Not Forgotten: The One Who Remembers You
Purity 467 07/10/2021 Purity 467 Podcast
Today’s photo of a dazzling sun in an ethereal sky over green hills and trees comes to us from a friend who knows to keep their eyes open to the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis and caught this pic in their travels to destinations unknown. The reason I phrase this description of my friend and this location this way is because of the simple fact that although I know that this photo was taken on or around the first of July, the source of the photo has simply slipped my mind. (Update- My friends at Dave Baun Photography have since reminded me it was their photo taken in transit on a bicycling excursion in South Australia!- Thanks Dave!)
Part of my process in my quasi-daily encouragements is to “borrow” pictures that friends share on social media as they come up in my experience of scrolling through posts. When I see something good, I will try to make a mental note of its source and I save it to my phone. When I sit down to compose each day, I scroll through the images and use whatever one that speaks to me. The thing is I have a lot of friends, thank you Lord, and they share a lot of photos. Sometimes the locations and friends are easily remembered. I would say I remember the context of the photos almost 100% of the time but this morning this photo grabbed my attention and for the life of me I can’t remember where it came from or who shared it!
Instead of skipping it, I got the impression that the Lord wanted me to share this one if for no other reason to point to Him as creator and to Him as the one who has perfect knowledge of each and every one of us.
So friends, if you posted this photo on or around the first of July, let us know, if you do, it will not only satisfy our curiosity but will also allow us to be grateful for your friendship and your willingness to share your life experiences with your friends who are less than perfect.
Although I forgot who shared this photo, the good news is that there is someone who knows the photographer and deeply cares about their life. I am speaking of course of God. He not only created the subject matter in the photo, but he created the person who captured it.
As individuals, we are all a little bit different from one another and at times we may feel that we are nobody special, but God doesn’t see us that way at all. God knows who we are and all we have walked through in this life. He knows all the special days in your personal history, and He shares in our joys and sufferings. He knows our talents, failings, feelings, and thoughts and no matter what we think or do He still loves us.
So my failure to specifically remember the friend who shared this photo shows us that our human relationships will be imperfect. We will disappoint, and possibly upset, one another. At times we won’t be available for our friends or family when they need us. Sometimes we will just plain forget about them.
But the Lord, of course, never will. He will never forget about you, and He is the only One who will always be available for you. The Lord is the only One who will never leave us or forsake us.
So while you are traveling to your next destination, enjoy the world that the Lord has made for us and be sure to let Him know that you know that He is there and that He cares.
Speaking of being on the road, I mentioned that yesterday’s photo of a sunset on the shores of Lake Ontario from the vantage point of Lighthouse Christian Camp in Barker NY filled me with “go fever”, an impulsive desire to “do something” and “go somewhere”.
So strong was this wanderlust that I actually contacted the camp about renting one of their cabins, imagining myself as taking a Kerouacian Big Sur trip to the Great Lake to rest and write. I got the information, and the rates were cheap, and I was ready to book.
But then I thought soberly about the details and realized I was just planning this impromptu trip to “have an experience for summer” and possibly to avoid the loneliness of another staycation. Also my aim to combine ministry preparation work and being at leisure seemed to promise more stress to my life if I added a 5-hour drive and dealing with meager accommodations to the mix.
Then I thought of my home “Down by the River”. It has everything I need. It may be simple, but I love the place. I also thought that there are attractions to see and things to enjoy that are a lot closer to home. So before the people called me back to confirm my reservations, I cancelled.
Sometimes we are overcome by a sense of lack, that we need something to satisfy or fulfill us. Some turn to drugs and alcohol. Some turn to relationships. Some turn to find a measure of peace in the great outdoors or by traveling.
I realized that my relationship with God is what fulfills me more than anything else and that I didn’t necessarily need to run off and “do something” just to do it. God is with me. It’s not like I would have found Him waiting for me on the shores of Lake Ontario, although I’m sure we would have enjoyed ourselves there!
I realized that the most important thing in my life was Him and that my desire to work on the teachings for a discipleship class I will be teaching in the fall was the thing I wanted to do the most next week. I realized that with God I lack nothing, and I didn’t want to waste anytime on my vacation in transit when I could find rest at home and peace in His presence.
So, my physical body may not go far from home next week, but I am sure that the Lord is going to show me some things that will be worthwhile. He always does. He knows me better than I know myself. He never forgets about me, and He always leads me to something good.
(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Today’s verse speaks about our purpose in life, to give God glory.
The context that precedes today’s verse involves dealing with the “weaker’ brother. Back in Paul’s time there was pagan worship of idols. One of the practices of pagans included the sacrifice, cooking, and feasting of animals in honor of their pagan God. Sometimes the pagans would offer their pagan god a meal and leave out food for them to consume. After pagan worship was over, some industrious pagans would take meat that was not used and sell it at market. Many religious people of the Jews considered this meat to be defiled, unclean, and unusable.
However, Christ himself taught that there is no unclean meat in the new covenant which He established, check out Acts 10 for the Lord’s interaction with Peter.
Anyway, some Christians armed with the truth that Christ revealed realized that this meat was okay to eat. Others, remembering the Old Testament provisions, didn’t think the meat was okay to eat and that it would be a sin to do so.
Instead of Paul recommending that we berate those who didn’t grasp the truth that no meat is unclean, he stated that those with knowledge should treat their weaker brothers with compassion and change their behaviors for their sakes. If eating pagan meat was going to be a problem for some in your company, you should abstain for their sake.
This provision could also apply to alcoholic beverages. Drunkenness is to be avoided but it is not a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. However because of the damage that the abuse of alcohol can wage, some like myself, recommend and practice complete abstinence of alcohol.
For some in recovery, they can’t be around alcohol for fear of relapse. I have recently confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not one of these people. The Lord has delivered me from the temptation and given me freedom.
But for the sake of those “weaker” brothers who either struggle with a history of alcoholism or for those who morally object to drinking alcohol, the mature Christian who enjoys the occasional potent potable should be compassionate and not partake in their company. Their restraint would show their companions compassion and give glory to the Lord.
Anyway, Paul concludes with today’s verse, that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do we are to do it for the glory of the Lord.
The principle is that our purpose is to always honor and glorify the Lord with all our actions, up to and including sacrificing our personal enjoyment for the sake of others.
We have been freed from the law of sin and death, but we are not to use our freedom in a manner that would offend or to cause another brother to fall into temptation and sin.
With the great freedom that Christ has given us, we have a great responsibility to love the Lord our God by loving our neighbors as ourselves. We wouldn’t want others to do things that would potentially harm us, and we likewise are to demonstrate the love of the Lord by doing the same for them.
I love this verse because it really speaks to the all-encompassing nature of our faith. That from the simple acts of eating and drinking, we can give glory to God.
From this verse, we can understand that our entire lives are to be lived in a manner that gives God glory. Everything we do in our lives matters. So let’s live our lives in the way that will give God the most glory by being aware of what we are doing, why we are doing it, and the potential consequences to ourselves and others.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 7.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Feelings Are God's Red Flag of Warning
From birth, you have been developing in your mind a means for experiencing these eight values and reaching other goals in life. Consciously or subconsciously, you continue to formulate and adjust your plans for achieving these goals.
Sometimes, however, your well-intended plans and noble-sounding goals are not completely in harmony with God's plans and goals for you. How can I know if what I believe is right? you may be wondering. Must I wait until I am 45 years old or until I experience some kind of midlife crisis to discover that what I believed in these eight areas was wrong?
I don't think so. I believe God has designed you in such a way that you can know on a moment-by-moment basis if your belief system is properly aligned with God's truth. God has established a feedback system designed to grab your attention so you can examine the validity of your goals and beliefs. When an experience or relationship leaves you feeling angry, anxious or depressed, those emotional signposts are there to alert you that you may be cherishing a faulty goal based on a wrong belief.
Anger Signals a Blocked Goal
When your activity in a relationship or a project results in feelings of anger, it is usually because someone or something has blocked your goal, something or somebody is preventing you from accomplishing what you wanted. How do you feel in a traffic jam when it is preventing you from getting to an important meeting on time?
Suppose a wife and mother says, "My goal in life is to have a loving, harmonious, happy Christian family." Who can block that goal? Every person in her family can block that goal—not only can, they will! A homemaker clinging to the belief that her sense of worth is dependent on her family will crash and burn every time her husband or children fail to live up to her image of family harmony. She could become a very angry and controlling woman or a defeated victim of life's circumstances. Either option could drive family members even farther away from her and each other.
What if a pastor's goal is to reach his community for Christ? Good goal? It is a wonderful desire, but if his sense of worth and success as a pastor is dependent on that happening, he will experience tremendous emotional turmoil. Every person in the community can block his goal. Furthermore, two old board members may even try to block his goal. Pastors who believe their success is dependent on others will end up fighting with their boards, controlling members, praying their opposition out of the church or quitting.
"Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23); therefore, an outburst of anger should prompt us to reexamine what we believe and the mental goals we have formulated to accomplish those beliefs.
My daughter, Heidi, helped me with this process one Sunday morning while I was trying to hustle my family out the door for church. I had been waiting in the car for several minutes before I stomped back into the house and shouted angrily, "We should have left for church 15 minutes ago!"
All was silent for a moment, then Heidi's soft voice floated around the corner from her bedroom: "What's the matter, Dad; am I blocking your goal?" That is the question you need to hear right before you preach!
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship