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

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Praising from the Mountain of Love – The Gift that Keeps on Giving – Purity 752


Praising from the Mountain of Love – The Gift the Keeps on Giving – Purity 752

Purity 752 06/08/2022 Purity 752 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining through the trees over a campsite comes from my cousin’s recent excursion to the top of Keller Peak in Running Springs, California.  He was recently laid up with a foot and ankle injury a couple of months ago but now is back at it stating on his social media post that he was doing some “soulcleansing” by “putting in some work” while “resetting the batteries outdoors”.  

Well it’s Wednesday, and I thought this photo of a summit campsite and his sentiments to cleanse the soul where perfect to represent “hump day” and our continual focus to find peace in our souls by walking and talking with God.  

Like my cousin, I have found that the exercise of the body does have some ability to cleanse the soul as our bodies, and the life that God breathed into them, were the first gift that we received from God, and when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, they became temples of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  So it is good to keep our temples in order by keeping our bodies healthy and that requires proper nutrition, rest, and “putting in some work” from time to time with regular exercise.  

After taking an uncharacteristic rest yesterday, I was raring to “get back at it” with my normal light exercise routine, and as my cousin testifies, I can confirm that there really is something to be said for the ability of simple exercise to “cleanse our souls as we can sweat out frustrations or just experience the simple contentment of knowing that we are being good stewards to the bodies that God has given us.         

But as good as sweating out frustrations and stress, the assurance of being a good steward to our bodies, and feeling the euphoric rush of endorphins firing, may be able to give us a measure of happiness in our souls, as Christians we can raise our experience to the heights of joy by bringing our praises and thanks to the Lord as our spirits are in direct communication with our heavenly Father at all times.  

Not for nothing, but while you can think through problems or set your focus on the things that lie ahead of you while you exercise, I can get a little frustrated, anxious, angry or depressed if the content of my thoughts is “just me” focused.  When we try to do everything through our own strength and cunning, we can really begin to feel overwhelmed, worried, or burdened with our lives.  

So while I work out, I may think of “what I can do” with the day ahead and with the situations that I have to face, but after a while I will get “sick of me” and will turn to the Lord and say something like: “And that’s why I am SO GLAD, that You are in my life, O Lord.” And than proceed to remember that I am not alone and will recall all that the Lord and I have walked through together to bring me to this “current day and present moment” and I will thank Him and praise Him for never leaving me or forsaking me and always being with me.  

The weight of the world seems to not be so heavy when we have the Creator of the Universe on our side. As the word says, if God is for us, who can be against us!

Well, frankly, everyone can be against us! But with God, it just doesn’t matter, because when we walk with Him we never walk alone and when we continue to seek His presence and follow His wisdom for living we can have peace and joy regardless of the circumstances that surround us because He has “cleansed” and saved our souls the minute we placed our faith in Christ.  His love pours into us with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, when we first believed, and it abounds in us when we abide in Him.  

So there, I am “putting some work in” by exercising, contemplating the current events of my life, and rejoicing because I know that “There ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t not valley low enough, and there ain’t not river wide enough” to keep the Lord from getting to us!

The Lord has a mountain of love to pour out on us if we would just seek to receive it by keeping our relationship with Him a healthy one, where we care for our bodies, live according to His wisdom, continually reflect on His thoughts, His words, and Our story together, as an continuous expression of our faith.  

This gift of our lives, our bodies, our relationship with God, His love, His forgiveness, His hope, His strength, and how it all goes together is the gift that keeps on giving. So live your life as a continual exercise of praise and worship to the Lord who gave us life and set us free to live with Him forever when He showed us the truth of Jesus Christ and we accepted the gift of His mercy, grace, and love.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 112:1-3 (NLT2)
1  Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands.
2  Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
3  They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.

Today’s Bible verses encourage us to praise the Lord and they indicate that when we fear and obey Him not only will we benefit but the potential exists to influence generations through our faithfulness.   

When you are brought up in a “religious tradition of Christianity” where no one seems to know the joy of their salvation and everyone seems to be under a burden of obligation to go to “mass”, you view the “fear of the Lord” as the fear of judgement and going to Hell and you view His commands as a list of requirements to meet with the silent warning of “or else” implied.  

The houses of worship where “God is in the box”, require people to enter reverently, almost fearfully, because the doctrine of transubstantiation, teaches that He literally is in the communion elements, so God is in the house and you best come correctly into His presence, or you will face the wrath or condemnation of the priest, your parents, or the other congregants that bow low under their religious tradition but who may not be good examples of the joy or love of the Lord.  

But here in today’s verses, the Bible speaks of people who are joyful who fear the Lord and obey His commands. Joyful?   How can you be joyful in the presence of a God who is just waiting to send you to Hell?  Or in an environment where His “believers” almost cower in His presence and will chastise and threaten anyone who doesn’t put on a show of reverence while they are “in the building”. 

Well, the Bible is true and the fact that people can be joyful when they fear the Lord and obey His commands must point to something that is “other” than what we see in some liturgical churches.  

