The Sun Still Rises - Purity 851
Purity 851 10/01/2022 Purity 851 Podcast
Today’s original artwork, which I am entitling “The Sun Still Rises”, is of the sun rising over the horizon shining on a solitary tree on a hill, illuminating the sky and landscape with all the colors of the rainbow, comes to us from “across the pond” as this is the latest creation of the artist, the poet, and our friend in the UK, Philip Hand. Philip shared it with me just this morning along with a Bible verse to encourage and inspire me in my walk. Philip shared:
Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Think on these things, indeed. In this world that often points to the things that are wrong, our brother Philip is reminding us of what the Apostle Paul told us, the Church, to do through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good.
When we encounter negative interactions with others or disappointing circumstances in the world the enemy would love for us to focus on the bad things in life and to forget about just how blessed we are, even in the midst of a disastrous situation like Hurricane Ian, that has now reportedly been responsible for the deaths of 23 persons in Florida, landed in South Carolina yesterday as a Post Tropical Cyclone, category 1 storm, and will continue to affect the weather as it will continue to move north today through North Carolina and into Virginia by mid-day today and is even may result in significant rainfalls in my neck of the woods, New York today and tomorrow.
So today we pray for the lives lost and affected by the damages of this latest storm to rage up the east coast of our country, and we will be wise to consider its course as it weakens in regards to our activities this weekend, but we also continue to praise the Lord and think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good.
The spirit of loving our neighbors is being seen in the relief efforts that are rushing in to restore power and order to the devastated areas hit by Hurricane Ian and in the concern that we have for our friends and loved ones that were in it’s path, as we rejoice over every new report from friends reporting that they are “safe” on social media. The love of God is being manifest in us when we see people love and care for one another in storms like Ian.
I’m calling Philip’s latest piece, “The Sun Also Rises” because I am reminded of Solomon’s contemplations of the hard realities of life in the book of Ecclesiastes and even though he expressed how much of life was “vanity” or chasing after the wind, He came to the conclusion that while we were to fear God and obey His commandments because everything we do will be judged by Him, he also encouraged us to enjoy our lives recognizing that all we have is a gift from the Lord and that to follow the Lord’s ways for living was to demonstrate an understanding of the highest wisdom.
But Philip’s piece also reminds me of Jerimiah’s passages in Lamentation, another “heavy” book in the Bible that acknowledges the reality of sufferings and afflictions in life. After admitting to the suffering, Jerimiah speaks of the hope that comes from contemplating the Lord in our lives.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
So that’s the deal, when we think of “these things” that are listed in Philippians, if we keep thinking, whatever “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good” things our minds can come up with we will discover that they all point to the ultimate “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good” One, the Lord God all mighty! And that our peace and our hope is found in Him because His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness!
In his comments to me this morning, my friend Philip said that he feels peaceful when he is drawing but when he sought to share the “product of his peace”, he also felt moved to share encouragement from the word of God by including Philippians 4:8 when he shared his artwork.
I told Philip that his story (his artwork, his finding peace of mind from negative mind states through it and his faith in Jesus Christ) is an ongoing testimony of the goodness of God and how the gifts that we receive from Him can be used to touch the hearts of others.
So wherever you find yourself in the world this weekend, whether you are walking in victory or struggling to find peace in a storm, let me encourage you to think upon those things that the Lord directed us to think about and to find your hope in Him. When we walk and talk with the Lord, we will discover the peace in the storm, and we will praise Him for His goodness, mercy, grace, faithfulness, and love.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse i:
Romans 7:4 (NLT2)
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
Today’s Bible verse encourages us that we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God because we have died to the power of the laws of sin and death when we died with, and was raised to life anew with Christ.
As I have shared previously in other blog posts, when we consider Bible verses like today’s verse and
Romans 8:2 (NKJV) which says
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
We should understand the word “law” as “authority”. Instead of some lifeless legal code, we should understand the “authority” or power under which we once lived and how that has dramatically changed when we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and receive a new and eternal spiritual life.
So by the “authority of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, The Lord now declares you to be free from the “authority of sin and death”!
Death’s authority would render us dead in our trespasses and sins and make us subject to God’s wrath!
But the authority of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus gives us peace with God and new life in God’s kingdom as His adopted children.
The authority of sin would make us incapable of saying “NO!” to sin and powerless to change our sinful habits and lead us to despair and hopelessness.
But the authority of The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from sin’s authority by giving us a new identity in Christ and giving us the power to say “No! to sin, not as an act of will, but as an act of faith as we align our thoughts and behaviors with our new identity in Christ and draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome of worldly ways for a new life in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.
Well that’s great! So what happens next now that I have this freedom from the “law” since I have died, and been resurrected, with Christ?
As today’s verse tells us, we discover our new purpose as a child of God, we produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
In Christ we have been set free and given a new life. We have received power over the “authority” of sin and death and we also receive our purpose: to do good deeds for the glory of God, because of who we are in Christ and because of our love for our Father.
We receive everything in Christ: a new identity, power, freedom, victory, purpose here on earth and with God in His kingdom forever.
It’s the first day of October 2022, so let’s go out there and reap a harvest of good deeds for the glory of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit who have given us freedom, power, and life everlasting.
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.
Discipleship and the Individual
“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Jesus’ call to discipleship makes the disciple into a single individual. Whether disciples want to or not, they have to make a decision; each has to decide alone. It is not their own choice to desire to be single individuals. Instead, Christ makes everyone he calls into an individual. Each is called alone. Each must follow alone. Out of fear of such aloneness, a human being seeks safety in the people and things around them. Individuals suddenly discover all their responsibilities and cling to them. Under their cover, they want to make their decision, but they do not want to stand up alone in front of Jesus, to have to decide with only Jesus in view. But at that moment neither father nor mother, neither spouse nor child, neither nation nor history cover a person being called. Christ intends to make the human being lonely. As individuals they should see nothing except him who called them.
Jesus’ call itself already breaks the ties with the naturally given surroundings in which a person lives. It is not the disciple who breaks them; Christ himself broke them as soon as he called. Christ has untied the person’s immediate connections with the world and bound the person immediately to himself. No one can follow Christ without recognizing and affirming that that break is already complete. Not the caprice of a self-willed life, but Christ himself leads the disciple to such a break.
Why must that be so? Why can there not be an unbroken growth, a series of slow sanctifying steps out of the natural orders into the community of Christ? What sort of annoying power comes here between human persons and the God-given orders of their natural lives? Is not such a break legalistic “methodism”? Is it not the same as that unhappy contempt for God’s good gifts, which has nothing in common with the “freedom of the Christian”? It is true, there is something which comes between persons called by Christ and the given circumstances of their natural lives. But it is not someone unhappily contemptuous of life; it is not some law of piety. Instead, it is life and the gospel itself; it is Christ himself. In becoming human, he put himself between me and the given circumstances of the world. I cannot go back. He is in the middle. He has deprived those whom he has called of every immediate connection to those given realities. He wants to be the medium; everything should happen only through him. He stands not only between me and God, he also stands between me and the world, between me and other people and things. He is the mediator, not only between God and human persons, but also between person and person, and between person and reality. Because the whole world was created by him and for him (John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2), he is the sole mediator in the world. Since Christ there has been no more unmediated relationship for the human person, neither to God nor to the world. Christ intends to be the mediator. To be sure, there are plenty of other gods which offer immediate access and, in fact, the world tries by all means to relate to persons immediately. But herein lies precisely its hostility to Christ, the mediator. Other gods and the world want to tear away from Christ what he deprived them of, namely, the ability to relate immediately to human persons.
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
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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