Fields of Gold - The Art of Life and the Hope of Heaven - Purity 791
Purity 791 07/23/2022 Purity 791 Podcast
Today’s photo of a painting of a child walking through almost colorless waves of grain while adoring the light of the heavens that illuminates just the tops of the wheat comes to us from Dave Baun Photography who captured this scene back on July 13th while traveling through Kimba in South Australia. Dave shared this photo on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) with the following comments: “Today’s images are of the silo art at Kimba. We were rolling into town just before sunset so the golden hour light and the colour of the sky really made this one a keeper. I love how these little “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of towns have these beautiful paintings on the silos.”
Me too, Dave. I love the fact that someone had the vision and artistic ability to transform what could have just been something common, ignored, and missed while driving through a small town and made it a thing of beauty that speaks of the simple beauty of life in their rural community.
I spend my weekends at my countryside home in rural Easton NY and I although I was born in raised in a small city-town, I am continually surprised how I have found peace with “Country living”. I thoroughly enjoy my short walks with the dog where I can enjoy the beauty of the fields, the quiet, and the big sky that covers it all. I love it.
I also love how that through social media I can have friends that I have never met in person from all around the world and how they expand my vision to see things I simply would never see. Although one would think that these Facebook friends are more like acquaintances, I know that they are actually my brothers and sisters in Christ and that although we are separated by vast distances we have been introduced to one another because we all have the love of art, nature, and the Lord Jesus in common.
Just yesterday my friend in the UK, Philip Hand spontaneously shared the following Bible verse and original poem with me, and so I share it with you:
Matthew 5:4 (KJV)
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
“When the touch of love’s sweet tender hand gently slips away.
When the bittersweetness in my heart is pulled apart again.
The wonder of you as I remember helps me face another day.
The tender kiss of time will wash away the pain.
Till heaven gently beckons and angels call my name.
I know the touch of love’s sweet tender hand will gently guide me home.
Cherishing the tender memories.
I will dance and sing in love forever more before God’s throne…”
Philip is mourning the loss of his beloved grandad who after 93 years on this earth “went to heaven to be with his wife”. Philip’s grandparents had been married nearly 70 years when his grandmother passed in September of 2020 and now Philip’s grandfather has joined her, having gone into eternity earlier this month. Philip is assured of their destination and reunion in eternity because they were “the most amazing beautiful Christian people” Philip has ever known and have been a blessing to Philip his whole life. So while Philip is still feeling the pain of the loss, he is comforted because of the memories of the love he experienced from his grandparents and because he knows that his loved ones have eternal life because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
As I considered, Dave’s photography and Philip’s testimony and poem, I thought of Sting’s song: Fields of Gold and the sweeping beauty of the images and feelings that the lyrics “paint” of a couple’s love for one another among the fields of gold and how it endured through the years. The song concludes, saying:
“Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold…” (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sting/fieldsofgold.html) )
I am sharing a link of the song on YouTube if you want to check it out (https://youtu.be/-jMAIuqnFEI)
I always thought that song was beautiful but how it was also sort of winsome and sad, because it was incomplete. It tells a beautiful story of love between a man and a woman “among the fields of barley” that endured through the years but it sort of indicates that the lovers who “walked in fields of gold” have been separated as the “west wind moves”, leaving one alone to “remember” the other and the days when they walked through fields of gold.
But as Philip’s testimony indicates, the love story doesn’t have to end. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we have eternal life and although death may temporary separate us we can rejoice as we walk on streets of gold in God’s future kingdom, as Revelation 21:21 assures us.
But you have to follow the One who will bring you there. You have to follow Him alone. You have to follow Jesus Christ, the One who said:
44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Jesus came to earth to show us that He was the only way to God the Father. He is the only way to have peace with God and to be adopted into His eternal kingdom.
As we walk through the fields of gold on this earth, the seasons change, we age, and one day our life will be called into eternity and only the ones who have found Christ will have life with God for all eternity.
Christ has shown us that He is the treasure hidden in a field. It is only Christ that can give us an abiding peace on earth and an entrance in the kingdom of heaven.
The question: is will you surrender everything you have to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to experience it?
Through the word of God, my life experiences on this path of Christian Discipleship with the manifest presence of the Lord, and from the testimony of other Christians through out the ages and who are still alive today, I know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that truth has set me free and given me the assurance of my place in eternity with God.
So enjoy your walk through the fields of gold and all the beauty that surrounds us on this earth, but put your faith in Christ, and in Him alone, to have the assurance that your journey through life will have a meaning, a purpose, and a glorious final destination.
So start, or keep walking and talking with God, study His word and pray to get to know Him more and to be transformed into a person of peace that has the hope of heaven and the words that lead to eternal life in your mind, heart, and soul that will point others to the treasure that is Christ alone.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
Today’s verses are Christ’s instructions to His apostles and His promise of the Holy Spirit to all who submit to His Lordship and obey.
The Advocate spoken about here, of course, is the Holy Spirit. Although the third person of the godhead -the trinity – and who thus has the attribute of God’s omnipresence, The Holy Spirit is somehow present everywhere but somehow also takes up residence in everyone who makes Jesus their Lord and Savior!
Before the work of Christ on the cross, the Holy Spirit only came upon select individuals to empower them for God’s special purposes. But after the power of sin and death was broken by Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross, and after He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in heaven, The Holy Spirit has been given to empower every person who obeys God’s call to repent and to put their faith in Christ.
Jesus’s instructions are clear “If you love me, obey my commandments”: Not anybody else’s commandments or philosophies of life, His commandments, His way.
As the only person who ever lived who never sinned, Christ is our example. He was encouraging His disciples to live the way He lived.
That may seem to be a tall order…
But the fantastic news is that, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have all been empowered to be able to follow Christ’s example. When we “abide in Christ” through continuous communication, worship, and service to the kingdom of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk and live the Christian life.
So show your love for Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to obey His commandments. Christ’s burden is light and because the Holy Spirit is with us forever it is a burden we can bear.
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 Threefold Nature of Evil Influence
In this book the focus on the theme of principalities and powers could lead one to believe Paul gave a demonological root to all evil. That is not the case. Paul’s view of the nature of evil influence on people is very balanced.
In Ephesians 2:1–3, Paul describes sinful behavior as stemming from three compelling influences—to be seen as three strands combining to make one sturdy cable. This cable tightly binds unbelievers, keeping them in slavery to the kingdom of darkness. It may be helpful to depict these three sources of evil influence graphically:
1. The World:
“the ways of this world”
2. The Devil:
“the ruler of the kingdom of the air” “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”
3. The Flesh:
“the cravings of our sinful nature … its desires and thoughts”
In simplest terms we might categorize these influences as “the world, the devil and the flesh.” We need, however, to take a closer look at what Paul specifically said.
In this passage Paul was disclosing the nature of his readers’ lives before they turned to Christ. Here a set of overriding principles help us to understand how Paul perceived evil as influencing the lives of people in general, Christians or non-Christians. Christians will still need to contend with the same sources of evil influence, but Christians have a new means of overcoming these influences through the power of Christ. Those who are not believers, being apart from Christ, are enslaved to these influences, not having the power or ability to escape.
When he spoke of “the ways of this world,” Paul was thinking of the powerful influence of societal attitudes, habits and preferences that are at odds with God’s standard of holiness. Literally, the text indicts the character of “the age of this world.” There is a stark contrast between the character of “this age” and “the age to come.” John R. W. Stott aptly describes the character of “the age of this world”:
Both words “age” and “world” express a whole social value-system which is alien to God. It permeates, indeed dominates, non-Christian society and holds people in captivity. Wherever human beings are being dehumanized—by political oppression or bureaucratic tyranny, by an outlook that is secular (repudiating God), amoral (repudiating absolutes) or materialistic (glorifying the consumer market), by poverty, hunger or unemployment, by racial discrimination, or by any form of injustice—there we can detect the subhuman values of “this age” and “this world.”
This influence begins at birth with values that are passed on from the parents and extended family. It is reinforced all throughout life, both formally and informally, through the educational system and the media as well as through peer pressure. It continues to be transmitted through patterns of thinking, traditions, customs and even institutions. This is not to say everything in society is evil. But there is much in society that leads away from God.
“The ruler of the kingdom of the air,” the second evil influence Paul delineated, is a powerful supernatural being in charge of a whole host of evil spirits often thought by the ancients to reside in the air. This ruler is more precisely a “spirit,” and Paul portrayed his method as very immediate and direct: “He is now at work in [or among] those who are disobedient.” It would be inaccurate to say all who disobey God are “possessed” by an evil spirit. Yet Paul was clear that this evil agent and his emissaries exert a very close and personal kind of influence over individuals. This spirit exerts a powerful, compelling influence, although many English translations miss this description. When Paul said the ruler is “at work in,” he used a word that was part of his vocabulary of power and could be translated, “The spirit who is now powerfully at work in …” The GNB translates the phrase, “the spirit who now controls the people.” Notice that Paul emphasizes here the work of the evil spirit in people as opposed to institutions.
The final evil influence that Paul drew attention to is what he termed “the flesh.” This is Paul’s favorite expression to convey the inner drive of people to act in ways deviant to the standard of God’s righteousness. It points not only to the inner motivating force behind actions that are associated with the body, such as sexual sin, but also to aspects of the thought life as well, such as envy and anger. This inner impulse to do evil is set in contrast to the new impulse to live with moral integrity provided by God’s gift of the Holy Spirit (see Gal 5:19–23).
Paul, therefore, presented the true character of evil influence in all three of its manifestations. The source of evil tendencies is both internal and external to people as well as supernatural. Individuals possess an internal inclination toward evil, and their environment (peers, media, societal norms, and so forth) also strongly influences them. Such a perspective linking the categories of “the world, the flesh and the devil” was also integral to the thought of James (see Jas 3:15) and John (1 Jn 2:15–17; 3:7–10) and, presumably, common in the early church.
Paul’s teaching suggests that the explanation for our behavior is not to be found exclusively in human nature or in terms of the world’s influence. Similarly, an exclusively demonic explanation for deviant behavior is unduly myopic. Rather, we should explain behavior on the basis of human nature, environment and the demonic—all three simultaneously. One part may play a leading role, but all three parts need to be considered. Paul’s theology at this point has significant implications for those involved in counseling ministries. Yet we also need to see it as extremely relevant for our church life.
The demonic side receives the strongest emphasis in Ephesians and Colossians, while the flesh is more prominent in Romans and Galatians. The general situations of the readers of each book may have something to do with their particular emphases. If the readers of Ephesians and Colossians tended to need help in dealing with their past involvement in occultic practices, this fact would explain why the demonic side is stressed more strongly in those two letters.
In the final analysis, however, Paul regarded Satan as the chief opponent of Christ and his kingdom. The demonic explanation for evil behavior needs to be seen as the thread that ties together all the evil influences. In practice Satan exploits the depraved tendencies of the flesh and exercises a measure of control over all levels of a social order.
Through the cross of Christ Christians gain their freedom from these compelling and enslaving influences. His death and resurrection resulted in the “age to come,” breaking into the present age. Believers now share already in many of the blessings and resources of the age to come. Through the cross of Christ our flesh was crucified, and we can live under the guiding and enabling impulses of the Holy Spirit. Finally the cross of Christ marked a decisive victory by God over the powers of evil. Through union with Christ believers can resist Satan and be victorious over his kingdom.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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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), 123–126.