Monster – Progressing in the Flow = Purity 601
Purity 601 12/14/2021 Purity 601 Podcast
Today’s photo of the Hudson River at dusk comes to us from yours truly as I was blessed to have this view to gaze upon at the end of another Manic Monday yesterday at my modest home that has been affectionately named “River House”. I just love where the Lord has placed me and how I can enjoy the way the river just “goes with the flow”.
In my new job function as a telephone repair man, I diagnose the problems that are affecting customers telephone service by isolating the “trouble” to a specific point in the telephone cable and try to “fix” the problem by trying to find away around the problem. I’m sort of the “quick fix” guy meaning if there is a way to bypass your issue, I can fix it.
Imagine a phone line as a rope from me to you. The rope between me and you is actually several smaller ropes that are tied in knots that make up one long continuous rope. When something goes wrong, one of those smaller ropes “breaks” and I have to follow the path of rope and figure out which “rope broke”. When we discover the problem, we can either fix the problem with your original rope section or we can tie a new rope to replace that section entirely. As a “quick fix” guy, I don’t have the tools or equipment to “fix your original rope”, so I look for a “new rope” to bypass your rope’s problem area.
For phone service, the “number of ropes” between start to finish is usually one or two, sometimes three. Yesterday, I had a trouble where there were “three ropes” between start to finish and as I diagnosed the problem, I discovered that we had 3 broken ropes! I had to find a new pathway for each section of the customer’s pathway to reestablish service. It was a drawn out process, but we established a new pathway that worked.
When I am looking for “new ropes” between points I have equipment that can tell me many different things, but I have gotten in the habit of streamlining the process by quickly eliminating the many choices by only looking for good pathways. If there is the slightest problem with a possible pathway between points, that pathway is eliminated from consideration.
I don’t continue testing that pathway to look at its’ other attributes or qualities. I don’t question “why” this pathway doesn’t work. My training and experience have taught me what a “good” path and a “bad” path looks like.
The more I perform my current job function the more I “know” what will work and what won’t. At the first sign of trouble, options are eliminated until I find a path that will work or until I exhaust all options and have to refer the trouble to a technician who has specialized equipment to pinpoint the trouble and the “fix the original” rope rather than bypass the problem.
In life I have discovered that we waste a lot of time trying to “fix our original” ropes rather than “bypassing” the bad ropes (or decisions) and going to a “new rope” or new path that works.
Our lives are like a flow chart of decisions and predictable outcomes.
In my history with alcohol, I had an immense flow chart regarding whether I would choose to drink, what I would drink, when I would drink, how much I would drink, and then the various outcomes that would result from my decisions to drink. And brother let me tell you, through the 26 years of my drinking, from age 17 to 43, I worked every possible avenue of the alcoholism flow chart.
I followed new pathways and tried every possible combination of routes to find the pathways that had the fewest negative outcomes and at several points in my life I thought I had found the “secret” to better life through chemistry. I worked out the right conditions of how I could drink, enjoy a pleasant level of drunkenness, and not suffer too much.
The problem was that my habit wouldn’t be tamed. I could “travel” the approved paths of alcohol for a time but eventually would have an overwhelming compulsion to “go rogue” and to run down paths that broke the “rules” of moderation and balance.
Of course beyond the flow chart of decisions involving alcohol, there was a whole spectrum of emotions and thoughts that drove that behavior. When you are addicted, its like you are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And no matter how long you can be Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde will find his way out, usually on holidays or special occasions for maximum embarrassment, shame, pain, and discord. Skillet’s song “Monster”, described it pretty well saying:
“The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can't control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can't hold it
It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can't control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?
I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster”
Thankfully, in 2010 I heard a gospel message that caused me to realize that God didn’t expect me to clean up my act to make peace with Him. All my mistakes and all my sins could be forgiven by placing my faith in Christ. I put my faith in Christ and decide to follow the One who saved me no matter where it would lead.
The Lord doesn’t force you to do anything. He wants your love and obedience to be freely given. So after awhile of studying the word, going to church, and still working that alcohol flow chart, Pastor Bob Costello started a recovery ministry at my local church, and I was presented with a “new path” for the rest of my life. Amazingly, when the Lord called me to follow it, I did.
Instead of working that alcohol flow chart, and wondering why all those pathways didn’t work, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to bypass it all by saying no to alcohol in all of its forms and choose to walk out my life and my faith on the path of Christian discipleship.
That mess of decisions that flows from the choice to drink was bypassed as the Lord gave me the strength and guidance to live in a new way and as I walked away from alcohol and into my freedom in Christ, I continually discovered that following the Lord would cause me to walk away from other regrettable decisions and the negative emotions that accompany them.
The path of Christian Discipleship also gave me the solid foundation of my new identity in Christ upon which I could stand and know my true self-worth as an adopted child of God. Instead of walking through the emotional flow chart that caused me to be anxious, angry, or fearful, agreeing with what the word of God said about who I am in Christ moved me to experience the fruit of the spirit of peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.
The Truth, the Way, and the Life that you receive when you come to faith in Jesus Christ is not behavior modification or agreeing with positive affirmations, it is realizing and manifesting the transformation that has already occurred when you received new spiritual life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
So while we will have to volitionally decide to renew our minds by believing what the word says about us and lean on the Lord’s strength and guidance to repent and turn from our former worldly ways; the process of transformation has already been accomplished.
Our efforts of following the Lord’s way are merely the steps that we need to take in order to grow into what we already have the potential to be. Our transformation is not immediate perfection, our lives of faith are lives of progress as we go from “faith to faith” and “glory to glory”.
So keep walking and talking with God. He will warn you about the paths that “don’t work” and will guide you in the way that you should go. The Lord works all things together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. If you love Him, He is calling you to walk away from those old paths that lead to guilt and shame and is encouraging you to “flow” into a life that is defined by peace, love, and joy. So progress into the “flow” of where the Spirit will lead you and continue to discover the new life of freedom and victory that He has for you.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Isaiah 44:3 (NLT2)
3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.
Today’s verse points to a future fulfillment of the reception of the Holy Spirit for the nation of Israel.
When Christ came into His earthly ministry he eventually informed His disciples that he must someday depart from them, but it was better for them because they would receive the Holy Spirit. The original Apostles were all children of Israel, and they had the Holy Spirit poured out on them at the Day of Pentecost and the church grew and has never been the same since.
All believers in Christ receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and are given a new everlasting spiritual life when they place their faith in Jesus.
The prophetic meaning behind today’s verse was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, is fulfilled with every new convert to Christianity, and will ultimately be completely fulfilled as the last of the tribulation saints come to faith in Jesus Christ just before His glorious return to reclaim the heavens and the earth for God’s kingdom.
For those who have received the Holy Spirit and who have experienced His presence and the flow of His fruit into their lives, they can confess that their lives before Christ were as parched fields in a dry and dusty land but when the living waters of the Holy Spirit flowed into their lives, their thirsts were quenched by goodness of God and the new life that He has for them.
So if you are feeling dry, ask for the Holy Spirit to refill you with His anointing and receive it by faith. God gives good things to His children, but you have to have faith that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, and you have to ask.
So seek Him and ask Him to be with you and empower you to go the way you should go. The Holy Spirit is with us always and is faithful to move us into our purpose for God’s kingdom with love, strength, and power that comes when you ask His Spirit to fill you.
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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven, for Day 18, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
TRUSTING IN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Have you ever heard of a person eagerly reading an interesting book, then suddenly deciding to abandon it without reading the last chapter? The last chapter ties together the threads of the narrative; it summarizes the arguments; it climaxes the action. You and I would agree that to close a book without reading the final chapter would be to read without purpose and without satisfaction.
I have had people tell me that although they read the Bible, they stop short of Revelation—the final “chapter.” Imagine! That particular Bible book announces itself as the revelation of Jesus Christ. It forecasts the consummation of all things and introduces the new order. How can readers form a balanced understanding of God, sin, unbelief, and divine judgment if they ignore so important a book? In these crisis days of world government, no Christian can afford to ignore the climactic Revelation.
We may take one of only two stances in regard to this prophetic “unveiling”—this portraying of the future return of Jesus Christ to this earth, to this world that once rejected Him as Messiah and crucified Him at Calvary. We may ignore it, in effect despising it and jeering at the prospect of a future divine intervention affecting the entire world. Or we may embrace it, cheering for the promised victory of a righteous Ruler, the coming King of kings.
Those who ignore Revelation take their place with the many who believe a humanistic view of life is sufficient: that men and women are responsible captains of their own souls. They take their place with the defiant multitude who shout the age-old refrain: “We will not have this Man to rule over us!”
Those who take Revelation seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as the world we now inhabit. They are persuaded that the day of consummation nears when “the kingdom of the world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ,” who “shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Living in this generation, we are fully aware that the competitive world and our selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can empathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world’s store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty of God! I, too, would not sleep well if I could not trust moment by moment in God’s sovereignty and omnipotence and in His grace, mercy, and faithfulness.
The prevailing attitudes of fear, distrust, and unrest permeating our world are known to all of us. But in God’s plan some of us also know a beautiful opposite: the faith and assurance found in the church of Jesus Christ. God still has a restful “family” in His church. As believers we gladly place our confidence in God’s revelation of Himself. Although the material world has never understood our faith, it is well placed in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us many things we could learn in no other way.
This amazing Revelation—the final section of the holy Scriptures—tells us plainly that no human being and no world government or power will have any control or any say in that fiery day of judgment yet to come upon the earth. John’s vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time the direction and administration of this world will be taken away from men and women and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and power to rightly govern. That Man is the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation describes the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior is universally acknowledged to be King of kings and Lord of lords. All will acclaim Him victor. God’s Revelation leaves us with no doubt about that.
In our present period of time, however, there is little recognition of God’s sovereignty or of His plan for His redeemed people. Go into the marketplace, into our educational institutions, and—yes—even into our popular religious circles, and you will find a growing tendency to make mankind large and to make God small. Human society is now taking it for granted that if God indeed exists, He has become our servant, meekly waiting upon us for our will.
In the face of this kind of human thinking, I want to make a case for the committed Christians in this world. We are the true realists. We confess that we do not hold the powers of life and death in our own hands. We have sensed the importance of John’s vision in the Revelation. We are assured that God is alive and well and that He has never abdicated His throne. While others may wonder and speculate concerning God’s place in the universe, we are assured that He has never yielded to any of His creatures His divine rights as Lord of man and nature.
It is for this reason that the Christian believer, related to God by faith, is assured of final victory. Even in the midst of earthly trials, he or she is joyful.
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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