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Showing posts with label John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John. Show all posts

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Memorial Day – The Incredible Value of Life and the Way to Everlasting Life– Purity 743


Memorial Day – The Incredible Value of Life and the Way to Everlasting Life– Purity 743

Purity 743 05/28/2022 Purity 743 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of sunset over the Saint Sebastian River in Sebastian Florida comes to us from a friend who shared this pic back on April 29th with the comment: “Fire in the Sky”.  

Well it’s Saturday of Memorial Weekend and even though I have to work today I am still happy for the long weekend and in light of the significance of the holiday that we are celebrating I am by no means complaining.  

I recently saw a cartoon on social media that I am sharing on the blog today that depicts a person filling their gas tank and looking over a cemetery with tombstones emblazoned with epitaphs such as “Normandy”, “Okinawa”, “Pearl Harbor” “Korea” “Viet Nam” “Iraq” and “Afghanistan” and many others, with the character stating “I’m not going to complain about the high cost of anything this weekend.” reminding us all that there have been many who paid the ultimate cost of their lives in the service of our country.   

Credit: Joe Heller


In light of the cost, others have paid for the service to our country, the inflation that we have been experiencing seems like a burden we can bear. The lives paid in service to our country puts our immediate concerns in perspective when we consider the fleeting nature but immense value of our human lives.  Remembering the loss of life that this holiday celebrates helps us to see the big picture.    

Our lives are more important that money and the Lord considered us all worth the cost of the life of His beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

As we remember the men and women, who died in the service of our country we can have mixed feelings of gratitude, sadness, and fear.  

We can be grateful because their lives were sacrificed for the greater good of our country and in the name of freedom that they fought to win our maintain. 

We can be sad because the lives were ended prematurely and the gift of the individuals who died to our communities and families were also cut short.  

And we may fear for the departed because even though the dead will be given honor this weekend in our country, their lives may have been lived in vain if their souls were not reconciled to God.  This fear can only be quenched with the certainty that God knows all, is merciful, and never gets anything wrong.  

Service to a country in and of itself won’t be honored by God. Noble deeds done for an evil cause are still evil. Evil deeds done in the name of a noble cause still need to be forgiven. Our works as noble as they may be is not what saves us.

While service men and women can be said to have died for our freedom and we should be thankful for their service, only faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross will give us  ultimate freedom from sin and death.  Faith in Christ alone will reconcile us to God and save us from His wrath.  Christ frees us from the just penalty of our sin and gives us everlasting life. 

So as much as we honor the departed this weekend, we should always be aware of the big picture and share the good news Jesus to share God’s love and the freedom that will endure for all of eternity.

No matter what country we hail from we will all answer the Lord and we must be right with Him. 

One way we can know the Lord’s character and plans for our lives is through His word. This morning my Bible study covered Psalm 103 and I am sharing it to try to reveal more of that big picture, that looks beyond the nations of this world and focuses on the One who created us in His image and wishes to redeem our lives through the gift of His Son.  

Psalm 103:1-22 (NKJV) says:
1  Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4  Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5  Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6  The LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.
7  He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9  He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10  He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11  For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12  As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
14  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
15  As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16  For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
17  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,
18  To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
19  The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
20  Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
21  Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22  Bless the LORD, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

So this weekend remember and honor the sacrifices of those who died for our country but never lose sight of the big picture and seek to Bless the Lord, o my soul, by walking and talking with God every day to stay close to Him and to know His peace and by sharing the good news of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that can set us all free.

 

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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:

John 3:16-17 (NLT2)
16  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
17  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Today’s Bible verse is the good news of Jesus Christ and reminds us of God’s mercy. 

The purpose of Christ’s first coming was to pay for our sins on the cross.  Although He was holy Christ didn’t come to judge us but He did implore people to repent and “sin no more” and to believe in Him.

Faith in Christ gives us freedom from sin and death.  We receive eternal life and a new power to turn from our sins in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  

In Christ, we are forgiven and we become new creations as we are adopted into God’s royal family when we put our faith in Jesus.

The contemplation of death and judgement fill us with fear but God made a way for us to be saved and we need only seek it and agree with it by confessing Jesus as our Lord and Savior to receive it.  

I was lost but now I am found and I pray that we who have placed in Jesus rejoice over salvation and endeavor to share the love of God by encouraging others to put their faith in Christ.

