A Rebel’s Surrender and Care of the Temple - Purity 805
Purity 805 08/09/2022 Purity 805 Podcast
Today’s photo of a “Cotton Candy Sunset” over Lake Ontario comes to us today from Celestial Blue Photography who captured this scene in Oswego NY back on August 5th. I just love how God lights up the sky to keep our gaze upward and to lead us to ponder the origin of our existence, a search that if pursued logically will lead to the conclusion of a self-existent Creator and if coupled with God’s grace will lead us to our surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
So many ponder the vastness of the universe and know that there must be a God but they stop short of pursuing the truth in the Bible that would lead them the rest of the way to the answer of life and death. Some hear the truth and lament that they “wish” they could believe but they refuse it claiming a variety of reasons that merely mask their rebellion to surrender the authority of their life to God.
I get it! Oh brother, all my life I questioned authority and although I wasn’t a known troublemaker, I was too smart for that, I was positively anarchistic in terms of defying standards, rules, and regulations in my heart because all I needed to see was one drop of hypocrisy or one iota of self interest or a desire to control and I would see that those in authority didn’t know what they were doing or were doing it for selfish reasons.
Ironically, these insights in my youth should have led me to the perfect government of God’s kingdom and to embrace the measures He ordained to establish and maintain the limited amount of good, justice, or stability that we have on earth, rather than inwardly screaming “Anarchy!” and seeking to defy authority in anyway I could that would give me the personal satisfaction that “I knew better” or “I was in control of me!” A nine inch nail song’s lyric, summed up my secret heart: “I’d rather die than give you control!!!”
Well, the good news is I did die! It is only through my faith in Christ, and dying and being raised to life with Him that I am not currently hung over and angry about having to face another day working for “The Man”.
I never should have been a rebel because of the imperfections of mankind to establish God’s peace on earth. Instead of trying to tear things down, I should have used my insights to make things better. I should have been a reformer rather than a rebel. But boy am I glad I didn’t.
What? Yeah, if I had taken that path I would have really been full of myself, and my self-righteousness was bad enough as a rebel. Could you imagine how inflated my ego would have been if I had sought to be “good” in my own strength and with my atheistic /secular humanist bent would have been even more convinced that I didn’t need God.
But oh well, if we understand reality and God’s grace, we have to understand that we shouldn’t “Monday Quaterback” our lives, even on a Tuesday. We got one life to live. We can’t go back. We made our choices and we can’t choose a different path way back when in the past, to even contemplate these ideas is in truth a tremendous waste of time, but instead we can choose to follow a new path, prayerfully God’s path, today.
But even if we do play “Devil’s advocate” and contemplate “what if” with our pasts, we have to realize that if God wanted us in His kingdom, no choices we would have made would have made a difference in terms of coming to Christ. Thank you God! So if you do that “what if” stuff, stop supposing and start living, starting now.
Anyway, as I was working out today an older, not that old, worship song came on and it reminded me of the earlier days on my walk and how I need “more faith” because even though I did believe, I still struggled with sin and unbelief.
The song was “Give me Faith” by Elevation worship. I am sharing a link to a lyric video on YouTube on the blog if you want to check it out (https://youtu.be/N9w6284vC1w). Any way the lyrics say:
“I need You
To soften my heart and break me apart
I need You
To pierce through the dark and cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what You say
That You're good and Your love is great
I'm broken inside, I give You my life
I may be weak but Your Spirit's strong in me
My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will
This is an awesome song to proclaim over your faith walk. But to live it requires that surrender and as the lyrics indicate it is a total surrender.
Do you understand the implications of a life surrendered to God’s will and ways?
Well, let’s just say they are far reaching and the depth of which know no limits.
If you are ever “bored” in your Christianity, it is because you haven’t answered the call to repent, to follow the Lord, and to totally surrender your life to God’s will.
One of the things we see in any faith system is a division between clergy and laity and with the laity there are those who practice their faith devoutly and those who don’t.
All these division are man made for the most part. God calls us all to be a royal priesthood, but I get it some are called to l’sad, or serve different functions in the body and some aren’t. So very well, clergy, God word actually ordains it in terms of teachers, pastors, overseers, and deacons. So I understand leaders and different functions within the body of Christ, the term I prefer over “church” because of the confusion surrounding that word because of our “church” traditions and cultures.
I teach Freedom in Christ and encourage a lifestyle of discipleship, following Christ, and although we will all have different levels of spiritual maturity, unlike the clergy division, there really shouldn’t be a division between Christians who practice their faith and Christians who don’t.
Christians who don’t practice their faith should truly worry about their salvation, I know I did when I was a member of a liturgical church. I might have been in the church building but I don’t know, pretty sure I wasn’t, in the Body of Christ until 2010 when I put my faith in Christ alone and began surrendering my life to God’s wisdom and ways.
When we surrender, not only do we discover that our life in Christ causes us to reduce or abandon our obvious sins, all at once or little by little, it can also cause us to pursue good works or to do service for God’s kingdom.
Okay, stop evil, do good right?
But as we walk this surrendered life out we will discover that Holy Spirit will give us a heightened sense of “goodness” – a fruit of the Spirit – which will spill into the ways we view things and choose to live. Things that aren’t “good” for us are increasingly exposed by our maturing spiritual discernment and our hearts desire will be to increasing do what’s “right” in all kinds of areas of our lives.
I’ve shared that one of the areas that this has poured into my life is the care of my body, specifically in terms of trying to be a healthy weight and to not experience pain from my poor choices. It also includes getting enough sleep. I’m increasingly learning and repenting from my health “sins”.
My job takes me all over the capital district and I am often called to do install or repair of telephone service in nursing homes. As I have said before, it’s not how you start but how you finish, and if you want to be convicted about the importance of your health go to a nursing home or rehabilitation center and look at the consequences of poor choices played out over time.
Not only do we have to foster our mental and spiritual health on this path or discipleship, we have to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have to care for our bodies.
The other day I was walking through a nursing home and a woman was in a wheel chair with her feet elevated. It easy to see that her feet were in rough shape and she was crying and literally calling for “God in heaven” to help her as she was calling out to anyone who walked by to cut her toe nails, which were huge. Yup, including me. I couldn’t help her of course and it was heartbreaking.
I had foot surgery a few years ago to get rid of growths, mitosis, and after that experience I decided to take care of my feet and used lotion on the every morning for quite some time but as things got hectic with the blog and podcast, I stopped doing it.
But not anymore, after seeing this woman’s pain, I am more convicted to take care of my body so I be healthy and be used by God to give Him glory for as long as He gives me on the earth.
So as part of my faith walk, I am lotioning my feet again. I want to be good steward of what God has given me and be fully surrendered to Him in everything I become aware of.
I may never be perfect in my walking and talking with God, but if I see something in my journey that indicates I should change, I will try to be diligent to surrender it to the Lord and use His strength and guidance to change it.
So Lord, give me faith to trust what you say, because You’re good, and Your love is great, although I have been walking with you for sometime now, there are still parts of my life that are broken. I give you my life. I may be weak but Your Spirit is strong in me, my flesh may fail but my God, You never will.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Hebrews 8:12 (NLT2)
12 And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Today’s verse reminds us that God forgives our wickedness and promises to never again remember them.
Of course I have to point out that God’s knowledge is perfect and today’s verse doesn’t tell us that God has forgotten our sins. His “never again remembering our sins”, means that He has truly forgiven us and He won’t hold them against us.
God calls you to be a saint, His adopted child. He doesn’t call you a sinner.
So if you call yourself a “sinner saved by grace”, I recommend you agree with God and give yourself a break and “never again remember your sins” if they will cause you to feel condemned or shy away from proclaiming the gospel.
Yeah you sinned, you messed up. Guess what? Everyone has. But in Christ we have forgiveness and a new life with victory over sin, so instead of beating yourself up about your old life, before you died, mourn it and rise to life by following Christ and living differently.
There is no condemnation for those in Christ, so believe it and live your new life where God will lead you in the way you should go.
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.
Spiritual Warfare As Proclamation
Spiritual warfare is not only defensive; it also takes the offensive. Paul called the soldiers of Christ to advance on enemy territory by proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ Just as Christ bound the strong man in order to plunder his house, so too the body of Christ plunders Satan’s kingdom by proclaiming the promise of divine rescue to captives in the kingdom of darkness.
There is one part of the soldier’s gear that is not a weapon, but it is a furnishing that enables the soldier to take an offensive posture in the battle—good footwear. A typical soldier would journey for miles as his army advanced to the battlefront and then pursue the enemy (This was certainly true when Xerxes led his armies all the way from Persia in an attempt to conquer Greece!). The footgear of the Christian needs to be “the readiness to announce the Good News of peace” (Eph 6:15 TEV). Believers need to be prepared to share the good news of Christ wherever God may lead them.
Many commentators have correctly observed that the only offensive weapon in the entire panoply is the sword (Eph 6:17). While it is used as a part of a believer’s resistance, it is also a weapon of aggression. The Word of God and the work of the Spirit are the means by which the people of God step out in defiance of Satan and rob his domain. They are the means by which God draws people to himself, transforming their lives and bringing them into relationship with himself.
Thus, according to Paul, the primary aggressive action the Christian is called to take in the world is to spread the gospel—the good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ. The gospel represents “God’s power to rescue people from [the devil’s] tyranny.”
The whole course of Paul’s ministry is a model of this aggressive proclamation. The church should follow Paul’s lead. Luke seemed to understand this point and wrote his account of Paul’s missionary outreach in a way that would inspire zeal and courage among the believers who read it. At the same time, Luke did not minimize the amount of conflict Paul faced in his proclamational mission. Luke interpreted much of this conflict, as described in chapter one, as powerful demonic opposition. Yet the Christian who depends on God’s power, as Paul did, will overcome enemy hostilities, and the gospel will continue to advance, with more and more people being saved out of the dominion of darkness.
Even here, in the context of Ephesians, Paul personally was concerned with the mission of the church in spite of his imprisonment. He wanted God’s enabling power to be imparted to him through prayer, not necessarily for a demonstration of the gospel’s supernatural character through miraculous events. He sensed a need for God’s touch so he could proclaim it fearlessly and boldly! Even after all the years of successful preaching, Paul still felt a great need for a divine infusing of power to give him the nerve to proclaim the gospel fearlessly. He pleads, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph 6:19–20). Paul’s incessant readiness to proclaim the good news was a hallmark of his life. Likewise, it should be of paramount importance to believers in subsequent generations. This is the mission of the church!
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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), 156–158.