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Showing posts with label Good Works. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Good Works. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Adopted to Walk in His Ways - Purity 775


Adopted to Walk in His Ways - Purity 775

Purity 775 7/5/2022 Purity 775 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Cliff Seguin standing beside the trailer for Operation Adopt a Soldier underneath blue skies comes to us from yours truly as I grabbed this candid photo of the nonprofit organization’s founder and chairman after we had finished marching in the village of Argyle’s Independence Day Parade yesterday.   Founded in 2003, Operation Adopt a Soldi (https://www.operationadoptasoldier.org/) provides support to U.S. Soldiers stationed worldwide through the generous assistance of volunteers from the Saratoga, Albany, Queensbury, and Clifton Park, NY areas. 

My purpose in of marching in yesterday’s parade was multifaceted as through this single act of service I was able to: 

·       Celebrate my individual freedom as a United States citizen

·       Participate in the Village of Argyle’s expression of their community’s love for freedom

·       Support those who serve the cause of upholding our freedom by serving in the military by representing an organization dedicated to giving them support

·       Support the good work that Operation Adopt a Soldier does

·       Honor my father-in-law’s individual efforts as the founder and Chairman of Operation Adopt a Soldier

·       Honor my father by carrying the flag for the U.S. Navy

·       Join my wife and step kids in honoring their father and grandfather through their participation in his community service.

Considering all that is involved here, how could I not agree to march in yesterdays’ Fourth of July Parade? 

Add to all these reasons the fact that this simple act of service qualifies as a “good work” that the Lord may have prepared for me to walk into and it really wasn’t a question of whether or not I would join my father-in-law because it would please him.  It is such a wonderful thing to consider how we can meet our purpose of pleasing God through our loving and serving others.  With all of these things in play, I believe my participation in the parade also may have pleased my Heavenly Father, and since living to serve Him is the primary purpose for the rest of my days on earth, I pleased myself as well! Talk about a win-win-win situation!

Not only did I get to serve my family and support those who serve to protect our freedom, but through the expression of my love for others I undoubtedly pleased the Lord, and that gives me joy!

Since coming to faith and Christ and surrendering to His will for my life, I have been guided to not only deal with walking away from my personal problems but have been guided into serving others in various ministries and charitable organizations. 

My journey shows me that the truth of the aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are not only saved “from” God’s wrath through the forgiveness of our sins but we are “saved to”:

1.    Become more like Him through our personal sanctification in our developing our character to reflect His righteousness

2.    Show the love of God through acts of kindness and service to others and the community at large.  

3.    Let people know the reason for our hope, our changed lives, and our service by letting them know that our faith in Christ has given us a new life and  the power to overcome our personal demons and has motivated us to do good works in His name.

As adopted children of the king of all Creation, our purpose is to be transformed into what He wants us to be, to represent Him in the earth, and to welcome others to make peace with Him through faith in Christ and to join His family and kingdom.   

When you are adopted in His family, the love we have for being given a new life and from being set free from sin and death should drive us to further experience the reality of who we are in Christ through our actions.  

To echo the sentiments of John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech on becoming the 35th president of the United States, who said “ ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country…”, I would say as Christian’s we should not be overly concerned with asking how we can be blessed by God, but we should be more concerned by how we can serve God, by how we can share His love and be used by Him to bring more into His kingdom.   

In reviewing my walk with the Lord and by seeing others supposedly on the same path, I feel we may be asking the wrong questions when we come into the Lord’s royal family.   We shouldn’t be asking: “What’s in this for me?” or  “What do I have to do, now that I am a Christian?” Or perhaps worse, “What can’t I do, now that I am a Christian?!?”  , we should instead be seeking what we can do to know Him more, to be more like Him, and to show other’s His love?  

Our relationship with the Lord shouldn’t be viewed as prohibitions or requirements of what we can’t or what we must do, our relationship should an exploration of the One we love and a process of discovery of the possibilities and opportunities that our relationship with the Creator of all things presents to us. Our adoption into God’s family should result in our finding our identity and our purpose in our new life as His children.  

So keep walking and talking with God and follow where He leads. When we pursue the Lord as His child, we discover our faith isn’t a forced march of “obedience or else” but is a journey of meaning and purpose that results in peace, love, and joy.  

 

Today’s Bible verse does not come to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”, because that resource has been left behind at my countryside home in Easton NY, I believe so, I draw upon the verse of the Day from the devotional “Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary Wilder Tileston. In that resource, .

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 27:8 (NLT2)
8  No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account. She was exiled from her land as though blown away in a storm from the east.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the exile of the nation of Israel from their land as though by a “storm from the east”.  

A Cliff notes version of the Old Testament would undoubtedly point to the holiness of God and the consequences that His chosen people faced when they disobeyed His commands.  The Old Testament prophets repeatedly warn the nation of Israel of God’s righteousness and try to encourage the kings and people of Israel to repent and go His way but the people refused to listen and lost God’s favor and their autonomy and freedom because they were a “stiff necked”, stubborn, people.   

As today’s verse tells us God called Israel “to account” by exiling her to a foreign land where they would be treated as slaves and subject to foreign rules with limited freedoms to live and worship their Lord.   

The interplay of the course of human history and God’s sovereign control confounds us and when bad things happen to us we have a tendency to remove God from the equation.  If God, why evil? Is the question that atheists present, challenging us to explain why a good God would allow “bad things” to happen to “good people”?  

Those invaded by a foreign power and exiled from their land would probably blame their minister of defense or point to the tyrannical powers that defeated them as the reason why their freedoms were lost.  

But scripture tells us that as much as “God works all things together for good”, it also tells us that God is holy and will use afflictions of various sorts to punish the nations or to draw his people to repentance.   

It’s not just some “storm from the east” that may be causing us to suffer, our calamities may be consequences for our poor decisions or a “pruning” of sorts that the Lord is using to get our attention and to cause us to repent of our worldly ways, or to strengthen our trust in and reliance upon Him.    

With God, nothing happens in a vacuum. We are never removed from His presence. So when things go wrong, we should draw close to Him to seek His wisdom, guidance, strength, and love.     

He may be showing us the error of our ways and be directing us to follow Him by rejecting our sin and adopting His ways to live righteously.  

Or He may be teaching us about the lack of our self sufficiency and our weaknesses and be drawing us to rely on Him and walk with Him through a season where our efforts alone will not be enough to see us through.       

None of us can claim following the Lord perfectly, so whether we are enjoying a time of prosperity or find ourselves in a season of struggle or loss,  we can always seek to examine our thoughts and actions and what is happening to us to try to discern what the Lord is trying to teach us.    

Regardless the storms we face in life, we can be assured that the Lord is above them and that through our interactions with Him we can find peace in His presence.  So draw close to God and follow where His mighty rushing wind direct your steps.

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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 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 World Is Under the Authority of Satan

Satan is called a “strong man” because of his wide-ranging power and authority. He is the ruler (archōn) over an entire army of evil spirits (Mk 3:22), and he possesses a measure of authority over all the kingdoms of the world (Mt 4:8–9; Lk 4:6). The Johannine literature has much to say about Satan as a “ruler.” The Gospel of John refers to Satan as “the prince (archōn) of this world” three times (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). In his first epistle, John states the idea most forcefully: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19).

His world rule does not mean the whole world is involved in the occult or is engaged in grossly immoral conduct. It does mean the world stands apart from God; and therefore, the world has affiliation with the devil. In Jesus’ teaching (and subsequently in John’s teaching), there are only two masters—God and Satan. Those who have not professed Christ are still a part of Satan’s kingdom. John records Jesus’ comments to a group of Jewish religious leaders, who had rejected him: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.… You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire” (Jn 8:42, 44). A similar thought is conveyed in Jesus’ parable of the weeds, where the weeds represent “the sons of the evil one” (Mt 13:24–30, 36–43). The weeds, sown by the devil, grow alongside the wheat (“sons of the kingdom”) until the end of the age when there is a separation and the grain is harvested and the weeds are burned.

John’s Gospel contains no reflection on the meaning of Satan’s title, “prince of this world.” The term “prince,” or archōn, was used widely to denote the highest official in a city or a region in the Greco-Roman world. Even in the Greek Old Testament archōn was used for a national, local or tribal leader. This common political term was first applied to the hierarchical organization of the supernatural realm in the book of Daniel (10:13, 20–21 and 12:1), where it refers to the chief or leader among the angelic powers. In the synoptic Gospels the devil is described as the “chief ruler” (archōn) of the demons (Mt 9:34; 12:24; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15). In John’s Gospel this rulership is extended to the entire world. For John the “world” refers to human society in terms of its organized opposition to God. It appears that while Satan’s influence and control is primarily over people, it also extends to human institutions and organizations, the social and political order.

Victory on the Cross

As seen in the parable of the strong man recorded in all three synoptic Gospels, Christ’s death and resurrection marked the decisive defeat of Satan. The Gospel of John also looks to the paramount significance of the cross in terms of its implications for Satan. In John’s recounting of Jesus’ passion prediction, Jesus said, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out” (Jn 12:31). Later in the same Gospel, Jesus speaks of the Spirit convicting the world concerning judgment, “because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (Jn 16:11). In his epistle John summarizes Jesus’ mission, which culminated in the death and resurrection of Christ, by affirming that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 Jn 3:8b).

In speaking of the devil being “driven out” as a result of the cross, John is not representing Jesus as a helpless romantic who cannot recognize existing evil in the world. Neither should the statement be interpreted as Satan’s expulsion from heaven (cf. Rev 12:7–9). Rather, Jesus is speaking of a definite loss of authority by Satan over the world. Christians face the unique tension of having conquered Satan by virtue of their identification with Christ’s work on the cross (cf. 1 Jn 2:13–14) and needing to continue the war with Satan while they still live in this world during the present evil age. New Testament scholars describe this paradox as an “eschatological tension”—the “now” but “not yet” of our Christian lives. The new age has dawned, the kingdom of God is present, but only partially. Satan continues his hostile activity, but he has no power, authority or control over those who appropriate their new identity in Christ. Thus Jesus exhorts his disciples to “remain in me” as a branch remains in a vine (Jn 15:1–8).

Now that Satan has been “cast out,” Christ can build his church. In John 12, Jesus continues by saying, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). Jesus now exercises a saving sovereignty over the world, but not a political sovereignty.

The cross also condemns Satan (Jn 16:11). There will be an ultimate future condemnation of Satan, but on the basis of the cross. Raymond Brown comments, “The very fact that Jesus stands justified before the Father means that Satan has been condemned and has lost his power over the world.” Jesus’ death may have seemed to be a major victory for his enemies, but it had a surprising outcome. Jesus was raised, redemption was procured, and Satan was condemned. Moreover, Jesus is still present after his death in the person of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:7).

Whereas, in the exorcisms Jesus liberated a few individuals from the power of the devil, by his death and resurrection he liberated the entire race. All who exercise faith in Christ, and “abide” in him, can share in his victory over Satan and the powers of darkness.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 80–82.