Giving Credit Where Credit is Due – All the Glory to Him – Purity 763
Purity 763 06/21/2022 Purity 763 Podcast
Today’s photo of sunset shining through the shadows of a tree on the shores of Lake Champlain comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page on Facebook, who captured this vision among others at the Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point NY back on May 29th. I am sharing a link to their page to give credit where credit is due and to give you all the opportunity to follow them and see more of their spectacular work (https://www.facebook.com/stephen.j.lemieux) .
Recently a friend of my friend had “shared” a photo from that my friend and presented it in a way that could lead their audience to believe they were the photographer, causing the my friend, the original photographer, to wonder about their “friend’s” character and whether they should confront them about, not only for not giving them credit for the photo, but for being dishonest with their own friends by creating an image of themselves doing something they didn’t do, or at least weren’t present on that particular day and time to capture the identical moment that the original photographer captured.
I am highly sensitive to this type of thing as I have lost friends when I wasn’t explicit in naming names when presenting their photos, or getting their express permission, yikes. In my defense, I never indicate that it was I who captured the photos that I didn’t take and always state they came from another source, specifically naming the professional photographers whose work I share, but always, when I can recall it, save the photo files to my posts with a description, a date, and the first initial and last name of the person from whom I “borrowed” the photo. I do this for two reasons, to simultaneously provide a photo credit if someone should choose to save the image from my blog and at the same time to respect the fact that my friend may not share my religious beliefs or agree with the sentiments expressed in my messages.
This issue of borrowing and not acknowledging the original source of the material we share is plagiarism. Whether it’s a photo, a song, or a quote, we should always share where the material came from. If we don’t, we could rightfully be accused of “stealing” or being dishonest.
I have a friend who for a time was sharing pithy sayings each day and I enjoyed their insights. But one day one of “their little sayings” seemed awfully familiar and so googled the phrase and discovered that it was a quote from a book. Shocked at the discovery, I google more of my friend’s “pithy sayings” and discovered everyone of them had an unnamed source. I actually confronted my friend and told them that what they were doing was plagiarism. It was stealing and lying, and it was wrong.
I am not sure if they were ashamed, embarrassed, or just ignorant but they dismissed me with “whatever” and continued sharing unnamed sources’ quotes. I think I shared a link of the original quote in the comments of their posts after that but let it go.
Whether from the storms of their tumultuous personal life or from conviction, they seemed to discontinue the practice. But I don’t think my confrontation really did anything to change their disposition because, as Facebook never forgets, I discovered this friend was sharing “their posts” from a year ago, which somehow made their plagiarism worse in my book. Not only where they are repeating their plagiarism, but now their original post being repeated a year later could cause one to think that not only was the quote an original thought of this person, but it was something that they came up with a year ago, lending a sense of legitimacy through historical documentation.
As a teacher of Christian Discipleship and Recovery, the first lesson I would teach to those pursuing a new life of authenticity and peace was to “stop lying” – to be honest in all things. When we start telling the truth, admit to what we have done, and seek to make amends for our offenses, we can have an enduring peace that doesn’t go away.
As Christians, we come to the Lord humbly, confessing our sins, seeking His forgiveness through faith inJesus Christ and seeking to turn to the Lord’s way for the rest of our lives.
We don’t try to portray a false image anymore. We don’t seek to impress our fellow man by embellishing the truth or by presenting someone else’s work as our own.
That includes the improvement that has come into our lives since we have come to God. Although we have done work to change our situations and solve problems in our lives, as Christian disciples we should never let anyone believe that we are responsible for the positive changes in our lives.
It is through God’s grace alone that we were shown the truth of the gospel that saved us and that caused us to turn to the Lord to be transformed. As the author of life itself, God has given us literally everything. So as His disciples, we should always seek to give Him the glory for any good that we may perform.
Before coming to Christ, we think of ourselves of ourselves as “self-made” men and women. But that’s a lie. We didn’t make ourselves. God did. Every good thing we have ever experienced comes as a result of His creative work and providence.
Since coming to Christ, the changes in my life could be described as miraculous. Most of my life was lived in selfish and fleshly pursuits that led to disillusionment, bitterness, addiction, and heart ache. I was trying to find meaning and purpose in the things of this world independent of God and I felt the pain of the inadequacy of myself and tof things of this world to satisfy.
The 90’s band Extreme’s song “Hole Hearted” describes this phenomenon in its lyrics:
“There's a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Can't be filled with the things I do” (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/extreme/holehearted.html )
The song of course was point to a love relationship but the greatest love of all is that which comes from God the Father, and unless we have His love to complete us and give us an enduring peace that last forever, we will always be looking in vain for something to satisfy us.
So when we find that love, and that peace with God, we have to give credit where credit is due and become people who represent the Truth and the love of God in all the ways we live. We are to be open and honest with our lives and always point people to the author of life and our Lord and Savior, as the reason for our hope.
So what do you do with someone who “steals from you”?
Jesus provides guidelines in Matthew 18:15-20 to confront those who sinned against us, to convict them of their sin, and to seek to restore them to God, utilizing the witness and assistance of others, if the offender refuses your correction.
But these are instructions for those who are in the church and seek to be obedient to God. Not everyone we encounter will agree with our assessment and may refuse correction because they simply don’t see things our way.
In that case the general principles from the New Testament would guide us to forgive them, and everyone for their offenses against us, because, in Christ, we have been forgiven much.
As much as it depends on us, we are to have peace with all men, but we may have to seek the Lord’s guidance, strength, and wisdom to maintain our peace when others despitefully use or abuse us. This life of Christian discipleship isn’t always easy, but our peace doesn’t come from our interpersonal relationships here on earth or from creating just the right circumstances, our peace comes from God and when we keep walking and talking with Him, and continually give Him credit through our thanks and praise, we can somehow find the peace that goes beyond all understanding and somehow we can live it in.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 103:8 (NLT2)
8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the Lord’s unfailing love and how He is a God of compassion and mercy.
One of the biggest obstacles that man has to coming into a relationship with their heavenly Father is the false image that is spread about His nature. Many see God as angry and vengeful and is just waiting to punish us if we step out of line.
While God is just and holy and will one day punish all who refuse his offers of peace that comes through Jesus Christ, He is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.
God’s moral law reveals to us just how wicked and deficient we are in our ability to be righteous. But God makes a way for us to have peace with Him when there would be no other way. Through the gift of salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, God shows His unfailing love, compassion, and mercy by giving us the means to not only avoid our just punishment but to receive a blessing we simply don’t deserve,
Through faith in Christ, we can receive all of God’s unfailing love by being forgiven and by being adopted as His children. So don’t fear God’s anger, find peace with Him through Jesus and maintain the harmony of your relationship with Him by following His word.
When we are saved and walking with God, we need never know His anger but can abide in his mercy, compassion, and unfailing love forever and ever.
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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’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 Quest to Alter Fate
In popular belief during the time of Paul, astrology was closer to religion than to science, although people then would not have made such a distinction. Astrology was closer to religion in the sense that people believed the heavenly bodies were deities or disembodied spirits. The known planets were named after deities. In fact, we still refer to the planets by their Roman names: Venus (Aphrodite in Greek), Mars (Ares), Mercury (Hermes) and so on. The spirits of heroes who had died on earth were also believed to continue existing in an ether-form, populating the heavens and constituting what we know today as the Milky Way. Because the planets and stars were seen as deities, they were capable of being prayed to, invoked, propitiated and even manipulated. In contrast to the Stoics who resigned themselves to the decrees of fate, the masses felt that fate could conceivably be altered. Franz Cumont provides us with a clear statement of this common belief:
[The masses] looked at astrology far more from a religious than from a logical standpoint. The planets and constellations were not only cosmic forces, whose favorable or inauspicious action grew weaker or stronger according to the turnings of a course established for eternity; they were deities who saw and heard, who were glad or sad, who had a voice and sex, who were prolific or sterile, gentle or savage, obsequious or arrogant. Their anger could therefore be soothed and their favor obtained through rites and offerings; even the adverse stars were not unrelenting and could be persuaded through sacrifices and supplications.
Astrology thus became closely connected with the other forms of popular devotion to the gods—the mystery cults and magic. The presence of the zodiacal images on large numbers of statues and monuments of pagan worship confirm this association with the mystery religions. A beautiful marble cult statue of the Ephesian Artemis dating back to the second century A.D., for example, depicts the female goddess wearing the signs of the zodiac as a necklace. It is likely that this artistic rendering was a method of portraying Artemis as having power and authority over those astral signs. The goddess Artemis might therefore benevolently exercise her control over those forces for the good of her devotees.
Magic could be used with great success by manipulating and invoking the assistance of the astral spirits. Magic thus was not only a mechanism for altering fate, but also a means of tapping into the power of the astral spirits to carry out the varied demands of the conjurer. Some papyri are full of examples of this kind of magic. One text bases the effectiveness of all conjurations on the position of the moon in the various houses of the zodiac:
Orbit of the moon: Moon in Virgo: anything is rendered obtainable. In Libra: necromancy. In Scorpio: anything inflicting evil. In Sagittarius: an invocation or incantations to the sun and moon. In Capricorn: say whatever you wish for best results. In Aquarius: for a love charm. Pisces: for foreknowledge. In Aries: fire divination or love charm. In Taurus: incantation to a lamp. Gemini: spell for winning favor. In Cancer: phylacteries. Leo: rings or binding spells.
Sometimes a magical recipe might prescribe an offering directly to a star, as for instance, to “the star of Aphrodite” (Venus). A heavenly sign might indicate the completion of a task by a conjured deity. A love spell performed by the goddess Kythere (perhaps Venus/Aphrodite), for example, instructs the suppliant to watch the star of the goddess: “If you see the star shining steadily, it is a sign that she [the victim] has been smitten, and if it is lengthened like the flame of a lamp, she has already come.”9
Certain groupings of stars, or constellations, were often identified with a figure, whom they were thought to resemble. This association explains the origin of the zodiac with its twelve signs, such as the crab, lion, scales and archer. In popular belief they were identified as gods and could also be invoked for magical purposes. A constellation that was not part of the zodiac, but was nevertheless well known in popular belief, was the constellation of the bear (Arktos). The bear was conjured frequently in the magical papyri. The following magical recipe illustrates one formula in which the bear could be called upon to accomplish anything the person might request:
Bear, Bear, you who rule the heaven, the stars, and the whole world; you who make the axis turn and control the whole cosmic system by force and compulsion; I appeal to you, imploring and supplicating that you may do the [space for request] thing, because I call upon you with your holy names at which your deity rejoices, names which you are not able to ignore.
During the time of the New Testament, some people resigned themselves to the unfolding of fate; others tried to alter fate through the practice of magic or by worshiping a cosmic deity. Whether through surrendering to fate or by trying to change it, people gave full credence to the tenets of astrology.
Concern about fate and the influence of the stars was probably a continuing issue for Paul’s converts. In Ephesians 1, however, Paul’s eloquent and artistic testimony to God’s electing and predestining activity would have provided soothing comfort to those new Christians on the west coast of Asia Minor.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 51–53.