When the world has you feeling BLAH – The Power of Simple Faith
Purity 509 08/28/2021 Purity 509 Podcast
Today’s photo of a sunrise in Jacksonville Florida comes from a friend who enjoys rising early and watching their son ride the waves. If you zoom in you I’m pretty sure you can see our friend’s son right under the rising sun. Our friend shared this photo last week testifying to the fact that “when the world has you feeling BLAH! A good sunrise let’s you know today can be a better day.” In light of the chaos in certain parts of the world, they also prayed “God bless our troops.”
Surprisingly, three days later our friend announced that they have made the decision to pick up their stakes and pursue a career opportunity in Charleston, South Carolina. So while we will lament the fact that we may not get anymore sunrises shots from Jacksonville, we congratulate our friend on their new journey and look forward to what they may share in the future from Charleston.
As we enjoy Saturday today and the weekend, I am glad for the contact that technology allows us to have with old friends and the way it allows us to make new friends who we would have never met otherwise.
I’m not sure of the depths of my friend in Jacksonville’s faith but his comments and greetings to his friends reveal some biblical wisdom. Their thoughts on how a sunrise can let you know that today can be a better day reminds me of one of my favorite passages in scripture.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
The Lord’s mercies are new every morning and therefore we can have hope. Because God is faithful, we can trust Him and call out to Him in times of need.
Our friend’s simply prayer, God bless our troops, also shows that they recognize ,however simply, that God is above the things of this world and that He can offer protection and favor. I thought of a few verses that could apply to our troops for protection, bravery, or the sacrifices that they make but couldn’t settle on one, so I am sharing a couple of links that I found on Guideposts, which is a Christian periodical that is big on simple devotions, that provide various verse for soldiers. (https://www.guideposts.org/how-we-help/military-outreach/10-bible-verses-to-encourage-a-military-loved-one) (https://www.guideposts.org/how-we-help/military-outreach-stories/8-bible-verses-for-soldiers).
Little did my friend know that his simply thoughts of well-wishing from last week would inspire today’s post. We all don’t have to be Bible school graduates or to be in active ministry to encourage another or to point to the fact that there is a God above our lives who oversees the course of this world and who can be interacted with.
I shared yesterday in the concluding comments on my podcast that someone who saw my blog on reddit reached out to thank me for my posts. They confessed that they were struggling with suicidal ideation and that my posts were leading them to relying on the Lord to see them through.
Our words of hope can impact other people and with today’s technology our words of encouragement can span the globe.
So if “the world has you feeling BLAH”, look to the heavens, count the blessings you have, and know that there is a God cares about you and that “today can be a better day”.
Our lives are a journey. No matter what the new day brings or where we will go, we have the Lord, and each other, to help us to experience lives filled with peace, joy, and love,
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Mark 12:31 (NKJV)
31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Today’s verse highlight’s what Christ calls the second commandment and His authority to change the game.
Some people pay lip service to Jesus Christ by saying He was a wise teacher but then either reveal their ignorance or blasphemy by ignoring His words or the implications of His words.
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus is rewriting the law by proclaiming that there are essentially two commandments: to love God and to love people. In a couple of sentences He simultaneously simplifies and complicates the expectations of those who wish to be right with God.
One may think that Jesus’s commandments make things “simple” because there are only to commandments now, right?
But the thing is that if we truly love God, and our neighbors as ourselves, our actions and attitudes would not only conform to the principles highlighted in the precepts of the Old Testament law, we would surpass those requirements that were put forth in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
If loving God wasn’t complicated enough with the expectation to be holy as He is holy, Jesus tells us that we are to love the difficult people in the world just as we would love ourselves.
God may be in heaven, but He is good so while we may struggle with how we are to love Him we aren’t too thrown off with the idea of loving God because He is certainly worthy of our love.
People on the other hand are right here in our face and while we may have more practical ideas of how we could express our love to them, we may have some serious doubts about why we should because they may not be so good, and we may decide that they are not worthy of our love.
