that is increasing in controversy as time progresses and our society has become more sensitive to presenting a balanced view of our nation’s history and seeks to atone for wrongs done in the past.  So depending on where you are geographically, culturally, or politically in our nation today, you may have a different idea about just what it is we are celebrating today. 

Today’s federal holiday: Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day,  has become so confused and divisive that USA Today’s Scott Gleeson’s wrote an article yesterday morning called “What is Indigenous Peoples Day? Is it offensive to celebrate Columbus Day? Everything you need to know” that I am sharing a link to on the blog (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/10/09/when-what-is-columbus-day-indigenous-peoples-day/8185066001/) for those of us who desperately “need to know” how not to offend anyone.  

And me? Well, although I skimmed Gleeson’s article to get a little background to today’s increasingly controversial holiday, I know that no matter where I choose to stand on today’s festivities, the fact that if I am given the chance to share anything it would be to encourage others to believe in the gospel, that proclaims the exclusivity of Jesus Christ to save, and to live according to the Bible’s wisdom, I know I will offend many for many different reasons.  

The fact that I also see the world’s, let alone our nation’s, history as the product of God’s sovereign will, or HIS Story, to spread the gospel doesn’t help matters.   

But just to step back into the world system and forget about my biblical worldview for a minute, I can see why this holiday would be offensive to many for a whole host of reasons.  

Okay today’s holiday is an American holiday, right?  I think we can agree on that much, right? It is a federal holiday after all.   So why would we celebrate Columbus?  




I get it. He was the explorer who “discovered” the new world.  But in examining a map of his journey’s to said new world, he never set foot on the territory that would become continental U.S.  Check out the map, I found online and you will see that the furthest north Columbus ever got was Cuba.  Apparently Chris was the original Pirate of the Caribbean!  

According to subsequent google searches that I did,  we would have to give credit for the discovery of North America to either the Viking, Leif Eriksson, who put his European feet down on North American soil half a millennium before Columbus (https://www.history.com/news/the-viking-explorer-who-beat-columbus-to-america#:~:text=Half%20a%20millennium%20before%20Columbus,Erikson%2C%20Ericsson%20and%20Eiriksson).) , or to Italian navigator and explorer Giovanni Caboto (known in English as John Cabot) who is credited with the discovery of continental North America on June 24, 1497, under the commission of Henry VII of England (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_North_America).

So history buffs, enjoy the day off today and feel free to exercise your rights to be offended because I am sure I have only touched the surface of how offensive our nation’s celebration and understanding of historical facts is lacking in the historical accuracy department.  

As for culturally, today’s holiday whatever you call it, or the change in today’s holiday, can offend people from a host of different tribes and tongues. I am sharing a link about Columbus day on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus_Day#History) and you can read up on this holiday and how it has been used to not only celebrate the discovery of the “new world” but how it has been used throughout history to ameliorate the pain of, and or honor, various people groups. I use that terminology because to only name Italians and the “Native American” people, how dare you, would be uber offensive. 

If you just read this Wikipedia article you will see how both, I mean all, these groups have a measure of suffering and pride that they could claim to celebrate today. So today, if you base your identity in your cultural background, whatever it is, enjoy the day off and exercise your right to be offended too.

And finally while this may offend you, I would like to offer the remedy to all this offense by offering the words of Jesus Christ, to prayerfully be considered and applied to whatever offense may be in your heart today.   

Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
12  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)
14  "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
37  Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38  This is the first and great commandment.
39  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

From these verses we can understand that Christ advised us to love one another and to forgive one another our trespasses or debts.  

While there are different political and social theories that speak of erasing the historical monuments that give honor to men of dubious distinction and questionable ethics and that are advocating for reparations and atonement for the crimes of our ancestors, Christ would direct us to forgive one another and to live in the bonds of peace and love that are not based on our pride in our cultural differences but that are established by God through the atoning work that Christ did on the cross for every man, woman, and child that chooses to make peace with God by placing their faith in Him.

The costs of the evil that men have done to their neighbors has been paid by Jesus Christ once and for all on the cross but to be receive the “payment of peace” and to lose all the feelings of offense, we need to receive our forgiveness through faith in Jesus and then practice forgiveness to others.   

Instead of focusing on the things that would divide us, we are called to focus on the One who would unite us in love: Jesus Christ. 

