Christian Paradoxes - A Time for Wonder – Taking Control and Surrendering - Purity 635
Purity 635 01/22/2022 Purity 635 Podcast
Today’s photo of a blazing sunset nestled between a cover of clouds and a tree line fading into darkness comes to us from the love of my life as she was returning home from work on January 15th and had presence of mind to capture this blazing example of God’s creative beauty. Shortly after she became a student of my discipleship classes, TammyLyn started to get up earlier than usual to pray and to take walks at sunrise. Her eyes were opened to the presence of God in her life in a way they hadn’t been before and just like this sunset her spirit’s soared above the darkness of her past and suddenly she was experiencing a life of wonder and she began sharing photos like this one and encouraging posts on Facebook.
Well it’s Saturday and for most of us, not me, it is a day of recreation and rest. The temperatures in upstate New York are going to be cold but there is supposed to be some sun. Sometimes life can be a paradox – something that is seeming contradiction but can somehow be true. So today you could be freezing your hindquarters off out in the elements and be roasted by greenhouse like conditions in your heated car.
While some of us may be perfectly content nestled in our homes and will love the cold as an excuse to not go anywhere, others may be suffering from cabin fever and a seasonal depression. I know some people who are in the latter category, and they are not quite their regular selves.
To those friends, I encourage you to go out and take a drive, do some winter sports, or do some other indoor activity. You can enjoy the sights of a sunny January day and never leave the warm confines of your car, or I suggest going to a mall, a museum, or some other venue outside your home where you can engage your body, mind, and spirit to proactively get out of the cabin fever funk. There is bowling, roller skating, gyms, and mall walking as options to move the body. There are movie theaters, libraries, and museums to engage the mind.
And with whatever you pick, I suggest you bring God along for the day and just thank Him for your ability to change your circumstances with intentional thoughts and actions. God cares for you and wants you to know the abundant life that comes from living in His presence.
I am a huge fan of the singer, Malik Harris, and in one of his songs he sings about being proactive to rediscover the wonder of life. His song, “Time for Wonder” says:
Yes I know
I gotta get up
When feeling low
But I just hope
That there's somebody to wake me up
'Cause I been calling
I'm tired of hoping things will change
It's time for wonder
It's time for wonder, yeah
That chorus repeats and then it says:
time for me to take control
It's time for me to break the walls
It's time for me to take it on
And make you watch out for me”
I have a Christian worldview and I know that God is in control, but we have a choice to decide to live with Him or not. We can choose to forsake the world system and live continuously in the fruit of the Spirit when we decide to live with and for God.
As the song says, if we’ve been calling and hoping that there’s “somebody to wake me up” we have to decide to “take control… and break down the walls” because it is time to “take it on and make” God watch out for us, by surrendering to His wisdom and ways to discover the abundant life that He calls us to. It’s “time for wonder”!
The question is: will you take control? Will you break down the walls by surrendering and coming under the protection and authority of the only One who can make things better, of the only One who can make things change?
To my friends who are feeling “Blah!”, or who are hoping things get better, or that things will change, I encourage you to seek the Lord and follow Him.
When you walk and talk with God as a continually practice, you can discover the wonder of life that surrounds us even on days where the blazing sun is challenged by icy temperatures. Receiving power when you surrender and taking control by coming under the authority of a Higher Power is just another paradox of our Christian faith, one of those things that seem like a contradiction but can be true. The word of God encourages these things and even though these ideas can challenge you, God’s word can be trusted to be true.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Today’s verse encourages us to be strong and courageous and assures us that the Lord will prepare things for us and protect us.
This verse speaks to the nation of Israel and encourages them to go into Canaan to take possession of the promised land, a daunting task but God’s encouragement was backed up by their previous victories and His miraculous provisions. God was to be trusted and He encouraged the nation of Israel to trust Him again.
So that’s the context, and some scholars would say that this verse isn’t necessarily to be used to encourage us as Christians today but while I could see their point I would disagree and say the principles behind today’s verse endure for all generations of those who follow the Lord.
While we can’t use this verse and expect that everything we try will be blessed by success, we can find hope and encouragement in the facts that God does go before us (He is over and above all time and space after all) and that He will never abandon us or fail us because through Christ we have a new and eternal life that keeps us in His presence forever.
I think today’s verse is a fitting compliment for my encouragement to “take control” by surrendering to the Lord’s way of living, to choose to live a lifestyle of Christian discipleship. The pathway of Christian discipleship is counter intuitive to the world’s ways and when we pursue it we will face opposition so we will need to be strong in courageous and trust that the Lord will go before us and never abandon us or fail us when we seek His will and purpose for our lives.
So be strong and courageous and represent God’s kingdom by answering the call to a life of Christian discipleship. When you surrender to the Lord and walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit you will not only experience the fruit of the Spirit you will also be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the promises of God in the Bible like today’s verse really are true for people today, like me and 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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 5.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
THE MEANING OF SUBMISSION
Because of abusive authority and legalistic teaching, the term submission has a negative connotation for many people. To them, a submissive person is a doormat who never questions those in authority. Some accept the doormat role and identity, while others deeply resent all authority figures, including God. But God is not like the abusive authority figures they have known. He has our best interests at heart. Submitting to His will and His way is the only means by which we can have any sense of social order. Little would be accomplished in our marriages, families, churches, businesses, and governments without some authoritative structure. When none exists, there can only be anarchy. The authority of God provides for the peaceful coexistence of His people, who are called to live and work together.
The Apostle Paul instructs wives to be submissive to their husbands, and then he says that we are all (both men and women) to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”107 This means that all Christians are to be willing to cooperate in their relationships under God given authority structures. Everybody is under the authority of somebody or something, and we are all subject to the needs of one another, because we are all called to love one another.
SUBMISSION, REBELLION, AND THE SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE
What do Paul and Peter mean when they teach that wives are to be submissive to their husbands?108 Why do some women rebel against the idea of submission? Why do some men abuse the authority God has given them in the home? Why do Peter and Paul remind men of their responsibility to lovingly meet the needs of their wives?109 These are critical questions that we all encounter when treading into the minefield of role relationships in marriage. Much of the confusion and virtually all of the emotional energy that fuels the debate comes from buying into a wrong view of the source of our identities and significance. People tend to get their identities from the things they do and their significance from their positions and titles. They wrongly conclude appearance, performance, and status equals significance.
Our identities are not determined by what we do; they are determined by who we are in Christ. It is not what we do that determines who we are; it is who we are that determines what we do. Before coming to Christ, we did get our identities from our natural heritage, professional work, and social status. But now that we are in Christ, “There is neither Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian and Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all,”110 and “neither male nor female.”111 These passages do not eradicate social roles or eliminate authoritative structure. It clearly teaches that our essential identities are found in Christ, and we are to live out our roles in life as children of God.
Our significance is not determined by our worldly positions and possessions, but by our position in Christ and the riches we possess in Him. When the mother of the sons of Zebedee was trying to get her sons seated next to Christ, our Lord used the occasion to instruct us concerning positions of ministry. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”112 Every leader is subject to the needs of those who serve under him. Headship in the home is not a right to be demanded; it is an awesome responsibility, and the same holds for any role of social responsibility.
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 email@example.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