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Showing posts with label Presence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presence. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

“Saying Grace” with our Lives- Purity 901

 

“Saying Grace” with our Lives-  Purity 901        

Purity 901 11/29/2022 Purity 901 Podcast

Purity 901 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an outlet of the Hudson River in the shadows of the fading light of day comes to us from yours truly as my wife and I decided to enjoy the last bit of daylight this past Saturday in each other’s company on a walk at Hudson Crossing Park, in Schuylerville NY.   I had spent most of the day indoors working on power point presentations for the Bonhoeffer series I am producing while TammyLyn went to lunch with her mother and daughters but upon her return, with the day disappearing, I just had a sudden impulse to “do something!” and off we went and I’m glad we did. Not only did Isnag this spooky beautiful photo but I got to spend some simple “quality time” with my wife, where we didn’t necessarily say or do much but enjoyed the simple fact that we were together and that we loved one another.  

Well, It’s Tuesday, and I guess recalling this past weekend’s little excursion is my attempt to encourage you to be cognizant of the time you have and to utilize it, where you can, to enjoy your life and let the people you love know you appreciate them.  At that late afternoon hour, we could have just surrendered to the regular routine of getting ready for dinner and watched the daylight wane from the inside of our country side home but instead we enjoyed the last brightness of the day on the drive to Hudson Crossing and at a time some may have determined to be “too late” to go on a walk, we were on our way out, having seen every bit of daylight in a place where we could enjoy God’s creation in each other’s company rather than indoors.   

I think about this “stuff” often, the fact that although God gives us His word to guide us, He also gives us a lot of “free time” to decide what to do with our lives. We can work. We can study. We can sleep. We can stay indoors. We can go out. But the thing is, even though I do enjoy my times walking and talking with God outside, I have pondered the fact that much of our human existence would seem to be “a wash” in terms of the impact that our decisions make on our lives.  In the grand scheme, one single day in our lives may not mean that much, and in hindsight, we can analyze similar days and see no difference between a day spent indoors or a day spent outside.

There is little in and of itself of certain experiences that make them “better than others” and God’s word is rather silent on what we should do with the particulars of each and every day of our lives. We can do anything and one thing isn’t necessarily better than another!  

However, the reason I write this blog and do this podcast is that I have discovered, and continue to learn, that a life spent, regardless of our particular activities, in the “presence” of the Lord and in the context of who we are in Christ is a life that is spent in peace, love, and joy.  

Anybody looking on the outside at TammyLyn and I during our walk in the park, would have counted two in our party, but they would have been missing Someone.  Yes, we were alone but the love and gratitude that we expressed towards each other at various times in our little stroll was replete with mentions of the God that we credit with bringing us together and with thanks given in His direction.  

As easy as this is to do when you are surrounded by the glory of God’s natural creation outside, it is also something you can do inside too. 

I have to admit that before TammyLyn, I never was much of a “saying grace” Christian but early on in our relationship I saw that it was a regular practice for her. Or at least I guess it was because since I have entered her life, the “saying grace” thing seems to have fallen to me!

But social awkwardness aside, its easy to do. What could be more appropriate than thanking the Lord for providing the food that you are going to eat, and in my case, for the beautiful woman who lovingly prepared it?  

So, that’s just one way we can keep the Lord in the midst of our presence while indoors, but the truth is that I am continually “saying grace” over my life as I literally thank God moment to moment for all the things I encounter.  When I say “keep walking and talking with God”, I really mean it, like literally. 

Yes, like “Wow that dude’s crazy”, walking and talking with God.  While I can’t say that all of my life is without problems, a lot of which I create myself, walking through life and recognizing the beauty of just being with the people we love, just being where you are, and just being alive is something God never tires of hearing about, or at least He hasn’t complained to me about my constant awe and thanks!

So if you are not doing this already, start living with and start loving the Lord. There is much to be thankful for and unlike some of our human companions, He never tires of hearing us “point out the obvious” or in telling Him about how we feel.  

The constructs of society and just the “business as usual” way we do things can make us “less free” as we are absorbed into the mundanity of the humdrum, when the truth is that our lives are a miracle and a mystery and there’s nothing humdrum about them. But you have to open your eyes to see it and open your heart to feel it,  the One that you never have to be ashamed to share your “silly thoughts” with is the Lord.  

So it’s another boring Tuesday again… or it is another day of living the adventure of our lives?, where we can do almost anything we want, with consequences of course, but even in the tight confines of doing what we “need to do” we can still find wonder and joy. 

So look around and appreciate where you are, or go “DO SOMETHING” and appreciate that, but no matter what you decided to do with this last Tuesday of November in the year of our Lord 2022, turn aside and thank the Lord for what you encounter.  

The pathway to peace isn’t a destination, its determined by the way you walk and the company you keep.  

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:8 (NLT2)
8  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of what we think about in our Christian walk.  I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking about on my Saturday afternoon walk with my wife TammyLyn, but I can tell you this: I wasn’t thinking about my problems, my work, or the “bad state of the world” and because I didn’t think on those things I recall the walk quite fondly.  

But let’s not get that twisted, okay? We are not to walk through life in denial.  The world is out there and the failure to recognize our surroundings and our responsibilities will eventual cause us to suffer.  We are to be stewards of what God has given us and care for it. 

However, at the same time we can manage that quite well without dwelling on the things that will lead us into sin or that will disturb our peace. 

As much as we are “world citizens” and care  for our fellow man, in truth there is not much we can do about the events that are distant from us, or even near to us, unless we choose to get involved with them.  

So, there you go. If you choose to think on things that disturb you, I would like to hold you accountable by suggesting that your thoughts should not just be something that will steal your peace, but that you would seek to solve the situations that disturb you.  Oh yeah, I’m no political pundit but if the way of the world bothers you so much, I’m going to call you out and tell you to “do something about it”.  

I have had friends that would spend hours telling me about political situations or conspiracy theories and I would listen for a while but then would always ask: “So what should I DO?”

Unbelievably, or perhaps very believably, other than getting obsessed or angry like them, they didn’t have many helpful suggestions or a course of action that would correct the situations other to hand the problems over to someone else.

Thinking about problems will steal your peace but figuring out solutions and ENACTING THEM is another matter.

Solving problems is what we are supposed to do on earth as Christians.  But the biggest problem is sin and the fact that we are hopeless without Jesus.  

So that’s my suggestion every time: put your faith in Christ and apply God’s word to the way you live your life.  

And listen today’s verse’s advice: think on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  

The world is fading away, and our lives on it every moment.  There is only so much we can do, but we should do it, if we can.  But the way to peace, no matter what we accomplish, is the way of the Lord and to think on those things that He would have us think about.

 

___________________________________________

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

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Messengers

(An Interpretation of Matthew 10)

The Suffering of the Messengers

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware [the people], for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

¶ “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!” (Matt. 10:16–25).

