A New Happy Place! Discovering and Rediscovering the Joy and Presence of the Lord - Purity 882
Purity 882 11/07/2022 Purity 882 Podcast
Today’s photo of sunrise and the glory of the sun shining through the clouds from the vantage point of Panther Top Tower in the Nantahala National Forest near Murphy North Carolina comes to us from a friend who reports that he has discovered a new “happy place!” less then 10 miles from his home, commenting that the photos he shared can’t do the natural beauty there justice and that the remoteness of the location means that there are rarely others there when he visits so it provides the additional serenity that comes from enjoying the splendor of God’s creation all by himself.
Of course, those of us who have had the Truth revealed to us know that we are never ever really alone as God is Omnipresent, present everywhere. And that those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, take God with us everywhere we go because The Holy Spirit indwells us. So we might enjoy the relative solitude of going places where there are no other people, but no matter where we go, God is with us. And that is truly fantastic news.
Well, it’s Monday again, and whether or not you have the time to go to your “happy place” or if your day requires you to go back to work, that fantastic news – of God’s omnipresence, and the Holy Spirit being along for the ride in those of us who have surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, is always something we can take joy in even if our circumstances aren’t necessarily happy.
Unfortunately, in the turmoil and challenges of going through life, we can lose sight of this fantastic news and we can really feel all alone and that nobody loves us or cares about us.
That’s a big lie.
I have been listening to the audiobook of Dallas Willard’s Divine
Conspiracy and while I initially thought that Willard was perhaps trying to be
a bit too intellectual or sophisticated in his exposition of the Christian
faith, but he knows Jesus and his book makes the case for
kingdom living, actually living our lives as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and so
I continued to listen and quickly saw that we had a mutual friend in Christ and
basically spoke the same language that sought to encourage people to follow
As I listened, Willard wrote about some of the basic attributes of God, one being His omnipresence, and at first I have to admit that I thought I was in a part of the book that I would have to suffer through because I “already knew all about that”.
But Willard’s writing caused to consider this basic fact about God that is so amazing that it is difficult to fathom just how big God is, just how deep, how wide, and how every where at once God is. Willard’s writing pointed to the vastness of space – our ever expanding universe and discoveries from the Hubble telescope that captured images of galaxies that were so huge and magnificent that it was difficult to imagine that they actually existed in a galaxay far far away.
But the photos from the Hubble telescope tell us they are there. And because of that technology we can actually look at this things and enjoy their beauty. Pretty awesome right?
But the thing is Hubble is only a recent discovery. Willard’s writing pointed out that long before man ever saw these things or could even adequately imagine their existence, God knew all about them and enjoyed their beauty, all by Himself.
Today’s photo and the contemplation of all the beautiful scenes out there just waiting to be discovered, or enjoyed again, reminded me of:
Psalm 19:1 (NKJV) that says
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
People in their struggles through life often ask to be shown a sign that God is real. Meanwhile we have all of creation declaring His handiwork. The fact that there is anything, shows that there must be a self-existent Being that created it all. That’s God.
And if creation wasn’t enough, God revealed Himself to man as documented in all the accounts of the Bible and then personally through the advent of Jesus Christ to earth. And now because of Christ we can continuously enjoy the presence of God with us, through the Holy Spirit.
But we can forget about what we know about God! We can be so consumed with the drama of this world that we can even think that we are all alone in the world.
Even I who, makes a point of encouraging others to keep walking and talking with God, forgot about the wonder of God’s omnipresence. Somewhere along the path of Christian Discipleship, I took it for granted that I “knew all about it” and thus sort of forgot about it and it took another like minded Christian’s writings to reintroduce me to the awe and wonder of the One that I tell everyone to follow!
God is infinite so I realize that there will never be appoint where I “know all about” Him. There is more to discover and even the things we “know” about God need some periodic reboots to remind us just how wonderful and amazing it is that we have come into relationship with Him and that He is literally always with us.
So don’t harden your hearts or your heads to the Lord by thinking you know all about Him. Even the things we “know” become less “known” over time as we lose the appreciation of the things we know because of our supposed familiarity with them.
Plus more often than not as we keep walking and talking with God, the Lord graciously reveals more of Himself and His truth to us and we discover that our understandings of Him which we thought were so sophisticated are revealed to have been remedial.
And because of this aspect of our relationship with the Lord, I really have to emphasize the first piece of advice that I normally give to those who are curious about having a deeper walk with the Lord: and that advice is to SEEK the LORD.
While I thought of
29:13 (NKJV) that are the Lords words of encouragement that say:
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
I am also sharing a link to 100 verses from Open Bible . info that highlight scriptures that speak about seeking God (https://www.openbible.info/topics/seeking_god) because we should not rest in our attempts to know the Lord more and to seek Him and His will for our lives.
When we walk with God, we continually find new “happy places” because His joy fills us when we discover something new about Him or are reminded about something we thought we knew and we gain a new appreciation or understanding of it anew.
So keep walking, and keep talking with God. Everywhere you go He goes and, when you continue to seek His wisdom and presence, you discover a new happy place every time you discover a little more about Him and of what He knows.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
Today’s verses are the words of Jesus, which tell us that He has more instore for us but warns that for he who does not have a relationship with Him, even what they have will be taken away.
Like what? What will be taken away if you don’t have a relationship with Christ as a “good servant” of the Lord?
Well in verse 30, Christ states
Matthew 25:30 (NKJV)
30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Yeah, Christ basically says that you will lose everything and be cast into Hell, yikes!!
Anyone who pontificates about “gentle Jesus”, hasn’t read the New Testament as our Savior repeatedly warned about Hell and pointed to Himself as the only way to the Father.
So, rejoice if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, because to you, who have been given much, more will be given.
But we shouldn’t miss the overall context of this section of scripture in which Jesus is telling a parable of servants being industrious with the resources that their master has given them. The parable teaches us to be good stewards and to utilize the talents we have been given but if we show that we have no relationship, no trust of the master, and do nothing with what he gave us, we are warned that we will be exposed as one who was “unprofitable” or “useless” and be judged.
Christ came to redeem our lives and lead us to realize our purpose in His kingdom.
When we are not redeemed, covered by Christ’s blood, and choose to live for ourselves rather than Him, we lose everything.
But don’t be afraid, if we trust in and obey the master by making Jesus the Lord of our lives, we will lose anything and instead with gain everything and know just how abundant a life with Christ can be.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
The Sermon on the Mount
On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life
The Hiddenness of Prayer continues
Of course, even prayer can be distorted into a demonstrative act, which brings what is hidden into the light. This happens not only in public prayer, which degenerates into empty phrases. These days that will rarely happen. But it is no better; indeed, it is even more harmful when I make myself the observer of my own prayer, when I pray before myself. It does not matter whether I am enjoying watching myself at prayer, or whether I catch myself feeling irritated or ashamed at prayer. The public nature of life in the street is only a more naive form of the public display I construct by myself. Even in my little room I can produce quite a remarkable public demonstration. That is how far we can distort Jesus’ word. The public display I construct by myself consists of my being simultaneously the one who is praying and the one who is listening. I listen to myself; I hear myself. Because I do not want to wait for God to listen to me, because I do not want to wait for God to show me someday that my prayer was heard, I construct my own hearing of my prayer. I observe that I prayed piously, and this observation provides the satisfaction of being heard. My prayer is heard. I have received my reward. Because I have heard myself, God will not hear me. Because I have given myself the reward of public acclaim, God will give me no further reward.
What is the room into which I should go, of which Jesus speaks, if I am not even safe from myself? How can I lock it so tightly that no observer ruins the hiddenness of prayer and steals from me the reward of hidden prayer? How can I protect myself from myself? From my own reflections? How does my reflection kill reflection? The word “kill” must be spoken. My own will to have my own way by means of my prayer must die, must be killed. My will has died when Jesus’ will alone reigns in me and all of my will has been drawn into his. It has died in community with Jesus, in discipleship. Then I can pray that the will of God, who knows what I need before I ask for it, be done. The only way my prayer is sure, strong, and pure is when it comes from the will of Jesus. Then prayer really is supplication. The child entreats the Father whom it knows. General adoration is not the essence of Christian prayer; supplication is. The right and proper attitude of a human being before God is to entreat God with outstretched hands, knowing that God has the heart of a loving parent.
Although genuine prayer is hidden prayer, that does not exclude the possibility of community prayer, provided that it has become clear how great are the dangers of common prayer. Ultimately, it does not matter whether prayer is on the street or in one’s room, whether it is short or long, whether it is in the litany of church prayer or in the sighs of those who do not know how they should pray, whether it is done by an individual or a community. The only thing that matters is knowing that your Father knows what you need. That is what directs our prayer solely to God. That liberates the disciples from false belief in works.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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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