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Showing posts with label Philip Hand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philip Hand. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Imagination and Creativity – In His Image – Purity 697


Imagination and Creativity – In His Image  – Purity 697

Purity 697 04/05/2022  Purity 697 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s original piece of art featuring what I think of as a “pink bonsai” tree on a cliff of similar hues overlooking clouds and either a blue sky or ocean or lake below, comes to us from our friend in the UK, Philip Hand.   Dendrophiles and arborists will have to forgive my classification of Philip’s creation if it isn’t technically correct but that is one of the things that is great about art: it allows us to utilize our imaginations and to have our own interpretation of what we see. 

Phillip utilizes his creative talents to recreate sights he has seen or to create original pieces to simultaneously bring delight to others, provide himself with a sense of peace, and also gives God glory by pointing to the Lord’s magnificent creation out in the world and inside of Philip!

When we look at a magnificent piece of art and admire the person who created it, we should also take one step further and recognize that the artist, his work, and the entire context of their creation was all put in place by God in the earth and that all the galleries and all the museums in the world contain wonderful creations from men who were all given life by the Grand Artist that spoke the world into creation.  

Whether the painter, sculptor, architect, or craftsman recognizes that fact that the part of their artistic talents that “just came naturally” to them were given to them by God or not,  God rightfully should be recognized as “an inspiration” for every creative work of man because He not only provided the raw materials and the setting for the work by creating the universe, He also shaped the course of history to create the environment in which the artist was given life and felt moved to work their craft.   

Our ability to appreciate art, to imagine and think about abstract concepts, to “create” the things we imagine, to recognize that truth of a Creator above us, and to begin the search to know  the ultimate meaning of life that can lead us to know the Lord is the evidence that we are different from the rest of the living creatures on this planet.  

Although man can be wickedly savage and depraved, our capacity for creativity and to love show us that the Bible is telling the truth when it reveals that mankind was made in God’s image.  

But unfortunately, our creativity and imagination can be short sighted and be used for our own selfish means and we can willfully deny that there is a God that provided us with all that we have.   

That’s why the Lord sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. God sent Jesus to teach us that there is a God who loves us and who calls us to use our talents for good and who wants us to be reconciled with Him.  

Christ revealed Himself as God in the flesh through His creative works. Christ’s miracles of healing disease, multiplying limited resources to provide a meal for thousands with the loaves and the fishes, making water into wine, walking on water, casting out demons, and raising the dead to life were done so we could recognize that this Son of Man was God the Son.  And what was this “creative genius”, this artist, this miracle worker trying to tell us?  What was His message?  Jesus said in:

John 6:38-40 (NKJV)
38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39  This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
40  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

God created the universe and made mankind to have dominion over it. God wanted us  to freely live and create a life for ourselves with the gifts that He gave us to give Him glory. But Adam, although admittedly tempted and deceived, imagined a life independent of God and His good counsel leading to the fall of man and the broken world of sin that we live in now.  

But The Lord imagined a way to bring sinful mankind back to Him. He sent Jesus Christ to create a way where we could be forgiven of our sins, have peace with Him, and live with Him eternally.   Through faith in Christ we can be set free from the guilt of our sin and experience a new and eternal life with which we can contribute to the creative works of God’s kingdom.  

Through living according to God’s ways, our transformed lives can be a thing of beauty in and of themselves but they can also inspire others to come to Jesus and to become a part of God’s magnificent tapestry of love.   

So keep walking and talking with God. Everyday is another opportunity to create another “good work” that will give God glory.  Through loving our neighbors as ourselves and by conforming ourselves to the image of Christ, we contribute to the masterpiece of God’s kingdom.  We may not have skill with paints or the other implements from the world of art, but our very lives can be the form of expression we can use to bring joy and peace to other people’s lives and that will reflect the love that the Original Artist has for His creation.     

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Romans 3:24 (NLT2)
24  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God declares us righteous through Jesus Christ and that it is through His kindness that we are forgiven and freed from the penalty of our sins.    

Okay, if you’ve got a déjà vu feeling, you are not the only one .  Rather recently the Bible Promise book from men shared Romans 3:22 & 23  and I gave a commentary that included the context and the content of today’s verse.  

Honestly, when I came across today’s verse I thought I may have lost my spot in the book and was going over old ground causing me to have a small moment of panic. I was momentarily worried that I was going to be redundant and it may annoy someone.  

But you know what?  

I think that the truth of what today’s verse is sharing is something that we can benefit being reminded of. 