Lack of success and enmity cannot dissuade the messengers from the fact that they are sent by Jesus. As a mighty strength and consolation, Jesus repeats: “Behold, I send you!” It is not their own way or their own enterprise; they are sent. In this the Lord promises that he will remain with his messengers when they will be like sheep among the wolves, defenseless, powerless, fearful, and in great danger. Nothing will happen to them that Jesus does not know. “Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” How often the servants of Jesus have misused this statement! How difficult it is even for the willing messenger to understand this rightly and remain obedient! Who can always distinguish between spiritual wisdom and worldly cleverness? How tempting it is, therefore, to renounce all “wisdom” and only be as simple as doves, which, one-sided, is disobedience. Who tells us when we avoid suffering out of fear and when we seek it out of recklessness? Who shows us the hidden boundaries drawn here? It is the same disobedience, whether we use the commandment to be wise against innocence, or the other way around, whether we use innocence against wisdom. Because no human heart can fully know itself, and because Jesus never called his disciples to uncertainty, but always to greatest certainty, this warning by Jesus can only call the disciples back to the word. Wherever the word is, that is where the disciples are to be. That is their true wisdom and their true innocence. If the word must retreat, because it is obviously being rejected, then the disciples should retreat with the word. If the word remains in an open struggle, then the disciples should remain. They will have to act wisely and simply at the same time. But the disciples should never set out on a road out of “wisdom,” when that road cannot be approved by the word of Jesus. They should never justify with “spiritual wisdom” a way which does not correspond to the word of Jesus. Only the truth of the word will teach them to recognize what is wise. But it can never be “wise” to break off the smallest piece of the truth, for the sake of some human prospect or hope. Our own evaluation of our situation cannot make us see what is wise; only the truth of the word of God can do that. The only thing that is always wise is staying with the truth of God. Here alone is the place where of God’s faithfulness and aid are promised. At all times it will prove to be the “wisest” for the disciples at this time and in the coming time to simply stand by the word of God.

The word will give the messengers true knowledge of the people. “Beware the people.” The disciples should not show fear of the people, nor evil mistrust, least of all hatred toward human beings, nor should they show thoughtless trustfulness or faith in the good in all people. Instead, they should show true knowledge of the relationship of the word to the people and the people to the word. If they understand this soberly, then they will not be scared by Jesus’ announcement that their path among the people will be a path of suffering. Rather, they will be able to endure it. A wonderful strength resides in the disciples’ suffering. Criminals suffer their punishment in hiddenness. But the disciples’ path of suffering will lead them before princes and kings, “for my sake, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” The good news will be propagated by suffering. That is the plan of God and the will of Jesus; and that is why in the hour of accountability before courts and thrones the disciples will be given the power to give a good confession, to offer a fearless witness. The Holy Spirit itself will be with them. It will make them invincible. It will give them “a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict” (Luke 21:15). Because the disciples hold fast to the word in their suffering, the word will remain with them. Self-sought martyrdom would not have this promise. But the promise is absolutely certain for those who suffer with the word.

Hate toward the word of Jesus’ messengers will remain until the end of time. Hate will pronounce the disciples guilty of all the divisions which will come over cities and houses. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned by everyone as destroyers of the family, as forces leading the people astray, as crazy enthusiasts and troublemakers. Then the temptation to fall away will be very near to the disciples. But the end is also near. Until its coming they are to remain faithful, to endure, to stand fast. Only those who stand fast with Jesus and his word to the end will be blessed. But when the end comes, when the enmity toward Jesus and his disciples is revealed for all the world to see, then and only then should the disciples flee from one city to another, in order to proclaim the word where it will still be heard. Even in this flight, they are not separated from the word, but stand fast with it.

The promise of Jesus that he will come again soon has been kept for us by the church-community in the belief that it is true. Its fulfillment is a mystery, and it is not a good thing to look for human ways to evade the issue. But what is clear, and the only thing important for us today, is the fact that the return of Jesus will come quickly. His coming is more certain than our being able to complete our work in his service. It is more certain than our death. Jesus’ messengers can receive no greater consolation in all this than the certainty that in their suffering they will be like their Lord. Whatever happens to the master will happen to the disciple; whatever happens to the lord will also happen to the servant. If Jesus is called a devil, then that will happen even more to the servants of his house. So Jesus will be with them and they will be like Christ in everything.[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), 192–195.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Little Tree and The Big Sky – Peace and Joy Right Now - Purity 899


The Little Tree and The Big Sky – Peace and Joy Right Now - Purity 899    

Purity 899 11/26/2022 Purity 899 Podcast

Purity 899 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a short tree with abundant shade under a pleasant blue sky on the shores of an unknown beach comes to us from the photo archives of my phone and an unknown friend who shared this scene back on social media back on November 25th , 2021.  

In my zeal to share beautiful scenes of God’s creation I will save photos that friends have shared but when you have as many well-travelled friends as I have, you end up saving more photos than you use, so this morning I decided to dial it back a year and see what I could find.  This was the first one that grabbed it and so I shared it. I am setting it free. I’m putting it out there and deleting it from my phone. So if this memory is yours, thank you for going “there” and sharing it.   If you want to let us know who you are and where you went, we will update the blog.

Yesterday, my wife dressed up in a red and white dress and Santa hat to do face painting at Troy’s Landscape Supply in Cohoes for their Black Friday Event where scores of people picked up their Christmas trees, so when I look at today’s photo I am thinking of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts and Linus’ humble little Christmas tree and am reminded that sometimes the little things, the simple things can mean a lot.  

Let’s face it, our “little tree that could” on this unknown beach isn’t much to look at. The sky’s pretty, the water’s pretty, and yeah, this Bonsai-esque tree is cute, but where’s the sun? 

But sometimes we don’t need the “flash” and big things to have joy. Sometimes we can just rest in the peace of what is and appreciate life for what it is. Last night, I was out walking my canine friend, Harley, at 6pm, which means it was as black as midnight outside. I wear a headlamp when I take the dog out at night because I would like to see where I am going, and I would like any motorists that are fling down Waite Rd to see me too!  

The thing about walking under the light of the head lamp though is that you sort of have “tunnel vision”.  The head lamp is a good one and casts quite a strong beam of light into the distance but the contrast of the dark of night makes it feel like the world outside of the light has faded to black and more or less disappeared.  

But last night on the return trek back to my countryside home, I happened to look up to see that all though the land was dark the sky above me was illuminated by a galaxy of stars! It was a real planetarium like view just overhead, but my head lamp was obscuring the show. So, I stopped the dog from walking for a moment and turned it off and just beheld the glory of outer space standing in the dark on the side of a road in upstate New York and enjoyed this little moment under the great big sky.

And these two experiences of the little tree on an unknown beach and the great big night sky last night, remind me to remind you to step outside the “situations” of your life and to immerse yourself in the joy and peace that you can find in the present moment. 

In every life there is drama, “the bills”, “the people”, “the work”, “the news”, and all of these things can so preoccupy our minds and emotions it is as if we are walking in the night and our light is only shining on them. Our preoccupation with these problems or ongoing situations gives us tunnel vision. While we should always take care of the things we need to take care of, when we are only focused on the problems or dramas of our lives we can miss the moments of peace and joy that are there for the taking.  Our lives can become so busy “taking care of business” that we end up missing the moments where we could have found a little bit of peace, or a little bit of joy. 

And that’s why I recommend a life of Christian Discipleship, of walking in the Spirit, where you keep walking and talking with God because if you are doing that you will gain two things:

1.    An understanding of what really matters in life: our relationship with God.

2.    Freedom from the preoccupations with the world system and what other people think.

And when you have those two things and agree with what the Bible says about you, you have freedom in Christ, and you will experience the fruit of the Spirit growing in your life as your meaning and purpose come into focus as you widen the lens of your vision.  

Last night, I thanked the Lord for the moment under the stars, and the walk back to the house, and the cool evening breeze that told me I was alive and well. And I thanked Him for His presence that told me that I would never be alone.  

I came to the realization again that rather being consumed with the dramas of this world, there is great joy and peace to be found from the little things, from the big things, and from just the experience of life. These are things that anyone can “dig” on but when you have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you can enjoy the mystery of life because you know there is a purpose to it all because you know the Author of the story.

And even though, we have no idea what’s going to happen next our how the dramas of our lives will play out, when we stay in His presence, we can enjoy the show all the same.  

So take a time out to look around and realize “Hey, I’m okay!” and enjoy that fact and enjoy the presence of the Lord who created that moment just for you and who has a whole host more of them waiting for you to experience and appreciate as you keep walking and talking with Him.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT2)
25  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Today’s verse encourages us to be disciplined in our training, reminding us that the work we do for the kingdom of God will never fade away.        

Discipline can be viewed as a dirty word because it is usually associated with performing something repetitive that is “done for our own good” but that may not have immediate results.  Also discipline can be with hard work.  

When contemplating change we like the idea of the finished result but in the grueling process of getting there and the discipline our goals require, we can easily grow weary and decide to take a break from or quit altogether the disciplined activities we decided were necessary to accomplish our goals.  

But those who stick with their disciplined plan of action consistently and with a commitment to the long term, discover that discipline is actually a good thing.   

So if you have a health goal or a financial goal in mind, like I do, let’s encourage one another to walk out of this Thanksgiving weekend with a renewed commitment to be disciplined in our approach to accomplishing them.  This can be a rough weekend for discipline when it comes to those two areas of our lives and believe me I am “preaching to the choir” when I say we should endeavor to get back on that bucking horse and not give up on our goals, regardless of how much pie we ingested or how much money “Black Friday deals” may have cost us.  

That’s the great thing about being a Christian, there is grace for our failures and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. 

However, we should answer the call to repent when we realize that we have stepped off the path.  

The good news is that in Christ we are accepted regardless of our performance. SO in one sense it doesn’t really matter what we do….. BUT – careful now, because the devil would love to tell you to remain lazy, selfish, and sinful because of God’s grace. That’s a trap!

Paradoxically, while in one sense it doesn’t matter what we do, in Christ we have been given the power to do things that we formerly would have considered to be impossible.

 To quote myself: “When I discovered that the Lord was willing to do the impossible in my life, I said: “What’s next?” 

So that is why we engage our discipline and decided to follow where the Lord leads us, because if He puts something on our heart to accomplish we should know that we are able to perform it, but we have to pursue it and do it!

God has given us the eternal prize and everything for life and godliness, so let’s agree to stay disciplined and keep walking in the way the Lord would have us walk, and let’s go accomplish the good works that He has prepared for us to perform!

___________________________________________

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 Apostles

“Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him” (Matt. 10:1–4).

The prayer is heard. The Father has revealed God’s own will to the Son. Jesus Christ calls his twelve disciples and sends them into the harvest. He makes them into “apostles,” into his messengers and coworkers. “And he gave them power.” This power is, indeed, what is at stake here. The disciples receive not only words or doctrine, but effective power. How should they do their work without this power? It has to be a power which is greater than the power of the one who rules on earth, the devil. The disciples know that the devil has power, although it is precisely the deception of the devil to deny his power and to make people believe that he does not exist. It is just this most dangerous expression of his power which must be confronted. The devil must be pulled into the light and defeated by the power of Christ. In this, the disciples come to stand by Jesus Christ himself. They are called to help him carry out his work. So Jesus does not deny them the highest gift possible to meet this task, namely, participating in his power over the unclean spirits and over the devil, who has taken hold of humanity. In this commission the apostles have become equal to Christ. They are doing the work of Christ.

The names of these first messengers will be preserved for the world until the Last Day. The people of God consisted of twelve tribes. There are twelve messengers, who are to complete the work of Christ among them. Twelve thrones will be standing ready for them as judges of Israel in the kingdom of God (Matt. 19:28). The heavenly Jerusalem will have twelve gates through which the holy people will come in. The names of the tribes will be inscribed on the gates. The wall of the city has twelve cornerstones and they will bear the names of the apostles (Rev. 21:12, 14).

The only thing which unites the twelve is the call of Jesus that selects them: Simon, the man of rock; Matthew, the tax collector; Simon, the zealot, who struggles for justice and law against heathen oppression;[15] John, whom Jesus loved and who laid his head on Jesus’ breast; and the others, about whom we know only their names; and finally, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Nothing in the world could have united these men to do the same work except the call of Jesus. It overcame all their previous divisions and founded a new, strong community in Jesus. The fact that even Judas went out to do the work of Christ remains for us an inscrutable dilemma and a terrible warning.[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), 186–187.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Bridge Over Troubled Waters – A Path from mother to Our Father - Purity 819


 Bridge Over Troubled Waters – A Path from mother to Our Father - Purity 819

Purity 819 08/25/2022  Purity 819 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s artistic offering comes to us from our friend in the Manchester, England, Philip Hand, who shared this “bridge over troubled waters” back in March with a poem of fond remembrance of his departed mother that I have no other choice but to share.  Philip wrote:

Beautiful Mother

Beautiful Mother of the morning

From loves first breath, life’s dawning

Love embracing innocence,

Face to face in perfect unity

 

the way mother and child are meant to be.

 

Thank You for having me

I’d be nothing without you

 

Even though you are not here,

My love will reach the stars.

Sweet memories I cherish

Forever deep within my heart.”

-Philip Hand

I just love this process of writing that the Lord has put me on with this blog because I literally don’t know where the Lord will take me and what will have to be said from day to day. 

It’s Thursday so this morning I was looking for a photo a pathway on my phone that I could use to represent the “pathway of Christian Discipleship” to encourage my friends to walk in the Spirit, as I do on the fourth work day of week because I traditionally would lead or teach on Thursday nights, that my habit that’s what I do: share pathways on Thursdays to encourage people seek the Lord and to follow Him with their lives.  

But I am on vacation this week, so I didn’t feel pressed for time and went back a little further in my photo archive to try to find something when I came a across Philip’s drawing.  I liked it and since it had a bridge in it I decided that was enough of a pathway to satisfy my Thursday criteria.  And as I examined his work, I tried to make sense of it. I knew it was a bridge, and most likely a stream, but shape of the water resembled a brooding mountainous “Jabba the Hut” like face, and I thought “Bridge over Troubled Water”, perfect. So I figured I had enough and should go to Philip’s page to see the origin to discover, his beautiful poem reflecting a troubled but loving heart paying tribute to his departed mother.

And then I decided to look at the lyrics to Paul Simon’s song, and discovered that the phrase “Bridge Over Trouble Waters” was inspired by Simon listening to the southern gospel group Swan Silvertones’ 1959 song “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep,” in which one particular line rang out to Simon,— I’ll be your bridge over deep water / If you trust in my name—which helped Simon finish “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and its more gospel elements. (https://americansongwriter.com/the-meaning-behind-bridge-over-troubled-water-by-simon-garfunkel/).   

Although rather vague, Our heavenly Father’s care and concern for us and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, can be easily imagined in Simon’s lyrics:     

“When you're weary

Feeling small

When tears are in your eyes

I'll dry them all

I'm on your side

Oh, when times get rough

And friends just can't be found

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

When you're down and out

When you're on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

I'll take your part

Oh, when darkness comes

And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down”

(https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/simongarfunkel/bridgeovertroubledwater.html)

If you didn’t know it Simon’s song was written in 1969 when “America was in a state. Vietnam was in motion, Richard Nixon was president, and the country was still coping with the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, who were both assassinated in 1968. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” spoke to the turmoil of the times and continues to adapt to more recent times, used as an uplifting anthem around more tragic events.”  (https://americansongwriter.com/the-meaning-behind-bridge-over-troubled-water-by-simon-garfunkel/).   

So what do I do with all of this? I think our times continue to be pretty troubled. I don’t think the reality of continuous tragedies or the media’s penchant for highlighting will allow us to imagine our times as anything but troubled. Whether it’s the perceived trouble in our country or very personal pain, trials, and tribulations in our present, or in our past, we could easily admit to some troubled waters in our lives.

So I guess the question is: Will you take that “Bridge” over the troubled waters?

Will you accept the comfort and presence of the Lord in your life when “times get rough, when friends can’t be found, when darkness comes, and pain is all around?”   

Will you move on from the apron strings of your earthly mother and take the path that was laid down for you by Jesus that leads to your Heavenly Father?  

I can only assume that all of this is coming to me this morning because God wants us to know that He knows our heartaches and He knows the trouble in our lives and He wants us to know that He will never leave us or forsake us and He is inviting us to walk with Him and that He will carry us over the troubled waters in our lives.  

So brother and sister, let’s go man. Let’s take that bridge. And let’s keep walking and talking with God until we discover the meaning, purpose, and peace that He has for us.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 93:4 (NLT2)
4  But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore— the LORD above is mightier than these!

Today’s verse tells us that the Lord above is mightier than the violent raging seas and the breakers on the shore. 

Okay, I can’t make this stuff up.  Is it any wonder why I continually encourage others to “walk in the Spirit”?

So I just happen to write about “troubled waters” and this is the verse of the day? 

“Violent raging of the seas”, I’d say that qualifies as troubled waters!

But what does this verse tell us? It’s tells us “the Lord above is mightier than these”!

We should never forget that when we put our faith in Christ, our lives are saved and we have a the mightiest ally imaginable to help us move through this life and to overcome or to endure whatever waves or storms that this world broken by sin has to offer.  

So be encouraged. The Lord is WITH US and He is more than mighty enough to see us through. 

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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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’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 Issue of Responsibility

If we are duped, exploited or driven to do something by a powerful supernatural opponent—“the devil made me do it”—does that not lessen the level of our personal responsibility? Some theologians fear that this is the case. They are concerned that the belief in a literal devil and evil spirits may lead people to remove responsibility from themselves and locate it somewhere outside of themselves.

When three high-school boys in Carl Junction, Missouri, claimed that the voice of the devil prompted them to kill one of their companions as a sacrifice to Satan in 1987, the courts held the boys responsible and sentenced them to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Is there a possibility that such a ruling was unjust? If a power much greater than themselves compelled them to bludgeon the victim, how could they be held responsible?

It is important to reaffirm that Paul, and the entire testimony of Scripture for that matter, always held people accountable for their decisions and actions. Although Satan can tempt and deceive, God will judge people on the basis of their actions: At “the revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” he “will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom 2:5–6 NASB; see also Ps 62:12 and Prov 24:12).

Nevertheless, there is another sense in which the powers determine the lives of people, indeed all people. Paul envisioned humanity as being enslaved by the evil one and in need of redemption. Held in tension with this concept is that every person has the opportunity to respond to the liberating message of the gospel. When a person believes in Christ, he or she is divinely rescued from the captivity of Satan and made a child of God. In a sense, Paul presented life as a choice between lordships. One can serve Satan and the powers, or one can serve God. This fundamental choice is all-important at the final judgment. Paul explained that Christ will “punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thess 1:8–9).

Christians have the ability to resist Satan’s temptations to do evil. The ability to resist is mediated to them through their dependence on an all-powerful Lord who strengthens their innermost beings through the presence of his Spirit. For this reason Paul can enjoin his Christian readers to resist the devil (“do not be deceived”) and to desist from all kinds of evil practices.

In Paul’s view non-Christians do not have the ability to withstand the appeals of the devil. This does not mean that every person consistently engages in the grossest forms of moral evil; each individual still bears God’s image (albeit ever so tarnished) and is capable of high standards of morality. Nevertheless, Paul ardently believed every person has violated the ultimate standard of morality, God’s law as revealed in the Old Testament.

Furthermore, in spite of Satan’s compelling solicitations, Paul argued that each person is accountable to God on the basis of their behavior (Rom 2:1–11). He warned of God’s impending judgment: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Rom 2:9). There is a sense then in which a person can legitimately appeal to the argument “the devil made me do it.” God, however, still holds people responsible for their actions. And people have a choice to obey God’s law based on their nature as people created in his image; or better, they can respond to Christ’s offer of redemption and then base their lives on Christ’s ethical demands and appropriate his power to fulfill them.[1]

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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] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 189–191.