Christ’s second commandment presents the harsh reality that we are not to just opt out of society and go worship God in a cave somewhere. We are supposed to be in the world and share the love of God with the difficult people around us!
How can we do this impossible feat of loving our neighbors as ourselves?
We can only do the second commandment successfully if we practice the first one. Through our seeking, following, and loving the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, we will be given the patience, joy, peace, love, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control that we will need to utilize to love our neighbors as ourselves.
So we are to practice what we preach. We are to love God and love people. And there is a reason Christ put those two commandments in that order. It is only through our relationship with God and the power of a life lived by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to experience the love of God.
It is that love, the love of God, that we will use to love our neighbors as ourselves. The earthly forms of romantic, friendly, or familial love just won’t transfer to our neighbors. It’s the love of God, that we are to share with them and in order to share it we first must receive it.
So keep walking and talking with God. Seek His wisdom and love and when you receive it, obey Christ’s second commandment by sharing it with all the neighbors you encounter on your journey of life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 13.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Designs for Discipleship
Paul refers to three levels of maturity in Col. 2:6-10:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.
According to Paul, believers are to be firmly rooted in Christ and then built up to walk, or to live, in Him. This defines three levels of maturity. Each level of maturity has specific conflicts that need to be resolved as illustrated in Figure 13-A. Figure 13-B illustrates the growth at the same three levels. Notice also the five dimensions of application for each level: spiritual, rational, emotional, volitional, and relational. Please understand that there are no clear boundaries separating the three levels of maturity or the five dimensions of application as the figures would seem to imply. We are not diced up into little squares.
Level I relates to being firmly rooted in Christ. These foundational issues are based on the fact that "in Him you have been made complete" (Col. 2:10).
Level II relates to being built up in Christ, which is how Paul describes our maturity in Christ (see Col. 2:7).
Level III relates to daily walking in Christ, which is based on our identity and maturity in Christ. Paul instructed, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6).
Each level of maturity is dependent on the previous level. Christians cannot have an effective walk (Level III) if they are not growing in Christ (Level II), and they cannot mature if they are not firmly rooted in Christ (Level I).
Level I: Rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
The Level I spiritual conflict is the lack of salvation or the lack of assurance of salvation. God wants us to know that we "have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). To disciple people, we have to first lead them to Christ so the Holy Spirit can bear witness with their spirits that they "are children of God" (Romans 8:16).
The Level I rational conflict is intellectual pride. Prideful people are self-sufficient. They don't want anybody to tell them what to do or how to do it. Prideful people don't need God or anyone else. We have to come to the end of our resources to discover God's resources. We are ready to receive from God and others when our prideful spirits are broken.
The emotional conflicts at Level I are fear, guilt, and shame. Fear compels people to do what they should not do and inhibits them from doing what they should do. People who are motivated by fear are not experiencing their freedom in Christ. Fear of anyone or anything other than God is mutually exclusive to faith in God. Satan wants to be feared because he wants to be worshiped, but the fear of the Lord expels all other fears (see Psalm 34:4, 7). Guilt and shame also need to be overcome by the grace of God because, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
The Level I volitional conflict is rebellion. It is very difficult to disciple rebels because they won't submit to authority. Growth at this level involves understanding biblical submission to God and others.
The Level I relational conflict to overcome is rejection. The discipleship process is based on God's unconditional love and acceptance (see Titus 3:5). Building up one another does not start with authoritarian rule that demands accountability; it begins with acceptance and affirmation. When people know they are accepted and affirmed, they will voluntarily be accountable to authority. When authority figures demand accountability without acceptance and affirmation, however, they will never get it.
The first goal of discipleship is to help those you disciple become firmly rooted in Christ. This entails the following:
- Leading individuals to Christ and to the assurance of salvation
- Guiding them to a true knowledge of God and who they are in Christ, and starting them down the path of knowing God's ways
- Changing their basic motivation from irrational fears to the fear of God and helping them overcome guilt and shame
- Helping them see the ways they are still playing God or rebelling against God's authority
- Breaking down their defenses against rejection by accepting and affirming them
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship