Man’s Best Friend - Purity 950
Purity 950 01/25/2023 Purity 950 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a person and their canine companion sitting on a rock as the sun moves towards setting over Lake Ontario comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069048257152 ) who shared this scene back on April 10th of 2021.
I decided to go back into my phone’s photo archives this morning and I was pleasantly surprised to discover this photo and was shocked that it I didn’t use it previously. I suppose the lighting in this shot isn’t particularly bright and I must have other shots that I deemed more worthy at the time but I am glad I kept it and although it isn’t really a good visual representation of “hump day”, I feel that it’s simple beauty needs to be shared and I can draw quite a bit of meaning from it to give the Lord glory on a not so typical Wednesday.
It's not typical because for me I have the day off from work. I work Saturday this weekend so today is my Saturday and while I initially didn’t know what I would do with a Wednesday off in January, events have come together in such a way that my day will be full all the same.
A couple of weeks ago my pastor expressed interest in “hearing my story”. So we will be meeting later this afternoon to talk and to get to know one another better. I’m looking forward to sharing my testimony and look forward to hear what Pastor Roscoe has to say about his journey through the years of his ministry that transitioned from a mobile church that met in schools and community centers to become a sizable church that requires three services on Sunday.
But before that I will be joining my mother and brothers to go to a memorial service for her cousin who died unexpectedly last week. While we didn’t have a particularly close relationship, I always respected my first cousin once removed because of his strong presence as a former lineman for the power company, a dependable family man, and for his volunteer works for the community. I was also quite friendly with his two eldest twin sons over the years as we occasionally saw one another out at the bars and wished each other well. My mother and her cousins were very close growing up and even though we didn’t spend much time with them and I don’t “grieve” very well, I have decided to go today to show my respects to those who will dearly miss their departed loved one and to offer an encouraging word. The one I would choose is:
Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When you don’t know what someone’s relationship with the Lord is like this verse can give us great hope. While I don’t know the hearts of men, I know that the Lord grants forgiveness and eternal life for all those who put their faith in Jesus. My extended family has a liturgical Christian background and so I will assume the best and believe that God’s grace is amazing and that my first cousin, once removed, had faith in Jesus and will never be removed from the Lord’s love.
So you may see why I chose today’s photo of a somewhat melancholy sunset that depicts someone sitting on a rock with “man’s best friend”.
I looked back in my photo archives because I know that the meeting with my pastor will undoubtedly have me looking back and remembering how the Lord brought me through some very troubling times. And just like today’s photo was a little dim, it still shows that the sun is shining and life is beautiful.
The Lord’s presence is shown in His creation and in the love that we have for one another. But as much as we will be comforted by the presence of our loved ones from time to time, like the person with their dog in the photo, our “best friend” is Jesus as He is faithful and true in all times and in all seasons and for all eternity.
His love for us is shown on the cross, as He died so we could live. Our faith in Him gives us peace with God and a place in His kingdom forever.
But Jesus isn’t just there to bring us into glory at end of the lives. Our faith in Him gives us the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God with us and in us, to go with us through all the trials and tribulations of our lives.
So whether we are sitting down to tell a friend of the goodness of God with much rejoicing or if we are simply sitting silently to show our support to those who weep, the Lord will be with us to work in and through us to encourage and comfort those He wants usto speak to.
So while we look forward to brighter days, seasonally and circumstantially, let’s remember that we can always draw strength from our “best friend”, Jesus, by remembering what He has done, who He has made us to be, and by abiding in His presence.
So keep walking and talking with God. He will never leave us or forsake us and He can use us to give others hope and help in times of trouble like the faithful friend that we have in Jesus.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the importance of having a relationship with God’s word. And promises success to those who talk about it , meditate upon it, and follow it.
The success of walking in the Spirit does not come from simply knowing what the Bible says but comes from a relationship with it where we constantly revisit it, talk about it, think about it, and increasingly apply its wisdom to the way we live our lives.
So I encourage you to make Bible Study a regular part of your daily spiritual practice. The word of God will transform the way you see the world and will give you the wisdom so that you can be successful in God’s eyes, the only eyes that matter.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN SALVATION, continues.
3. The Sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit in Salvation continues
To return to 2 Thess. 2:13: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” The order of thought here is most important and instructive. First, God’s eternal choice; second, the sanctification of the Spirit; third, belief of the truth. Precisely the same order is found in 1 Peter 1:2—“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” We take it that the “obedience” here is the “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5), which appropriates the virtues of the sprinkled blood of the Lord Jesus. So then before the “obedience” (of faith, cf. Heb. 5:9), there is the work of the Spirit setting us apart, and behind that is the election of God the Father. The ones “sanctified of the Spirit” then, are they whom “God hath from the beginning chosen to salvation” (2 Thess. 2:13), those who are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Pet. 1:2).
But, it may be said, is not the present mission of the Holy Spirit to “convict the world of sin”? And we answer, It is not. The mission of the Spirit is threefold; to glorify Christ, to vivify the elect, to edify the saints. John 16:8–11 does not describe the “mission” of the Spirit, but sets forth the significance of His presence here in the world. It treats not of His subjective work in sinners, showing them their need of Christ, by searching their consciences and striking terror to their hearts; what we have there is entirely objective. To illustrate. Suppose I saw a man hanging on the gallows, of what would that “convince” me? Why, that he was a murderer. How would I thus be convinced? By reading the record of his trial? by hearing a confession from his own lips? No; but by the fact that he was hanging there. So the fact that the Holy Spirit is here furnishes proof of the world’s guilt, of God’s righteousness, and of the Devil’s judgment.
The Holy Spirit ought not to be here at all. That is a startling statement, but we make it deliberately. Christ is the One who ought to be here. He was sent here by the Father, but the world did not want Him, would not have Him, hated Him, and cast Him out. And the presence of the Spirit here instead evidences its guilt. The coming of the Spirit was a proof to demonstration of the resurrection, ascension, and glory of the Lord Jesus. His presence on earth reverses the world’s verdict, showing that God has set aside the blasphemous judgment in the palace of Israel’s high priest and in the hall of the Roman governor. The “reproof” of the Spirit abides, and abides altogether irrespective of the world’s reception or rejection of His testimony.
Had our Lord been referring here to the gracious work which the Spirit would perform in those who should be brought to feel their need of Him, He had said that the Spirit would convict men of their un-righteousness, their lack of righteousness. But this is not the thought here at all. The descent of the Spirit from heaven establishes God’s righteousness, Christ’s righteousness. The proof of that is, Christ has gone to the Father. Had Christ been an Imposter, as the religious world insisted when they cast Him out, the Father had not received Him. The fact that the Father did exalt Him to His own right hand, demonstrates that He was innocent of the charges laid against Him; and the proof that the Father has received Him, is the presence now of the Holy Spirit on earth, for Christ has sent Him from the Father (John 16:7)! The world was unrighteous in casting Him out, the Father righteous in glorifying Him; and this is what the Spirit’s presence here establishes.
“Of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged” (v. 11). This is the logical and inevitable climax. The world is brought in guilty for their rejection of, for their refusal to receive, Christ. Its condemnation is exhibited by the Father’s exaltation of the spurned One. Therefore nothing awaits the world, and its Prince, but judgment. The “judgment” of Satan is already established by The Spirit’s presence here, for Christ, through death, set at nought him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil (Heb. 2:14). When God’s time comes for the Spirit to depart from the earth then His sentence will be executed, both on the world and its Prince. In the light of this unspeakably solemn passage we need not be surprised to find Christ saying, “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.” No, the world wants Him not; He condemns the world.
“And when He is come, He will reprove (or, better, “convict”—bring in guilty) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8–11). Three things, then, the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth demonstrates to the world: first, its sin, because the world refused to believe on Christ; second, God’s righteousness in exalting to His own right hand the One cast out, and now no more seen by the world; third, judgment, because Satan the world’s prince is already judged, though execution of his judgment is yet future. Thus the Holy Spirit’s presence here displays things as they really are. We repeat, John 16:8–11 makes no reference to the mission of the Spirit of God in the world, for during this dispensation, the Spirit has no mission and ministry worldward.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 81–84.