Surrendered to the Moment - Here I am to Worship - Purity 773
Purity 773 7/2/2022 Purity 773 Podcast
Today’s photo of twilight over the crowd gather at the River Rock Christian Music Festival at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry Maine comes to us from yours truly as I paused for a moment to capture the beauty of God’s creation as I made my way back to my spot amongst “my people”, to the right of the sound tent pictured here.
Jean Paul Satre, in His play No Exit, is famous for the line “Hell is Other People” and when we first set up our lawn chairs on the grounds of Sunday River, my mild social anxiety had the fear that Satre’s quote would have some real life application as I am not crazy about crowds and the people there seemed a little bit different from me. There are some vendors at the event selling quasi patriotic and political wears in various shades of camouflage and I started to fear that I had found myself at a “Make America Great Again Rally”. That coupled with seeing that several members of the crowd were tattooed, and adorned with camouflage or “biker gear” had me a little concerned that I wouldn’t “fit in” as I don’t think of myself as an extremest politically and don’t have any affinity for camo, leather, hunting, fishing, or motorcycles per se, not that there’s anything wrong with that….
But as I sat awaiting the worship to start it didn’t take me long to realize that the event I was at was unlike any event I have ever been to before. As I took a closer look at the crowd I realized two things: 1. This crowd was old and 2. No matter what style of dress they had or what political stances they held as I far as I could tell all these people were my family as we all had the same adoptive Heavenly Father and had been brought together in His family and at this Christian worship event by His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As different as the others members of my “family” seemed to me at first, I realized that the vast majority of the people at this event had a real heart for God and a deep love of Jesus, and they weren’t shy about it as a good deal openly proclaimed Jesus as Lord with their words, with their actions, and with their praises as well as with the clothes they wore that reflected their allegiance to King Jesus.
As my apprehensions were fading but still present in those early moments of the festival, they completely dissolved when the first musicians began to lead the crowd in worship. Ntumba Mutumbo, a worship leader from a church in Washington State that originally hails from the Congo began the festivities and my spirit immediately went into worship mode.
So, can you “really” worship the Lord at one of these big events?
Well if you have been walking with the Lord like I have you know that you can worship the Lord literally anywhere and in several different ways. Whether it is seated, standing laying down, shouting at the top of your lungs, singing, or silently because we are connected to God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit our worship to the Lord isn’t really a matter of what you do it is really dependent on where your heart is and what His Spirit is doing in you.
When the worship start, my spirit or the Holy Spirit, even after all these years I’m not completely sure how it works but it is definitely a cooperative effort of sorts, - Our spirit told me that this was the real deal – as always – God was here. When I felt that in my spirit, I remembered Moses at the burning bush in scripture, and took my socks and shoes off because I was on holy ground.
Through out the day, I found myself alternating between worshiping from my seat, standing with my arms raised high in song, and sitting on our blanket on the ground our in a meditative posture or in my chair silently praising the Lord in prayer.
Although I was there with my wife and stepkids, I was completely surrendered to the day of worship and was enjoying the Lord’s presence on this mountainside location where His people had gathered to give Him thanks and praise.
While all the musicians were excellent yesterday, Highlights for day one for me included:
· Dave Pettigrew (https://www.davepettigrew.net/) whose performance and testimony caused me “the non-materialist” to go to his “merch” table and purchase a couple of his T-shirts and follow Him on Amazon Music,
· Bigg Daddy Weave, who closed the show and whose song’s “Redeemed” and “My Story” are near and dear to me because I performed them back in my Celebrate Freedom Recovery ministry days, and
· Jon Reddick – who presence of praise – brought me to run to the front stage as His soulful performance of his Christian hit, “God, Turn It Around” and some old gospel hymns brought me to the heights of praise and worship as the Holy Spirit came over me. I’m not sure why there was only a handful of people moved to go up front when he performed, but Jon Reddick “took me to church” and although I simply loved his hit song, I am a colossal fan of Mr. Reddick now.
So I had my worries and trepidations about whether or not I could “do” a Christian Music Festival and really wondered about my wife’s insistence that we go, and who is already lobbying for a return visit next year, but now I see that these events present us with an uncommon opportunity to enjoy the presence of the Lord in a way that simply isn’t available to us in our 9-5 – status quo routines. With this Christian Festival that goes from 12 noon to 10pm at night, for two days, there is the opportunity to show the Lord that we love Him and to hear other Christians share what He has done in their lives and we loudly or silently give Him thanks and praise for what He has done in ours:
IF you are interested, tickets are still available for Day 2 of the River Rock Music Festival and the schedule of events includes:
So if you are even within a 3 hours radius of Newry Maine, I invite you get motivated and jump in the car and come on out and worship with us at the River Rock Music Festival at Sunday River Resort in Newry Maine. (https://riverrockfestival.com/)
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
Today’s Bible verse speaks about the battleground of our thought lives and how those who are “dominated by the sinful nature” (the flesh) think about sinful things, but those who are “controlled by the Holy Spirit” only think about things that please the Spirit.
Hey guys I love the simplicity of the NLT to help Christians read the Bible with a user friendly translation that is good for our youth, but I am not a fan of this rendering of Romans 8:5 which says in the NKJV:
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
I think the NLT tries to make this “spiritual verse” easier to understand but in their attempt they simultaneously present the truth of the verse but do it in a way that can easily be misconstrued and develop an error in our thinking theologically.
Their use of “controlled by the Holy Spirit” is the easiest place to start to explain what I mean. I wish I was controlled by the Spirit! Then I would just do what God says without question and be free of the choice to sin.
Also I have an even larger problem with the use of “dominated by the sinful nature” to describe people who “live according to the flesh”.
Being “dominated by the sinful nature” and “being controlled by the Holy Spirit” sound like “possession” terms that we have no “control” over. While we do either “belong” to God’s kingdom because of our faith in Jesus Christ, or are lost and are in the company of Satan, demons, and other unrepentant men and women, we paradoxically still have the right to choose how we live.
A life that is lived to demonstrate that we are “controlled by the Holy Spirit” is better described as living according to the Spirit, because in that life, we choose to live according to the wisdom of God’s word and by the leadings of the Holy Spirit. But we do have a choice.
And as for the “sinful nature”, as children of God through faith in Jesus Christ – our sinful nature was crucified on the cross the moment we said “Yes” to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. “It is finished” but we paradoxically can still choose to live a sinful life. But unlike those who don’;t place their faith in Christ, the Christian has the power to say no and overcome their sins when they trust what the Lord has said about their new life in Christ and live according to it.
“I am free in Christ, thus I live free. I don’t sin like I used to do. Instead I turn from my old ways, and start living according to God’s ways and according to my new nature, as a child of God.
We don’t have two natures. We are either a born again saint through faith in Christ or we are dead in our trespasses and sins. A sinner’s nature belongs to those who don’t come to Christ. A saints nature is given to those who come to Christ. The difference is between life and death.
But as for our choice of action, we are still free to choose our daily path.
Even the unredeemed, sinners who without Christ will go to Hell, can choose to do good things from time to time or even make a lifestyle of doing good, but when they refuse Christ they seal their doom.
Likewise, a saint – a follower of Christ – can still choose to sin but, if my experience is common, I can tell you the enjoyment of sin will not be the same anymore as it will be against our “new nature” and disrupt the harmony of our relationship with God.
Who said faith was simple?
So, we don’t have two natures, we have a new life – a new life in Christ – but we can choose among various ways of living according the flesh or choose to live according to the Spirit.
The way we choose to live will be indicated by what we think about. If you are scheming and plotting on how to satisfy the desires of the flesh or are preoccupied with the things of this world you are living according the flesh, our your old and dead sinful nature. If you are thinking about how to live out your faith and are interested in the things of God you are living according to the Spirit.
So keep an eye on your thoughts and change the way you think to be in line with God’s word and you will experience that when you do the peace, love, and joy that you always wanted grows in your life when you walk in the 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 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 Teaching of Jesus
Traveling on a long, dusty road to damascus, syria, paul of tarsus met a person who forever changed the course of his life—he encountered the resurrected Lord of the Christians whom he was persecuting. Jesus Christ appeared to Paul and called him to proclaim his death and resurrection to the Gentiles. The person and teaching of Jesus was to become the single most influential factor in the thinking and writing of Paul.
Jesus was by no means silent about the realm of evil spirits. In fact, Jesus’ conflict with the powers of darkness is a major theme in all of the Gospel accounts of his ministry. After the ruler of demons had tempted him, he went on the attack engaging many of the forces of evil. He also reflected on the meaning of his mission and passion in relationship to the devil and the powers of darkness. Jesus’ teaching about evil powers had great influence on the apostle Paul, and therefore, it is very important for us to consider.