 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

9 - The Majesty of Christ in Missions and Mercy—A Plea to This Generation

God is closing in on some of you. He is like the “Hound of Heaven” who means to make you far happier in some dangerous and dirty work. Missionaries and ministers of mercy don’t come from nowhere. They come from people like you, stunned by the glory of God and stopped in your tracks. Sometimes it happens when you are going in exactly the opposite direction.

How God Caught Adoniram Judson for Burma

That’s the way it was with Adoniram Judson, the first overseas missionary from America, who sailed with his wife at age twenty-three on February 17, 1812. They had been married twelve days. He spent the rest of his life, until 1850, “suffering yet always rejoicing” to bring Burma under the sway of Christ and make the people glad in God forever. But first God had to turn him around, and he did it in a way that so stunned Judson, he never forgot the providence of God in his conversion.

The son of a pastor, he was a brilliant boy. His mother taught him to read in one week when he was three to surprise his father when he came home from a trip. When he was sixteen he entered Rhode Island College (later Brown University) as a sophomore and graduated at the top of his class three years later in 1807.

The Detour from God

What his godly parents did not know was that Adoniram was being lured away from the faith by a fellow student named Jacob Eames who was a Deist. By the time Judson’s college career was finished, he had no Christian faith. He kept this concealed from his parents until his twentieth birthday, August 9, 1808, when he broke their hearts with his announcement that he had no faith and that he wanted to write for the theater and intended to go to New York, which he did six days later on a horse his father gave him as part of his inheritance.

It did not prove to be the life of his dreams. He attached himself to some strolling players and, as he said later, lived “a reckless, vagabond life, finding lodgings where he could, and bilking the landlord where he found opportunity.” The disgust with what he found there was the beginning of several remarkable providences. God was closing in on Adoniram Judson.

He went to visit his Uncle Ephraim in Sheffield but found there instead “a pious young man” who amazed him by being firm in his Christian convictions without being “austere and dictatorial.” Strange that he should find this young man there instead of the uncle he sought.

The Unforgettable Night

The next night he stayed in a small village inn where he had never been before. The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because there was a man critically ill in the next room. Through the night Judson heard comings and goings and low voices and groans and gasps. It bothered him to think that the man next to him may not be prepared to die. He wondered about himself and had terrible thoughts of his own dying. He felt foolish because good Deists weren’t supposed to have these struggles.

When he was leaving in the morning he asked if the man next door was better. “He is dead,” said the innkeeper. Judson was struck with the finality of it all. On his way out he asked, “Do you know who he was?” “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

Judson could hardly move. He stayed there for hours pondering death and eternity. If his friend Eames were right, then this was a meaningless event. But Judson could not believe it: “That hell should open in that country inn and snatch Jacob Eames, his dearest friend and guide, from the next bed—this could not, simply could not, be pure coincidence.” God was real. And he was pursuing Adoniram Judson. God knew the man he wanted to reach the Burmese people.[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] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 155–157.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Overcoming the Worldview of Doom and the Culture of Fear – The Path of the Cross – Purity 741


 Overcoming the Worldview of Doom and the Culture of Fear – The Path of the Cross – Purity 741

Purity 741 05/26/2022  Purity 741 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of cumulous cloud filled blue skies over Waite road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene Sunday afternoon on the return trip to my countryside home while out walking my off camera canine companion, Harley.  Harley enthusiastically begs to be taken for walks and when the weather is pleasant I try to remember to bring my phone so I can grab some photos to document the beauty of God’s creation. Harley’s enthusiasm often causes me to grab some random shots on the go and I often don’t really know what I am capturing until after the fact. 

Although I have grabbed and shared lots of photos on Waite Road, I believe this was the only time I happened to capture the cross like utility pole that borders this section of our path. And today it has helped me collect my scattered thoughts on the importance of walking on the path of Christian Discipleship in maintaining our peace and joy in life.  

If you haven’t noticed, the overall orientation of the news creates a culture of fear. The news adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” points to the fact that while there is an unlimited amount of current events and facts that could be reported, the hard truth is that the news stories that involve violence or that prey on our anxieties are the ones that get the highest ratings and thus will be the ones that are focused on and repeatedly told. 

I am sharing a link to a Deborah Serani article on Psychology Today.com from 2011, that provides some insight into how watching the news  “could undermine our physical and mental health.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201106/if-it-bleeds-it-leads-understanding-fear-based-media).  Serani’s article states that:  

It's been said that fear-based media has become a staple of popular culture. The distressing fall-out from this trend is that children and adults who are exposed to media are more likely than others to

· Feel that their neighborhoods and communities are unsafe

· Believe that crime rates are rising

· Overestimate their odds of becoming a victim

· Consider the world to be a dangerous place”  

Serani, in 2011 mind you, advocated that:

“News media needs to return to a sense of proportion, conscience, and, most important, truth-telling.”

So how do you think we did in the 11 years since this article was written? 

Not so good, as the news industry has increasingly been crafted to not only lead with what bleeds but has been politicized to cater to a network’s political audience.  The view of current events now depends on the source you receive the reports from.  This has caused a general distrust of the media and their “fake news”.   

This phenomenon and our increasingly contradictory post Christian society that denies the wisdom of common sense and Biblical morality had me thinking of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, and phrases like “double think” which Orwell’s novel described as:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it,(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink).  

“Doublethink” is the soup du jour in our society as it stresses “Coexistence” and “Diversity” which not only recognizes the existence of differing views, religions, and lifestyles but attempts to suspend discernment by subtly implying that all the various options in these aspects of our lives are equally valid, and thus true. 

While our relativistic society pushes “individual truth”, “what’s true for me is true for me, what’s true for you, is true for you.”, logic and reason insist things that contradict one another can not both be true. Sometimes we need to recognize the truth that opposing views can’t both be right. 

But in our politically correct society that seems to be able to “tolerate” all views except Biblical Christianity, the cardinal sin, if they were indeed allowed to categorize something as “sin”, would be to tell someone: “You’re wrong.”  

As appealing as it would be to go around telling everyone they are wrong, as Christians we have to be wise and discerning in how we “speak the truth in love”.

The Lord will use the word of God to convict people of their sin and bring them to faith in Christ.  Our arguments won’t do that. Our being a jerk won’t do that.

So what are we supposed to do?

Well we are supposed to live as disciples of Christ. We are to walk on the “Path of the Cross”, that’s what I got from today’s photo, by rejecting the world’s narrative of the state of reality and focusing on the truth of God’s word and by applying God’s wisdom to our lives.  

Limit your exposure to the news  and pick up the word of God and live by it.

Jesus Christ attested to the ability of God’s word to change us and of It’s truth in: 

John 17:17 (NKJV)
17  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

So while the world is trying to “tell you the news” and some may be advocating for changes to our world through governmental means because of the bad news that is constantly before us,  and are, as John Mayer sang about, are “Waiting on the World to Change”, the Lord is directing us to be changed by applying His Truth to our lives by making Jesus our Lord Savior and by following in His Ways.

To overcome the world, we have to overcome the lies of the world by recognizing the truth that “all roads do not lead to heaven”, that all beliefs, lifestyles, and behaviors are not all  equally valid, and to know that what some call acceptable, legal, or good are actually evil according to the word of God.   

The good news is that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, but with that good news comes some really bad news.  

The bad news is that we can’t change the world. We can’t convince everyone of the truth of God’s word. And We can’t save everyone and establish God’s kingdom on the earth.

If we could there would be no need for Christ to return and God’s word assures us that He is coming back and that things will get worse before He does.     

But don’t forget the hope of the gospel, we can be used by God to bring some into His kingdom before He comes back to judge and rule the earth.  And in spite of the culture of fear that is proliferated all around us, we can still experience peace and joy in this strange new world regardless of the circumstances when we focus on the Lord and walk in the Spirit. 

Our faith is a faith of hope. We have hope in Christ and in His return, but we also have the hope that we can experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives when we make the decision to repent of the world’s ways and turn to God’s ways.

We also have the hope that God has prepared us for good works, to have a purpose on this earth: to help people and to be used to show them the truth of God’s word and the “good news” that Christ overcame the world and that through Him they can be given rest and peace in the here and now and eternal life with Him forever.

So focus on the good news and keep walking and talking with God. It’s not all doom and gloom out there, but to know peace and joy in a world that focuses on the fearful aspects of our experience, we need to know the peace that goes beyond all understanding by being reconciled to God by the Prince of Peace, and to be in harmony with Him by continually walking in His ways.

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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:

John 14:6 (NLT2)
6  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Today’s Bible verse is Christ telling us that He is the only way to God the Father.  

Here Christ makes it abundantly clear that there is one way to be reconciled to God, Him.  Christ is the truth that has to affect our lives.  Christ is the way to eternal life and the way to life and life more abundantly.  

There is no peace without peace with God and Christ’s death on the cross for our sins brings it to all who put their faith in Him.  

Of all the many options in this world, Jesus is the One way to peace with God and life everlasting.  That may seem narrow but Christ said in:

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV) to
13  "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It's not easy to come to faith in Christ. In fact apart from God’s grace and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible! But if he has revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is, we simply must accept Him as our Lord and Savior and make the hard choice to experience the Life He has for us by living according to His Way.  

 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

4. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards.

God intended from the beginning that satisfying work would provide for our needs. God worked at the beginning (Genesis 2:2), and the humans he created in his image would work. Before sin entered the world, that work would be without futility and frustration. It would unite beautifully with God’s abundant provision to meet every need. It would make the earth subject to man’s material needs without ruining the earth (Genesis 1:28). At the beginning, the homestead of man was a garden of fruit trees, not a hard field to be plowed and planted. “Out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). Not only that, “a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden” (verse 10).

Happy Work Before the Fall; Then Sweating and Fretting

In this all-supplying paradise God said, at first, “there was no man to work the ground” (verse 5). Then he made man from the ground, and, in his creation, Adam became a son working with his Father in the stewardship of creation. The essence of work was not sustenance of life. God gave himself as the sustainer. Man was free, not from work, but in work, to be creative without the anxiety of providing food and clothing.

What changed with the entrance of sin into the world was not that man had to work, but that work became hard with the futility and frustration of the fallen creation. The Lord said to Adam:

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground. (Genesis 3:17–19, emphasis added)

When man and woman chose to be self-reliant and rejected God’s fatherly guidance and provision, God subjected them to the very thing they chose: self-reliance. From now on, he says, if you eat, it will be because you toil and sweat. So they were driven from the garden of happy work to the ground of anxious toil. The curse under which we live today is not that we must work. The curse is that, in our work, we struggle with weariness and frustration and calamities and anxiety. And all this is doubly burdensome because now by this very toil we must keep ourselves alive. “In toil you shall eat of the ground.… In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Christ Took the Curse on Himself, and We Are Being Freed

But hasn’t Christ come to lift the curse from his people? Yes. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ ” (Galatians 3:13). However, the curse is not lifted totally all at once. God saves us in stages. Christ delivered a mortal blow to evil when he died for sin and rose again. But not every enemy is yet put under his feet. For example, death is part of the curse we still experience. Christ conquered death for his people, but only partly now. We still die, but the “sting” of death, the hopelessness of death, is removed because our sins are forgiven in Christ and he is risen (1 Corinthians 15:54–55)!

Similarly, we must still work hard to provide for our needs. Christ says, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.… Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:25, 32–33). He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He says, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In other words, God does not want his children to be burdened with the frustration and futility and depressing weariness of work. That much of the curse he aims to lift from us even in this age.

Paradise Is Not Here Yet

But just as death will be a reality to the end of this age, so must we work in this fallen age against many obstacles that often make work hard. Not yet may we return to paradise and pick fruit in someone else’s garden. That’s the mistake they made at Thessalonica. Some were quitting their jobs and being idle because they thought that Christ would come very soon. Paradise was at hand. So Paul wrote to them, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12). Able-bodied people who choose to live in idleness and eat the fruit of another’s sweat are in rebellion against God’s design. If we can, we should earn our own living.

How then do Christians make much of Christ in working “to earn their own living”? First, by conforming willingly to God’s design for this age. It is an act of obedience that honors his authority. Second, by removing stumbling blocks from unbelievers who would regard the lazy dependence of Christians on others as an evidence that our God is not worthy of following. “Work with your hands … so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11–12). We honor God by earning our living because this clears the way for non-Christians to see Christ for who he really is. Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love. They waste their lives.

Do Not Labor for the Food That Perishes

Third, we make much of God by earning our own living when we focus not on financial profit but on the benefit our product or service brings to society. This is paradoxical. I am saying, yes, we should earn enough money to meet our needs. But, no, we should not make that the primary focus of why we work. One of the most striking things Jesus ever said was, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). Do not labor for the food that perishes! “The food that perishes” simply means all ordinary food and provision. So this is striking! It seems to say the exact opposite of what I am saying. What does he mean?

We know from all we have seen so far that Jesus does not mean it is wrong to earn your own living and eat your own bread. Evidently then, he means that when we work for the food that perishes, there should be a significant sense in which we are not working for that food, but for something more. In other words, don’t focus on mere material things in your work. Don’t labor merely with a view to the perishable things you can buy with your earnings. Work with an eye not mainly to your money, but your usefulness. Work with a view to benefiting people with what you make or do.

Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God’s promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness, and the food that perishes will be added to you. So don’t labor for the food that perishes. Labor to love people and honor God. Think of new ways that your work can bless people. Stop thinking mainly of profitability, and think mainly of how helpful your product or service can become.

Do Your Business Dealings but Stay Free from Them

How do you get up in the morning and go to work not for the food that perishes—not mainly for the profit? This is really a spiritual discovery, attained through much prayer and longing. My words of explanation won’t make it happen. But maybe the Holy Spirit will use these words to advance your quest. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:30–31 that since we live in a time of great urgency, “those who buy [should buy] as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it.” I think this is another way of saying, yes, labor, but do not labor for the food that perishes. Go ahead and purchase, but act as though you have no goods. Do your business dealings, but stay free from them. The financial outcome of these dealings is not your life.

Say You Are a Stockbroker

Suppose you are a Christian stockbroker and have watched the market tumble. What it means to you not to labor for the food that perishes is that your true life is not jeopardized. Your peace and joy are not destroyed. Your resolve to do the best you can for your clients remains the same—even if you advise them to get out of the market and use their money a different way for God’s glory. You are not working for the food that perishes. Your goal is to enjoy Christ’s being exalted in the way you work. Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.… My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:32–34). None of us in our vocations should aim mainly at the food that perishes—leave that to the Lord. We should aim instead to do the will of him who sent us. And his will is that we treasure him above all else and live like it.

The Christian stockbroker will say in the face of a falling market, “The main food I want from this job is still there. I am hungry above all to pass this test of faith and have a deep restfulness in the goodness and power of Christ. I am hungry to enjoy his name being esteemed as others see my demeanor and my integrity and give Christ glory.” And to that end he labors for the food that endures to eternal life. He labors, rising early for prayer and meditation and holding Christ near to his heart all day. In that security he thinks of the good of others and serves them. That is a wonder, not a wasted life.

Jesus calls us to be aliens and exiles in the world. Not by taking us out of the world, but by changing, at the root, how we view the world and how we do our work in it. If we simply work to earn a living—if we labor for the bread that perishes—we will waste our lives. But if we labor with the sweet assurance that God will supply all our needs—that Christ died to purchase every undeserved blessing—then all our labor will be a labor of love and a boasting only in the cross.[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] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 144–150.

Friday, May 20, 2022

His Truth and Presence: The Way through Grief – Purity 736


His Truth and Presence: The Way through Grief – Purity 736

Purity 736 05/19/2022  Purity 736 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a golden retriever apparently navigating his own boat in the setting sun comes to us from a brother and a friend who shared this photo among many others on social media yesterday to remember and honor his faithful canine companion who was called into eternity after suffering from cancer for last 12 months.  But in my friend’s post, he didn’t focus on the pain and suffering but instead gave a heartwarming testimony of the adventures in life that he and his canine friend had through the years.   

Similarly, and not to equate or compare the two losses, I was saddened to see that a friend’s mother had also died yesterday after years of suffering from the devastating affects of Alzheimer’s disease.  I had a small idea of my friend’s pain from dealing with his mother’s condition and of course this was in midst of other losses as his wife’s mother passed away last year. 

Sometimes our cup of suffering seems to be full and the thing we dreaded the most, death, comes as a relief as our loved one’s pain is ended. My friend acknowledged the truth of the suffering his mother had gone through in the announcement of her passing but also focused on the love that she had given to her family as a mother and grandmother. Her love, presence, and support for her family was displayed throughout her life and this is what my friend is focusing on.    

So, obviously it is not going to necessarily be a banner weekend for a pair of my friends as the loss of their loved ones is fresh but that is okay, the best way to process the grief of losing a loved one is to acknowledge the pain of the loss, remember the great value of the relationship that has changed forever, and to say goodbye to the way things used to be.  

We all grieve in our own way and in our own timing, but the word of God indicates that we are to always give thanks, always pray, always rejoice, and keep moving forward into the upward call of Christ.   

In our grief, a relationship with God and a knowledge of the truth of reality as it is revealed to us in Scripture can give us peace and strength to endure any suffering and all loss.  

The Bible is straightforward in delivering the truth of life and death and in times of loss we are reminded of the extreme importance of faith in Jesus Christ and a biblically based world view of eternity.   The Lord wanted us to know the truth and He inspired the Apostle Paul to share it in

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NLT2) which says:
1  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.
3  For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.
4  While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.
5  God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6  So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.
7  For we live by believing and not by seeing.
8  Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
9  So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.
10  For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

For the believer, our faith in Christ results in a state of grace. We are forgiven for all of our sins and are given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal life in God’s kingdom the moment we make Jesus our Lord and Savior.  The judgement the believer faces from Christ  is to determine their rewards for their faithfulness.  There is nothing to fear from death. To be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord.

This life on earth is not the end. Jesus said in:

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25   "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Jesus speaks the truth of spiritual reality. You can believe this. And if you haven’t already, you should say a prayer to make Jesus your Lord and Savior and then endeavor to be His disciple and follow Him in how you live your life.

The strength of our faith comes from God. It comes from knowing Him and from knowing the truth that He reveals to us in His word, and from applying its wisdom to every situation of our lives, especially in times of pain and loss.   

So yeah, bad things will happen, suffering will come, and death will take the lives of our family, friends, and pets.  But God is on the other side of this life and if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is this: God will do what is right.

I don’t know if “all dogs go to heaven” but I know that God will do what is right.  

As for men, God’s justice is served by Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. And He said that no one comes to the Father except through Him.  This is the truth and God will do what’s right based on this. We all need the assurance of a good ending and the Lord offers it freely to all who put their faith in His Son.

No matter what losses we face in life, we can be assured God is good because He sent Jesus to tell us the truth and to rescue us from sin and death. Death loses its sting through Jesus Christ alone.

So thank God it is Friday.  And thank God for all the love we have known in our lives, whether it is active and current or came from those who are no longer with us, we can rejoice even in our pain, knowing that we gave and received love from our dearly departed loved ones.  

So no matter what you are facing as we go into this weekend, draw close to the Lord and He will draw close to you. He will tell you the truth and give you strength and comfort when you walk with Him.  He will never leave you or forsake you and He be there when your body gives out and He calls you home.  

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 2:9 (NLT2)
9  Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the results of seeking God’s wisdom: that we will have understanding of what is right, just, and fair and we will find the right way to go.   

In any sincere search for the truth about the meaning of life, the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ must be considered.  To say we care about truth, wisdom, and what happens to us when we die and to dismiss or ignore the Bible and Jesus is not only foolish but should reveal that fact that we are willfully choosing to reject the truth that has changed the course of human history.

Look at the calendar and tell me year it is and tell me why it is that year.  And don’t tell me about C.E. Common Era.  That’s a modern invention to deny, the truth of who Christ is.  AD is an abbreviation of the Latin: anno domini, literally the 'year of the Lord' and it just so happens to coincide with the advent of Jesus Christ into the world.

When you tell me the year is 2022, you unwittingly give glory to Jesus Christ.

So if you are curious about the Man, whose life was so significant that we number our days based on Him, or if you were to consider the vast multitudes who would point you to the word of God to find wisdom, you would read the Bible.  

The Bible tells the story of God and His plan for mankind: which is Jesus Christ.  It also reveals what is right morally according to the Lord.   

So as today’s verse indicates when we seek the Lord’s wisdom, that is revealed to us in Scripture, we will understand what is right, just, and fair.  And we will also find the right way to go. The last parts of the Bible, the New Testament, reveals Jesus as the Way.   Putting our faith in Him and living according to God’s wisdom is the way to go.  

So seek the Truth and you will find it.  Your investigation for truth may not begin with God but as you see the common revelation of creation that testifies of the existence of a Creator and consider the historical evidence that points to the significance of the Bible as a source of wisdom, you investigation for truth will lead you to the author of all Truth and maker of all things: God. And His word, the Holy Bible, will show you what is just, right and fair and will show the right way to go.  

 

 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

Consumed with Clothes

Or think about clothes. What a tragedy to see so many young people obsessed with what they wear and how they look. Even Christian youth seem powerless to ask greater questions than “What’s wrong with it?” Like: Will these clothes help me magnify Christ? Will they point people to him as the manifest Treasure of my life? Will they highlight my personhood, created in the image of God to serve, or will they highlight my sexuality? Or my laziness? Trust me, I’m not hung up on clothes. There are some pretty radical, Christ-exalting reasons to dress down. My plea is that you be more like a dolphin and less like a jellyfish in the sea of fashion—and of contra-fashion (which is just as tyrannizing).

Go beyond one teenager who wrote to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in response to a letter to the editor:

As a teenager, what you wear is unfortunately becoming more important. Honestly even I find some of the clothes that I wear offensive. The letter spoke of girls being able to dress fashionably and sensibly. Show me how that’s possible, and I’ll do it.

Most of my friends often are not comfortable with what is popular, but we wear it anyway. Standing out is just not always worth the struggle. Society tells us to be different, yet mainstream.

How do you dress to please yourself, your parents and your peers? You can’t. Teens end up compromising their values to fit in. If we intend to make it through high school, or even junior high, without being tormented then we must dress to please our peers.

We are the up-and-coming leaders of this nation, and we must see what we have become and change.

Where Are the Young Radicals for Christ?

When I stand, as it were, on the shores of Iwo Jima and let myself reenact those hours of courage and sacrifice, and remember that they were young, I cannot make peace with the petty preoccupations of most American life. One of them was really young. I read his story and wanted to speak to every youth group in America and say, Do you want to see what cool is? Do you want to see something a thousand times more impressive than a triple double? Well, listen up about Jacklyn Lucas.

He’d fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen, fooling the recruits with his muscled physique.… Assigned to drive a truck in Hawaii, he had grown frustrated; he wanted to fight. He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sympathetic leathernecks on board.

He landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland.

Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprang in front of them. Jack shot one of them through the head. Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately, another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. “Luke, you’re gonna die,” he remembered thinking.…

Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan the doctors could scarcely believe it. “Maybe he was too damned young and too damned tough to die,” one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation’s youngest Medal of Honor winner—and the only high school freshman to receive it.

As I read that, I thought of all the things that high school kids think is cool. I sat on the porch where I was reading and thought, O God, who will get in their face and give them something to live for? They waste their days in a trance of insignificance, trying to look cool or talk cool or walk cool. They don’t have a clue what cool is.

One more story to clarify what is cool. It’s about Ray Dollins, a fighter pilot at Iwo Jima.

The first wave of amtracs headed for shore. The Marine fighter planes were finishing up their low strafing runs. And as the last pilot began to pull his Corsair aloft, Japanese sprang to their guns and riddled the plane with flak. The pilot, Major Ray Dollins, tried to gain altitude as he headed out over the ocean so as to avoid a deadly crash into the Marines headed for the beach, but his plane was too badly damaged. Lieutenant Keith Wells watched it from the amtrac.… “We could see him in the cockpit,” Wells said, “and he was trying everything. He was heading straight down for a group of approaching ’tracs filled with Marines. At the last second he flipped the plane over on its back and aimed it into the water between two waves of tanks. We watched the water exploding into the air.”

Military personnel listening to the flight radio network from the ships could not only see Dollins go down; they could hear his last words into his microphone. They were a defiant parody.

Oh, what a beautiful morning,

Oh, what a beautiful day,

I’ve got a terrible feeling

Everything’s coming my way.

Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe true greatness. It is a small word. That’s the point. It’s cheap. And it’s what millions of young people live for. Who confronts them with urgency and tears? Who pleads with them not to waste their lives? Who takes them by the collar, so to speak, and loves them enough to show them a life so radical and so real and so costly and Christ-saturated that they feel the emptiness and triviality of their CD collection and their pointless conversations about passing celebrities? Who will waken what lies latent in their souls, untapped—a longing not to waste their lives?

My Heart’s Plea

Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy—as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road. “Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:13–14). When they see our sacrificial love—radiant with joy—will they not say, “Christ is great”?[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] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 125–131.