FRIDAY NIGHT!!! Let’s Go Get IT! Let’s Pray! - Purity 808
Purity 808 08/12/2022 Purity 808 Podcast
Today’s photo of the silhouette of pine trees at twilight time comes to us from a friend who has a much better camera than my I-phone and who captured this magical scene at Harrier Hill Park in Hudson NY back on July 31st.
Well it’s Friday again and while I always thank the Lord for the mercies of a new day and the end of the work week, this morning’s photo reminds me of the sense of freedom and exhilaration that I used to experience over the prospect of FRIDAY NIGHT!!!
Back before I knew the peace and joy of the Lord, freedom was defined as “doing what ever I want” and happiness was heavily dependent on the circumstances of the moment and because my happiness was subject to the situations I encountered the anticipation of a “good time” on Friday night was often better than the actual experiences on Friday night.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the times were “good”, when the elements of my friends, the laughter, the music, the thrill of the hunt for romance, and chemically induced euphoria would all come together and the happiness was such that we never wanted the party to stop and we wished for those wild nights would never end!
But you know what, they did end and for all those “good times” in my youth of high school and college where all seemed right with the world of my friends, booze, drugs, and the connections of ‘free love”, there was also a whole lot of trouble and for every “magical moment” there were plenty of times of loneliness, strife, and conflict that resulted in arrest, fights, anger, and broken relationships.
Friendships and relationships that were centered around substances and common interests and geography were often exposed as the shallow things they were or were lost when people eventually decided that the trouble of those wild nights wasn;t as much fun as it used to be.
One of the guys I knew back when I did recovery ministry shared an insight about our youth that I thought was revealing. He said that in the beginning of our youth we would get together around some hobby: fishing, motocycles, sports, or whatever, some activity and then we would introduce alcohol or drugs while we did those things and he realized later that eventually that somewhere down the road, it no longer was about the activity anymore and often the activity would stop all together, as it increasingly became more and more about the booze or the drugs.
That was really true for me. I started going out with my friends at night to parties because I wanted connection. I wanted the acceptance of my peers. I wanted friends. I wanted romance. I wanted a girlfriend.
I was a shy introvert and I discovered that alcohol took the edge off. I could relax and talk to people more freely than I ever did sober but ironically just like my friends insight about how it stopped being about the “thing” the activity that people did, for me it eventually stopped being about “making connections” as it became more and more about “feeling good” by getting drunk or high. The feeling became more important than the people and they just became a means to an end or obstacles that got in the way of a good time.
What started as a search for love connection turned into a selfish pursuit of satisfying my lusts and using and isolating myself from others. That was my broken idea of freedom, “do what ever I want” and screw everybody else. Getting what I want made gave me temporary satisfaction and fed the idea that I was the “captain of my ship” and was truly free.
But it was a lie, I was in bondage to my selfish desires and all the circumstances, all the hoops I had to jump through, to satisfy them.
But thankfully, after literally decades of “doing what I want!”, some very bad things happened to me and caused me to search for a meaning to this life that went beyond just satisfying my flesh.
I wish I could say that all my searching led me to God and my faith in Jesus Christ, but just like my wild days, in my spiritual pursuits, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.
I think my searching was an important part of my journey but I was saved a “chance” encounter with a gospel radio message that I intended to mock when I stopped to listen to it. But instead, on FRIDAY! March 19th, 2010, I heard the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and said the prayer that made Him the Savior of my life.
And since then I increasingly made Him the Lord of my life and He walked with me and pulled me out of the darkness of my former life and through many broken situations and relationships since them to the point that Christ has become not only My Lord and Savior, He has become my life itself.
In contemplating all the roads we have walked together and all the trials and tribulations we have endured together, I have a deep fierce loyal love for the Lord.
What the word of God says is true. All of it. But biggest truth about God that means the most to me is that He will never leave or forsake us. In those years since saying the prayer that gave me a new life, He has been loyal, true, caring, and present.
So the search for love and connection that started in my youth, has been fulfilled in Christ. I know the love of God and as far as I am concerned I have no choice, it’s the appropriate response, but to praise His name forever and ever and encourage others to trust in Him, put their faith in Him, and to follow Him.
Last night my Zoom Men’s Discipleship group finished the last lesson of “The Grace Course” and the only thing left to do is go through The Steps to Experiencing God’s Grace”, which like the Steps to Freedom in Christ is a process of repentance, a series of prayers, declarations, and renunciations that are designed to give us an encounter with the Lord where we can resolve our personal and spiritual conflicts to gain our Freedom in Christ, or in this case to experience God’s grace.
So today, I have some of that FRIDAY NIGHT!!! excitement again.
But tonight I won’t be looking to “GO GET IT!”
I guess “IT” was a “good time” and as I have indicated, we didn’t always find “IT”.
Neither will I be looking to “Rock n’ Roll!” I used to scream from time to time at parties. But the music always stopped.
No, today, I am looking forward to Friday Night! because I am going to pray through the Steps to Experiencing God’s Grace”. I have never done them before and look forward to being “real” with God and have the joy of anticipation of knowing that the Lord will use the process and my prayers to give me rest, to give me another experience of His grace as I lay my burdens down and surrender more of my life to Him.
So as you walk through Friday and into the night, keep walking and talking with God. Man’s sense of freedom is usually childish and short sighted but when you come to know the freedom from sin and death that comes from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you will experience a peace and a joy that goes far beyond even the best of times in your youth. Who knew freedom comes from surrender or that I would ever look forward to a prayer session on Friday night!
But God makes all things new and if you follow where He leads He will give you a whole lot of new experiences to show you what living and freedom are all about. He will give your life the love, the meaning, and purpose that you always were looking for.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Revelation 1:8 (NKJV)
8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Today’s verse are the words of Christ, who reminds us that He is God. He has always been and always will be, and He will come again.
Our Christian faith isn’t a philosophy of life or instructions for living. Our faith is a relationship with the self-existent God of all creation who paradoxically is One but exists in the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
If you let that sink in, you might spend a lot of times saying “WOW” or falling on your knees praising the Lord. This is BIG guys. It is almost too much to bear, to understand, just too much, O LORD.
How can this be? That out of the vast multitudes of people through the world and through out the ages, you would choose me to be apart of your kingdom?
Christ is the beginning and the End and He is coming back. Everything we know about life and our existence in this universe will be dramatically changed when He comes to reclaim the world that has been broken by sin and He makes a new heaven and a new earth.
And we get to be in that “number, when the saints come marching in?”
Our simple faith is going somewhere that we can simply not even fathom. But while we struggle to contemplate the ultimate meaning of our lives in Christ, we can rest because we are His and He will work all things together for good as He takes us from here to eternity.
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.
12 Christ’s Final Defeat of the Powers
Paul gave christians a reason for hope in the future. god is moving history to a climax that will result in the eternal and absolute reign of his glorious son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is “the blessed hope,” which believers await (Tit 2:13).
People living in the first century were gripped with great fear of the hostile supernatural powers that controlled the unfolding of history and their own personal destiny. Hans Dieter Betz gives a clear expression of the prevalent world view:
The common understanding was that man is hopelessly and helplessly engulfed and oppressed by these forces [i.e., powerful demonic entities]. They play capricious games with man from the time of his entering into the world until his departure. While working inside of man, they make up the body, yet they also encounter him from the outside, in that he has terrible and traumatic experiences of whatever “Fate” (Tyche) has in store. Under such conditions life is not life at all but a daily death.
In order to cope with day-to-day life, Betz observes that “in many ancient cults, cultic measures were developed in order to soothe and pacify the demonic forces. These included prayers, rituals, sacrifices, astrology, magic, and theurgy.” In part one of this book much of it has been discussed.
Standing in stark contrast to their non-Christian neighbors, the early Christians had no reason to fear the malignant powers. They were united to the one true Lord, who had defeated all of the hostile forces by his death and resurrection. They realized that their future was wrapped up in the one who is bringing this age, filled with every form of evil, to an end. All of the powers of darkness will be abolished. The early Christians could therefore be a joyous people, full of hope, thankful to God the Father who had chosen them to be his own people before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:3).
Ongoing Hostility and One Final Rebellion
Throughout his letters, Paul strived to prepare his readers for a long period of conflict with Satan and the forces of darkness (especially in Eph 6:10–20). In the midst of all the struggles and battles Paul held out a significant promise: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). Paul here has in mind God’s curse of the serpent given in Genesis 3:15: “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This passage was present in contemporary Jewish Messianic expectation as illustrated by the Testament of Levi 6:5–6: “The Lord God is the mighty one of Israel, appearing on earth as a man and saving Adam through him. Then all the spirits of deceit will be given to be trodden under foot and men will rule over the evil spirits.” For Paul it was the Lord Jesus Christ who would accomplish this task. Satan and all of his powers will be devastated at the Second Coming of Christ.
Paul made it clear that an intensification of satanic activity will precede Christ’s return (2 Thess 2:1–12). He spoke of a widespread rebellion against God, spearheaded by a major evil figure he called “the lawless one.” Satan himself will infuse this person with supernatural power, and he will be capable of performing all kinds of signs and wonders (1 Thess 2:9; see also Rev 13:2). The major thrust of his activity will be deception: He will claim to be superior to the one true God and every deity whom people worship in their various pagan religions. He will seek to have all people worship him, turning their attention from the true God. During this time, God will even permit evil spirits of deception to delude non-Christians and confirm them in their belief in the “lawless one’s” great deceit (2 Thess 2:11). This “antichrist’s” coming on the scene will in many ways intentionally parallel the manner of Christ’s coming, in order to make the deceit more alluring. This final onslaught of rebellion, however, will not occur until God allows the present “restraining force” to be removed.
In Paul’s estimation, this great human emissary of Satan will prove to be no obstacle to Christ when he returns. Paul proclaimed the triumphant note that “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth” (2 Thess 2:8).
Paul’s teaching here underlines the darkness of the days just prior to Christ’s coming. How difficult it will be for those who do not know Christ in those days to turn to him! Believers need to be aware of the character of life in those days so they will not be deceived. This passage also gives further insight into the characteristic features of Satan’s method of operation: He works through people, he imitates the truth, and he seeks above all to deceive people, leading them away from the one true God.
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), 161–163.