Jesus Is Attacked—The Temptation
Satan made his first appearance in all three synoptic Gospels as the supernatural tempter of Jesus (Mt 4:1–11; Mk 1:12–13; Lk 4:1–13). Recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, the devil came and made a bold attempt to divert Jesus from his divinely intended redemptive mission.
The attacks apparently did not take Jesus by surprise nor were they outside the design of God’s sovereign leading. Each Gospel tells us it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness. There, as Jesus fasted for an extremely long period of time, the devil tried to take advantage of his weak physical condition to entice him to behave in a way contrary to God’s plan. He tested Jesus’ devotion to his Messianic call.
First, the devil tempted Jesus where he was extremely vulnerable—hunger. He wanted Jesus to use his divine powers to satisfy his hunger; he did not want Jesus to wait until after his fast to obtain food through normal means. Jesus repulsed the attack by citing a passage from the Old Testament, which reflected his devotion to life’s more important matters: “Man does not live on bread alone” (Deut 8:3). In his experience of hunger, Jesus realized that God was teaching him this important lesson.
Second, the devil tested Jesus on whether or not he was susceptible to pride and had a potential thirst for power—ultimately, testing his loyalty to the Father. Showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, the devil offered them to Jesus in return for his obeisance and worship. Again and again the nation of Israel had succumbed to this temptation, forsaking God and worshiping foreign gods. Jesus, in contrast, resisted the devil’s temptation. He revealed to Satan his intense devotion to God alone by citing a portion from the Law: “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only” (Deut 6:13).
Finally, the tempter tried to compel Jesus to test God’s devotion to him, perhaps to silence any lingering doubts, by challenging Jesus to jump from a high elevation and thus force God to rescue him. As part of his strategy, the devil even reminded Jesus of a divine promise that he would never be harmed. Jesus, so in tune with God’s written revelation of his will, resisted (now for the last time) by expressing his desire not to put God to the test. Jesus verbalized the content of God’s command, recorded in Deuteronomy 6:16: “Do not test the Lord your God.” As Richard France observes, “the Son of God can only live in a relationship of trust which needs no test”3
Failing both to influence Jesus at this time and thwart God’s purpose through him, the devil leaves Jesus. Jesus is victorious over the devil. This is one of the reasons Jesus could later tell his disciples that “the prince of this world … has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (Jn 14:30).
The use of Scripture was the vital part of Jesus’ successful resistance of the devil’s enticements. In fact, Jesus’ only words recorded by the Gospel writers in their recounting of the temptation scenes are Jesus’ quotation of the three passages from Deuteronomy. As we will see later, Paul also counseled Christians about the significant role of God’s Word (“the sword of the Spirit”) in resisting the devil (Eph 6:17). It is important, however, to recognize that Jesus was not using the Scripture in some magical sense, like holding up a crucifix, to ward off the evil one. The Scripture Jesus chose was not only appropriate to the nature of the temptation, but each passage also accurately reflected the Son’s devotion to the Father. The texts convey the unity of purpose that the Son shared with the Father.
A second aspect of Jesus’ victory in facing supernatural temptation can be attributed to the Spirit’s work in his life. Luke emphasizes that when Jesus went out to the desert, he was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Lk 4:1). The temptation scenes also follow Jesus’ baptism by John, at which time the Spirit descended on him in a visible form like a dove (Mk 1:9–11; Mt 3:13–17; Lk 3:21–22; Jn 1:29–34). Paul also reaffirms the experience of being filled with the Spirit as prerequisite to resisting the onslaught of evil forces (Eph 5:18; 6:10–20).
The temptation of Jesus by the devil was intensely personal. No other person stood by his side as he experienced the wooing of the evil one in the Judean desert. Were it not for Jesus relating his experience with the devil to his disciples, we would have no knowledge of it. Fortunately Jesus has provided us with an account of his struggle, an account that influenced the apostle Paul’s words on spiritual warfare and serves as a relevant model for the church today.
Unlike the people of Israel, who were put to the test in the desert after the exodus and failed, Jesus succeeded. Unlike Adam, who gave in to the devil’s enticement in the garden, Jesus resisted. He continued to resist to the point of his death—a death that secured our atonement and reconciliation with the Father.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 75–77.