It must point to a relationship with God that is His based on His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love rather than the traditions of men that corrupt the gospel of Jesus Christ by making us think that our salvation depends on our perfect obedience and can be something that we can lose.   

While our God is awesome to be hold and should be feared by anyone who hasn’t been reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, the fear of the Lord that the Christian has should be one that is born from the knowledge of His love and is reflected by our respect for His word and our joy at following the One who gave us life and set us free. 

Only when we are assured of our salvation and the love of God for us, can we be joyful in obeying His commands. When we know the love of God and are assured that He isn’t going to condemn us to Hell at the drop of a hat, our obedience to His commands is an expression for our deep respect, fear, and love that we have for Him.  

Unlike religious traditions that are fueled by fear and guilt, and seem to be fading away in our post Christian society, this joyful relationship with God is something that future generations could be influenced by to pursue and emulate as they can learn of the tremendous blessings that can flow from an authentic faith and love relationship with our God.  

We can’t force anyone, including our kids, to follow the Lord but we can show them the joy that we have from knowing His love, from fearing His word, and obeying His commands and how a life dedicated to following Him is a blessing, not a curse or an obligation.    



As always, I invite all to go to 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.

10  -My Prayer—Let None Say in the End, “I’ve Wasted It”

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is better than life. You have told us this in many ways. With these very words you have said it through the mouth of your servant David: “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” You have said it in the words of your apostle Paul, when he cried out in prison, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” O Lord, how much better you are than life! Does your apostle Paul not use strong language! Not just “better,” but “far better.” You are so much better than life that your apostle says death is gain. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” To lose everything this world can offer and be left with you alone is gain.

Why, O Lord, is your love better than life? Surely David gives us the answer in the way he speaks. He does not say, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise your love.” What does he say? He says that he will praise you, not your love. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Is this not because the most loving thing about your love is that it brings us home to you—with eyes and hearts and minds able to see the riches of your glory? With all your wrath removed, and all our sin forgiven, lest anything prevent the pleasure of your presence. Is this not what divine love is—the will and work of God, to give us undeserving sinners everlasting joy in God? What else could love be, if it would be infinite! What greater prize might we be given than yourself, if we are loved!

O God, you know I tremble now for fear that many of the ones who call you Lord have made themselves the prize and glory of your grace. How many, Lord, have made your love a witness to their worth! Is then their joy a resting in your worth or in their own? So many decades have gone by in which the constant message from the world, and even from some ministers, is this: that love means making much of man. And so when men, with this assurance, ponder what your love might mean, they say the same: God’s love means making much of man. For proof they ask: Don’t you feel loved when someone calls attention to your worth?

I answer: Once I did. When life was better than the Lord, and not the other way around. There was a time love felt like this—when I could not conceive of any joy greater than the honor of my name. When I was so absorbed in me that it was inconceivable for joy to rise by my admiring rather than my being admired. Oh, yes, I’ve known what it is like to call the praise of men an act of love and justify this craving with the readiness to give the same. How satisfying it does seem—this love among ourselves of mutual admiration!

But now (thanks to your mighty grace!) I see it is an imitation. It has its roots in Eden long ago. The great destroyer of our love and joy said to our mother, Eve, “God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” Like God! She should have said, “I am like God already.” She should have seen the trick. But she did not, and oh, how many do not see it yet today! She was indeed like God! You made her so—your very image-bearer. Her calling and her high design was this: to image forth her Maker’s majesty, and with her joy and trust, make much of you. But then the evil thought was sown: “I could be like him in another way. I could be one whose majesty is seen, and love might be defined as making much of me.”

And so it came into the world, this great inversion we call sin. And love was made to stand now on its head. I grieve, Lord, just to put it into words, but here it is with shame: Your love no longer means that you do what you must do to make yourself our joy. It has come to mean that you do what you must do so we can feel our worth. It was a sad exchange. And doubly so: Not only did it rob our souls of that one joy that you designed to satisfy us for eternity, but worse, it robbed you of your honored place as Treasure of our lives.

And everything you’ve done since that dark day in Eden is designed to set things right. Oh, what a history of deeds and revelations you have wrought to make yourself the center of our joy and take back for yourself the place of honor in the world—to be the One your people treasure more than life. How many ways you said and showed, “I made you for my glory. I made you for my praise. I made you for my honor and my name.” And, lest we miss the point, you added: “In my presence there is fullness of joy; at my right hand are pleasures forevermore. Delight yourself in me! Be glad in me and leap for joy; I am your sure and great Reward! Come taste, and even now rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Oh, what a grand design! To make our joy the echo of your excellence. To make our pleasure proof that you now hold the place of Treasure in our lives. To make the gladness of our souls the essence of our worship, and the mirror of your worth. To make yourself most glorified in us, O God, when we are satisfied in you. How could I, Lord, have ever been so blind to think that being loved by you means making much of me and not yourself? How could I put my eye to some great telescope, designed to make me glad with visions of the galaxies, and notice in the glass a dim reflection of my face and say, “Now I am happy, I am loved”? How could I stand before the setting sun, between the mountain range and the vastness of the sea, and think that everlasting joy should come from making much of me?

No, Father, love is this: At great expense you made yourself my glory and my boast. The cost was infinite by which you made yourself the Treasure of my life. You sent your Son, the blazing center of your beauty and your love. You gave him up to mockery, betrayal, thorns, the whip, the rod, the fists, the nails, the shame, and death. For what? To swallow up your wrath, and satisfy your righteousness, and bury all my sins as far as east is from the west and in the deepest sea, so that I might come home and see the galaxy. This is your love, O God, not to make much of me, but do whatever must be done so that I waken to the joy of making much of you through all eternity.

How then shall Christ not be my only boast! Not only that he bought yourself for me, O God, but is himself your perfect image and the blazing center of your radiance. What do I have that does not come from him? What gift of life or breath? What promise ever made did not receive its Yes in him? What one sweet thing—or hard thing you will soon make sweet—did I receive except that it was purchased by his blood? Not one thing I deserve, but hell. Yet everything is mine in him, and by his sacrifice alone. O God, forbid that I should ever boast save in the cross of Christ, my Lord.

And now shall we who treasure Christ and know your love is better far than life lay up, like all the world, our treasures on this earth? Would not we hear you say, as you once said, “Fool, will not this same night your soul be taken back? And then whose will these barns of bounty be?” Forbid, O Lord, that while the world is filled with need we would sit down and say, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” A terrible reversal awaits such lovelessness. “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” We tremble at the words you spoke once to the heartless rich: “Remember in your lifetime you received good things, and that poor man, beside your door, received the pain; but now the great reversal comes, and he has comfort here, while you lie there in anguish.”

O God, such riches are a wasted life. Protect us, Lord. Grant us to hear and heed another call: “Lay up your treasure not on earth, but in the place where moth and thief will never come. Make treasures for yourself that cannot fail.” But then we ask, “What treasures, Lord?” We see you smile. “I am your Treasure and your great Reward. I am your food, your drink, your festal garments and your everlasting gain. I am your life and your all-satisfying Joy.”

Yes, Lord. That is enough. But we would ask, How shall we lay this treasure up? Is it not laid there by your grace alone and bought now once for all by Jesus’ blood? How shall we make this life—this brief and only life that we now live—a laying up of treasure there in heaven? To answer this, you know, O God, that I have written this small book. And I have looked not to myself or listened to some voice. But I have tried to probe your written Word and say what you have said. That is my only claim to truth—that I have echoed what you wrote.

The answer is that in this life we may begin to treasure Christ, and here gain, as it were, an aptitude for joy in him. A greater weight of glory waits to be enjoyed for those who grow in love to Christ. And what is love to Christ? It is the cherishing of all you are for us in him. It is the treasuring of his perfection over all the treasures of the world. It is delighting in his fellowship beyond all family and friends. It is embracing all his promises that there will be more pleasure in his presence than from all the lying promises of sin. It is a gladness in the present taste of glory and the hope of future fullness when we see him face to face. It is a quiet peace along the path he chooses for us with its pain. It is a being satisfied that nothing comes to us in vain.

There is a quiet kind of joy, O Lord, that Jesus did both save us from our sin and show us how to love. His life, as you have said, was both a purchase and a path. He died for us, and now calls us to die with him. He took our poverty upon himself that we, in him, might have the riches of his heaven, and he calls us now to use our riches for the poor. He did not count equality with you a thing to grasp, but made himself of no account and crossed an endless chasm between heaven and earth, so we might see what frontier missions means and join him in the final task. Is not this, then, the way we lay up treasure in your house—to give our money and ourselves to make as many rich with God forever as we can?

A quiet kind of joy, I say, because of so much suffering. I cannot rise above the great apostle Paul who called his life a daily death and put it in a paradox: “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, yet possessing everything.” O Father, grant your church to love your glory more than gold—to cease her love affair with comfort and security. Grant that we seek the kingdom first and let the other things come as you will. Grant that we move toward need and not toward ease. Grant that the firm finality of our security in Christ free us to risk our homes and health and money on the earth. Help us to see that if we try to guard our wealth, instead of using it to show it’s not our god, then we will waste our lives, however we succeed.

Dear Lord, I tremble now to pray for readers what I barely feel myself. But I have tasted what our life might be if I, and they, could walk along the ever-present edge of death, and smile with utter confidence that if we fell, or possibly were pushed, it would be gain. Oh, what abandon, what great liberty, what invincible resolve to love would be our portion if we walked this way! What readiness to suffer for the glory of Christ! What eagerness to show the poor that we would gladly spend and be spent to make them glad in God for all eternity! What lowliness and meekness and freedom from the need for praise and pay! All things are ours in Christ—the world, life, death, the present, the future. All are ours, and we are Christ’s. And none of it deserved.

And so, dear Lord, I dare to pray that everything I’ve written in this book, if it be true, explode with fear-defeating joy in Jesus Christ. Let every wavering heart remember this: You promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So may we say with death-defying confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Forbid that any, Lord, who read these words would have to say someday, “I’ve wasted it.” But grant, by your almighty Spirit and your piercing Word, that we who name Christ as the Lord would treasure him above our lives, and feel, deep in our souls, that Christ is life and death is gain. And so may we display his worth for all to see. And by our prizing him may he be praised in all the world. May he be magnified in life and death. May every neighborhood and nation see how joy in Jesus frees his people from the power of greed and fear.

Let love flow from your saints, and may it, Lord, be this: that even if it costs our lives, the people will be glad in God. “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.” Take your honored place, O Christ, as the all-satisfying Treasure of the world. With trembling hands before the throne of God, and utterly dependent on your grace, we lift our voice and make this solemn vow: As God lives, and is all I ever need, I will not waste my life …

through Jesus Christ, Amen.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 183–189.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Take a Break? Free to Follow, Free to Rest – Purity 751

Take a Break? Free to Follow, Free to Rest – Purity 751

Purity 751 06/07/2022 Purity 751 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a group of palm trees on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale comes to us from a friend who enjoyed a long weekend getaway to the Lago Mar Resort and Club back on May 27th.  

Full disclosure, I did take some creative liberties with the photo by cropping out my friend’s resting feet at the edge of this photo in the shade of an unseen palm tree, to give their feet privacy?, and to highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation. 

Well, it’s Tuesday, and even though it is only the second day of the first full work week in the month of June, I was moved to spontaneously take a nontypical break from my normal morning discipline of exercise and instead caught a few extra z’s and some restless rest before my nonnegotiable time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study.  

As we have committed ourselves of a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit we have chosen to be a disciple of Christ and that is a path that requires discipline.  If you didn’t know it, the root word of discipline is “disciple” and the root word for disciple is “student”.  So in our choice to be a disciplined disciple of Christ we have decided that we will seek to learn from Jesus and be determined to apply his wisdom to the way we live our lives.  

But unlike, the other “disciplines” of the world, our membership to the body of Christ is not based on our rigid adherence to a moral code or based on our performance, our adoption into the family of God is a product of God’s grace. It’s a free gift of love from the Creator of the universe and once you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love or take you out of His royal family.  

We can do nothing to earn our salvation and status as a child of God and there is nothing we have to do to maintain it.   

What? Are you serious? I thought being a Christian was all about “doing stuff”, that if I become I become a Christian I inherit a long list of “gotta’s” as in:

“I gotta go to church”

“I gotta be good”

“I gotta read the Bible”

“ I gotta do this, I gotta do that” 

And I thought it included a whole list of “can’ts”

As in “I can’t do this or I can’t do that.”  

Unfortunately, this is how most people view being a Christian. Ignorance and some legalistic church cultures have led to this view but it’s an immature understanding of who we are in Christ and what being a Christian is all about.  This view of “gotta’s” and “can’ts” is looking at our Christian faith as a religion, not at what it actually is: a relationship with God.   

Unlike human relationships and memberships to certain worldly clubs or disciplines, our relationship with God is not performance based. It is not something that can be lost through our failure to perform . 

When God invites you into His family, it is with no conditions and it only requires your humble surrender to the Lordship of Christ. When we become Christians.  we stop relying solely on our abilities and decide to put our faith and trust in Christ to save us and to guide us through life.  

Our faith is an acknowledgement of the truth of who Christ is: the Messiah, the Son of God, and God the Son, and it includes our decision to follow Him.  Like the original Apostles call, we are invited to follow Christ, but we are still free regarding how we choose to follow.  

That’s the amazing thing about grace, it’s God’s unmerited favor to us and for us. Unmerited means we didn’t earn it and since we didn’t earn it we can’t lose it. Our position in Christ is steady.

But the harmony of our relationship and the peace we enjoy will depend on how much we abide in Christ and depend on how we relate to God.  

If we approach our relationship with God as a list of requirements and that is something that is based on our performance, rather than a relationship that is permanent and based on love, we will struggle with the acceptance of our identity in Christ and will be an emotional mess as we will cycle between anxiety, anger, and depression by trying to meet the perfect standards of attitudes and behavior that we feel we need to have in order to be accepted by God.  

But the thing is, we were completely accepted by God, the moment we placed our faith in Christ.    

If we are anxious, angry, or depressed about our performance as a Christian, we have wrongly taken God’s invitation to relationship and turned it into a religion where we separate ourselves from the Lord based on our performance.  

The joy of our relationship with God comes from knowing that we are free to follow Him in the way we choose.  

But the thing about being in God’s family is that you quickly discover that your old worldly ways and sins don’t really match up with who you are now in Christ and when we behave in our old ways it doesn’t feel right anymore and the more we push to stay in our old ways the more pain it causes us.  

When we decide to obey and follow God’s call on our lives, we begin to discover that the gospel is true, we really are new creations in Christ. But our old patterns of thinking and behaving, and the world, the flesh, and the devil, beckon us to stay in the darkness because those shadows are familiar, and the light of Christ is bright and good but when we approach it there is no place for our sins to hide. 

God sees us for who we are and loves us anyway. He loves us so much that He doesn’t us to stay in the confusion, ignorance, and pain of our sin and gently beckons us to trust Him and to come into the light of our new lives in Christ.  

But He doesn’t force us to go, and we are free to stay in the shadows even though God, and we, ourselves, know it would be better to go His way.   But God doesn’t force us to march in obedience to Him, Christ came to give us rest.  When we decide to follow Him, we discover that His burden is light because His path is the path of righteousness and blessings. 

The old adage of “choose to sin, choose to suffer” is so true. But the opposite is also true, when we choose to obey, we choose to prosper in the riches of God’s grace, mercy, and love.”

The amazing thing about grace is that, we don’t have to obey perfectly to receive the benefit of our relationship with God.  The more we put in the more we get out of our relationship with God but God knows us and realizes we are not perfect, so He allows us to follow Him at our own pace, and by God, He even gives us the option of taking a break! He will even call us to rest or to wait on Him.  

So this morning, as much as I thrive in my normal morning discipline of exercise, it was okay to rest. It was okay to take a break and to do so with the full assurance that God wouldn’t love me any less.   

I could have taken a break from my normal Bible study and prayers too, but I have come to know the benefits of drawing into God’s presence and while I am not 100% in anything I do, those means of communication with the Lord are about as “non-negotiable” as I can get.  They are something I simply don’t want to take a rest from, normally.

But guess what, sometimes I don’t sit down and do my normal prayers or read the Bible, and that’s okay too. Because I do it all to draw close to God, not to be accepted by Him. 

But I have to admit that there isn’t a day that passes where I don’t at least take a moment to thank the Lord for who He is or for what He has done in my life. Because of His grace, I know His love and His rest and that causes me to thank Him, and love Him a little more each day.

So, don’t beat yourself up for not following perfectly, or for not doing all the gotta’s, or for not forsaking all the cant’s, that God’s word indicates are a good idea or practice for His children.  We are not accepted by our performance.  

But keep walking and talking with God, because even though our acceptance, significance, and security as a child of the King is assured, the measure of the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives does depend on how much we are enjoying God’s presence, how much we are learning about Him, and how much of His wisdom we are applying to our lives.  

So take a break, take a rest. It’s okay. But after you rest, jump up and rejoice because God never leaves you and is always there waiting to walk and talk with you again,   


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NLT2)
10  Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.
11  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

Today’s Bible verse talks of how, because of God’s grace, we can continue to build on and allow others to build on the foundation that we have in Christ.  

As Christians, the foundation of our new lives is faith in Christ alone! Our faith in Christ saves us and brings us into God’s royal family through the forgiveness of our sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.   We are new creations the moment we put our faith in Christ. That saving faith is a solid foundation that we can stand on from here to eternity, to infinity and beyond!

This passage in Corinthians describes the process of growth in our Christian faith.  With Christ as our foundation, we can build a life of a Christian disciple. We can allow others to teach us what they have learned from God’s word and from their walk of faith. We can allow them to help us build up our life as a Christian.  

So that is good news, and it indicates that we are to be in a Christian community where others can help and encourage us in our maturation. We are not in this by ourselves. We have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the word of God, and we have the body of Christ to help us build our lives as disciples of Christ.  

But as today’s verse also warns us, we have to “be very careful” and be discerning in who we choose to build on the foundation of our faith.   We must know the word of God for ourselves because the enemy would like to like to lead us astray and may send false teachers and counterfeit brethren into our lives to build lies into our faith.  

Christian cults, society at large, false religions, and those who push legalism or licentiousness are all out in the world looking to push us to extremes and would love to build lies upon our Christian foundation.  

Syncretism (the blending of faiths), the belief that there is more than one way to God, disrespect for God’s word, and moral compromises are all bricks that the enemy would love to put on top of our pure foundation of faith in Christ.  

So we must be very careful to reject what is false and only build up our faith with the wisdom that is confirmed by the word of God.

Hey, we are all works in progress and if we know the word of God we will know “what’s up to code” and what’s not. We can recognize counterfeits by being familiar with the real.  If we measure by the word of God twice, we’ll only have to cut once with the way we live our lives. And we can be assured that we are building on the pure foundation of our faith in Christ, with only that which is good, pure, and holy.



As always, I invite all to go to 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.

Ponder the Amnesty Offered to the Nations. Take a Retreat

The point of that fragmentary list is to simply illustrate whole populations living in rebellion against the true God and cut off from the only One who can reconcile them to their Maker. This means destruction for the unbelieving and dishonor to Christ. He owns this world, and the allegiance of every person is his right. Every soul and every state is his. Abraham Kuyper put it memorably: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ” Christ has come into this mutinous world, which he made for his own glory, and paid for an amnesty with his own blood. Everyone who lays down the weaponry of unbelief will be absolved from all crimes against the Sovereign of the universe. By faith alone enemies will become happy subjects of an everlasting kingdom of justice and joy. Advancing this cause with Christ is worth your life.

No, you don’t have to be a missionary to admire and advance the great purposes of God to be known and praised and enjoyed among all peoples. But if you want to be most fully satisfied with God as he triumphs in the history of redemption, you can’t go on with business as usual—doing your work, making your money, giving your tithe, eating, sleeping, playing, and going to church. Instead you need to stop and go away for a few days with a Bible and notepad; and pray and think about how your particular time and place in life fits into the great purpose of God to make the nations glad in him. How will you join the great global purpose of God expressed in Psalm 67:4, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy”?

The Meaning of Your Discontent

Many of you should stay where you are in your present job, and simply ponder how you can fit your particular skills and relationships and resources more strategically into the global purpose of your heavenly Father. But for others reading this book, it is going to be different. Many of you are simply not satisfied with what you are doing. As J. Campbell White said, the output of your lives is not satisfying your deepest spiritual ambitions. We must be careful here. Every job has its discouragements and its seasons of darkness. We must not interpret such experiences automatically as a call to leave our post.

But if the discontent with your present situation is deep, recurrent, and lasting, and if that discontent grows in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work. If, in your discontent, you long to be holy, to walk pleasing to the Lord, and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life, then God may indeed be loosening your roots in order to transplant you to a place and a ministry where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied. It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation; but when he deploys you from one place to the next, he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship. God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace.

Should I Go on Being a Pastor?

I try to take stock of my own ministry in this way. Every year at our church we have a “Missions Week.” I preach on missions; we have guest speakers. The challenge is given. People move toward missions, make commitments, and join the pre-missions nurture program. And every year I reexamine my life as a pastor at this church. I look at what I am doing in the light of God’s global purpose, and in view of the incredible spiritual darkness and misery of the unreached peoples of this earth. I ask myself, Is this the most strategic investment of my life for the sake of God’s purpose to make the nations glad in him? I ask my wife, “Noël, are you sensing any tugs to move closer to the front lines of the unreached peoples?”

Our church mission statement puts the world “spread” in the dominant position: “We exist to spread a passion for God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.” So I ask, Am I fulfilling this mission best in the role I now have? When the Lord calls me to give an account of my ministry in the last day, will I be able to say, “Lord, I stayed at Bethlehem because I believed I could be most instrumental there in accomplishing your purpose to make a name for yourself among the nations, and to gather your sheep from all the peoples of the earth”? When I can no longer say yes to that question, then my leadership here will be finished.

And You?

And so it is with many of you. Big issues are in the offing. May God help you. May God free you. May God give you a fresh, Christ-exalting vision for your life—whether you go to an unreached people or stay firmly and fruitfully at your present post. May your vision get its meaning from God’s great purpose to make the nations glad in him. May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at 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 ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 177–179.

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Simple Yet Glorious Way – Purity 750

The Simple Yet Glorious Way – Purity 750

Purity 750 06/05/2022 Purity 750 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a roadside tree underneath a clear blue sky comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene when I decide to go an extra half mile while taking my canine friend, Harley, out for a walk back on the afternoon of May 29th.  

I share today’s simple photo because with it being Monday again, we are “on the road again” and headed into the familiar territory of another work week where we hope that we have “been there and done that”, that our journey this week won’t take us anywhere we don’t want to go.  

As much as we can claim to be bored by the status quo of our lives at times, when we encounter sudden changes that we didn’t expect or welcome, we may find ourselves longing for just a “regular week” of the same old, same old.  But the “status quo” is somewhat of an illusion of course because no matter how steady our pace through life can be, change is happening all around us. 

As hectic as our lives can be, if we look to our friends, families, and neighbors, we realize that they are on their own journeys with their own twist and turns of the “days of their lives” and it can make you wonder how we all can endure the constant shifts of circumstances in our lives.  

From my vantage point, in the last few weeks, I have seen friends and family, experience accidents, proms, graduations, marriages, illnesses, surgeries, births, and death! So what may be status quo for you at the moment is always in the context of sweeping changes as we move forward through life.  With so much going on, it is hard to keep track of it all, but amazingly, if you are going through this journey of life with the Lord, somehow you can have peace.  

After coming to put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, my relationship with God has taught me that He is always present and aware of all the things that are happening in the world and that He is always available to us to offer His strength, guidance, and love as we walk through this world.   

Quite frankly, the trials and tragedies that I have walked through personally, and the ones that I have seen others go through, have taught me that almost anything can happen in our lives and that as long as we are alive we will be subject to changes, and not all of them will be good.  

The trap that the enemy and the world systems set for us is to seek to find a sense of security and happiness through our own efforts.  In learning to deal with the possible calamities in this world, man can fool themselves into believing that if they “do everything right” or “are smart”, they will be able to protect themselves from anything bad happening in their lives.  

The truth is that being prepared, working to create safe environments, and taking steps to establish good health can protect us to some extent and this fact drives us to try to be self-sufficient all the more.  We can see what happens to others who live foolishly or who weren’t “smart like us”, and we can vow that those things will never happen to us!

But the truth is, that we can’t control everything and that we are only secure if we have a relationship with God that will keep us safe for eternity.  

Living in the lap of luxury within the safety of a bunker of our own design with all our physical needs being met could give us a measure of peace and security but no matter how pampered and secure we can make ourselves in this world, there is no peace if it doesn’t include peace with God.   

Christ, the Prince of Peace, through His death and resurrection, made a way for us to have peace with God.  We simply have to put our faith in Him.  It’s a simple step of faith that reconciles us to the Lord and gives us eternal security, acceptance, and significance. 

And when you have that, you can live in peace in this constantly changing world, because you know the One who controls it all and the One who loved you enough to show you that your efforts didn’t hold the key to your security, God did.  

So as much as I hope that this week is free of trouble and drama, I know that no matter what comes my way, I, with the Lord’s help, will be able to handle it.  There’s nothing that the Lord and I can’t face. 

By keeping in constant contact with the Lord through reaching out to Him in prayer, reading His word, and through just talking to Him, I know He is with me and will give me all I need to deal with the situations, yet unknown, that I will face.    

So, saddle up, we got another work week and some of us have some daunting things to face today and in the week ahead, but let me assure you that when you keep walking and talking with God, you can walk through whatever will come your way with peace.

Our task, no matter what they may include, is a simple one: keep going forward, keep going forward with the Lord.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 73:24 (NLT2)
24  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.

Today’s Bible verse assures us that God will guide us with His counsel and will lead us into our glorious destiny.  

Okay, I recently heard a message that was sincere but that may have been a little over the top depending on how you receive it and what you think you could accomplish because of it.  The speaker was preaching on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how His presence gives us power and wisdom to be more than “mere men”.   

The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives can indeed cause us to do what we would have thought of as impossible before coming to Christ but His presence in us does not make us “supermen” and we shouldn’t just expect that the Holy Spirit will give us divine wisdom and insights to guide us or miraculous powers to effect changes in our lives.   

The speaker’s enthusiasm that “we can do the same things that Jesus could do” wasn’t qualified, because after all, “all things are possible with God”, and they are, but in order to have a balanced walk of faith that won’t lead us into error, we should understand that the Lord has provided His word to guide us in wisdom and that He can give us strength when we ask for it in prayer to do things we wouldn’t normally do.  

I fear that sometimes the emphasis on “having faith” in some messages is viewed as a magical power and that if we are close to God in our relationship with Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts and we will just receive divine wisdom and be able to perform miraculous things.  

The problem is that scripture, history, and reality doesn’t really bear that out.  Believe me, I have laid hands on people with “great faith” and prayed for healing only to see them go on to get worse and die!  So, trust me when I say that there are somethings that Jesus could do that, we may not be able to accomplish.   

Through my maturation as a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a student of the word of God, I have discovered that those who make bold claims of having “little god” like abilities of creative power through their speaking the word or by being “more than human” in some way, could be said to have taken verses out of context or have read meaning into Bible passages rather than having accurately drawn the meaning out of the scriptures. 

Every saint, that has gone before us in church history, has shown there ‘mere humanity” because they failed to perform miracles like Jesus did and have died.   

So if God hasn’t “spoken to you” in an audible voice or given you the power to perform the miracles that Jesus was able to do, you shouldn’t necessarily lose your faith. 

These over the top messages that sort of indicate you should, I believe are well intentioned but could be a little reckless, and could do more harm than good if an immature believer should lose faith when they don’t “claim what they name”.  

Today’s verse for instance could be “misused” to indicate that the Lord will guide you through life like the disembodied voice of Obie Won Kenobi, ( “Run, Luke Run!”) on the way to a life filled with abundance and prosperity. 

But although the Holy Spirit may give us intuitions to act on faith at different times in our faith walk,  the word of God is the primary source that you want to consult for His counsel.  The Word is filled with advice on godly living that we should apply to our lives. His word will guide us. So read it, know it, and apply it to your life situations.   

As for the glorious destiny? Eternity spent in the Lord’s presence will be pretty glorious and given the fact that Christ said that we could expect to be persecuted for our faith, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a suffering free existence here on earth.  

So seek the Lord’s counsel in His word, and through prayer, and rejoice that your destiny is guaranteed to be glorious when you go to be with God or when Christ returns to rule and reign on the earth.

We can do a lot of what Christ did while He was on the earth: like live a holy life, love those who hate us, and serve others. 

As for miracles, we can ask, but the Lord’s will will be done on earth. and we are called to follow Christ regardless of whether we can call on signs and wonders to happen in our midst.

The sign and wonder that will amaze everyone is our faithfulness. So go out there and amaze the masses by faithfully living as a disciple of Jesus Christ with a life that will demonstrate that the fruit of the Spirit are growing in your life.


As always, I invite all to go to 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.

What Is Our Situation in the World Today?

The challenges of world evangelization are still very great. We are in a better position to know the scope and nature of the task than ever before. Patrick Johnstone writes, “For the first time in history we have a reasonably complete listing of the world’s peoples and the extent to which they have been evangelized.” There are various groups that do research to help the church know what people groups around the world have been embraced by a Christian church or mission agency.24 Johnstone’s book gives a good summary of the situation at the turn of our century.

One way to describe the situation is to say that about 1.2–1.4 billion people have never had a chance to hear the Gospel; that is, they live in cultures where the preaching of the Gospel in understandable ways is not accessible. Other analysts estimate the number of unevangelized somewhat higher. For example, the “Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission 2002” by David Barrett and Todd Johnson reports that there are 1,645,685,000 unevangelized people in the world. That means 26.5 percent of the world’s population live in people groups that do not have indigenous evangelizing churches.27 About 95 percent of these live in what has been called the 10/40 window (between latitudes 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator and between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans). This is the great challenge of our day.

Johnstone puts it in hopeful historical perspective:

Stepping back we see a remarkable pattern emerging of the 200 years growth [of the church] as it gathered momentum—1700s the North Atlantic, 1800s the Pacific, 1960s Africa, 1970s Latin America, 1980s East Asia, 1990s Eurasia. This one and a half times encirclement of the globe now leaves us with the challenge of the 10/40 Window area. Central and South Asia and the Middle East are the remaining major areas of challenge. Where will the breakthroughs of the … first decade of the … [new] millennium come? Will it be among Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists? These are the final unpenetrated bastions of the enemy’s hold on the souls of men. The rising tide of the gospel is lapping ever higher round this area, and we are even having foretastes of what that breakthrough might mean. Would that I had the space and the freedom to tell of amazing things going on in these seemingly impenetrable ideological fortresses.

God Issues a Call to This Generation: Listen!

There is a call on this generation to obey the risen Christ and make disciples of all the unreached peoples of the world. I am praying that God will raise up hundreds of thousands of young people and “finishers” (people finishing one career and ready to pursue a second in Christian ministry). I pray that this divine call will rise in your heart with joy and not guilt. I pray that it will be confirmed with the necessary gifts, and a compelling desire, and the confirmation of your church, and the tokens of providence. Fan into flame every flicker of desire by reading biographies, and meditating on Scripture, and studying the unreached peoples, and praying for passion, and conversing with mission veterans. Don’t run from the call. Pursue it.

Let your mind dwell on the lostness of perishing individuals, but also on whole people groups that do not have any access to the Gospel. This was Paul’s great ambition: “to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Romans 15:20). There will always be unconverted people to win where the church is already established. That is not the unique task of frontier missions. Frontier missions does what Paul aimed to do: Plant the church where there is now no possibility of ministry. This is the great need of the hour, not only for missionaries who go to serve the established church in other countries (which is a great need, especially in leadership development), but also for missionaries who go to peoples and places where there is no church to serve.

The Day of Missions Is Not Over

Don’t think the days of foreign missionaries are over, as if nationals can finish the work. There are hundreds of peoples and millions of people where there are no Christian nationals to do same-culture evangelism. A culture must be crossed. To be sure, it may be crossed by a non-Westerner, since God is growing his church faster in the non-Western world. That would be wonderful. I have no desire to limit the joy of love. Besides, it may be that highly trained but tentative Western specialists will not be as fruitful as simpler, bold missionaries. Regarding missions to Muslims Patrick Johnstone says, “Often the best missionaries are the ones who have studied little more than the basics of Islamics but have a passion for sharing Christ. In their boldness for Jesus, they plunge into witnessing to Muslims, where an Islamist would fear to go.”30 But make no mistake. A culture will have to be crossed, and that’s what missions is. Missions, not same-culture evangelism by nationals, will finish the Great Commission.

So “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38), and ask him if you should be one. Expect this prayer to change you. When Jesus told his disciples to pray it, the next thing that happened was that he appointed twelve to be his apostles and sent them out. Pray for harvesters, and you may become one. God often wakens desire, and gives gifts, and opens doors when we are praying and pondering real possibilities and real needs. Get a copy of the amazing world prayer guide called Operation World, and pray and read and ponder your way through the nations day by day. Think about the people in places like

Libya with its six million people and perhaps ten indigenous believers.

Bhutan, a hermit Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, cut off from Christian witness for millennia with only a handful of indigenous believers among its two and a half million people.

The Maldives, off the southwest coast of India, and one of the most closed countries on earth.

North Korea, “a pariah nation gradually starving to death under its crazed Communist leadership,” with no open witness or church life for fifty years.

Saudi Arabia, the headquarters of Islam where Saudi believers, if found, are executed.

India, perhaps the greatest challenge of all, with its vast Ganges plains that contain “the greatest concentration of unevangelized people in the world. For instance, the number of people in Uttar Pradesh in North India is about 180,000,000 and the Christian percentage is 0.1% and falling.”

Turkey, the secular, mainly Muslim state with an ongoing Christian witness in only fifteen of its 100 provinces.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at 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 ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 173–176.