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Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hurricane Ian – The Storms Reveal What Matters Most - Purity 850


Hurricane Ian – The Storms Reveal What Matters Most - Purity 850

Purity 850 09/29/2022 Purity 850 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico somewhere in the Tarpon Springs area on the West Coast of Florida comes to us from a friend who shared various scenes of the Sunshine State while on their family vacation back in June. 

After Hurricane Ian has blown through Florida, our prayers are with our friends and all the residents in Florida who are in the process of cleaning up the devastating damage in the aftermath of the category 4 storm that caused millions of dollars in damage and took the lives of 12 people and may continue to cause more damage as it moves up the coast near South Carolina today.  

In events like this the lives lost show up how fleeting our lives can be. I don’t know the details but I am almost certain that none of the 12 people lost ever thought they would be killed because of a hurricane.  And as devastating as the losses to people’s homes and business may be, these events show us that our human lives are far more valuable than any possessions.   

The lessons of life and death that are taught through instances of traumatic losses show us that things no matter how cherished they are only things and whether our stuff is destroyed, broken or lost through out our lives or if they survive and are passed on to others after we go to the grave, our possessions value is limited in comparison to our lives.   

In my men’s Freedom in Christ discipleship group one of the men has reported that he has been suffering from debilitating aches and pains and exhaustion for months and just the other night he commented on the extreme value of our physical health, stating that he would willingly sacrifice his possession in a moment to have his health and strength restored.   But because He is a Christian, he still was thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has provided with in his life even though he is suffering,

When our health fails and things are torn asunder in our lives, where will we find our hope?  

Well that is why our personal relationship with the Lord through our faith in Jesus Christ is so important.   

When we know who we are in Christ, we know we are accepted into God’s kingdom and we are secure in God’s love no matter what negative circumstances we will face.  

In Christ, we know that we are citizens of heaven and that our place on the earth is temporary and that when death comes or when Christ returns to reclaim the earth, we will be safe and secure in the company of our Heavenly Father and the community of saints who put their faith in Christ.     

Also in Christ we know that we can receive God’s strength, grace, and mercy when we call out to Him to help us.  

We don’t know what help will come but in Christ we know that we are not abandoned, we are not forsaken, and that the Lord is with us and will help us for God works ALL THINGs together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes.  

So even in the wake of disaster, we can thank God it’s Friday today and we can thank Him for so much more.  

So if you are short on hope, peace, or joy, draw close to God and He will lift you up.  Put your faith in Christ and you will never have to walk through this life wondering about your safety. Keep walking and talking with God and you will know that even if our health fails or we lose everything we have, we will not be alone and He will give us the strength to endure our sufferings and possibly rejoice as He gives us the will to survive and build our lives new again. 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

John 15:4-5 (NLT2)
4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

In Today’s Bible Verses Jesus tells His disciples to remain in Him and He will remain in them and that apart from Him we can do nothing.    

Christ’s words encourage us to remain in His presence with the indication that if we do that He will be with us and He will help us to produce much fruit.  

Fruit could be seen as good works done for others for the glory of God to give compassionate care or to guide people out of the darkness by showing them the light of Jesus or it could be the fruit of righteousness as our spiritual disciplines of repentance, Bible study, and prayer transforms our character.  

This passage of scripture is perhaps one of the bests examples of how Christ isn’t just telling us to follow the rules of God’s law but is inviting us into a dynamic personal relationship with Him and He assures us that their will be the benefits of much fruit.   

So don’t focus on the fruit of “doing good works” because you “have to” now that you are a Christian, instead abide with Christ and experience the peace of His presence and follow the call that He puts on your life and watch as the fruit grows naturally from being attached to the Vine of Christ.

 

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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 Four

Discipleship and the Cross - concludes

But how should disciples know what their cross is? They will receive it when they begin to follow the suffering Lord. They will recognize their cross in communion with Jesus.

Thus, suffering becomes the identifying mark of a follower of Christ. The disciple is not above the teacher. Discipleship is passio passiva [passive suffering], having to suffer. That is why Luther could count suffering among the marks of the true church.[17] A preparatory document for the Augsburg Confession defined the church as the community of those “who are persecuted and martyred on account of the gospel.” Those who do not want to take up their cross, who do not want to give their lives in suffering and being rejected by people, lose their community with Christ. They are not disciples. But those who lose their lives in discipleship, in bearing the cross, will find life again in following in the community of the cross with Christ. The opposite of discipleship is being ashamed of Christ, being ashamed of the cross, being scandalized by the cross.

Discipleship is being bound to the suffering Christ. That is why Christian suffering is not disconcerting. Instead, it is nothing but grace and joy. The acts of the church’s first martyrs give witness that Christ transfigures the moment of greatest suffering for his followers through the indescribable certainty of his nearness and communion. In the middle of the most terrible torment that the disciples bore for their Lord’s sake, they experienced the greatest joy and blessedness of his community. Bearing the cross proved to be for them the only way to overcome suffering. But this is true for all who follow Christ, because it was true for Christ himself.

“And going a little farther, [Jesus] threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ … Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done’ ” (Matt. 26:39, 42).

Jesus prays to the Father that the cup pass from him, and the Father hears the son’s prayer. The cup of suffering will pass from Jesus, but only by his drinking it. When Jesus kneels in Gethsemane the second time, he knows that the cup will pass by his accepting the suffering. Only by bearing the suffering will he overcome and conquer it. His cross is the triumph over suffering.

Suffering is distance from God. That is why someone who is in communion with God cannot suffer. Jesus affirmed this Old Testament testimony. That is why he takes the suffering of the whole world onto himself and overcomes it. He bears the whole distance from God. Drinking the cup is what makes it pass from him. In order to overcome the suffering of the world Jesus must drink it to the dregs. Indeed, suffering remains distance from God, but in community with the suffering of Jesus Christ, suffering is overcome by suffering. Communion with God is granted precisely in suffering.

Suffering must be borne in order for it to pass. Either the world must bear it and be crushed by it, or it falls on Christ and is overcome in him. That is how Christ suffers as vicarious representative for the world. Only his suffering brings salvation. But the church-community itself knows now that the world’s suffering seeks a bearer. So in following Christ, this suffering falls upon it, and it bears the suffering while being borne by Christ. The community of Jesus Christ vicariously represents the world before God by following Christ under the cross.

God is a God who bears. The Son of God bore our flesh. He therefore bore the cross. He bore all our sins and attained reconciliation by his bearing. That is why disciples are called to bear what is put on them. Bearing constitutes being a Christian. Just as Christ maintains his communion with the Father by bearing according to the Father’s will, so the disciples’ bearing constitutes their community with Christ. People can shake off the burdens laid on them. But doing so does not free them at all from their burdens. Instead, it loads them with a heavier, more unbearable burden. They bear the self-chosen yoke of their own selves. Jesus called all who are laden with various sufferings and burdens to throw off their yokes and to take his yoke upon themselves. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. His yoke and his burden is the cross. Bearing the cross does not bring misery and despair. Rather, it provides refreshment and peace for our souls; it is our greatest joy. Here we are no longer laden with self-made laws and burdens, but with the yoke of him who knows us and who himself goes with us under the same yoke. Under his yoke we are assured of his nearness and communion. It is he himself whom disciples find when they take up their cross.

“Things must go, not according to your understanding but above your understanding. Submerge yourself in a lack of understanding, and I will give you My understanding. Lack of understanding is real understanding; not knowing where you are going is really knowing where you are going. My understanding makes you without understanding. Thus Abraham went out from his homeland and did not know where he was going (Gen. 12:1ff.). He yielded to My knowledge and abandoned his own knowledge; and by the right way he reached the right goal. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it, but I must lead you like a blind man. Therefore not you, not a man, not a creature, but I, through My Spirit and the Word, will teach you the way you must go. You must not follow the work which you choose, not the suffering which you devise, but that which comes to you against your choice, thoughts, and desires. There I call; there you must be a pupil; there it is the time; there your Master has come” (Luther).[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), 89–91.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

A Time For Everything - Purity 845


 A Time For Everything - Purity 845

Purity 845 09/24/2022 

 Purity 845 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a the sun over cornfields and woods on the horizon just before setting comes to us from yours truly as I stopped for a moment to capture its blazing glory while I accompanied my canine friend, Harley, on our walk back to our countryside home yesterday afternoon.

I’m not sure what the weather was like in your neck of the woods yesterday but in upstate New York a brisk chill was in the air throughout the day that pointed to the undeniable fact that Autumn is here.  While the sun was still shining the chill in the air caused me to don my Carhartt hoody for all but a few moments of the day and the seasonal turn to colder temperatures sent a shiver into my soul as my life experience and, perhaps the enemy, whispered “Winter is coming.”

But first things first, even though there is Christmas stuff in the stores already and its wise to see the changing signs of the times and to be prepared, let’s slow it down a little so we can enjoy the current season rather than fearing what will come.  

While our direction as travellers on the path of Christian Discipleship is always forward, the way we experience the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy is to not to be overly focused on the days ahead and its uncertain destinations so much that we fail to enjoy the journey in the here and now.  

This morning’s Bible Study brought me to Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and the text points to the fact that there is a time for everything, that man is to enjoy his life and labors on the earth, but is to do so in the fear of the Lord, knowing that our lives are finite and that the content of them will be judged by the One who gave them to us.   I was so moved by the wisdom of the text that I am sharing it today because I know that the wisdom of the word of God is the best thing I can share and I share it with the hope that it will encourage others to seek the Lord’s presence, wisdom, and ways.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 (NKJV)
1  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3  A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4  A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5  A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6  A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7  A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.


9  What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?


10  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12  I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.


14  I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15  That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.

 


16  Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there.
17  I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."


18  I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals."
19  For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity.
20  All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.


21  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?


22  So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

 

Well I am not as wise as Solomon, who wrote this, or the Holy Spirit, who inspired it. But I have the answer!

Who knows that the spirit of the sons of men go upward? And who can bring us to see what will happen after we die?  

The Lord knows that and the Lord can bring us to see what will happen!   And God gives us this knowledge through His word and through the Holy Spirit revealing its truth to us. 

But the Lord was even more gracious to man by sending His living Word, Jesus Christ to earth to tell us the truth and to make a way to reconcile us to God.  

We don’t have to go “down to the earth”, to Hell, when we die because Christ came to earth to pay for our sins and when we place our faith in Him, just like He ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, we can be lifted up to a new life in God’s kingdom forever when we put our trust in Jesus.  

So enjoy your life this weekend, it is a gift of God. But fear the Lord and respect His righteous judgement, by acknowledging His sovereignty and by surrendering to His will for your life by making peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ and by pursuing His purposes for you. 

Have a wonderful Autumn weekend and keep walking and talking with God.

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse are:

Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT2)
1  God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Today’s Bible verses assure us that God is our refuge and strength and that we need not fear the calamities that we will face on the earth because He is always ready to help us in times of trouble.  

As someone who has walked through the fires of tribulations and trauma at various times in my 50 years of life, I can attest that it is much better to have a relationship with the Lord though faith in Jesus Christ in times of trouble rather than being all on your own.   

Other Bible verses tell us that God is close to the broken hearted and I know that is true as trauma breaks us out of the normal conceptions of our world view of “how life is” and reveals to us the harsh realities of life and death in times of loss. In that stark shock of our world being torn apart by loss, God who is omnipresent is available to comfort and to help us and we have a decision to make: will we come to Him and seek His help or will we turn from Him in bitterness and anger?   

I lost my infant son Holden, in March of 2002, as our nation was still overcoming the national tragedy of 911, and this personal loss ripped away the final shreds of an illusions I may have had about our lives being “safe” or secure. These losses woke me up to “ice cold world of life and death” but in the midst of my grief in the stark clarity of my new view of the world I simultaneously felt all alone but also had the sense that “I wasn’t alone”, that there was a presence with me that sought to comfort me. 

At the time, I think I thought that I was just seeing the world with eyes wide open but in hindsight I know that the feelings I had of how I was all alone but somehow wasn’t can easily be explained as God being present in my broken heartedness and that He was patiently sitting with me in my grief and would further reveal Himself to me when the time was right and I had stopped being angry and running away from Him.   

Of course, I was very angry, and very stubborn, and very rebellious, and purposely shut God out of my life by abandoning all semblances of Christianity in my life, but after the darkest days of my depression I sought meaning again, and even though I went in the wrong direction, my search for truth was rewarded in an instant by God’s grace.  

The truth of the gospel was allowed to come into my life by a seemingly chance encounter, as in the midst of my confusion of following the philosophies of Buddhism, I happened upon a gospel radio message and decide to mock it only to be brought to my knees in humble surrender the my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when I understood that faith in Him was all that was require to live. 

So 8 years later (just put that together this morning – 8’s are a significant number in my walk) , again in the month of March (just put that together this morning), the Lord showed me that He could be my refuge and strength and be my constant help in times of trouble.  I didn’t have to be alone anymore. I didn’t have to keep Him at a distance anymore. And so that day in March of 2010 I invited God, The Presence that I have known to be with me at various times throughout my life, to save me through His Son, Jesus Christ.

SO let me encourage you, no matter how the earth quakes or the mountains crumble into the sea, either literally or figuratively, in your life The Lord can be your strength and refuge. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. 

He may not stop the tragedies from happening, but sometimes He will. But either way, He knows the end from the beginning and He knows that even the traumas we suffer can be used for good to help us to grow and to know Him and our place in His kingdom. So trust the Lord with your life by putting your faith in Christ, and seek Him at all times for His strength, wisdom, and love.

_____________________________________________

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 Three

Simple Obedience – continues

 

How is such a reversal possible? What has happened that the word of Jesus has to endure this game? That it is so vulnerable to the scorn of the world? Anywhere else in the world where commands are given, the situation is clear. A father says to his child: go to bed! The child knows exactly what to do. But a child drilled in pseudotheology would have to argue thus: Father says go to bed. He means you are tired; he does not want me to be tired. But I can also overcome my tiredness by going to play. So, although father says go to bed, what he really means is go play. With this kind of argumentation, a child with its father or a citizen with the authorities would run into an unmistakable response, namely, punishment. The situation is supposed to be different only with respect to Jesus’ command. In that case simple obedience is supposed to be wrong, or even to constitute disobedience. How is this possible?

It is possible, because there is actually something quite right at the basis of this wrong argumentation. Jesus’ command to the rich young man or his call into a situation that enables faith really has only the one goal of calling a person to faith in him, calling into his community. Nothing finally depends on any human deed at all; instead, everything depends on faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the mediator. Nothing finally depends on poverty or riches, marriage or the single state, having or leaving a profession. Rather, everything depends on faith. To this extent, we really are right that it is possible to believe in Christ while we have wealth and possess the goods of this world, so that we have them as if we did not have them. But this is a last possible form of Christian existence, a possibility of living in the world, only in light of the serious expectation that Christ would return in the immediate future. It is not the first and simplest possibility. A paradoxical understanding of the commandments has a Christian right to it, but it must never lead to the annulment of a simple understanding of the commandments. Rather, it is justified and possible only for those who have already taken simple obedience seriously at some point in their lives, and so already stand in community with Jesus, in discipleship, in expectation of the end. Understanding Jesus’ call paradoxically is the infinitely more difficult possibility. In human terms it is an impossible possibility, and because it is, it is always in extreme danger of being turned over into its opposite and made into a comfortable excuse for fleeing from concrete obedience. Anyone who does not know that it would be the infinitely easier way to understand Jesus’ commandment simply and obey it literally—for example, to actually give away one’s possessions at Jesus’ command instead of keeping them—has no right to a paradoxical understanding of Jesus’ word. It is therefore necessary always to include a literal understanding of Jesus’ commandment in every paradoxical interpretation.

Jesus’ concrete call and simple obedience have their own irrevocable meaning. Jesus calls us into a concrete situation in which we can believe in him. That is why he calls in such a concrete way and wants to be so understood, because he knows that people will become free for faith only in concrete obedience.

Wherever simple obedience is fundamentally eliminated, there again the costly grace of Jesus’ call has become the cheap grace of self-justification. But this too constructs a false law, which deafens people to the concrete call of Christ. This false law is the law of the world, matched by an opposing law of grace. The world here is not that world which has been won over by Christ and is daily to be won over anew in his community. Rather, it is the world which has become a rigid, inescapable law of principles. But in that case grace is also no longer the gift of the living God, rescuing us from the world for obedience to Christ. Rather, it becomes a general divine law, a divine principle, whose only use is its application to special cases. The principle of struggle against the “legalism” of simple obedience itself erects the most dangerous law of all, the law of the world and the law of grace. The struggle based on principle against legalism is itself the most legalistic attitude. It is overcome only by genuine obedience to Jesus’ gracious call to follow him. The law is fulfilled and done away with by Jesus himself for those who follow.[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), 79–81.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Healing from Loss– Goodbye My Lover - Purity 832

Healing from Loss– Goodbye My Lover - Purity 832

Purity 832 09/09/2022  Purity 832 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunset over St. Vincent Gulf from the vantage point of Marino Rocks in Adelaide South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) who commented that they captured this scene on a “warmer day” because winter begins on May 31st and goes to August 30th in Australia. Things are different Down Under, so Dave is now enjoying Springtime as we are moving into Fall and are leaving summer behind.  

Well, it’s Friday and as the sunsets on another work week I have mixed emotions because I am excited and rejoicing because I am picking up a new car at the end of the day and will be driving it to my countryside home to see my wife. So, I am very happy about that.  

But I have to admit that there is a little sadness because I will be trading in my old car, a 2010 Honda CRV,  that will be another thing from my former life that will be “lost”.  The CRV was the “family” car from my previous marriage, and it went with me into to my new life and it was used to move 95 percent of my possessions to my new home.  It was also used to complete my children’s education in the fine are of driving in the tight streets of downtown Hudson. That car saw my kids become teenagers and young adults and it saw me changed from broken to whole as it was with me on my journey from addiction to sobriety.  

So there are lots of good memories tied into that car but admittedly there is also some painful memories because of the trauma of the losses that resulted from my divorce and all the changes since then.  But  through that journey of pain, there was lots of praise and worship in that car as we fought the darkness of fear and depression by proclaiming in song the goodness of God even when we were “in the middle of the road and we didn’t know which way to go”.    Great is your faithfulness to me!

That car drove me to recovery ministry. That car drove me to work in blizzards and to my second job that made the dream of a new home become a reality. So I know it is just an object but even though the high milage on it demands its replacement, I feel like I am losing an old friend.

I’m silly and sentimental so forgive me but in sitting down to write this morning I wanted to encourage those who are grieving or suffering loss that the key to healing is saying “goodbye”. 

I recommend Dr. H. Norman Wright’s “The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling”  to those who may need help in understanding grief, trauma, or loss and it may be helpful to those who need help moving on after loss.  

To move on we say goodbye to the people and things we have lost. Saying goodbye in our hearts allows us to move into the “new normal” of the rest of our lives beyond our grief and pain.  So say goodbye and walk and talk with God on your way to the rest of your life.  We don’t have to forget our loved ones or the things we once had but the Lord’s call on our lives is to keep moving forward.

There are a lot of scriptures about moving forward but Christ’s words in Luke 9:62 come to mind.  The context of that scripture is that people are telling Jesus that they want to follow Him but they are putting conditions on their answer to His call to discipleship.   The passage that came to mind, sort of ironically, considering my advice to “say good bye”, says:

Luke 9:61-62 (NLT2)
61  Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
62  But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

We have to remember that Christ knows the hearts of people and this exchange is with someone who didn’t follow. So it’s okay to say goodbye, but let’s follow Jesus.

Christ loved His friends and wept when Lazarus died. He knows about loss. And He knows about saying goodbye, as in His dying moments He made provisions for His mother’s care. 

John 19:26-27 (NLT2)
26  When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”
27  And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus was saying “Goodbye Mom”.  Or I guess in Jesus’ case it was more like saying “ see you later”.   And that is the case for us too as we will see our departed brothers and sisters in Christ when we go into eternity.  

But for now, we should love deeply, and we should say goodbye to the people and things we have lost to be healed, and we should thank the Lord for allowing us to know such love, such pain, and such sorrow that came from a life in which we got to experience love and joy in the past and where we can move on to know it again in the future when we are faithful to follow the Lord from here to eternity.  

As I was thinking about loss, I remembered the James Blunt, heart breaking song, “Goodbye my lover". (See a lyric video of it here: ( https://youtu.be/4jAyZ4njHsc ) which ends by saying:

“ And I still hold your hand in mine,

In mine when I'm asleep.

And I will bare my soul in time,

When I'm kneeling at your feet.

[2x]

Goodbye, my lover.

Goodbye, my friend.

You have been the one.

You have been the one for me.

 

I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow.

I'm so, I'm so, I'm so hollow.

I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow.

I'm so, I'm so, I'm so hollow.”  (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jamesblunt/goodbyemylover.html)

I know that the pain of loss can make us feel hollow. But the Lord gives us the Holy Spirit to fill us and to comfort us and to give us the strength to say “goodbye” and walk out of the shadows of grief into our new life.

So keep walking and talking with God, and He will you see you through.  

 

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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:

2 Chronicles 26:16 (NLT2)
16  But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the LORD his God by entering the sanctuary of the LORD’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar.

Today’s verse reminds us that pride leads to our downfall as this section of scripture tells of King Uzziah’s blasphemy by doing what He was not allowed to do by trying to perform the duties of the priests, and he was struck by the Lord with leprosy! Uzziah lived the rest of his life with leprosy in isolation until he died. The end.  

So don’t be proud!

My resource only shared the first part of that verse but I wanted to see the context and little did I know that it would be a lesson on God’s holiness and wrath. So don’t ever think that God can not or does not chastise people with disease as a punishment for unfaithfulness or wickedness.    Sometimes disease is a judgment.  And if God is sovereign which He is, he either commands or allows disease and healing according to His ultimate will.  

As disturbing as this can be, I think it is a good lesson to learn. God “don’t play that”. We don’t live in a vacuum. We live in the universe God created and He determined the “days of our lives” and will be in eternity to either welcome us into His kingdom because we put our faith in Christ, or He will be there to judge and send us to a place of eternal torment as His wrath is poured out upon us for our inequities.  

So as much as I encourage people to “walk and talk with God”,  make sure you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and be sure to walk humbly before the Lord because He calls the shots and He can even chastise those who He has called to follow Him when they walk in pride.  

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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 conclude 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.

References to the Powers of Darkness in Paul’s Letters

Word RSV (NIV)

 

Greek Term

 

Occurrences

 

Satan

 

 

 

 

 

satan

 

satanas

 

Rom 16:20; 1 Cor 5:5; 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11; 11:14; 12:7; 1 Thess 2:18; 2 Thess 2:9; 1 Tim 1:20; 5:15

 

devil

 

diabolos

 

Eph 4:27; 6:11; 1 Tim 3:6, 7; 2 Tim 2:26

 

evil one

 

ponēros

 

Eph 6:16; 2 Thess 3:3

 

prince (ruler)

 

archōn

 

Eph 2:2

 

spirit

 

pneuma

 

Eph 2:2

 

Belial

 

belial

 

2 Cor 6:15

 

the enemy

 

antikeimenos

 

1 Tim 5:14

 

the serpent

 

ophis

 

2 Cor 11:3

 

the tempter

 

peirazon

 

1 Thess 3:5

 

the god of this world (the god of this age)

 

ho theos tou aiōnou toutou

 

2 Cor 4:4

 

angel

 

angelos

 

2 Cor 11:14

 

Principalities and Powers

 

 

 

 

 

principalities (rulers)

 

archai

 

Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10; 2:15

 

powers (authorities)

 

exousiai

 

1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10; 2:15

 

powers

 

dynameis

 

Rom 8:38; Eph 1:21

 

dominions (powers)

 

kyriotētes

 

Eph 1:21; Col 1:16

 

thrones

 

thronoi

 

Col 1:16

 

angels/messengers

 

angeloi

 

Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 4:9; 6:3; 11:10 (?); 2 Cor 12:7; Gal 1:8 (?); Col 2:18

 

world rulers (powers)

 

kosmokratores

 

Eph 6:12

 

spiritual hosts (spiritual forces)

 

pneumatika

 

Eph 6:12

 

rulers

 

archontes

 

1 Cor 2:6, 8

 

elemental spirits (basic principles)

 

stoicheia

 

Gal 4:3, 8; Col 2:8, 20

 

demons

 

daimonia

 

1 Cor 10:20–21; 1 Tim 4:1

 

Select Bibliography

Historical Background Works

Aune, David E. “Magic in Early Christianity.” In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. II.23.2, pp. 1507–57. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1980.

———. “Magic.” In International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 3:213–19. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.

Betz, Hans Dieter, ed. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation. Vol. 1: Text. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. This represents a fairly comprehensive collection of Greek and Demotic magical papyri that have been translated into English. It also contains an excellent introduction to the magical papyri by Professor Betz.

Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1983, 1985.

Cramer, Frederick H. Astrology in Roman Law and Politics. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 37. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1954.

Cumont, Franz. Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans. 1912. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1960.

———. The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. New York: Dover, 1956.

Goodenough, E. R. Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period. 12 vols. New York: Pantheon, 1953.

Grant, Robert M. Gods and the One God. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate’s Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature. American Philological Association. American Classical Studies 21. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.

Langton, Edward. Essentials of Demonology. London: Epworth, 1949.

Luck, Georg. Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.

Martin, Luther H. Hellenistic Religions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Russell, D. S. The Message and Method of Jewish Apocalyptic. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964. See especially chapter nine: “Angels and Demons.”

Schürer, Emil. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ. Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Martin Goodman. Vol. 3, Part 1. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1986. See especially chapter seven: “Incantations and Books of Magic.”

Smith, Jonathan Z. “Hellenistic Religion.” In Encyclopaedia Britannica. 8:749–51. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1979.

Works Treating the Theme of Principalities and Powers

Anderson, Neil T. Victory over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ. Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1990.

———. The Bondage Breaker. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1990.

Arnold, Clinton E. Ephesians: Power and Magic. The Concept of Power in Ephesians in Light of Its Historical Setting. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph 63. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

———. “Principalities and Powers.” Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, forthcoming.

———. “ ‘Principalities and Powers’ in Recent Interpretation.” Catalyst 17.2 (1991):4–5.

Berkhof, Hendrik. Christ and the Powers. Tr. J. H. Yoder. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1977.

Bubeck, Mark. The Adversary. Chicago: Moody, 1975.

———. Overcoming the Adversary. Chicago: Moody, 1984.

Bufford, Rodger K. Counseling and the Demonic. Resources for Christian Counseling 17. Dallas: Word, 1988.

Caird, G. B. Principalities and Powers. Oxford: Clarendon, 1956.

Dickason, C. Fred. Demon Possession and the Christian: A New Perspective. Westchester, Ill.: Crossway, 1987.

Garrett, Susan R. The Demise of the Devil: Magic and the Demonic in Luke’s Writings. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989.

Green, Michael. I Believe in Satan’s Downfall. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981.

Hiebert, Paul. “Power Encounter and Folk Islam.” In Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road, pp. 45–61. Edited by J. Dudley Woodberry. Monrovia, Calif.: Missions Advanced Research & Communications Center, 1989.

Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Ann Arbor: Vine Books, 1989.

Leivestad, Ragnar. Christ the Conqueror: Ideas of Conflict and Victory in the New Testament. London: SPCK, 1954.

Mott, Stephen C. Biblical Ethics and Social Change. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

O’Brien, Peter T. “Principalities and Powers: Opponents of the Church.” In Biblical Interpretation and the Church, 110–50. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1986.

Schlier, Heinrich. Principalities and Powers in the New Testament. Freiburg: Herder, 1961.

Stauffer, Ethelbert. New Testament Theology. 5th ed. New York: Macmillan, 1955.

Stewart, J. S. “On a Neglected Emphasis in New Testament Theology.” Scottish Journal of Theology 4 (1951):292–301.

Twelftree, Graham. Christ Triumphant: Exorcism Then and Now. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1985.

Webber, Robert. The Church in the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

Williams, Don. Signs, Wonders, and the Kingdom of God. Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989.

Wimber, John, and Kevin Springer. Power Evangelism. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986.

———. Power Healing. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987.

Wink, Walter. Naming the Powers. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.

———. Unmasking the Powers. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986.

———. Engaging the Powers. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, forthcoming.[1]

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

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] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 218–238.