“Saying Grace” with our Lives- Purity 901
Purity 901 11/29/2022 Purity 901 Podcast
Purity 901 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of an outlet of the Hudson River in the shadows of the fading light of day comes to us from yours truly as my wife and I decided to enjoy the last bit of daylight this past Saturday in each other’s company on a walk at Hudson Crossing Park, in Schuylerville NY. I had spent most of the day indoors working on power point presentations for the Bonhoeffer series I am producing while TammyLyn went to lunch with her mother and daughters but upon her return, with the day disappearing, I just had a sudden impulse to “do something!” and off we went and I’m glad we did. Not only did Isnag this spooky beautiful photo but I got to spend some simple “quality time” with my wife, where we didn’t necessarily say or do much but enjoyed the simple fact that we were together and that we loved one another.
Well, It’s Tuesday, and I guess recalling this past weekend’s little excursion is my attempt to encourage you to be cognizant of the time you have and to utilize it, where you can, to enjoy your life and let the people you love know you appreciate them. At that late afternoon hour, we could have just surrendered to the regular routine of getting ready for dinner and watched the daylight wane from the inside of our country side home but instead we enjoyed the last brightness of the day on the drive to Hudson Crossing and at a time some may have determined to be “too late” to go on a walk, we were on our way out, having seen every bit of daylight in a place where we could enjoy God’s creation in each other’s company rather than indoors.
I think about this “stuff” often, the fact that although God gives us His word to guide us, He also gives us a lot of “free time” to decide what to do with our lives. We can work. We can study. We can sleep. We can stay indoors. We can go out. But the thing is, even though I do enjoy my times walking and talking with God outside, I have pondered the fact that much of our human existence would seem to be “a wash” in terms of the impact that our decisions make on our lives. In the grand scheme, one single day in our lives may not mean that much, and in hindsight, we can analyze similar days and see no difference between a day spent indoors or a day spent outside.
There is little in and of itself of certain experiences that make them “better than others” and God’s word is rather silent on what we should do with the particulars of each and every day of our lives. We can do anything and one thing isn’t necessarily better than another!
However, the reason I write this blog and do this podcast is that I have discovered, and continue to learn, that a life spent, regardless of our particular activities, in the “presence” of the Lord and in the context of who we are in Christ is a life that is spent in peace, love, and joy.
Anybody looking on the outside at TammyLyn and I during our walk in the park, would have counted two in our party, but they would have been missing Someone. Yes, we were alone but the love and gratitude that we expressed towards each other at various times in our little stroll was replete with mentions of the God that we credit with bringing us together and with thanks given in His direction.
As easy as this is to do when you are surrounded by the glory of God’s natural creation outside, it is also something you can do inside too.
I have to admit that before TammyLyn, I never was much of a “saying grace” Christian but early on in our relationship I saw that it was a regular practice for her. Or at least I guess it was because since I have entered her life, the “saying grace” thing seems to have fallen to me!
But social awkwardness aside, its easy to do. What could be more appropriate than thanking the Lord for providing the food that you are going to eat, and in my case, for the beautiful woman who lovingly prepared it?
So, that’s just one way we can keep the Lord in the midst of our presence while indoors, but the truth is that I am continually “saying grace” over my life as I literally thank God moment to moment for all the things I encounter. When I say “keep walking and talking with God”, I really mean it, like literally.
Yes, like “Wow that dude’s crazy”, walking and talking with God. While I can’t say that all of my life is without problems, a lot of which I create myself, walking through life and recognizing the beauty of just being with the people we love, just being where you are, and just being alive is something God never tires of hearing about, or at least He hasn’t complained to me about my constant awe and thanks!
So if you are not doing this already, start living with and start loving the Lord. There is much to be thankful for and unlike some of our human companions, He never tires of hearing us “point out the obvious” or in telling Him about how we feel.
The constructs of society and just the “business as usual” way we do things can make us “less free” as we are absorbed into the mundanity of the humdrum, when the truth is that our lives are a miracle and a mystery and there’s nothing humdrum about them. But you have to open your eyes to see it and open your heart to feel it, the One that you never have to be ashamed to share your “silly thoughts” with is the Lord.
So it’s another boring Tuesday again… or it is another day of living the adventure of our lives?, where we can do almost anything we want, with consequences of course, but even in the tight confines of doing what we “need to do” we can still find wonder and joy.
So look around and appreciate where you are, or go “DO SOMETHING” and appreciate that, but no matter what you decided to do with this last Tuesday of November in the year of our Lord 2022, turn aside and thank the Lord for what you encounter.
The pathway to peace isn’t a destination, its determined by the way you walk and the company you keep.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Today’s verse highlights the importance of what we think about in our Christian walk. I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking about on my Saturday afternoon walk with my wife TammyLyn, but I can tell you this: I wasn’t thinking about my problems, my work, or the “bad state of the world” and because I didn’t think on those things I recall the walk quite fondly.
But let’s not get that twisted, okay? We are not to walk through life in denial. The world is out there and the failure to recognize our surroundings and our responsibilities will eventual cause us to suffer. We are to be stewards of what God has given us and care for it.
However, at the same time we can manage that quite well without dwelling on the things that will lead us into sin or that will disturb our peace.
As much as we are “world citizens” and care for our fellow man, in truth there is not much we can do about the events that are distant from us, or even near to us, unless we choose to get involved with them.
So, there you go. If you choose to think on things that disturb you, I would like to hold you accountable by suggesting that your thoughts should not just be something that will steal your peace, but that you would seek to solve the situations that disturb you. Oh yeah, I’m no political pundit but if the way of the world bothers you so much, I’m going to call you out and tell you to “do something about it”.
I have had friends that would spend hours telling me about political situations or conspiracy theories and I would listen for a while but then would always ask: “So what should I DO?”
Unbelievably, or perhaps very believably, other than getting obsessed or angry like them, they didn’t have many helpful suggestions or a course of action that would correct the situations other to hand the problems over to someone else.
Thinking about problems will steal your peace but figuring out solutions and ENACTING THEM is another matter.
Solving problems is what we are supposed to do on earth as Christians. But the biggest problem is sin and the fact that we are hopeless without Jesus.
So that’s my suggestion every time: put your faith in Christ and apply God’s word to the way you live your life.
And listen today’s verse’s advice: think on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
The world is fading away, and our lives on it every moment. There is only so much we can do, but we should do it, if we can. But the way to peace, no matter what we accomplish, is the way of the Lord and to think on those things that He would have us think about.
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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
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.
(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)
The Suffering of the Messengers
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware [the people], for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
¶ “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!” (Matt. 10:16–25).
Lack of success and enmity cannot dissuade the messengers from the fact that they are sent by Jesus. As a mighty strength and consolation, Jesus repeats: “Behold, I send you!” It is not their own way or their own enterprise; they are sent. In this the Lord promises that he will remain with his messengers when they will be like sheep among the wolves, defenseless, powerless, fearful, and in great danger. Nothing will happen to them that Jesus does not know. “Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” How often the servants of Jesus have misused this statement! How difficult it is even for the willing messenger to understand this rightly and remain obedient! Who can always distinguish between spiritual wisdom and worldly cleverness? How tempting it is, therefore, to renounce all “wisdom” and only be as simple as doves, which, one-sided, is disobedience. Who tells us when we avoid suffering out of fear and when we seek it out of recklessness? Who shows us the hidden boundaries drawn here? It is the same disobedience, whether we use the commandment to be wise against innocence, or the other way around, whether we use innocence against wisdom. Because no human heart can fully know itself, and because Jesus never called his disciples to uncertainty, but always to greatest certainty, this warning by Jesus can only call the disciples back to the word. Wherever the word is, that is where the disciples are to be. That is their true wisdom and their true innocence. If the word must retreat, because it is obviously being rejected, then the disciples should retreat with the word. If the word remains in an open struggle, then the disciples should remain. They will have to act wisely and simply at the same time. But the disciples should never set out on a road out of “wisdom,” when that road cannot be approved by the word of Jesus. They should never justify with “spiritual wisdom” a way which does not correspond to the word of Jesus. Only the truth of the word will teach them to recognize what is wise. But it can never be “wise” to break off the smallest piece of the truth, for the sake of some human prospect or hope. Our own evaluation of our situation cannot make us see what is wise; only the truth of the word of God can do that. The only thing that is always wise is staying with the truth of God. Here alone is the place where of God’s faithfulness and aid are promised. At all times it will prove to be the “wisest” for the disciples at this time and in the coming time to simply stand by the word of God.
The word will give the messengers true knowledge of the people. “Beware the people.” The disciples should not show fear of the people, nor evil mistrust, least of all hatred toward human beings, nor should they show thoughtless trustfulness or faith in the good in all people. Instead, they should show true knowledge of the relationship of the word to the people and the people to the word. If they understand this soberly, then they will not be scared by Jesus’ announcement that their path among the people will be a path of suffering. Rather, they will be able to endure it. A wonderful strength resides in the disciples’ suffering. Criminals suffer their punishment in hiddenness. But the disciples’ path of suffering will lead them before princes and kings, “for my sake, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” The good news will be propagated by suffering. That is the plan of God and the will of Jesus; and that is why in the hour of accountability before courts and thrones the disciples will be given the power to give a good confession, to offer a fearless witness. The Holy Spirit itself will be with them. It will make them invincible. It will give them “a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict” (Luke 21:15). Because the disciples hold fast to the word in their suffering, the word will remain with them. Self-sought martyrdom would not have this promise. But the promise is absolutely certain for those who suffer with the word.
Hate toward the word of Jesus’ messengers will remain until the end of time. Hate will pronounce the disciples guilty of all the divisions which will come over cities and houses. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned by everyone as destroyers of the family, as forces leading the people astray, as crazy enthusiasts and troublemakers. Then the temptation to fall away will be very near to the disciples. But the end is also near. Until its coming they are to remain faithful, to endure, to stand fast. Only those who stand fast with Jesus and his word to the end will be blessed. But when the end comes, when the enmity toward Jesus and his disciples is revealed for all the world to see, then and only then should the disciples flee from one city to another, in order to proclaim the word where it will still be heard. Even in this flight, they are not separated from the word, but stand fast with it.
The promise of Jesus that he will come again soon has been kept for us by the church-community in the belief that it is true. Its fulfillment is a mystery, and it is not a good thing to look for human ways to evade the issue. But what is clear, and the only thing important for us today, is the fact that the return of Jesus will come quickly. His coming is more certain than our being able to complete our work in his service. It is more certain than our death. Jesus’ messengers can receive no greater consolation in all this than the certainty that in their suffering they will be like their Lord. Whatever happens to the master will happen to the disciple; whatever happens to the lord will also happen to the servant. If Jesus is called a devil, then that will happen even more to the servants of his house. So Jesus will be with them and they will be like Christ in everything.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com.
These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship