What’s So Good About it? Good Friday Testimony - Purity 706
Purity 706 04/15/2022 Purity 706 Podcast - updated!
Today’s photo of the setting sun peering over the top of a tree across the street from my house comes to us from yours truly as I was moved to capture several photos of this dazzling spectacle of a sun set back on April 5th.
Well, as the sun sets on another work week, we should all be thankful that it is Friday and remember what the Lord has done for us. Today is not just any Friday, of course, it is “Good Friday”, which can seem to be a contradiction in terms because this is the day that we remember that Christ was crucified and died. That doesn’t sound good to me! But it is “Good Friday” because Christ didn’t stay dead.
Christ proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son because He rose from the dead! His resurrection validates everything that He said. He was who He said He was. His words were true. His words were the message that God had for mankind. His death was an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world and the payment for the sins of all who put their faith in Him.
This day is normally a solemn observance because we remember that Christ suffered and died for us. The humiliation and pain that Christ went through was done to reconcile us to God and to bring us into the kingdom of God. Christ did it because He loves us. Christ wanted us to be free.
In 2020, before and during the pandemic, I was going through a dark season of transition. My divorce had been signed in the autumn of 2019 and in my divorce agreement I made many concessions with the understanding that I would keep the house and have my kids. But things didn't work out that way. An error was discovered in our calculations and at the last moment, the mortgage wasn’t going to be refinanced, the house would have to be sold and the implications of the conditions of the terms of the sale meant that I would walk away from the sale with almost no compensation.
Suddenly, I realized I had to find a place to live and I had agreed to pay several of my ex’s expenses including a payment to her attorney. I immediately started working a second job to meet the obligations of the divorce agreement and to try to maneuver things so I could get enough money for a deposit and closing on a new place for my children and I.
In the months that followed, I constantly reminded myself of all the things I needed to do to move on to a new life for me and my kids. Invariably, after running through the list of things I needed to do and I thought I had it all figured out, a nagging reminder came up that said: “And don’t forget, you have to pay the lawyer!”
Not surprisingly, that reminder was a constant source of pain. I was trying to move heaven and earth here to carry the crushing debt of my own attorney, spousal support, and personal debt and even though I wasn’t obligated to pay my ex’s attorney until after the house was sold, the debt always reared its ugly head whenever I felt I was making progress. “And don’t forget the lawyer…” was a nagging voice from the pit of hell that tried to steal my peace, crush my hope, and kill my joy whenever I thought that I would succeed.
Well on April 10th 2020, Good Friday, the Holy Spirit had heard enough of that voice in my head.
I had made some progress in my situation and managed to have a substantial amount – just enough! – to have money for closing and a deposit. The money was in my savings. All I had to do was find a house! We were on our way!
But then Good Friday came. I was praising the Lord in song on the way to work and just rejoicing over all that the Lord had done for me to bring me to the cusp of a new home when suddenly the Holy Spirit put a call on my spirit to “PAY THE LAWYER.”
I was like “What?” I only have enough money for the closing on a new house. What are you talking about?” But that intuition to pay the lawyer wouldn’t lay off. So at 9am as soon as their offices opened, I call my ex’s attorney and paid the substantial legal fee obligation that I had agreed to in my divorce agreement. It was full blown pandemic days at the time and nobody was working so the attorney’s staff was very pleased to receive the payment that they weren’t expecting and that I didn’t technically have to pay until my old house, that wasn’t even listed yet, sold.
I was not thrilled with giving up the cash to pay the debt and didn’t understand how I was going to recoup this loss to the money I needed for a new house. But I was obedient to the call and I felt good about it. I obeyed the Holy Spirit and I paid what I owed. I thought it was crazy but I let go and let God.
I went about my day as normal after that and had sort of put the whole thing out of my mind in the busyness of the work day. As I was driving from one job to another, a message came on the radio and told of a “Good Friday” service that the speaker had been to years ago. In this service, when the people entered the sanctuary they were given a length of chain. I think they chains you used to lock up bicycles. Also at the front of the sanctuary there were large metal garbage cans. The person described how they thought it was very strange. But then the pastor said something about how today was Good Friday, and today was the day that Jesus suffered and died on the cross to set us free.
The pastor explained that before Christ we are bound to sin and death. But when we put our faith in Him, He breaks the chains of our chains. So he invited the people to come to the front and to thank the Lord and to lay down their chains at the foot of the cross by putting them in the cans at the front of the sanctuary.
The person relaying this story described how people were overcome with emotion as they went forward and threw their chains in the cans and they described how the chains rang out as metal hit against metal and echoed through the space. And how each loud reverberation was the sound of another person who was set free by Christ.
That’s when it hit me, God didn’t want me to go on any longer in bondage to the debt to the lawyer. God wanted me to be free of it. So He was over me to pay it so I could be free of it. I didn’t know what would happen but He wanted freedom and somehow assured me that things would work out.
I didn't know what would happen but I had peace about paying that debt and I know that God arranged for me to hear this message so I would know that the prompting to pay the debt wasn’t just some wild reckless impulse. The call to “Pay the Lawyer” was from Him because He wanted me to be free.
I trusted the Lord when I really didn’t have any reason to. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I rejoiced over my freedom and I rejoiced over my relationship with the Lord and the debt that Jesus paid for all those who put their faith in Him.
God is so good. I didn’t what I was going to do after that and I didn’t know how I could get that money back but God knew. And sure enough because of Covid “danger” pay and bonuses and other unexpected wind falls by the end of April all the money I paid to my ex’s attorney was back in my account.
Sometimes we have to step out and trust the Lord when we don’t have any reason to. Sometimes we have to let go of something to receive something else. Sometimes we have to surrender and hope for the best.
But when we walk with God we are secure.
He knows the end from the beginning and has always provided for us. He provided us with Jesus to save us and set us free.
So thank God it is Friday and thank God for Christ’s sacrifice and the joy He had to go to the cross to set us free. Keep walking and talking with God and declare the goodness of the Lord today, and every day.
Today’s Bible verses comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Today’s Bible verse speaks of the goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of the Lord when we answer His call on our lives to come home.
I don’t set these things up. Goodness and mercy? Yeah, I think I know something about that. This is life everlasting.
Because of Jesus Christ, we can know the goodness and mercy of the Lord. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to His purposes. Christ suffered and died to save us and give us a place in the house of the Lord forever. He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for us and when we put our faith in Him we have a place in His eternal kingdom reserved for us.
But He also calls us to follow Him to experience the goodness and mercy that will follow us all the days of our lives here on earth. So follow Him, go into all your world and make disciples. Tell everyone of His goodness and mercy and the amazing things that He has done for you and the multitude of others that have put their 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.
The Death of God and the Death of Meaning
Things were coming together. On a cold October afternoon back in 1965 at Wheaton College I had taken the new Time Magazine to a second-floor corner of the library and read the cover story: “Is God Dead?” (October 22, 1965). “Christian atheists” like Thomas J. J. Altizer answered, yes. It was not new news. Friedrich Nietzsche had given the obituary a hundred years earlier: “Whither is God? … I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers.… God is dead. God remains dead and we have killed him.” It was a costly confession: Nietzsche spent the last eleven years of his life in a semi-catatonic state and died in 1900.
But the courageous “Christian atheists” of the sixties did not compute the costs of being God’s replacement as supermen (which Nietzsche called them). The strong drink of Existentialism loosened the tongues of those creative theologians, like the men five rows back in the airplane after too many beers. So the suicidal assertion that God is dead was spoken again. And when God died, the meaning of texts died. If the basis of objective reality dies, then writing and speaking about objective reality die. It all hangs together.
So my deliverance in the late sixties from the madness of killing God led naturally in the early seventies to my deliverance from the hypocritical emptiness of hermeneutical subjectivism—the two-faced notion that there is no objective meaning in any sentence (but this one). Now I was ready for the real work of seminary: finding what the Bible said about how not to waste my life.
Learning the “Severe Discipline” of Reading the Bible
My debt at this point to Daniel Fuller is incalculable. He taught hermeneutics—the science of how to interpret the Bible. Not only did he introduce me to E. D. Hirsch and force me to read him with rigor, but he also taught me how to read the Bible with what Matthew Arnold called “severe discipline.” He showed me the obvious: that the verses of the Bible are not strung pearls but links in a chain. The writers developed unified patterns of thought. They reasoned. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18). This meant that, in each paragraph of Scripture, one should ask how each part related to the other parts in order to say one coherent thing. Then the paragraphs should be related to each other in the same way. And then the chapters, then the books, and so on until the unity of the Bible is found on its own terms.
I felt like my little brown path of life had entered an orchard, a vineyard, a garden with mind-blowing, heart-thrilling, life-changing fruit to be picked everywhere. Never had I seen so much truth and so much beauty condensed in so small a sphere. The Bible seemed to me then, and it seems today, inexhaustible. This is what I had dreamed about in the health center with mono, when God called me to the ministry of the Word. Now the question became: What is the Point, the Purpose, the Focus, the Essence of this beautiful glimpse of divine Truth?
A Glimpse of Why I and Everything Exist
In course after course the pieces were put in place. What a gift those three years of seminary were! In the final class with Dr. Fuller, called “The Unity of the Bible” (which is also a book by that title) the unifying flag was hoisted over the whole Bible.
God ordained a redemptive history whose sequence fully displays his glory so that, at the end, the greatest possible number of people would have had the historical antecedents necessary to engender [the most] fervent love for God.… The one thing God is doing in all of redemptive history is to show forth his mercy in such a way that the greatest number of people will throughout eternity delight in him with all their heart, strength, and mind.… When the earth of the new creation is filled with such people, then God’s purpose in showing forth his mercy will have been achieved.… All the events of redemptive history and their meaning as recorded in the Bible compose a unity in that they conjoin to bring about this goal.
Contained in these sentences were the seeds of my future. The driving passion of my life was rooted here. One of the seeds was in the word “glory”—God’s aim in history was to “fully display his glory.” Another seed was in the word “delight”—God’s aim was that his people “delight in him with all their heart.” The passion of my life has been to understand and live and teach and preach how these two aims of God relate to each other—indeed, how they are not two but one.
It was becoming clearer and clearer that if I wanted to come to the end of my life and not say, “I’ve wasted it!” then I would need to press all the way in, and all the way up, to the ultimate purpose of God and join him in it. If my life was to have a single, all-satisfying, unifying passion, it would have to be God’s passion. And, if Daniel Fuller was right, God’s passion was the display of his own glory and the delight of my heart.
All of my life since that discovery has been spent experiencing and examining and explaining that truth. It has become clearer and more certain and more demanding with every year. It has become clearer that God being glorified and God being enjoyed are not separate categories. They relate to each other not like fruit and animals, but like fruit and apples. Apples are one kind of fruit. Enjoying God supremely is one way to glorify him. Enjoying God makes him look supremely valuable.
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