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Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2022

Some Disturbing but Hopeful Thoughts For Black Friday - Purity 898


 

Some Disturbing but Hopeful Thoughts For Black Friday - Purity 898    

Purity 898 11/25/2022  Purity 898 Podcast

Purity 898 On YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the reflection of the sky in the waters on the shores of Kingscliff Beach in Adelaide South Australia comes to from Dave Baun Photography. Dave shared this photo with the news that it has been a week since his eye surgery and although the healing isn’t complete yet and recovery is hard because he can’t practice the craft that he loves so much, he still wanted to share this scene to point to some good news: that in the Land Down Under where things are sort of, well upside down from our perspective, the summer weather is returning.  While we are just beginning to deal with the fact that winter is not only coming but is here in full force in places like Buffalo, Dave is experiencing the hope of increasing recovery and warm summer days.  

Something as simple as a report from a friend on the other side of the world can really point out just how big the world is and when I look at today’s photo in Australia, I can’t help but to think of the television series “Lost” and the befuddled rock star Charlie’s question: “Guys, Where are we?”  

Where are we indeed?  This message is coming in late today because I have the day off I decided to “let the Lord wake” me and apparently He decided I could get some sleep as I woke up at the late hour of 5:30 am! So we start today with more rest than usual, and thoughts that are probably contrary to most in my reflections on yesterday’s Thanksgiving holiday.  

You have to forgive my somewhat morbid outlook that I have at times. As a child of the late seventies and early 80’s, graduating in 1990, I was raised in the heart of the cold war with entertainment that prophesied nuclear holocaust, took delight in the works of Stephen King, and was eventually into music artists that had disdain for the hypocrisy of polite society because of its tendencies to “keep people in their place” and that restricted or judge the “free life” that we wanted to live. 

The freedom a lot of my gen x contemporaries and I wanted was freedom from any restrictions or judgements of what we wanted to do, usually surround things like sex and drugs, but we also sought to make society repent of its former violent, racists, and materialistic ways.  The nineties were like a reboot of the sixties as the Berlin wall came down and we had grand ideals of peace and peaceful easy living.  But we also had that contrast of nihilism, because we had lived in the fear of nuclear holocaust for most of our lives and now that we discovered we might just have to live to see old age, some of us didn’t have a clue what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had spent so long living it up that I didn’t prepare for the future! When you live a good part of your life thinking “nothing really matters”, it can be quite a surprise when you realize they might. 

One of the things angsty teens and young adults, traditionally rebel against is the institution of family, and yesterday I suspect that there may have been several Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebrations that had pride in how their gatherings differed from the traditional family gathering.  

But you know what? For the most part, as much as we love our friends and as wild as  the days of our mad existences may have been in our youths, as we move through life that those ideals and friendships of youth generally fade away and you see that what was so important for a few years in our teens and 20’s turned out to be the things that “didn’t really matter”.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love all my friends from my youth but in terms of Thanksgiving plans for 2022, they didn’t play a part, and the thing that remained was “family”. 

However in the landscape that divorce chisels into our society and our immediate experiences, even that can cause things to be “:upside down” from what we were used to.  The Facebook photo of large “whole” family gatherings may be considered sweet or annoying from your perspective, but you have to admit that the brokenness of the traditional family has their appearances decreasing.    

Year after year the changes can be subtle, but as the kids grow up and family members are lost to divorce or death, sometimes they can be  quit jarring.  Yesterday my step kids, from my second marriage, met with their father for “Thanksgiving Breakfast” that turned out to be lunch and while I of all people certainly understand the difficulties for meeting all those familial obligations of honor, something about the idea of a “Thanksgiving Breakfast” just offended me. 

This wasn’t God’s plan for sure.  I am sure these things weren’t our plan either but there they are. “Nothing spells dysfunction like “Thanksgiving Breakfast”. The hilarity and the absurdity of it actually caused me to google – “What did the pilgrims have for breakfast?”  but as gleeful as I was to start typing out that malicious question, my heart sank as google started to complete the question as it often does when someone else out there asked the same question.  And I was saddened and somewhat ashamed because I imagined that the question I submitted as a joke was possibly submitted in full sincerity as someone out there was desperately trying to create something “traditional” around their nontraditional gathering.  “Guys, where are we?”   

Another tradition that I enjoy is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but even that staple of Thanksgiving tradition seems to increasingly be revealed for the materialistic ad campaign that it is and because it highlights current events and trends it reveals the moral slippage that our country has gone through since I was a child.  Without being specific, let’s just say that some things on display during yesterday’s parade would have never been deemed as suitable for public consumption. Again, I have nothing really grotesque to point to because the grotesque ain’t what it used to be as what some would call progress could very well be seen as corruption from a Biblical world view. 

And thus as I watched the parade yesterday the nihilism of old and the apocalyptic reality of Biblical end times prophecies came together and made me think of something rather macabre: What would happen if Jesus came back on Thanksgiving Day in the midst of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

And at first my thoughts were of a Rapture, where a small number, probably very small (perhaps unnoticeable?), of the people would simply vanish, causing parade staff to seek to fill empty spots as the parade would just keep marching on…

But then I thought of a post Rapture, Revelation 14 return of Jesus Christ on Thanksgiving Day where God’s wrath would be poured out where there would be few if any men left standing….

Revelation 14:14-20 (NLT2) says
14  Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
15  Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.”
…..19  So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath.
20  The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

 There is or was actually a joyous worship song on Christian radio this year proclaiming that “Jesus is coming back” but in light of the moral corruption that is prevalent in our society and evidenced in families broken by divorce, sexual immorality, substance abuse, and selfish materialism, I fear that the return of Jesus Christ will not be the good news that the masses are waiting to hear.  

Yesterday, I presented a short teaching based on a devotional from John MacArthur about Enoch, and one of the things that Macarthur drew from the few Bible verses on Enoch was that he “walked with God” and He through naming his son Methuselah he warned others about the certainty of God’s judgement on the people of his corrupt moral society.  MacArthur pointed out that even though Enoch knew he would never live to see the Flood that would come, he was still faithful to warn others about it.  

People really must have thought Enoch was crazy, or at least a judgmental jerk, undoubtedly lecturing people of their moral failures and encouraging them to repent and trust in the one true unseen Creator God.   But one day, because of His relationship with God, Enoch did not collect $200 and go directly to the grave,  instead He was the first to provide evidence of the possibility of being “raptured”.  We can imagine the theories that would have explained Enoch’s disappearance and I’m sure there were several quite reasonable and plausible ones. I can think of a bunch.  But God through His word, reveals to us the truth about Enoch and a whole lot more.  

God reveals to us what is right and wrong. Our society is lacking mightily in respecting His standard.  

God also has revealed to us the Way to be at peace with Him,  through faith in Jesus Christ. And our society, and even what some would consider the “church” doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on what that means either.  

And finally, God tells us in Revelation of how this world will end but few seem to have confidence in being ready for that.   

End times prophetic preachers vary in their predictions, but some will sell you disaster supply kits and most have been preaching for decades that Christ would come back at any minute.  Their attempts to predict and “draw parallels” between newspaper headlines and scripture haven’t always been spot on and may even cause some to doubt the word of God because of their messages!

Me?  I thought I had some prophetic giftings in the past, and sometimes I have instances of having the feeling that “God set me up” as I walk into good things or “God gave me a heads up” when I avoid bad things, but because of my “false prophecies”, ideas about what would of should happen in my life that didn’t come to pass, I am hesitant to prophesy anything specific about future events.  

Instead, I unknowingly have adopted the stance of Enoch.  I concern myself with my daily walk with God from day to day and moment to moment. But I also try to, as lovingly as I can, warn people to secure their eternal destiny by putting their faith in Jesus Christ, to live according to God’s standards for living, and to respect the word of God as true: to believe and to understand that Jesus is coming back.  But like Enoch, I may not live to see Christ’s return from the perspective of the earth.  I may be coming with Him!  

But I don’t know about that one way or the other.  But I do know that God loves us, and He wants us to make peace with Him and to enjoy our lives with Him.  So, I hope the end times imagining of Christ coming back at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Judgement doesn’t freak you out but encourages you to see that God is holy and encourages us to be on His side when the wrath of God should come.  

Ironically, all of this caused me to remember Green Days’ song, Macy’s Day Parade’s lyrics and feel that somehow they express the angst over the way the pageantry of the parade of life is inadequate to satisfy us but amazingly there is a hope for the future, that Billy Jo Armstrong may or may not know, lies in the person of Jesus Christ. The lyrics say: 

 

“Today's the Macy's Day Parade

The night of the living dead is on its way

With a credit report for duty call

It's a lifetime guarantee

Stuffed in a coffin, 10% more free

Red light special at the mausoleum

 

Give me something that I need

Satisfaction guaranteed to you

What's the consolation prize?

Economy sized dreams of hope

 

When I was a kid, I thought

I wanted all the things that I haven't got

Oh-oh, but I learned the hardest way

Then I realized what it took

To tell the difference between thieves and crooks

Lesson learned to me and you

 

Give me something that I need

Satisfaction guaranteed

 

'Cause I'm thinking 'bout a brand new hope

The one I've never known

'Cause now I know it's all that I wanted”

 

I think I might have shared this song before. If I did I apologize. But even though things continue to change, some things remain the same.  This world and our human relationships are inadequate, and were never intended, to satisfy us. 

But I am thinking about what wasn’t long ago a “brand new hope” for me, the hope that only comes through Christ alone.  Jesus gives us the hope of peace in our lives on earth and the hope for everlasting life from here to eternity. He is our only hope.   

And even though speaking on the moral standards and the reality of an end time judgement may be offensive,  I have to tell you about them with the hope that it will cause you to discover the hope that I have found in Jesus Christ.  

Everyday, I’m walking and talking with God and life is good. Every day, I’m think about a brand new hope, the one I never knew, cause now I know, after years of suffering and searching, I know it’s all that I wanted or could ever hope to have.  

God bless you and keep you on this Black Friday and as you go to work or prepare for Christmas, I pray that you know the hope of Jesus and seek to share it with others.    

--------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Harvest

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were ill-treated and helpless,[3] like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’ ” (Matt. 9:35–38).

The gaze of the Savior falls in pity on his people, on God’s people. It could not be enough for him that only a few people heard his call and followed him. He could not consider isolating himself aristocratically with his disciples and transmitting to them in the manner of great founders of religions the doctrines of higher knowledge and more perfect way of life separated from the mass of the people. Jesus had come; he worked, and he suffered on behalf of his entire people. And though the disciples wanted to have him all to themselves, and tried to keep distant from him the nuisance of the children who were brought to him and of some poor beggars on the side of the road (Mark 10:48), they had to acknowledge that Jesus would not permit his ministry to be limited by them. His gospel of the kingdom of God and his power to save belonged to the poor and sick, wherever he found them among his people.

The view of the crowds, which perhaps prompted disgust, rage, or contempt in his disciples, filled Jesus’ heart with deep pity and grief. No reproaches, no accusations! God’s beloved people were lying ill-treated on the ground, and the guilt for this fell on those who were to serve them with God’s ministry. It was not the Romans who had brought this about, but the misuse of the word of God by those called to be ministers of the Word. There were no more shepherds there! Jesus found God’s people to be a flock which was not led to fresh water, whose thirst remained unquenched[6]—sheep, whom no shepherd protects from the wolf, battered and wounded, terrified and fearful under the hard staff of their shepherds, sheep lying on the ground. Questions, but no answer; need, but no help; consciences kept in fear, but no liberation; tears, but no consolation; sin, but no forgiveness! Where was the good shepherd this people needed? What did it help here that there were scribes, who drove the people into the synagogues by brute force? What did it matter that zealots of the law harshly condemned sinners without helping them? What did it matter that the most orthodox preachers and interpreters of the word of God were present, if they were not filled with all of the mercy and all of the grief over the abused and ill-treated people of God? What use are scholars of Scripture, pious followers of the law, preachers of the word, if the shepherds of the church-community themselves are missing?

¶ The flock needs good shepherds, “pastors.”[8] “Feed my lambs” is Jesus’ last command to Peter. Good shepherds[10] fight for their flock against the wolf and do not flee. Instead, they give their lives for the sheep. They know all their sheep by their names and love them. They know their needs and their weaknesses. They heal their wounds, giving drink to the thirsty and lifting up those who are in danger of falling. They feed them gently and not harshly. They lead them along the right path. They seek the single lost sheep and bring it back to the flock. The evil shepherds, however, rule by violence; they forget their flock and tend to their own affairs. Jesus is looking for good shepherds, and behold, there are none to be found.

That saddens his heart. His divine pity embraces this lost flock, the mass of people around him. From the human point of view, it is a hopeless picture. But it is not hopeless for Jesus. Here, where God’s people stand before him ill-treated, miserable, and poor, Jesus sees God’s field ripe for harvest. “The harvest is great!” It is ripe to be brought into the barns. The hour has come that these poor and miserable people are brought home into the kingdom of God. Jesus sees God’s promise dawning over the masses of people. The scribes and zealots of the law saw only a trampled, burned, battered field. Jesus sees the ripe, waving field of grain for the kingdom of God. The harvest is great! His mercy alone sees that!

Now there is no time to lose. Harvesting cannot be delayed. “But the laborers are few.” Is it a miracle, since this merciful gaze of Jesus is given to so few? Who could enter into this work, besides those who have won a place in Jesus’ heart, who have received from him eyes that can see?

Jesus is looking for help. He cannot do this work alone. Where are the workers to help him? God alone knows them and must give them to God’s Son. Who would dare to take the initiative to offer to be Jesus’ helper? Even the disciples do not dare to do so. They are to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers at the right hour, for it is time.[1]

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

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 mt4christ247@gmail.com 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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 183–185.


Friday, November 18, 2022

Living a Lie – Traditions of Deception and Patterned Responses - Purity 892

Living a Lie – Traditions of Deception and Patterned Responses  -  Purity 892   

Purity 892 11/18/2022      Purity 892 Podcast

Purity 892 on YouTube :  




Good morning,

Today’s photo of a tree stripped bare of its leaves on a green roadside under pleasant skies comes to us from our brother in Christ, Arthur Cincotti who captured this scene while travelling through “Amish Country” on Wednesday.  Arthur and his wife, Suzanna are travelling south to spend time with family over the next week but they are taking the time to enjoy the journey as Arthur has sent me a few photos of scenes along the way that indicate to me that while their final destination is determined they are not so focused on the end that they aren’t enjoying the process of getting there. Yeah when you walk in the Spirit, the Lord will call you to go places and as I was reminded last week, sometimes there is more to the trip than what you will do when you get there. Every aspect of our travels with the Lord is noteworthy and can be a place where the Lord has something to tell us. 

 I especially like Arthur’s photo because it caught the reflections of window and “I don’t know what”, but it reminds me of imagery from Stephen King’s “The Drawing of the Three” where the hero was traveling through the countryside and was destined to encounter and go through doors that were just hanging in space with the cryptic titles on each indicating what would be found on the other side.   I researched it this morning and was reminded those doors were labeled “The Pusher” “The Prisoner” & “The Lady of Shadows”.  No spoilers from me but I particular lylike that book, of Mr. King’s in my youth.

Anyway it also reminds me of a particular meditation session I had back in my Buddhist days when I was seriously practicing and trying “to break on through to the other side”. I remember that I was doing a practice where you just meditate and look at the sky and you just rest, watching the clouds move and being open to the experience of the present moment.

 Well, in my efforts to see “beyond” to see things as they really were, I was staring at that daytime sky with such intensity and the focus to see something that I contemplated the fact that beyond the light of day, the cold dark blackness of space existed just beyond the window of my perception.  And while I couldn’t see the blackness of space, I knew it was there and when I thought of that I realized in a way the day time sky was a lie.  It was an illusion caused by the conditions of the sun illuminating our atmosphere. With that realization, I imagined that the sky was like a hologram and composed of individual tiles, that if focused on and broken, that if I focused on the sky long enough my effort would “break the sky”.  Okay, pretty crazy huh?

But the revelation of this experience pointed out the illusory nature of our lives here on earth and that two things that are seemingly the opposite of one another could exist simultaneously even though I could “see” only one.   The cold dark expanses of space were out there. The blue sky was there.  Both were true, but I could only see one. But as time would progress, things would change and one would “disappear” to reveal the other.

Likewise our world of flesh and blood is all that some people can see.  Meanwhile there is the unseen spiritual realm that exists with angelic and demonic entities.  Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.   Just because we can’t see God doesn’t mean that He isn’t there.  And just like how the day dissipates and allows us to see into the far reaches of space at night,  as time progress the spiritual world will be revealed, one way or another, to all of us.  Just wait for it!

So what should we do to prepare for that day? Well, Christ didn’t come to earth and die on the cross for nothing.  He came to reveal that which was hidden and shrouded in mystery. He came to let us know what God’s word really meant and to offer us a way to have peace with the Father, to place our faith in Him.  So do that, and read the Bible to renew your mind with God’s truth so you can expose the world’s lies and live in harmony with God.

Lies are so ingrained in our world system and crafted by our experiences in it that sometimes we don’t even know how pervasive the lies are and how they continue to imprison us with patterned responses for living.  

Addicts believe the lie that their drug of choice is “GOOD” in spite of the facts that they often experience negative consequences through its use and that the thing that gives them “PEACE” causes a lot of disruption in their lives.   

Some believe the lie that they are men trapped in a woman’s body, or women trapped in a man’s body.  This belief or feeling was once classified as a mental illness because biology, your chromosomes, indicate that however compelling those feelings may be that you are in the wrong body, that they are wrong. Biology would indicate that you are not in the wrong body, you are in the wrong mind.  Unfortunately those who believe this lie were influenced by various experiences, dysfunctions, and traumas, and possibly demonic encouragements to believe they were not the people that God created them to be.

These are easy examples of deceptions though, although there may be nothing easy about being set free from these lies.  

No, what I have come to see more and more, especially through some of the dialogs I have had through this latest Freedom in Christ course, is that we can have ingrained beliefs that just aren’t true that deeply affect how we live, sometimes in subtle or even benign ways that aren’t necessarily harmful but which cause us to remain “stuck” in the same patterns of thoughts and behaviors.  

“I’ll always be depressed”

“Celebrations always involve overindulging in alcohol or in food.”

“I am a night owl. I don’t go to bed before 11 pm” 

These are some examples of statements that are not true, or don’t have to be true, that I encountered recently that revealed to me the subtle way we can develop “traditions of deception” that keep us locked in patterned responses that go against what we would desire for our lives.   

If you believe you’ll always be depressed, you will be.  If you believe celebrations always involve overindulging in alcohol or food, you will continue to overindulge. If you believe you are a night owl you will rarely go to bed early.   

So what’s wrong with that?  Nothing…, or possibly everything.  These beliefs or other ones like them can cause us to stay where we are and not experience the abundant life God wants us to have.  

Part of the process of repentance is to change our minds to align with God’s word but in order to do that we have to break the chains of patterned thoughts and behaviors and consider alternate ways, Godlike ways, of thinking and behaving.  

If we want to receive the healing and abundant life that God has for us, we have to abandon what we know and surrender to His wisdom and adapt His ways. Part of the process of repentance is revelation.  

You don’t have to celebrate by overindulging in alcohol and food. “Everybody is doing it” is lie.  Look around some people don’t, thus you can be like them.  

I will always be depressed. You don’t have to be if you understand the magnificent gift that the Lord has given you in your salvation and if you turn from your sinful patterns of thinking and behaving.   God said:

Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT2)
6  “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7  You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Right from the beginning God encouraged us to do what was right, to cure our mental disturbances and to keep us free from the disruptive influences of sin.  

As for the night owl, that may be harmless, although children of God are to be in the light, I suppose the night time hours could meet the needs for solitude and silence to commune with the Lord in Bible study and prayer. 

But as a former night owl, I know that rarely are any spiritual practices the activities of night owls. Usually the nighttime is the time to indulge in selfish pursuits that are independent of God. However, they could be used for God so there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with staying up late.  

But what could be a major obstacle to our freedom is the proclamations that identify ourselves by certain activities and cause us to remain in patterned thinking.  

“I am”, I can’t, “I don’t”, “I never”, “I always”, and “I don’t want to” statements are all possible ways that we limit our freedom and keep ourselves in chains.  

All of this came about this morning because I am going to the movies this evening and my wife reminded me that I will have “my soda and popcorn”.  

I have been subject to my own lie or “tradition” that could be expressed in one of two ways: 

I always have soda and popcorn at the movies. 

Or

I can’t go to the movies without having soda and popcorn. 

And unfortunately, as it applies to me, my statement would have to include the word “large” – as in “I must have the large popcorn and soda” AND take advantage of the free refills at Regal Cinemas!”   

So apparently the Lord is revealing this lie to me, because as I was working out this morning I considered it and realize that I have been living in a “tradition of deception” that runs contrary to my health goals. So I intend to break the chain of large popcorn and soda tonight.

So as we go into the weekend I wish everyone a Happy Friday, would encourage you to thank the Lord, and to examine your life to see what traditions of deception that you might have.   

The Lord came to set us free and sometimes He came to set us free from the chains we willingly put on time and time again. So keep walking and talking with God and seek to discover the freedom and peace He has for you. 

 

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.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Disciple and the Unbelievers Concludes

What should the disciples do in the face of hardened hearts? When their approach to others is unsuccessful? They should recognize that they have no right or power over others at all, and that they have no sort of immediate access to others. The only way open to them is the way to the one in whose hand they themselves are kept, just like those others. This is what the following section is talking about. The disciples are called to prayer. They are told that no other way leads to their neighbor except prayer to God. Judgment and forgiveness remain in God’s hand. God holds the key. Disciples are to request, seek, knock, and God will hear them. Disciples should know that their worry and concern about others must lead them to prayer. The promise given to their prayer is the greatest power they have.

The fact that disciples know what they are seeking distinguishes their searching from the nonbelievers’ search for God. Only those who already know God can seek God. How could they seek what they do not know? How can they find, if they do not know what they are looking for? Thus disciples seek God, whom they have found in the promise Jesus Christ gave them.

In summary, it has become clear that in dealing with other people, the disciples do not possess any special right or power of their own. They live completely out of the power of communion with Jesus Christ. Jesus gives the disciples a simple rule, by which even the most simpleminded can evaluate whether their dealings with others are right or wrong: they need only reverse the I and the You in the relationship. They need only put themselves in the other’s place and the other in their own. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” At that moment the disciples lose any claim of special rights toward other people. They cannot excuse in themselves what they condemn in others. Now they are as tough on the evil in themselves as they used to be on the evil in others, and as considerate of evil in others as they are of themselves. For our evil is no different than the evil in the others. There is one judgment, one law, one grace. So disciples will always encounter other people only as those whose sins are forgiven and who from now on live solely from God’s love. “That is the law and the prophets”—for it is nothing other than the greatest commandment itself: love God above all things, and your neighbor as yourself.[1]

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

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 mt4christ247@gmail.com 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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 173–175.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Conquering the Complaining Spirit - Purity 890


Conquering the Complaining Spirit -  Purity 890

Purity 890 11/16/2022 Purity 890 Podcast

Purity 890 on YouTube:   



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Schodack Creek/Hudson River shrouded in mist comes to us from yours truly as I captured this haunting scene before pulling out of my driveway yesterday as the cold air temperatures and the relative warmth of the waters came together to create something that neither of them could produce on their own.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and while the Lord was gracious to me in that my driveway’s black top remains black, I will have to remember the green grass in today’s photo fondly because it is currently covered in a thin veil of white snow!

However, just like yesterday’s river mist didn’t last, I don’t expect the white stuff to remain as the temperature will rise to 41 degrees and rain is in the forecast. After seeing the snow this morning, I had to ask my electronic personal assistant whose names begins with “A” when the first day of winter was.  It’s not until December 21st, of course, but when the temperatures fall and the snow comes, it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says, Winter has come, even if it is early and even if this sudden appearance doesn’t exactly mean we will be living in a winter wonder land. 

I knew “the change” to Winter had come Monday morning as the morning temperatures were below or right around freezing, 32 degrees, and the high was around 40.  Hearing my personal assistant announce that forecast caused me to get out my waterproof winter boots and switch to my insulated hood ieand long sleave work shirt.  And now snow has fallen. 

The times can change in an instant and this really points out our need to be aware of what is happening around us and to be diligent to roll with the changes.  

One of our local news channels shared an expected snow fall map yesterday and while I have to admit I did petition the Lord with prayer to have mercy on us, a prayer I believe has been answered – Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit – I still accepted the forecast with certain of two things:

1.    the forecast is not guaranteed, and subject to change, because God is in charge  

2.    I will be able to meet the challenges of the day regardless of the weather or any other circumstance because God is with me.

However, other people in the comments section of this post were honestly expressing how they felt about the snow. Even though what most of us in the northeast know is that snow inevitable, many in the comments section were proclaim ingtheir hate for the white stuff and their deep desire to move away from it all.   The mere mention of snow had caused these people to lose whatever peace they might have had.  

Of course, it is doubtful that those who were offering their complaints about the possibility of snow had any peace in the first place because when you are giving a voice to a negative comment or complaint it is probably not the first thing that you have spoken against and it is more likely that you may be oppressed if not fully possessed by a “complaining spirit”!

Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT2) reminds Christians to
14  Do everything without complaining and arguing,
15  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

What I can’t complain about the weather!

Well, it does say “do everything without complaining” and before you give rise to your “contentious spirit” that would like to debate that matter, the rest of the verse tells us to “do everything without… arguing” as well!  

Just so you know I didn’t cherry pick this verse, okay maybe I did do a quick google search for a verse about complaining, I am going to share the fruit off that search by providing a link to openbible.info’s 100 Bible verses about complaining ( https://www.openbible.info/topics/complaining) to show that the Lord encourages us to not see our lives with a critical eye and dwell on the negative circumstances and give voice to complaints. 

Why? Because it doesn’t help. Complaining steals away our peace and the peace of others. 

My little ministry here is one of encouragement and I know that while it can be difficult to see the bright side on a cloudy day, because of the Lord, there is always something we can give thanks for rather than complain about things that challenge us.   

Last night, I hosted the last regular session of the Freedom in Christ course on Zoom, and the power of God’s word to transform someone’s outlook on life was on display in its full glory.  

One of the participants of our group testified in the beginning that he only joined the group because while he had attempted to go through the course material on his own it had left him cold and he ended up discontinuing the study because he wasn’t able to receive what the course had indicated he would get from it, namely Freedom in Christ.  In our first sessions, he openly admitted that he just wasn’t “feeling it” but in his desperation and depression he had committed himself to “stay the course”.  

One of the tools the course uses to identify our view of our situation is the “What I Believe” questionnaire, in which the participants are to rate how “successful, significant, satisfied, etc” they feel and to answer a fill in the blank question about how they could be more “successful, significant, and satisfied”. 

This man had confessed that he had taken that questionnaire before the course and he had answered those “more” questions with a pretty worldly attitude stating that he would be more satisfied by winning the lottery, or more successful by obtaining certain positions or tangible rewards of success

. But last night, although he admitted he felt he was learning and felt he was making some progress, he didn’t think much was happening from one week to the next during the course, but when he went to answer those “more questions” this time something amazing had happened.  He had come to view that the only way he y be “more” successful etc was now in reference to his relationship with the Lord and would be determined by his ability to obey and follow the Lord’s will for his life.  

He was as shocked as anyone!  Here was this cynic who had begrudgingly decided to step out in faith with a somewhat flinty hear of stone, testifying to how simply agreeing with the truth of God’s word and what God said about who he was in Christ had changed the way he saw the world and had changed his heart to a heart of flesh that sought to please the Lord and to serve others.   Before the course, he was a complainer and saw his situation as depressing and lacking the things that he need to satisfy him but now even though he didn’t win the lottery or gain any worldly rewards, he felt he had found the way to satisfaction, through just doing the small things that God put before him and knowing that being in harmony with God was the pathway to peace.   

So it’s Wednesday, there is snow on the ground and its supposed to rain, but instead of looking at what some could consider negative, if not HORRIBLE, circumstances, I choose to remember all that God has done and how He has empowered all His children to overcome any obstacles in our paths and to walk through this life with the peace and joy that goes beyond understanding.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Every step you take in His direction leads you closer to Him and closer to the person He created you to be.  It may not seem like you are making a lot of progress but if you stay true to keeping going in the way the Lord leads you, one day you will look back and be amazed how far you have come and how your heart which was once so hard and cold has become alive because of the love that God has poured into you.  

  

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 10:13 (NLT2)
13  For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

Today’s verse reminds us that salvation from the Lord was the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament, as all who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.  

The gospel of grace can not be emphasized enough in our walk.  It the hope for all of us.  That if we simply “call on the name of the LORD”, for us Jesus, we will be saved.   We just have to put our faith in God and trust in Him. 

The Apostle Paul knows Christ but He quotes Joel 2:32 here to show that the Lord has always saved those that surrender to Him in repentance. 

People in the Old Testament had the promise of the Messiah and if they placed their faith in God’s and in His coming, even though they didn’t know His name, they were considered righteous.  Those who trusted and obeyed the Lord in the Old Testament were saved by faith. The writer of Hebrews makes this point in Hebrews 11.  

So God hasn’t changed, in Christ He has revealed what was hidden and quite frankly makes it a lot easier to know His will.  

We have Jesus to put our faith in and to show the way to live.  And while we should rejoice over having Christ’s example of how to live as a Christian, we should never forget that our salvation doesn’t come from our obedience.  

We are only saved because of God and His mercy and grace that heard us cry for help and who showed us the truth. 

We don’t have to accomplish anything to be saved. It is freely given.

Our obedience is not the way to salvation, but it naturally grows out of our salvation.  And while it is our purpose to become sanctified and be pleasing to God, we should never forget that we already are pleasing to our Heavenly Father and that no matter how we fail or how we succeed, nothing can separate us from His love because one day because of our great need we called upon the name of the Lord, and have been saved ever since.

___________________________________________

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.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Disciple and the Unbelievers Continues

When we judge, we encounter other people from the distance of observation and reflection. But love does not allot time and space to do that. For those who love, other people can never become an object for spectators to observe. Instead, they are always a living claim on my love and my service. But doesn’t the evil in other people necessarily force me to pass judgment on them, just for their own sake and because of our love for them? We recognize how sharply the boundary is drawn. Love for a sinner, if misunderstood, is frightfully close to love for the sin. But Christ’s love for the sinner is itself the condemnation of sin; it is the sharpest expression of hatred against sin. It is that unconditional love, in which Jesus’ disciples should live in following him, that achieves what their own disunited love, offered according to their own discretion and conditions, could never achieve, namely, the radical condemnation of evil.

If the disciples judge, then they are erecting standards to measure good and evil. But Jesus Christ is not a standard by which I can measure others. It is he who judges me and reveals what according to my own judgment is good to be thoroughly evil. This prohibits me from applying a standard to others which is not valid for me. When I judge, deciding what is good or evil, I affirm the evil in other persons, because they, too, judge according to good and evil. But they do not know that what they consider good is evil. Instead, they justify themselves in it. If I judge their evil, that will affirm their good, which is never the goodness of Jesus Christ. They are withdrawn from Christ’s judgment and subjected to human judgment. But I myself invoke God’s judgment on myself, because I am no longer living out of the grace of Jesus Christ, but out of a knowledge of good and evil. I become subject to that judgment which I think valid. For all persons, God is a person’s God in the way the person believes God to be.

Judging is the forbidden evaluation of other persons. It corrodes simple love. Love does not prohibit my having my own thoughts about others or my perceiving their sin, but both thoughts and perceptions are liberated from evaluating them. They thereby become only an occasion for that forgiveness and unconditional love Jesus gives me. My refraining from judgment of others does not validate tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner; it does not concede that the other person is somehow right after all. Neither I nor the other person is right. God alone, God’s grace and judgment is proclaimed to be right.

Judging others makes us blind, but love gives us sight. When I judge, I am blind to my own evil and to the grace granted the other person. But in the love of Christ, disciples know about every imaginable kind of guilt and sin, because they know of the suffering of Jesus Christ. At the same time, love recognizes the other person to be one who received forgiveness under the cross. Love sees the other person under the cross, and that is what enables it to have true sight. If my intent in passing judgment were really to destroy evil, then I would seek evil where it really threatens me, namely, in myself. But the fact that I seek evil in another person reveals that in such judgments I am really seeking to be right myself, that I want to avoid punishment for my own evil by judging another person. All judging presupposes the most dangerous self-deception, namely, that the word of God applies differently to me than it does to my neighbor. I claim an exceptional right in that I say: forgiveness applies to me, but condemnation applies to the other person. Judgment as arrogation of false justice about one’s neighbor is totally forbidden to the disciples. They did not receive special rights for themselves from Jesus, which they ought to claim before others. All they receive is communion with him.

But it is not only judging words which are forbidden to the disciples. Proclaiming salvific words of forgiveness to others also has its limits. Jesus’ disciples do not have the power and the right to force them on anyone at any time. All our urging, running after people, proselytizing, every attempt to accomplish something in another person by our own power is in vain and dangerous. In vain—because swine do not recognize the pearls thrown before them; dangerous—because not only does this defile words of forgiveness, not only does it make the other person I am to serve into a sinner against holy gifts, but even the disciples who are preaching are in danger of being needlessly and pointlessly harmed by the blind fury of hardened and darkened hearts. Squandering cheap grace disgusts the world. Then the world will turn violently on those who want to force on it what it does not desire. This signifies for the disciples a serious limitation on their work. It agrees with the directive in Matthew 10 to shake from their feet the dust of any place that does not hear the word of peace. The driving restlessness of the group of disciples, who do not want to accept any limitation on their effectiveness, and their zeal, which does not respect resistance, confuses the word of the gospel with a conquering idea. An idea requires fanatics, who neither know nor respect resistance. The idea is strong. But the Word of God is so weak that it suffers to be despised and rejected by people. For the Word, there are such things as hardened hearts and locked doors. The Word accepts the resistance it encounters and bears it. It is a cruel insight: nothing is impossible for the idea, but for the gospel there are impossibilities. The Word is weaker than the idea. Likewise, the witnesses to the Word are weaker than the propagandists of an idea. But this weakness liberates them from the sick restlessness of a fanatic; they suffer with the Word. Disciples may retreat, or even flee, as long as they are retreating and fleeing with the Word,[224] as long as their weakness is the weakness of the Word itself, as long as they do not abandon the Word in their flight. They are nothing but servants and tools of the Word, and should not want to be strong when the Word is weak. If they wanted to force the Word onto the world by all means, then they would make the living Word of God into an idea, and the world will justifiably fight back against an idea which cannot help it at all. But it is as weak witnesses that they do not flee, but remain—to be sure, only where the Word is. Disciples who would know nothing about this weakness of the Word would not have come to know the secret of God’s lowliness. This weak Word, which suffers contradiction by sinners, is the only strong, merciful Word, that can make sinners repent from the bottom of their hearts. The Word’s power is veiled in weakness. If the Word came in full, unveiled power, that would be the final judgment day. The great task of recognizing the limits of their mission is given to the disciples. But when the Word is misused, it will turn against them.[1]

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

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 mt4christ247@gmail.com 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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 170–173.