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Showing posts with label Gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gratitude. Show all posts

Saturday, November 27, 2021

It’s NOT all about ME? – Finding Center by Looking Up - Purity 587


 

It’s NOT all about ME? – Finding Center by Looking Up - Purity 587

Purity 587 11/27/2021  Purity 587 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of another 2021Thanksgiving Day sunrise comes to us from the Inlet Community Church’s FB page with the warm reminder that it is important to be “thankful to the Lord for the simple things… like a new morning.”  They also shared a portion of scripture to back it up with the word of God indicating that the hope of a new day is God given as the Lord’s “mercies are… new every morning” from Lamentations 3:22-23. 

Today’s Saturday but as I have to work today, I am grounding myself in thankfulness for the small and big things as a remedy to ward of any feelings of discontentment or outrage that “I”, MT Clark has to suffer the injustice of being the victim of circumstance of somehow drawing the short straw of having “MY” Thanksgiving weekend disrupted by work!

Never mind the vast multitudes that had to work on Turkey Day, Black Friday, today and tomorrow, “I”, as in ME, MYSELF, AND I have to WORK, TODAY!

Sure I have I had off Wednesday to compensate for my “end day”, aka having to work Saturday, and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with some of my future in-laws and a peaceful somewhat lazy Friday yesterday, but TODAY, I HAVE to WORK!!! WHY, OH WHY ME???  

Okay, although I used caps on the blog and may have raised my voice on the podcast for dramatic effect to convey that I was a little miffed at the idea of having to work today, I am happy to report that I rarely get offended and angry at the circumstances in life to this extreme extent any longer.   

Since coming to Christ and discovering the fact that in Christ all the problems of life are adequately put in their proper place, I have learned to manage my experience and filter my perspective with a higher view, most of the times… or eventually.     

I no longer look at life, for long anyway, as an opera singer where everything is about “Me, Me, Me, Me… Me!”  No, when I am flustered by the circumstances of life, by others’ attitudes or actions, or by my own personal failings or errors in judgment (Why do I do that!), I find my peace in the truth of who I am in Christ and the fact that I am accepted, significant, and secure because of Him.   

So when I face disappointments I remind myself that God’s mercies are new every morning, meaning that because I am in relationship with Him because of my faith in Christ, every day is a brand new start and it is built upon the fact that the Lord has blessed me in the past and chosen to give me a new day to rejoice, to share His love, and to work through any present difficulties by leaning on His guidance and strength.  

When we shift our focus off of our personal pain, sufferings, or perceived or real injustices and focus on who we are in Christ and our life giving relationship with the Lord, there is really nothing we can’t endure, walk through, and eventually overcome. 

The term “finding you center” is one used by yoga enthusiasts all over the world and is described as “connecting with your spirit by allow yourself to dwell on your innate goodness. Your center is that intangible place located within your core that is the best you possible.”    

While I would describe the process as “finding your center above” by someone who has not received spiritual life through faith in Christ to really be a “soulish endeavor”,  I will admit that employing simple relaxation techniques and meditating on positive affirmations can result in moments of profound peace and clarity.   

The problem is that “finding YOUR center” is a SELFISH practice that is centered in DECEPTION.  YOUR “innate goodness” doesn’t exist.  While God has written His law upon our hearts and it feels good to do good and “be good”, our sin reveals the true proclivity that we have for depravity and our innate “badness”.  

Meditative practices and exercise can make you feel good while you are doing them. You could be such a faithful practitioner that your life would be one exemplified as one being free of conflict and full of circumstantial peace.   

But if you find peace within and by YOURSELF, you have probably disconnected from others in your life in profound ways by manipulating your emotions or interactions and you have certainly separated yourself from reality and the very real and very personal God that created it.    

The practices of peace that men employ only last while you are practicing and without faith in Christ result in eternity in hell.  

While the Christian faith consists of many practices that the enemy will use and counterfeit such as prayer, meditation, service, and contemplating truths that the Lord put into His creation, it promises peace with God through one means and one mean only: faith in Jesus Christ.  

While other religions and philosophies stress working for peace with God or attaining a godlike status through spiritual attainments that will make you one with the universe (doesn’t that belong to God?), Jesus Christ reconciles men to God because of God’s love for us and through Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins.  

While we could manufacture peace in the moment by focusing on the positive and thinking happy thoughts,  the only true happy thought comes from a relationship with God through faith in Christ where you are assured of life’s meaning because of your salvation and coming to find your purpose by being reconciled to the Creator of all things who will sustain you and guide you for all eternity.  

So find the peace that lasts forever by being reconciled to the “Center” and Creator of all things, the Lord God Almighty.  Jesus didn’t come so we could enjoy a day of exchanging presents.   Christ came to reconcile us to God and to give us an eternal life of meaning and purpose that starts the moment we accept Him as Lord and Savior when we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and receive spiritual life. From that point forward we can have peace as fruit of the Holy Spirit, a peace that will last forever.

So “center yourself” on the word of God, the truth of who you are in Christ, and on the purpose that God is calling you to.  When you do that it becomes less about “ME” and more about “We” – as you are eternally connect with God who never leaves you or forsakes you and who will continually guide and strengthen you to discover His mercies that are new every day, even on the Saturdays when you will have to work.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT2)
7  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 

Today’s verse speaks of the care that the Lord has for us and commands us to lay our burdens down at His feet.  

From the time that we are children, we are assured by loving caregivers that “everything is going to be all right.”   More often than not those assurances are true. We somehow avoided suffering from whatever caused us to worry and we somehow survived and may have even felt silly about our anxieties after we had emerged to the other side of whatever we were worried about.  

The care and love that our parents or caregivers provided was fundamental in how we viewed the world. If their assurances of safety worked out to be true we viewed the world as somewhat logical and secure provided you “did everything right.”   

Even Bob Marley assured us that the world could be a happy place when he sang about how “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”.  Marley died of cancer, melanoma, in 1977 at the age of 36.  So yikes. 

As well meaning as our loved one’s assurances of safety and security may be, the reality of sudden death and disease can make them liars and cause us to have a more grounded view of how “everything is falling apart” or “everything is dying”.  

While these harsh statements are true, God stands above those realities and has eternal kingdom that is unseen and will eventually manifest in our experience with the return of Jesus Christ.  

“Everything is Gonna Be Alright” for those in relationship with Christ.  Today’s verse is written to Christians specifically.  Christians should give all their worries and cares to God because due to our relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, He cares for us.  

While God loves all of His creation, His care comes to and is completely fulfilled to those who put their faith in Christ.  Christians are assured of their eternal lives of acceptance, significance, and security because of Jesus.  

So as Christians we can give all our worries and cares to God because we know that no matter what we face there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love and His eternal plans of good for us.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Cast your cares and worries on the Lord and be sure to walk into your purpose of declaring the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all you encounter as you go. 

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

D. How You Can Escape Eternal Suffering

Personal suffering throughout eternity can be avoided by understanding and accepting 4 vital truths in God's plan.

4 Points of God's Plan

#1. God's Purpose for You... is Salvation.

  • —What was God's motive in sending Christ to earth? To express His love for you by saving you! The Bible says ...
        "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)
  • —What was Jesus' purpose in coming to earth?
    To forgive your sins, to empower you to have victory over sin, and to enable you to live a fulfilled life! Jesus said ...
        "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

#2. Your Problem... is Sin.

  • —What exactly is sin? Sin is living independently of God's standard—knowing what is right, but choosing what is wrong. The Bible says ...
        "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17)
  • —What is the major consequence of sin? Spiritual "death"... eternal separation from God. Scripture states ...
        "Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God.... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23)

#3. God's Provision for You... is the Savior.

  • —Can anything remove the penalty for sin? Yes! Jesus died on the cross to personally pay the penalty for your sins.
        "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
  • —What can keep you from being separated from God? Belief in (entrusting your life to) Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. Jesus says ...
        "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

#4. Your Part... is Surrender.

  • —Give Christ control of your life—entrusting yourself to Him ...
        "Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross [die to your own self-rule] and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?'" (Matthew 16:24-26)
  • —Place your faith in (rely on) Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and reject your "good works" as a means of earning God's approval ...
        "It is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The moment you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior—entrusting your life to Him—He comes to live inside you. Then He gives you His power to live the fulfilled life God has planned for you. If you want to be fully forgiven by God and become the person God created you to be, you can tell Him in a simple, heartfelt prayer like this:

Prayer of Salvation

"God, I want a real relationship with You.
I admit that many times I've chosen to go my own way instead of Your way.
Please forgive me for my sins.
Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.
Come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior.
Change me from the inside out and make me the person
You created me to be.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen."

What Can You Expect Now?

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, look at what God says about you!

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Question: "Isn't salvation unfair?"

Answer: Yes and no.

  • On the one hand, salvation is unfair because no one deserves to be saved.
  • On the other hand, salvation is fair because it is offered to everyone without discrimination. Because everyone is guilty of sin, no one is condemned unjustly. Therefore, the only "injustice" is that sinners can be saved at all ...

"Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18)

 

Question: "If God is really a forgiving God, why doesn't He just forgive everyone?"

Answer: God offers to forgive everyone—but not everyone is willing to receive His offer of forgiveness. Justice requires that a penalty must be paid for our sin, and the penalty for our sin is separation from Him (spiritual death)—"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

  • Since Jesus paid this penalty by dying on the cross for sins, all who place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ receive full forgiveness of their sins.
  • God will not force anyone to receive His forgiveness. Therefore, the choice is up to each of us ...

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

 

Question: "If Jesus is God, why did Jesus have to suffer?"

Answer: Jesus is our Deliverer, our Encourager, and our example ...

  • Through His suffering, Jesus made possible your victory over sin and your spiritual healing.
        "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24)
  • Through His suffering, Jesus showed you how to keep from growing weary or losing heart.
        "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.... Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3)
  • Through His suffering, Jesus showed you how to endure unjust treatment and to entrust yourself to God.
        "It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.... To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:19, 21-23)

 Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Bait of Satan Thanksgiving Special – Purity 582


The Bait of Satan Thanksgiving Special –  Purity 582

Purity 582 11/22/2021   Purity 582 Podcast

Good morning 

Today’s photo of Autumn in the Adirondacks comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page.  The photographer reported that they took a few preflight Dramamine and were glad they did because to capture this photo they suffered through turbulence stating that the “ups, downs, rock and rolling” had their stomach going in many directions.  They literally thanked Christ for the creators of Dramamine stating that they would not have made it without their help.  I recommend that my friends like their page because of the wonderful views they provide and the dedication to their craft that lies behind their magnificent work.  

It's Monday again and most of us have a short work week for Thanksgiving but just because our jobs may not demand as much from us this week doesn’t mean we will be free from work as most of us will be either hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday or travelling to a place where someone else is. Beyond making a turkey or alternative main dishes and all the fixings, we may have to do some work to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that we wish to have accompany our holiday meal. 

I am a teacher and student of spiritual warfare and walking in the Spirit and I can tell you that there are literally dark demonic spiritual forces that are looking forward to disrupting our peaceful gatherings and causing divisions in our relationships.   The enemy, Satan, and his minions will be doing their best to create bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, anger, and ingratitude to cause us to break the harmony of our holiday as we gather to break bread.  

One tactic that the enemy will use that lies behind those negative emotions and that can draw us into temptation and into regrettable words and actions is His deadly trap of offense.  John Bevere’s 1994 book, The Bait of Satan, exposes how the enemy loves to instill our own sense of importance and demanding that our rights and needs be honored to the point that any disagreements, opposition, or disappointments to our expectations can be used to create a spark of offense that the enemy can fan into a flame that will create a fire of discord that can destroy personal peace and rip apart relationships.  

So how do we avoid taking the Satan’s bait of offense, when we encounter the stress of the holiday, the frustrations of family, and outright opposition?  

Well ironically the reason for the season just so happens to be one tactic we can use to fight the enemy at his own game. 

If we are on the verge of offense or anticipate that we will encounter situations and interactions with others that will cause offense, we can dismantle Satan’s game plan by fighting fire with the Holy Spirit fire of gratitude.  We can use thanksgiving to save Thanksgiving with the spiritual practice of gratitude!  

Even the secular world recognizes gratitude as a means towards mental peace and, as Christians, we have even more to be thankful for because of the Lord’s revelation in our lives.      

As a daily practice, Christians should arm themselves for battle by spending time in Bible Study, prayer, and taking time to thank the Lord for all the blessings we enjoy.  We can thank God for our lives, our health, our family, our friends, our jobs, and our pets. We can thank Him for our salvation and our assurance that we are loved by our heavenly Father and that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He is working all things together for our good.  

As Christians we need to prepare for battle with an attitude of gratitude and by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ. In Christ we are accepted, secure, and significant.  We have the assurance of eternal life and Lord’s love, so we have to lean on that when we encounter a world that is unaware of the goodness of God and discontented with just about everything.  

Christ said blessed be the peacemakers, so we are to be on guard against the bait of Satan and avoid offense by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ and of our purpose to share the love of God everywhere we go.  

So as we have a couple of days before “turkey day”, oh and don’t that offend you… easy.., remember that God has us covered for all eternity and that the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, and love are ours to experience when we stay connected to our heavenly Father in studying of His word,  in prayer, and the continuous practice of gratitude.

So keep walking and talking with God.  If you do, you will skillfully move through life and overcome the difficulties you experience, even on holidays, with the faith of who you are in Christ, your ultimate security, and your purpose in God’s kingdom.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT2)
12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Today’s verse reminds us of the spiritual reality that the word of God is powerful and living, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires. 

I personally like the way the NKJV puts the end of this verse as saying the word of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  

I recommend that if people use the NLT for study and really like a verse they discover that they should look it up in other versions because the NLT was crafted for youth and the simplicity of the English language. 

While I love the NLT, I make this recommendation because it sometimes misses something in its rendering of the scriptures.   Sometimes the NLT simplifies the language or rearranges the wording entirely to make it more user friendly so be aware of that if your primary source of study is the NLT and consider using the NKJV as a companion resource to get you closer the original translation of God’s word.  

I have similar and even harsher criticism of The Passion Translation (TPT) which more accurately should be called a paraphrase as great license is taken with the “translation of the scriptures” where the authors have not only rearranged the content of scriptures, or simplified the language, but have made some questionable additions. I can’t recommend the use of the Passion Translation because of those creative expansions and I am sharing a link on the blog today to an article by Andrew Wilson that better states my concerns than I can voice here (https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/whats_wrong_with_the_passion_translation ).  Before researching the Passion Translation, I enthusiastically sat down to read Galatians in it and came away with a feeling that bad feeling in my spirit and realized that the authors’ interpretations and creative expansions to the text made it feel alien to me. But you do you… and ask the Lord to help you with His truth.

So anyway, I say all of that because today’s verse highlights the truth that the Word of God is alive and powerful. Jesus is called the word of God in John 1.   More than a cute analogy I believe that the Bible is being literal in a sense when it equates Jesus and the Word as being one in the same and is thus very living and very powerful.

Add this concept to the doctrine of the Trinity and we can easily realize that there are some spiritual realities in Christianity that are easy to speak of but that are hard to understand.  The paradox of the word being a book, the Bible, and the person of Jesus Christ should alert us to the fact that their will be somethings about our faith that we will not be able to fully understand or adequately explain to some one else.  

With that said, I know, that I know, that we can know God and understand a great deal about what He wants us to do as Christians through the word of God.  

The living aspect of His word is a spiritual reality that includes The Father as the author, Christ as the word, and the Holy Spirit as a revealer of all truth.  So when I see the NLT detailing that it “exposes our inner most thoughts and desires”, I agree with that translation because the word will educate and convict us about our sin.   Any book that teaches something  can expose our ignorance though and may give us the desire to align with a teaching’s merits but the Bible, the word of God, is not just another teaching book. 

It's alive, and as the NKJV puts it “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”   That translation leads me to believe that a spiritual form of communication can take place when the Bible is read “in faith”, by a Christian who is seeking the Lord.  The living word discerns the thoughts and desires of the hearts indicates that when we are reading the word of God, the word of God is reading us!   

Our relationship with God is a dynamic and fluid process of growth and discovery and today’s verse indicates that a study of the scriptures can and should be a part of our relationship.  

So before you sit down to read the Bible, pray to God for revelation to let Him know that you want to know Him more and to show you things that He wants you to see.   Our study of God’s word was never meant to be a dry academic chore, our approaching the word of God is better understood as a communication between the Creator of His universe and His people. 

So seek the Lord by drawing close to the word of God. You might just learn something about the Lord and because it exposes your heart and desires you just may learn something about yourself and how it relates to your relationship with your heavenly Father.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

D. What Is the Root Cause of Anger toward God over Evil and Suffering?

Although suffering is the result of "fallen humanity," God's highest purpose is to use it to conform us to the image of Christ in all we do and say. He uses suffering for our good, making us more and more like the only One who is truly good! ...

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Romans 8:29)

Wrong Belief: "It's not fair for God to allow good people to suffer."

Right Belief: "God sometimes allows suffering to touch the lives of people, but He does so only for a greater good both in this life and in the life to come."

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578


 

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578

Purity 578 11/17/2021  Purity 578 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of one whopper of a seashell underneath the blazing sun on the shores a Florida beach, presumably near Jacksonville,  comes to us from a friend from the U.K. who was visiting their transplanted and recently married offspring and enjoyed a week filled with coffee shops, early morning beach walks, and family time.  As life has seen their children grow, marry, and move to another country, our friend expressed how blessed they felt to have this special time away from “not so sunny Portsmouth”.

I believe it was the American philosopher, Ferris Bueller, who said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  My British friend knows the truth of that, and his report encourages us all to stop and look around and appreciate the life that God has given us.  

Last night, I had a moment to appreciate the life that God has given me in a sudden and startling way. 

I have been frequenting Star Point Church in Clifton Park NY for various purposes over the last several months and have gotten in the habit of speedily leaving their grounds to get on to State Route 146 on my way home, which is 45 minutes away.  Because of the frequency of my visits, the length of my drive home, and the traffic on 146, I have learned that it is best to not hesitate too long at the stop sign at the edge of their property because the traffic on 146 can be substantial and if you wait too long you could find yourself waiting what seems to be an eternity to start that near hour long drive home.    

So last night, as I left a session of pre-marriage counseling there, I was almost victim to the perfect storm of circumstances that could have ended in tragedy.  I was tired and in a hurry which is never a good mix.  Because I was tired and feared the fatigue of the drive ahead I decided to grab an energy drink as I was driving out of the parking lot.  As I approached Route 146, I did what I always did: I looked both ways and gauged whether it was safe to do a “rolling stop” before hitting the gas and zooming into the flow of traffic safely, preparing to do just that as I had on a dozen occasions in the past.  

But unlike my previous exits from that property, last night it wasn’t safe to do a rolling stop and as I was fumbling with the just opened energy drink, I panicked and went to step on the brake but last night my foot slipped off the brake and got momentarily stuck between the gas pedal and the brake pedal!

As I tried to correct my action and reapply my foot to the brake, I started to careen directly into the path of an oncoming SUV.  From their perspective the other drive would have seen me pull up to the stop sign, pause, and then do a herky, jerky entrance right into their way!

The Lord protected me last evening with an alert driver in that vehicle because as I fought to slow down and correct my progress, the other driver adjusted their direction and was able to avoid broad siding me as I sat helplessly bathed in their headlights as they went speeding past me.   

I immediately thanked God for His protection because I know that His will is sovereign and the things that happen or don’t happen are all under His control. Thankfully, MT getting smashed, injured, and possibly killed on the 16th day of November in 2021 was not in the Lord’s plans.  

As I cautiously drove the rest of the way home, I repeatedly thanked and praised God for His protection and mercy as I recalled a similar situation in my past where a woman I didn’t know made a similar mistake while driving and paid the ultimate cost.  

A few years ago I was working as part of the line crew doing some pole work on Route 20 near Duanesburg when a woman who couldn’t see the oncoming traffic because of an obscured view decided to take a chance by blindly easing out of a parking lot of a Mobil gas station onto the State Highway.  At the precise moment that she decided to trust that it was safe, a pickup truck was coming the other way at 55 miles an hour.  The crash was loud and immediately one of my colleagues yelled for someone to call 911.  As a flagger on an adjacent road, with my work area safe, I ran down to route 20 and started flagging traffic away from the accident site.  After 45 minutes or so I was relieved from my post by local police who closed the road with their squad car.  

As I walked back to the site, I learned that one of our line crew had performed CPR on the woman at the site but to no avail. From what I understand she was killed almost instantly from the impact trauma.  

So after my near miss last night, I realized that I didn’t just avoid a fender bender. Because of the alertness of the other driver, and because of God’s protection,  I avoided a crash that could have taken my life.  

Stuff like this happens all the time.  Because of our repeated actions and familiarity of settings we all have places where we have come accustomed to acting in a certain way.   I have friends who have joked about stop signs that are “really a yield sign”  or “only a suggestion”.  I and my friends have also admitted that the details of an entire commute were a blur because of the over activity of a busy brain or the laxity of inactive mind.  So I know that I am not alone with being guilty of the sin of being on autopilot. 

Thankfully, we don’t hear of the fatal accidents among our friends too often, but they do happen. Our near misses are so commonplace that we often are jolted to attention by them but quickly take them for granted and fail to mention them to anyone.  

A lot of people just think they were “lucky” but if we properly understand how God has created and shaped the universe according to His will, we understand that there are “no accidents”.    

So if you “get lucky” today because of a near miss, because something really good happens, or because you just lived to make it home to experience the “same old same old” with your loved ones, remember to stop and look around at your life and thank the Lord who gave it to you and all blessings you enjoy.  

God’s common grace falls out upon all mankind as the potential disasters that could come from us being on autopilot “somehow” don’t come to pass.

For every tragedy that does come , there are tales of how it could have been worse and even in those moments we are given an opportunity to see the big picture of the brevity and precious value of our lives. 

He saves us for our mistakes even when we don’t deserve it and He sent Jesus Christ to save us for all eternity.

So keep walking and talking with God. Pray everyday for His protection and presence in your life. When you do that, you will recognize that He never leaves us or forsakes us and that His comfort and love is available to experience every day of our lives.       


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is :

1 Kings 8:56 (NLT2)
56  “Praise the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is faithful to His promises and delivers us from calamity and gives us rest.   

The appropriate response to our “good fortune” of near misses is to praise the Lord.  

Today’s verse tells us to do just that.  As adopted sons and daughters of God through our faith in Jesus Christ we become grafted into God’s spiritual nation of Israel.   Now while Gentiles like me can’t claim a direct natural heritage with the people of Zion, because of Jesus Christ, I can claim a spiritual heritage with “God’s chosen people.” 

New Testament scripture points out that just because you have a natural connection to the Sons of Abraham does not mean that you are a part God’s chosen people. The Old Testament documents that all but two of the original nation of Israel, that experienced the supernatural deliverance from bondage to Egypt, were allowed to go into the promised land.  

So even though some experienced the faithfulness of God as physical members of the nation of Israel when He parted the Red Sea and Moses led the tribes to safety, scripture indicates that you still have to have a personal relationship with God to be delivered into God’s kingdom.  

The promises of God are for the people of God. So make sure you and your loved ones have made Christ the Lord and Savior of your lives to have assurance of your salvation and membership into God’s spiritual “Israel”.   

When you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you become one of His chosen people and you can finally know what it feels like to find rest.  

The fear of death and the power of sin over you are put to rest through Christ.  In Him you become heirs of the promises of God and as you agree with and live according to God’s will and ways for our lives as described in the Bible you will experience just how faithful God is in fulfilling His promises.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

B. How Did Job Respond to His Horrendous Ordeal?

Job's perspective of life had become thoroughly saturated with physical, mental, and emotional pain. He could not peer "behind the scenes." Feeling robbed of joy, he saw death as the better option. Did Job see God as good? Read the points that follow and draw your own conclusion.

  1. Job, who does not deny or cover up his pain, acknowledges that the Lord has the right to decide what is given to him and what is taken away.
        "'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." (Job 1:21-22)
  2. Job, after confronting his overly critical wife, lives with obvious integrity and focuses on trusting God with their lives—with their present circumstances and with their future.
        "His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!' He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?' In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." (Job 2:9-10)
  3. Job suffers such severe pain that he wishes he could die. He honestly laments before his 3 friends.
        "Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?" (Job 3:16)
  4. Job repeats his desire to be released from his earthly life in order to stop the pain, yet he focuses on being a man of integrity. If he were dead, he says,
        "Then I would still have this consolationmy joy in unrelenting painthat I had not denied the words of the Holy One." (Job 6:10)
  5. Job, though dismayed over his misery, admits that his God is the Maker of the universe and has performed innumerable miracles.
        "He [God] is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." (Job 9:9-10)
  6. Job doesn't stuff his feelings—even admitting to self-loathing, complaining, and bitterness—but then pleads with God to reveal what he has done wrong.
        "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me." (Job 10:1-2)
  7. Job doesn't understand why he has become a laughingstock to his friends; however, he continues to focus on the many attributes of God.
        "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.... To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.... To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his.... He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light." (Job 12:10, 13, 16, 22)
  8. Job states that even if God were to kill him for attempting to defend himself or to argue his case, still—and he makes this clear—he will continue to trust in the Lord.
        "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face." (Job 13:15)
  9. Job answers that God has established the precise length of our lives—even has set limits we cannot exceed.
        "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." (Job 14:5)
  10. Job, though distraught over his human accusers, realizes he has a heavenly advocate—an intercessor who is also his friend.
        "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend." (Job 16:19-21)
  11. Job, who knows he is surrounded by mockers, restates that he will hold to righteous ways.
        "The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." (Job 17:9)
  12. Job, in spite of feeling torn down by his friends and even by God Himself, focuses on seeing his Redeemer in the future.
        "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
  13. Job has no comprehension of why calamity has continued to afflict him, yet he still states that God is the highest judge.
        "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?" (Job 21:22)
  14. Job, though he can't find the Lord, realizes that he is not lost to the Lord—the Refiner who is testing him so that he will come forth as gold.
        "He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." (Job 23:10-12)
  15. Job, who genuinely believes he is undeserving of such calamities, remains determined to defend his integrity.
        "As long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you [my friends] are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live." (Job 27:3-6)
  16. Job, after experiencing a deep encounter with God, realizes that it is only because of the extremity of his severe suffering that now he is able to "see" God.
        "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6)

Conclusion: Although Job suffers severely in the furnace of affliction, he indeed comes out like gold—pure gold refined by the fire.

 

Question: "Why do Christians sometimes suffer for doing good?"

Answer: Evil is always in opposition to good. By its very nature, evil will seek to harm and destroy those who do good. The only real peace to be found in the midst of suffering is in the One who has made us to be at peace with God. In His time, this Prince of Peace will do away with evil and thereby secure total peace for all eternity for His followers. He Himself suffered for doing good. As His followers, we at times will also experience suffering for doing good. Jesus said ...

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.... If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:18, 20)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship