Looking Forward in Hope! - Purity 838
Purity 838 09/16/2022 Purity 838 Podcast
Today’s photo of sunset at the Brighton Jetty in Adelaide South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) who captured this wonderous sight on August 30th.
Well it is Friday again and I thought that Dave’s sunset photo with its contrasts of darkness in light was an appropriate way to visually represent the past work week that had surprisingly difficult days and days of relative ease that felt like they were heaven sent! And of course because God is sovereign, both the challenges and the blessings were ordained by Him.
Recently my wife, TammyLyn made some comments about her recent career turmoil that made me realize that she was what I thought she was: a faithful Christian woman who trusts the Lord with her path.
In reflecting on her recent career decisions and their disappointing outcomes and the new opportunities and uncertain future ahead, instead of condemning herself or others for these latest challenges, she spoke of God’s plan in directing her path. On the cusp of the possibility of new job offers that are closer to her children’s school, TammyLyn commented “That’s why God had me leave that job in Cambridge, to stop me from driving all over the place!”
What someone could have easily seen as the result of a bad personal decision, by trusting the wrong people, and as being cursed because the previous job she left was no longer vacant when she decided to leave “Hell’s Kitchen” and go back to it, TammyLyn was looking at the big picture and the possibilities that the Lord was guiding her into. Instead of looking back in anger, she is looking forward in hope!
And I think this a fundamental characteristic to a life in the Spirit. We don’t look back with regrets. We look forward with expectancy and the willingness to follow the Lord where ever He will lead, even if we have to endure hardships along the way.
While most of the world looks back with regrets and laments over the “good old days” of one’s youth or to supposedly “better days” of the past, the forward looking stance of the Christian is looking to today, and the days ahead, with joy at the prospect of what the Lord will do in their life.
Instead of looking back with longing, I regard my past as something to be rejoiced over for two reasons: – the good things that happened – sure- and the fact that I am no longer in the darkness of a life of pain, guilt, shame, ignorance, and brokenness that I was in before I knew the hope, love, joy, and peace now that I am in Christ.
While people without faith look ahead to their “golden years” or imminent deaths with fear, sadness, or trepidation, Christians who walk in the Spirit know that no matter how we age or what pains or challenges we will face, we won’t face them alone, the Lord will be with us. And if and we do die, we can rest in the assurance that when we leave our bodies we will be with God.
Commenting on our mortal bodies as “tents”, Paul encourages us in
Corinthians 5:4-9 (NKJV)
4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
The liberated Christian Life of walking in the Spirit makes us confident, well pleased that whether we live or die the Lord is with us and therefore our aim in life is to live in harmony with God by following His ways and living for His purposes and to be well pleasing to Him.
So no matter if your week was dark or light, keep walking and talking with God because the Lord is with you wherever you go, and even what can seem like the most bitterest disappointments and set backs can be endured, because we know that the Lord is working all things together for our good.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (NLT2)
17 As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
18 When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us that if we would like to boast about something, we should boast about the only one who is worthy, we should boast about the Lord.
Here the Apostle Paul reminds us that when people commend themselves it doesn’t count for much. Why? Well there are two reasons.
One, as today’s verse indicates the only opinion that matter’s is God’s. Ultimately, the opinions of men, of others or of themselves, will be of no consequence. What the Lord thinks of them will matter. We are finite. God is infinite. We have a measure of choice and free will in this life to determine our course while on the earth. God determines our destination for all of eternity. Either we will live with God in His kingdom, or we will be separated from Him in hell. So it is very important for the Lord to commend us, as His faithful children.
Two, God is creator. Nothing we have in this world was soley our doing. Our bodies, our intelligence, our talents, where we live, the people we know, and the raw materials on this planet that we can manipulate were all either directly or indirectly created by God. There are no self-made men. God gave us everything. We have nothing to boast about. And as pride is Satan’s original sin, we should pause before we think to highly of ourselves.
In truth, we should continually stand in awe of God and all that He is and all that He has done. When we consider His power, knowledge, holiness, and presence we should come to the conclusion that only He deserves praise and boasting.
And the only thing that we should do is boast about Him.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from 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.
The Call to Discipleship - Continued
Discipleship without Jesus Christ is choosing one’s own path. It could be an ideal path or a martyr’s path, but it is without the promise. Jesus will reject it.
“Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’ ” (Luke 9:57–62).
The first disciple took the initiative to follow Jesus. He was not called, and Jesus’ answer shows the enthusiastic man that he does not know what he is doing. He cannot know at all. That is the meaning of the answer which shows the disciple the reality of life with Jesus. The answer is spoken by the one who is going to the cross, whose whole life is described in the Apostles’ Creed with the one word “suffered.” None can want that by their own choice. None can call themselves, says Jesus; and his word receives no reply. The gap between the free offer of discipleship and real discipleship remains wide open.
When Jesus himself calls, however, he overcomes the widest gap. The second disciple wants to bury his father before he follows Jesus. The law obliges him. He knows what he wants to do and has to do. First he has to fulfill the law; then he will follow. Here a clear command of the law stands between the one called and Jesus. Jesus’ call forcefully challenges this gap. Under no circumstances is anything permitted to come between Jesus and the one called, even that which is greatest and holiest, even the law. Just at that point, for the sake of Jesus, the law which tries to get in the way has to be broken through, because it no longer had any right to interpose itself between Jesus and the one called. So Jesus here opposes the law and bids the man follow him. Only Christ speaks that way. He has the last word. The other person cannot contradict. This call, this grace, is irresistible.
The third one called, like the first, understands discipleship as an offer made only by him, as his own self-chosen program for life. But in contrast to the first, he thinks he is justified in setting his own conditions. Doing so entangles him in a complete contradiction. He wants to join Jesus, but at the same time he himself puts something in the way between himself and Jesus: “Let me first.” He wants to follow, but he wants to set his own conditions for following. Discipleship is a possibility for him, whose implementation requires fulfilling conditions and prerequisites. This makes discipleship something humanly reasonable and comprehensible. First one does the one thing, and then the other. Everything has its own rights and its own time. The disciple makes himself available, but retains the right to set his own conditions. It is obvious that, at that moment, discipleship stops being discipleship. It becomes a human program, which I can organize according to my own judgment and can justify rationally and ethically. This third one wants to follow [Christ], but already in the very act of declaring his willingness to do so, he no longer wants to follow him. He eliminates discipleship by his offer, because discipleship does not tolerate any conditions that could come between Jesus and obedience. Hence, this third one gets caught in a contradiction, not only with Jesus, but with himself. He does not want what Jesus wants. He likewise does not want what he thinks he wants. He judges himself; he causes his own downfall, all by [his request], “Let me first.” Jesus’ answer graphically attests to this person’s inner conflict, which rules out discipleship. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
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 email@example.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