Now while you are certainly entitled to not choose the new life of peace, love, and joy that comes from the forgiveness of sins that Christ provides and can choose to hold onto your cultural identity and foster the pain and offense for the wrongs that have been done to your ancestors, I have to lovingly offer the pathway to peace that transcends the past and leads to life everlasting.  

I have received forgiveness, a new life, and love because of Jesus and I know it is the only answer to these problems and feel compelled to obey His commands to share this good news even if it offends.    

So I forgive you if decide that “my truth” isn’t “your truth” and you choose to reject my invitation to keep walking and talking with God,  but I hope you’ll consider it and try to live in peace all the same. 

So Happy Columbus Day, Happy Indigenous People’s Day, Or Happy Monday.  Although any one of those sentiments could be considered offensive, I hope you will hear my voice when I wish you to find the love and the peace that the Lord has for you.

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)
58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord and to know that our labors are not in vain according to the Lord.   

As we look to save those who are lost, those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, we can easily become discouraged as the world seems to be increasingly moving away from God rather towards Him.   

But today’s verse tells the Christian to “keep on keeping on” and to know that even if we can’t see any good results for our efforts, the Lord sees us, and His word encourages us that our work is not in vain.  

Our work in Christ is without and within.  

The outward works would be the good we do or the people we lead to Christ. 

The inward work is to grow in our knowledge, love, and maturity concerning our character.

And the good news is that we can make progress in each area if we know how to look at the work we are doing with a spiritual insight.  

Any work we do for the name of the Lord is good even if we don’t see outward results because there are two aspects of the works we do. 

1.    We affect outward things or people. 

2.    We affect ourselves.

Our actions might make things a little bit better, even if just for a moment. If we fix something, cleaning something up, or help someone that’s good work. Our efforts could even inspire someone else to change the way they think and cause them to follow the Lord, and sometimes we may never know of the impact we made to things and others.  

Our efforts whether successful or not in our minds are experiences that add to our faith walk. We may learn more from failures than success but either way the things we do form a part of our path that leads us to maturity.  

So remain steadfast and immovable in your efforts to work for the Lord,  because our actions for Him may affect things, other people, or ourselves and we can know that anything we do for the Lord is worthwhile because His word tells us they are not in vain.   

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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.

Chapter Six

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Beatitudes – Continues

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Every additional Beatitude deepens the breach between the disciples and the people. The disciples’ call becomes more and more visible. Those who mourn are those who are prepared to renounce and live without everything the world calls happiness and peace. They are those who cannot be brought into accord with the world, who cannot conform to the world. They mourn over the world, its guilt, its fate, and its happiness. The world celebrates, and they stand apart. The world shrieks “Enjoy life,” and they grieve. They see that the ship, on which there are festive cheers and celebrating, is already leaking. While the world imagines progress, strength, and a grand future, the disciples know about the end, judgment, and the arrival of the kingdom of heaven, for which the world is not at all ready [geschickt].[17] That is why the disciples are rejected as strangers in the world, bothersome guests, disturbers of the peace. Why must Jesus’ community of faith stay closed out from so many celebrations of the people among whom they live? Does the community of faith perhaps no longer understand its fellow human beings? Has it perhaps succumbed to hating and despising people? No one understands people better than Jesus’ community. No one loves people more than Jesus’ disciples—that is why they stand apart, why they mourn. It is meaningful and lovely that Luther translates the Greek word for what is blessed with “to bear suffering.” The important part is the bearing. The community of disciples does not shake off suffering, as if they had nothing to do with it. Instead, they bear it. In doing so, they give witness to their connection with the people around them. At the same time, this indicates that they do not arbitrarily seek suffering, that they do not withdraw into willful contempt for the world. Instead, they bear what is laid upon them, and what happens to them in discipleship for the sake of Jesus Christ.[19] Finally, disciples will not be weakened by suffering, worn down, and embittered, until they are broken. Instead, they bear suffering by the power of him who supports them. The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified. They stand as strangers in the power of him who was so alien to the world that it crucified him. This is their comfort, or rather, he is their comfort, their comforter (cf. Luke 2:25). This alien community is comforted by the cross. It is comforted in that it is thrust out to the place where the comforter of Israel is waiting. Thus it finds its true home with the crucified Lord, here and in eternity.[1]

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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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 103–105.