Star Wars: An Old Hope Made New - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 18 – Purity 1074
Purity 1074 06/21/2023 Purity 1074 Podcast
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Today’s photo of what I believe to be the Jupiter Lighthouse shining bright over a mountain of trees comes to us from my sister-in-law, Katt who captured this scene while vacationing with friends in West Palm Beach Florida.
Well, It’s Wednesday and I don’t usually feature the creations of man with the photo of the day, as I only seek to give God glory, but I thought that Katt’s photo was a simultaneously a great visual representation of both “hump day” with that “mountain of trees and lighthouse peak, and the “light that shines in the darkness” that I hope to provide by leading another meeting of the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church this evening.
Yup, in selecting Wednesdays as the night the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group would meet, I joked what better day to “move mountains” than on hump day. While I knew that answering the call to lead a growth group that encourages its members to “go into recovery” or to decide to “trust God with the healing of your “hurts, habits, and hang ups” was going to have its ups and downs – its peaks and valleys – I was a little surprised at a few of the things that have happened thus far.
Okay. Now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1 is my life verse and I in no way want to sound negative regarding anything about my church or the group I was chosen to lead but I have to admit that my heart aches over the fact that some people have registered to be a part of our group but have still failed to attend a meeting.
I know what a big step it can be to go to “a recovery meeting, program, or growth group, or whatever you want to call it, and I in no way want to sound like I am chastising those who “signed up” but didn’t show up. I don’t know their stories; I don’t know what they are going through. Heck, I don’t even know if the people who haven’t shown up actually registered themselves – concerned loved ones could have just as easily taken their information and registered these people in a misguided attempt to “fix them.”
So I don’t know their story but each week, I pray for all the people on the “registered” list – for their well-being, their blessing, and for the Lord to help them. Whatever it is that caused their names to come before me, I pray for them. As the facilitator of the group, I also send out emails to remind everyone of the upcoming meeting and to share thanks and resources after the meeting.
Last week, in the email following the meeting – I wrote a P.S, - a postscript – advising all that received the email, that they could opt out at any time – but I also let them know that I would continue to send reminders, encouragements, and resources as long whether they choose to come to the group meetings or not.
I suppose some would just cut these “no shows” loose, but it literally “costs me nothing” to send out the emails and teachings and supplemental resources I send out and I figure that the people on my list may not be getting a whole lot of support, They may be in a very hard season right now and I have decided to keep sending the “good news” that there is hope for them and that the “door is always open” to walk through if they decide to join us.
Early on, with relatively a small showing for our group – considering the size of our congregation, I talked to my only male volunteer. Men’s discussion group leader, Scott Salvadore about our mission with this “Recovery/discipleship growth group” and how our “ministry” wasn’t about numbers – it was about hope. It was about encouragement, it was about Freedom, it was about victory, and about being a “light in the darkness” – to let other Christians who are struggling privately with “hurts, habits, and hang ups” know that overcoming is possible. I told Scott that I didn’t know how many people would step out in faith and come to our meetings, but I assured him that even if only one person showed up, we would be faithful to tell them of the life transforming power that Christ can work in their lives if they would trust in Him.
And that’s another surprise, Scott is truly called by the Lord to be a “light in the darkness” and a “leader of men”, for he is actively engaging with the people that surround him and encouraging them to follow the Lord. Scott has literally brought or invited almost all the men who have come into to our group!
God is working through Scott and all the people of our group and while I can’t say that surprises too much, I can say that I consider myself to be blessed to see it.
One of the things I encourage the group members to do each week is to practice appreciation to increase their capacity for joy. I encourage them to be thankful for what they have now. I have prompted them to anticipate good things in the future. And I have recommended that they consider and thank God for the love they have known and the good things that they experienced in their pasts.
And that brings us to our current series where I am walking through the 28 Day Joy Challenge, (https://4habits.org/) because we are encouraging ourselves and others, you, to “find peace” in our lives by increasing our capacity for joy and by building our emotional resilience through simple practices of quieting and appreciation.
The 28 Day Joy challenge is based on Dr. Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey’s latest book, The Four Habits of Joy-Filled People, and you can sign up to take it for free, and purchase a variety of books from Warner and Coursey on topic of Joy, by going to https://4habits.org/.
So let’s jump into Day 18, which will take us out to the movies!
Day 18 - Sharing the Joy
Welcome to Day 18 of the 28 Days to Joy Challenge!
It can be hard to change old habits and unwanted ways of thinking. We are grateful for your courage as you go on this journey toward a more joyful life! Have you noticed anything new in yourself this week?
Today’s Practice: Exercise 18
Today we practice feeling joy and sharing our joy with another person.
- How This Exercise Will Benefit You:
Sharing joy with another person that you are close to can deepen your bond and increase the joy in both of you.
- Exercise Steps:
Think about a favorite movie you watched with friends or family members. Reflect on what you enjoyed about this movie experience. Did you share the experience with others who were with you once the movie ended? Share your thoughts with a friend on why this movie experience was meaningful.
Have fun with this exercise. We pick up tomorrow with more joy practice!
As I peaked at the instructions for today’s practice yesterday and I considered the multitude of movies I have seen in my lifetime this morning before my exercise regimen, one movie from my childhood stood out as perhaps the most “relational” – as in I saw this film with family, and shared my joy over it with friends, and because it went on to have multiple sequels and prequels, the joy continued for years after.
In the summer of 1977, when I was 5 years old – Star Wars was released to theatres and became a mega block buster. For the time the special effects and action of this sci-fi classic captured the world’s attention and the imagination of virtually every kid in America. The story involving the force – the Millenium falcon, the death star, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker – R2D2 – C3PO – Han Solo – Obi Wan Kenobi – Princess Leia –Chewbacca blew our minds!
My family and I saw Star Wars more than once in theatres. I don’t know where I saw it first – hey I was five – but I distinctly remember seeing it at the now gone – singe screen – Hudson Studios – and the similarly gone – Sunset Drive-In – where Luke and Han made their final approach to destroy the Death Star in the rain!
I believe that My grandparents, Matt and Mabel, took my brothers and I to see Star Wars first at the Hudson Studios and sometime later my parents, Matt and Kathy took us all to see it at the drive in.
A whole of kids from the 70’s and 80’s shared the joy of the “Star Wars” experience as toys, clothing, and its many sequels and tv series based on Star Wars can attest. Our generation has gone on to share its joy with our kids and there seems to be no end in sight for Star Wars in our culture as our childhood joy gets passed on to those who have “never seen Star Wars!” – what!?!? – WHY?!?!?
Anyway, as I thought about seeing Star Wars with my family all those years ago this morning, I thought about how fortunate I was and am to have such a loving family. I was saddened to remember my grandparents – now deceased, my five year old self – no longer innocent, and the now defunct movie theatre and drive in – but I let the loss of those things go as I had real joy in those people, places, and things. They are all part of my story and how it eventually led to the Lord.
So yeah, philosophically we have to beware of what one book called the “Dhrama of Star Wars” and be sure to balance whatever entertainment we consume with a healthy dose of truth while we suspend our disbelief, but as I remembered Star Wars today I remembered how much my family, friends, and I shared our joy over this simple sci-fi tale of good conquering evil.
So what about you, what movie did you see recently or long ago that you found enough joy in to want to go out and share it with others? As we think about the movies that have entertained us, we invariably will remember the family or friends that enjoyed it with us, and we do ourselves well to remember the joy and the love we had to give us joy today!
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Romans 8:18 (NLT2)
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
Today’s verse tells is like it is – in this world there will be suffering – but it does not compare to the glory that will be reveal to us later – either when we go into eternity after our physical death or when Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign on the earth!
Talk about capturing our imaginations! I can’t EVEN wait to see what God’s kingdom will be like. The pictures of God’s throne room in Revelation tell us that people are gathered and singing praises to the Lord! The implications of what scripture tells us about the - future that is Jesus will come to earth and rule for 1,000 years BEFORE – Satan is thrown into the lake of fire and God creates a new heaven and earth!!
Forget about Star Wars, I want to produce a movie or a series about Jesus’s Christ coming to earth and establishing His 1,000 year kingdom. You think some politician is going to save us? Think again! Jesus is coming back someday and when that happens all bets are off as God will establish life on earth as He intended it to be.
As shocking as it may sound, scripture also indicates that even after Jesus comes back – there will be those who reject him and join Satan’s forces for one last battle before “it’s all been said and done”.
Of course, there is no end – God is infinite and one day those who are in His kingdom will experience the joy of an existence without tears, pain, sin, or death. O, the glory set before us!
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 The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit
9 -The Work of the Spirit
Objections to Total Depravity Proved False
Against what has been said above it may be objected that no such hatred of God as we have affirmed exists in the hearts of the great majority of our fellow-creatures—that while there may be a few degenerates, who have sold themselves to the Devil and are thoroughly hardened in sin, yet the remainder of mankind are friendly disposed to God, as is evident by the countless millions who have some form or other of religion. To such an objector we reply, The fact is, dear friend, that those to whom you refer are almost entirely ignorant of the God of Scripture: they have heard that He loves everybody, is benevolently inclined toward all His creatures, and is so easy-going that in return for their religious performances will wink at their sins. Of course, they have no hatred for such a “god” as this! But tell them something of the character of the true God: that He hates “all the workers of iniquity” (Ps. 5:5), that He is inexorably just and ineffably holy, that He is an uncontrollable Sovereign, who “hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth” (Rom. 9:18), and their enmity against Him will soon be manifested—an enmity which none but the Holy Spirit can overcome.
It may be objected again that so far from the gloomy picture which we have sketched above being accurate, the great majority of people do desire to be saved (from having to suffer a penalty for their sin), and they make more or less endeavor after their salvation. This is readily granted. There is in every human heart a desire for deliverance from misery and a longing after happiness and security, and those who come under the sound of God’s Word are naturally disposed to be delivered from the wrath to come and wish to be assured that Heaven will be their eternal dwelling-place—who wants to endure the everlasting burnings? But that desire and disposition is quite compatible and consistent with the greatest love to sin and most entire opposition of heart to that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). But what the objector here refers to is a vastly different thing from desiring Heaven upon God’s terms, and being willing to tread the only path which leads there!
The instinct of self-preservation is sufficiently strong to move multitudes to undertake many performances and penances in the hope that thereby they shall escape Hell. The stronger men’s belief of the truth of Divine revelation, the more firmly they become convinced that there is a Day of Judgment, when they must appear before their Maker, and render an account of all their desires, thoughts, words and deeds, the most serious and sober will be their minds. Let conscience convict them of their misspent lives, and they are ready to turn over a new leaf; let them be persuaded that Christ stands ready as a Fire-escape and is willing to rescue them, though the world still claims their hearts, and thousands are ready to “believe in Him.” Yes, this is done by multitudes who still hate the true character of the Savior, and reject with all their hearts the salvation which He has. Far, far different is this from an unregenerate person longing for deliverance from self and sin, and the impartation of that holiness which Christ purchased for His people.
All around us are those willing to receive Christ as their Savior, who are altogether unwilling to surrender to Him as their Lord. They would like His peace, but they refuse His “yoke,” without which His peace cannot be found (Matthew 11:29). They admire His promises, but have no heart for His precepts. They will rest upon His priestly work, but will not be subject to His kingly scepter. They will believe in a “Christ” who is suited to their own corrupt tastes or sentimental dreams, but they despise and reject the Christ of God. Like the multitudes of old, they want His loaves and fishes, but for His heart-searching, flesh-withering, sin-condemning teaching, they have no appetite. They approve of Him as the Healer of their bodies, but as the Healer of their depraved souls they desire Him not. And nothing but the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit, can change this bias and bent in any soul.
It is just because modern Christendom has such an inadequate estimate of the fearful and universal effects which the Fall has wrought, that the imperative need for the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is now so little realized. It is because such false conceptions of human depravity so widely prevail that, in most places, it is supposed all which is needed to save half of the community is to hire some popular evangelist and attractive singer. And the reason why so few are aware of the awful depths of human depravity, the terrible enmity of the carnal mind against God and the heart’s inbred and inveterate hatred of Him, is because His character is now so rarely declared from the pulpit. If the preachers would deliver the same type of messages as did Jeremiah in his degenerate age, or even as John the Baptist did, they would soon discover how their hearers were really affected toward God; and then they would perceive that unless the power of the Spirit attended their preaching they might as well be silent.
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For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge
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