Purity 439 06/08/2021 Purity 439 Podcast
Today’s photo of blue skies, green vines, and desert landscapes in the background come to us from a friend who was visiting Alcantara Vineyards in Camp Verde Arizona. I share it because of the beautiful contrast of colors and as a commentary on the weather in Upstate NY. We had temperatures in the 90’s and this desert scene and these vacant chairs reminded me of my encounters while on the road yesterday because everyone I ran into commented on the heat and were abandoning the outdoors for air-conditioned sanctuary.
With days like yesterday, I notice the work that the Lord has done with me in terms of patience and endurance. The heat reminded me of digging the foundations for a church in the mountains of Guatemala in 2019 so I had that memory of service to the Lord to know I could handle burying service wires in the suburbs of Slingerlands and Watervliet. So physically, I knew I could do it.
But the larger challenge of dealing with adverse weather conditions, whether hot or cold, is the mental and emotional effects the extreme circumstances can have on you. If we don’t focus on the task at hand and instead focus on the weather and the fact that we aren’t pleased with it we can become angry or depressed, turning our efforts into fits of frustration and futility.
However, we can’t become so focused on our tasks that we ignore the environmental conditions and put ourselves in danger by making ourselves vulnerable to heat stroke in the summer and frostbite in the winter.
Balance is needed to keep ourselves safe and productive.
I have found that my relationship with the Lord brings that balance into my life no matter what circumstances I face. In yesterday’s heat, I kept my emotions in check by thanking the Lord for my job and for Him being with me. Outside observers would see just some guy digging a ditch and having sweat pour out of him in the blazing sunshine but I wasn’t alone. I was focusing on doing the job at hand as quickly as possible but also was checking in with the Lord whenever I felt the stirrings of frustration rise.
He’s the one who reminded me of Guatemala because He was the One who sent me there. The thoughts of that trip didn’t just remind me of digging in hot conditions. I had done that here in the states for the past few summers. No, the thoughts of Guatemala were a reminder of my relationship with Him and the fact that I can go to the ends of the earth and God will always be with me.
So as you go about your day today and want to keep your cool, remember that God is with you and that He is always available to give you balance and peace. While we must keep cool physically by hydrating and taking breaks, the Lord can keep you cool emotionally and spiritually in the brightest sunshine or in the darkest night of the soul when you reach out and talk with Him.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Today’s verse stresses the importance of knowing the word of God and sharing your knowledge with your children.
As parents, we are to pass on our heritage to our children. Our heritage is what we decide is important from what we have learned from those who have gone before us. Heritage is most vividly seen in our passing down traditions and knowledge from our national origins and our religious beliefs. We all grow up in an environment where we are taught what our family history and values are.
Our national origins can be stressed or not by each successive generation. So you can have a deep sense of your identity shaped by your family’s sense of national pride or religious beliefs.
If your half Irish and Italian, your sense of national identity will be influenced on which half was more stressed in your upbringing. You may favor one half over the other. You may partake of the traditions and eat of the foods of each culture with varying degrees but no matter what you do you will always be half Irish and half Italian.
If you are an American, you can have a deep sense of patriotism or not depending on your family’s views and your personal views but if you were born in the United States, you will always be an American or have American roots if you should choose to defect.
Some people feel the same why about our Christian faith. We were born into a Christian family and some figure that no matter how much we believe or practice the Christian faith; we will always be Christian.
Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily so. In Matthew 7:20-23, Christ tells us that it is by our fruits that you will know who a Christian is and that there will be some who claim to be Christian only to be condemned for being those who practice lawlessness.
The remedy for lawlessness is to have the law, know it, and obey it.
While we can’t pass on our salvation to our children, we can teach them in the way they should go and hope they will see the truth and follow the Lord.
This verse isn’t just about the kids though. This verse tells us that we should be talking about the things of God and thinking about them continuously, day and night. God is encouraging us to live in the context of His truth. He was telling the nation of Israel to live a discipled life. And unfortunately, their history shows us the double-edged danger of living outside of the wisdom of God’s word and God’s heart.
Their failure to follow the word of God led to Israel and Judah falling into idolatry and sin until their kingdoms were destroyed and they were taken into captivity.
The New Testament shows us how the Jews were zealous for the word with an outward expression, but their self-righteousness blinded them, so they refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
The nation of Israel's mistakes teach us that we must know the word and obey it, but we must also know that we can only do that through our faith in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We can’t do everything right and we can’t save ourselves in our own strength but when we give ourselves to God through our faith in Jesus Christ, our burden becomes light. What we could never do through self-discipline alone, we can do through the love, as we live to enjoy and express the love that God has shown us to Him and to those around us.
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 in Chapter 2, concluding the section on The Whole Gospel.
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:
The Whole Gospel
Many Christians are living under half a gospel. They have heard that Jesus is the Messiah who came to die for their sins, and if they pray to receive Christ, they will go to heaven when they die and their sins will be forgiven. Two things are wrong with that statement. First, it is only half the gospel. If you came across a dead man and you had the power to save him, what would you do? Give him life? If that is all you did, then he would only die again. To save the dead person, you would have to do two things. First, you would have to cure the disease that caused him to die.
The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). So Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins. Is curing the disease that caused us to die the whole gospel? No! Finish the verse: "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Thank God for Good Friday, but what Christians celebrate every spring is the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. For some unknown reason, we have left the Resurrection out of the gospel presentation. Consequently, we end up with forgiven sinners instead of redeemed saints.
A second problem with the previous gospel presentation is this: it gives people the impression that eternal life is something they get when they die. That is not true. "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1 John 5:11, 12). If we don't have spiritual (eternal) life before we die physically, we can anticipate only hell.
What a Difference Christ's Difference Makes in Us!
The difference between the first and last Adam spells the difference between life and death for us. Perhaps that life-giving difference is best presented in 1 Cor. 15:22: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." Being spiritually alive is most often portrayed in the New Testament with the prepositional phrases "in Christ" and "in Him."
Everything we are going to talk about in the succeeding chapters is based on the fact that believers are alive in Christ. Being spiritually alive in Christ is the overwhelming theme of the New Testament. For example, in the six chapters of the book of Ephesians alone we find 40 references to being "in Christ" and having Christ in you. For every biblical passage that teaches that Christ is in you, 10 teach that you are "in Christ." It is also the primary basis for Paul's theology. "For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Cor. 4:17, emphasis added).
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