The fundamental doctrine of grace is counterintuitive to everything the world teaches us about being self sufficient and earning our own way through life.  

So it is good to be humbled by the fact that it is God who declares us righteous. We don’t earn it.  Christ paid the cost and it is only through our simple faith in Him that we avoid the penalty of our sins and are set free. 

Unfortunately this is something that we can take for granted. “Yeah I know, Jesus paid for my sins. I’m forgiven. Can I go now, I got work to do.” 

Simple phases like that reveal that we have let the world steal our joy.  The fact that we are forgiven should be a great relief and be used as a continual source of peace. 

Because it is based on what Christ did, we can’t screw it up! That’s good news! Because man, I screw up things all the time! To minor errors to colossal blunders, I have the potential to really make mistakes and could condemn myself.  

But I’m forgiven.  I can try to fix the mistakes I make in life and may or may not succeed in those efforts. My mistakes can result in the loss of finances, relationships, and the good opinion of others but whether or not I can fix my mistakes, be reconciled to others, or regain a good reputation in this world ultimately it doesn’t matter!  Because at the end of the day and at the end of my life here on earth, I am forgiven and am declared righteous by God. 

If nobody loves me because of the messes I make or the silly things I can say at times, God still loves me and He will never leave me or forsake me. He forgives me and declares me righteous because of His undeserved kindness.  

When they tell you to put on the whole armor of God, remember that all of those metaphorical pieces of armor merely point out that you are in Christ and you are forgiven and made righteous.  With these assurances from God, nothing can “touch us”.  Nothing and no one can separate us from His love or prevent us to from being the people that He created us to be.   Thank you God, Thank you Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit!  

 

 

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 June Hunt’s Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s  books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

G. How to Grab Good Food “On the Go”

We’re all tempted … and too often we succumb.

We’re standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, surrounded by racks of candy bars, chips, and all other kinds of products dripping in saturated fats and sugar. As the cashier totals up the cost of our asparagus, bananas, and ever so lean chicken … plop … a big, fattening candy bar winds up in the mix. How did I let that happen?… we later lament.

Besides planning ahead and predetermining not to “give in” to unhealthy foods, the following tips can help when those cravings crash upon us outside the home. And by committing our desires and goals to the Lord, Scripture tells us we will find success.…

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

(Proverbs 16:3)

Plans for the Road

     Avoid ordering “junk food,” which is high in fat and low in nutrition.

     Don’t eat at restaurants without planning ahead.

     Eat at restaurants that offer a variety of healthy foods.

     Keep a small cooler in your car with healthy snacks.

     Predetermine the best foods to order when eating out (fish, turkey, chicken, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.).

     Take healthy foods with you when you are away from home (fruit, nuts, white cheese).

As you consider your strategy for eating on the go, remember that both planning and implementing are necessary for success. And remember that you are not alone in making plans because the Lord Himself makes and carries out His plans.…

“ ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

Reducing Body Fat

Question: “Should I eat only once or twice a day in order to lose weight?”

Answer: No! You can optimize your body’s fat burning ability by eating five times each day: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Keep portion sizes no larger than your fist. Remember, caloric intake for women will be slightly lower than for men because women have a naturally slower metabolism.

The priests serving God’s chosen people were to follow strict instructions concerning the fat of offerings, as recorded in the Bible.…

“They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.”

(Leviticus 4:31)[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/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 35–36.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Brothers from Another Mother – Fellowship of the Saints - Purity 598

Brothers from Another Mother – Fellowship of the Saints -  Purity 598

Purity 598 12/10/2021 Purity 598 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s original drawing of a tree reflected in water, underneath a pink early morning or sunset sky comes to us from our brother in Christ across the pond, Philip Hand. For anyone who thinks that Philip might have a psychedelic bent, they should know that his drawing is merely his artistic attempt to reproduce a photo of one of God’s creative masterpieces that he saw online.  

As awesome as Philip’s poems and drawings are, he uses his talents not to impress his fellow man but continually uses his work to point to God and encourages others to find the healing and hope of a new that His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provides to all who place their faith in Him.  I have taken the liberty of calling this original piece of Mr. Hand’s as “The Tree of Life” because of the subject matter, the Biblical tie in that spans from Genesis to Revelation, and the faith that resides within the artist. 

It's Friday and if you can’t think of anything else to be thankful for this morning, you can thank God for that! But then you should probably think again and remember your salvation and all the blessings that you have enjoyed in this life and thank God for those too. 

As part of my daily spiritual practice of gratitude, I begin my daily prayers by thanking the Lord for another day in His kingdom and then go from there listing my thanks for my body, my mind, my health, my home, my children, my love, my family, my job, my car, my cat, etc.  

Today I was particularly thankful for my brothers in Christ and the fellowship of the saints.  

Just a heads up to my brethren who are so grateful for the Lord’s forgiveness of their sins, that they humbly identify themselves as a “sinner saved by grace”.  You were a sinner that was saved by grace but after you were saved you became a saint. 

Please don’t get it twisted. I understand that our salvation is a past, present, and future process and until we are glorified we will not be perfect like Jesus and will sin, either by doing what we shouldn’t or not doing what we should as Christians.  So there you go “Romans 7 guys” I admitted sin is still an issue but  if you are identifying as a sinner more than a saint, you need to turn the page to Romans 8 and own the  empowered promise of God’s word that continually reminds us of the gift of our freedom in Christ to be progressively to  sanctified. 

As the Apostles epistles indicate, a “saint” is a common term for a follower of Jesus Christ  and need not be thought of as some spiritual super star who has special access to God as some denominations have corrupted the idea of what a saint is, creating a system of merits that simply not Biblical and antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Sorry, brothers I certainly didn’t mean disrupt our unity, I just wanted to say that Christ has made you a saint by faith and He has made you free and you can enjoy it by faith as well.  

Anyway, I had a bear of a day at work yesterday where I encountered one perplexing issue after another and scrambled to find solutions and was feeling highly condemned by my lack of skills and proficiency in my current job function and was on the verge of having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” when I finally made a call to a fellow Community Freedom Ministry Associate who had reached out to connect and possibly build a relationship where I could assist the people of his congregation to go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.

As the senior pastor of his church, this fellow member of the CFM network of Freedom in Christ Ministries, wanted to be professional in ministering to his flock and realized that he should utilize the resources at his disposal and enlist the help of others in administering the Steps to Freedom in Christ. 

As a pastor, or a counselor, it is highly advisable at times to refer those who are seeking help to others for various reasons. Rather than muddying the waters of relationship dynamics or advising someone in an area where we don’t feel comfortable, we should develop a network of associates that we can refer people to find the help they need and not be afraid to make a referral when we need to.  

So my “bad day” was transformed as I enjoyed talking to another kindred spirit whose purpose in life was to not only help people to find their salvation by placing their faith in Christ but who also understood and wanted to share how our lives can be transformed by realizing and living out our freedom in Christ.  I didn’t know this man from Adam but after a few moments of conversation I knew we had mutual friend in Jesus and a mutual purpose in helping the body of Christ to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts through their faith and with the help of the framework of prayer that is laid out in the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  

While I am not sure of what will result of our new association, I know that I have a new friend, ally, and brother in Christ.    

This simple conversation took me out of the funk caused by the circumstantial chaos of my day by reminding me of my identity and purpose in Christ and it encouraged me that there were more men of faith like me out there who cared and were doing the same work to share the hope and freedom of Christ.  

A life of walking in the Spirit is never boring. That conversation with my newfound friend would have been enough to make my day but after work I had the pleasure of going to a Christian Men’s Christmas party of sorts at Starpoint Church in Clifton Park.  

There was 25 of us in attendance for the annual Christmas “Men's Sock Exchange”. The event was themed as a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that men are often given socks as gifts at Christmas so the people at Starpoint decided to do a “white elephant” gift exchange with socks as the gift.  The socks ranged in style from the highly practical and useful to absolutely bizarre and hilarious.  I myself ended up with a pair of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer socks that I immediately regifted to my daughter Haley who’s into crazy socks upon returning home. 

Other than exchanging socks, the men got to enjoy some food and fellowship.  As an icebreaker we all introduced ourselves and share a story or a few words about our “favorite Christmas memory” which ranged from tales of receiving coveted childhood treasures, to spending special times with family in years gone by, to a testimony of a special Christmas in a foreign land “far from home”.  

While any group of men could have had a similar event, the thing that brought us together and that allowed us to be vulnerable and to share insights from our lives was our common bond of our faith in Jesus Christ.   While we had different ages, occupations, and experiences, we had all chosen to come together and to enjoy each other’s company as a band of brothers in Christ. 

So in this world that has increasing caused us to be separated from one another, where the number of people who live alone has gone from 1 in 20 in 1960, to 1 in 3 in 2021,   25 men came together to have some fun and to encourage one another that they were not alone in their faith.   

So as we draw closer to Christmas, let us draw closer to alone another and be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  As saints, we will spend eternity together so why not get to know each other now and encourage each other as we all follow the call and purpose the Lord has for us. 


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Psalm 127:3 (NLT2)
3  Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Today’s verse reminds us of where our good gifts come from and that what can be seen as a responsibility, or a burden, should be embraced as a gift.

If you have been blessed with children, you know what a responsibility and burden on your life that can be.  As a parent we are called to lead by example and to provide for our family’s needs.  Parenting can be a thankless job of toil and, let’s face it, it isn’t for everybody.  As parents, we will be called at all hours to do things that we would have thought as simply unimaginable in our single days.  

So why would we choose to do it? 

Even though the Lord calls us to be fruitful and multiply, we could surmise that there are plenty of people in the world now and decide that being a parent isn’t necessary or the call on our lives. So mere obligation to that divine directive isn’t a great reason to have children. 

The best reason to have kids is to build a family where the love of God that flows through husband and wife can be passed on to the next generation and to be passed on further into the world. It is for love that we should make the decision to try to have kids.   It’s only the love of parent that will cause you to stay and do the things you need to do for your kids.  

However, today’s verse reminds us that children are a gift from God. Some people can’t have kids naturally. So we should remember that God really has blessed you with not only the physical ability to reproduce but has also filled your heart to be a parent for the right reason: love.   

Being a parent gives us a small idea of the love that God has for us, as we play a part in the creation of new life and how we are naturally bonded to our offspring and committed to their wellbeing.

For those of us who have lost children, we also know that sending Christ to die for us wasn’t an easy thing for God the Father to do. But as a Father to us all, the Lord put His redemptive plan into action because of His love for us and to bring His wayward children home. 

So this Christmas remember the immense gift that has been given to you if you have children, or the sacrifices your parents or others have made for you if you don’t.  These relationships give us a small idea of the love that God has for us and that the purpose of Christmas was to remind us of all of the love that the Father had for us by sending His Son to be born in a manger, suffer, and die for us. 

The Lord has the gift of eternal life for those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  And if you know Him, we should share the gift 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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 14, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 14

LET US PREPARE NOW

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

MATTHEW 25:13

It was John Milton who said that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Indeed hope is such a vital thing that were it to die out of the heart of mankind, the burden of life could not long be sustained.

But precious as this hope may be, it is yet, when it is ill-founded, a dangerous thing. The hope, for instance, which almost all people feel, of long life here on earth, can be for many a deadly snare, a fatal delusion. The average man, when he thinks of his future, suspends reason, falls back on unreasoning hope, and creates for himself an expectation of peaceful and unnumbered days yet to come. This blind optimism works all right till the last day, that inevitable last day that comes to all; then it betrays its victim into the pit from which there is no escape.

The perils of groundless hope threaten the Christian too. James sharply rebuked the believers of his day for presumptuously assuming an earthly future they had no real assurance would be theirs:

Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

JAMES 4:13–16

Would it not be good for us to put away the vain dream of countless earthly days and face up to the blunt fact that our days on earth may actually not be many?

For the true church, there is always the possibility that Christ may return. Some good and serious souls hold this to be more than a possibility, for it seems to them as it seems to this writer that “the earth is grown old and the judgment is near,” and the voices of the holy prophets are sounding in our ears.

And when He comes, there will not be a moment’s notice, not an added day or hour in which to make frantic last-minute preparations.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

LUKE 21:34–36

Altogether apart from the prophetic expectations of devout men, there is the familiar fact of death itself. Of those Christians who had died, Paul said simply, “Some are fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6). What a vast and goodly company they make, those sleeping saints, and how their number will be increased this year. And which ones among us can give assurance that he may not join them before all the days of the year have run their course?

Since we know not what a day may bring forth, does it not appear to be the part of wisdom to live each day as if it were to be the last? Any preparation we will wish we had made, let us make it now. Anything we will wish we had done, let us do it today. Any gift we will wish we had made, let us make it while time is on our side.

At the great unveiling, there will be other emotions beside joy. There will be grief and shock and self-reproach and disillusionment. But it need not be so for you and me if we will but use the information we have at hand, if we will but take advantage of the opportunities that lie beside our pathway and the promises that just like uncut diamonds from the sacred Scripture. Yesterday may have been marked by shameful failure, prayerlessness, backsliding. Today all that can be changed and tomorrow—if there is for us an earthly tomorrow—can be filled with purity and power and radiant, fruitful service. The big thing is to be sure we are not lulled to sleep by a false hope, that we do not waste our time dreaming about days that are not to be ours. The main thing is to make today serve us by getting ready for any possible tomorrow. Then whether we live or die, whether we toil on in the shadow or rise to meet the returning Christ, all will be well.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Homeless Refugee – Seeing the Signs, but Deciding not to Play Crazy 8’s - Purity 596


 Homeless Refugee – Seeing the Signs, but Deciding not to Play Crazy 8’s - Purity 596

Purity 596 12/08/2021  Purity 596 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the bright light of sunset over an otherwise dull and almost colorless landscape near Easton NY comes to us from my fiancé who captured this sight near the end of November on the way home from work.  My betrothed is on my mind today because she is currently travelling from New York to South Carolina where she will reunite with her daughter, Rachael who will be going through graduation ceremonies from the United States Marine Corp on Friday. 

While I haven’t met my future “stepdaughter”, I am immensely proud of her accomplishment and her decision to serve our country. My brother, Michael, is a Marine so I have a small idea of what Rachael’s decision involves and it is my dear hope that she doesn’t decide to use her newly acquired killing skills to dispose of the man who proposed to her mother in her absence.  But seriously, I am looking forward to meeting Rachael and can’t wait until TammyLyn and all her kids are back in the Empire State on Saturday.   Until then I will be praying for their safety and wellbeing.  

I apologize for “mailing in today’s message” but I have my wires crossed this morning as my heart is preoccupied with TammyLyn’s safe travels and the message I received today wasn’t clear. 

Suffice to say I received a message that involved Christian numerology that pointed to the number 8 and how it points to Christ the Redeemer.  I am by no means any expert in Christian numerology and didn’t want to craft a message that would point to the importance of numbers rather than the appearance of Christ, so I scrapped the whole thing before I got started.

The number 8 seemed to occur a lot in my exodus from my former life and at different times in my faith walk I have interpreted its appearance a sign that God was directing my path, but I didn’t want to present it as “gospel” or make it a thing. 

Sometimes our spiritual experiences can be very meaningful and profound to us but are hard to convey to others and when we talk about “the numbers”  it sounds like we are a little unbalanced.  There may be something to “the numbers” in our walk but man is it difficult to draw conclusions from them or to understand what they mean.  It’s difficult to discern whether or not “the numbers” are pointing to something meaningful or if we are just crafting a meaning and creating a narrative in which “the numbers” work.   

So instead of making a message about the number 8 and inviting you down the rabbit hole, I have decided to stay above ground.  Besides if I told you about the mystery of “the numbers”, I’d have to kill you…. or outsource the contract to some one that has recently been “born again hard” and trained to kill.   

But seriously, again, when we walk in the spirit we have to be careful what messages we listen to and which ones we share and when we are disturbed in our emotions/souls or preoccupied by other concerns in our circumstances it is probably best to err on the side of caution and remain silent.  

So for today’s message I decided to get a little help from my friend from the UK, Philip Hand.  Philip sent me the following message and poem not long ago and I thought I should share it to encourage my friends today. Philip wrote to me the following message and the poem “Homeless Refugee” that was inspired by his pondering. Philip writes:   

“There is an old saying that we don't understand someone until we have walked a mile in their shoes. If we see people through eyes of compassion instead of hate, it turns the world into a different place.

I asked the question: “What would we do If our world was turned on its head, as it does for many people who live, breathe, and know joy and pain as we do?

 

“Homeless Refugee


What would we do, what would we see if we became homeless refugees?

Made to move on, no place to rest.

Begging for bread treated like a pest.

Blindness itself might be forgiven

but to walk on past as if we were driven.

Broken, lost, scared

now that's just not fair.

 

Does anybody see?

Does anybody care?

Is there any hope for us in this dark world, out there?

 

The Lord himself came down from heaven to save the lost.

To take our fears and wipe away our tears.

 

He knew the cost; he paid the price.

For us he laid down his Holy life.

 

Broken, battered, and nailed to a tree,

so great a price was paid for me.

 

Healing the heartache and sharing the pain.

 

Conquering death, rising again.

 

Forgiveness, set free and life without end.

If only we would trust in King Jesus.

Our God.

Our Savior.

Our friend...”

-Philip Hand

So if you are on the road or just feeling all alone like a homeless refugee, know that today is the 8th of December and some people say that number points to Christ the Redeemer and when you put your faith in Him, you are given a new life and the protection that comes from the Lord God Almighty. 

If there is nothing else you take away from today’s musings know that God loves you. We know this because Jesus Christ came for us. He’s no longer “away in a manger”. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is alive and well and He will come again to rule and reign forever.   And when you place your faith in Him, you have a home forever and you will never be alone again.  

So keep walking and talking with God. He will protect you. He will guide you in the way you should go, and He will lead you home.

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT2)
5  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,
6  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
7  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s verses are a continuation from yesterday’s verse 4, that spoke about the promises of God and how we are to share His divine nature and “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires”.  

Today’s verses encourage us to respond to the promises we receive when we come to faith in Christ. The Apostle Peter is encouraging us to “make every effort” to grow as Christians by endeavoring to pursue “moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love for everyone.”  

The progression of this list towards love for everyone indicates that our Christian faith is much more than just following a bunch of rules. We are to develop our minds and hearts to not only abstain from sin but to be a living expression of God’s love, which is to be shared with all people.   

Peter rightly points out that when we live out our faith in this progressive and continuous manner we will be more “productive and useful” in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. We will know Him more and will become more aligned to the purpose that God has for us.  

So we should never be bored in our Christian faith, God has given us precious promises when we come to faith in Christ, but we are called to continue to grow and mature in our minds, in our personal conduct, in our emotions, in our love for others, in our relationship with God, and into our purpose for His kingdom.  

So make every effort to respond to the promises that you have received from God. God has a plan for your life that includes your personal growth but also is meant to share the love of God with others.  Our lives of faith are supposed to be a rich dynamic experience and a process of sanctification and abounding love.  So make every effort to take each step in the marvelous progression that the Lord has put before us where we will see ourselves transformed as we fulfill the purposes that God has for us.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 12, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 12

CHRIST CAME FOR ALL

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

JOHN 3:17

When the Word says that God sent His Son into the world, it is not talking to us merely about the world as geography. It does not just indicate to us that God sent His Son into the Near East, that He sent Him to Bethlehem in Palestine.

He came to Bethlehem, certainly. He did come to that little land that lies between the seas. But this message does not have any geographical or astronomical meaning. It has nothing to do with kilometers and distances and continents and mountains and towns.

What it really means is that God sent His Son into the human race. When it speaks of the world here, it does not mean that God just loved our geography. It does not mean that God so loved the snowcapped mountains or the sun-kissed meadows or the flowing streams or the great peaks of the north.

God may love all of these. I think He does. You cannot read the book of Job or the Psalms without knowing that God is in love with the world He made. But that is not the meaning in this passage. God sent His Son to the human race. He came to people. This is something we must never forget: Jesus Christ came to seek and to save people. Not just certain favored people. Not just certain kinds of people. Not just people in general.

We humans do have a tendency to use generic terms and general terms and pretty soon we become just scientific in our outlook. Let us cast that outlook aside and confess that God loved each of us in a special kind of way so that His Son came into and unto and upon the people of the world—and He even became one of those people!

If you could imagine yourself to be like Puck and able to draw a ring around the earth in forty winks, just think of the kinds of people you would see all at once. You would see the crippled and the blind and the leprous. You would see the fat, the lean, the tall, and the short. You would see the dirty and the clean. You would see some walking safely along the avenues with no fear of a policeman but you would see also those who skulk in back alleys and crawl through broken windows. You would see those who are healthy and you would see others twitching and twisting in the last agonies of death. You would see the ignorant and the illiterate as well as those gathered under the elms in some college town, nurturing deep dreams of great poems or plays or books to astonish and delight the world.

People! You would see the millions of people: people whose eyes slant differently from yours and people whose hair is not like your hair.

Their customs are not the same as yours, their habits are not the same. But they are all people. The thing is, their differences are all external. Their similarities are all within their natures. Their differences have to do with customs and habits. Their likeness has to do with nature.

Brethren, let us treasure this: God sent His Son to the people. He is the people’s Savior. Jesus Christ came to give life and hope to people like your family and like mine.

The Savior of the world knows the true value and worth of every living soul. He pays no attention to status or human honor or class. Our Lord knows nothing about this status business that everyone talks about.

When Jesus came to this world, He never asked anyone, “What is your IQ?” He never asked people whether or not they were well traveled. Let us thank God that He sent Him—and that He came! Both of those things are true. They are not contradictory. God sent Him as Savior! Christ, the Son, came to seek and to save! He came because He was sent and He came because His great heart urged Him and compelled Him to come.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship