The Insanity of God - Purity 925
Purity 925 12/27/2022 Purity 925 Podcast
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Today’s photo of sunset from the vantage point of Pelican Point at Crystal Cove State Park in New Port Beach, CA comes to us from a friend who enjoyed this scene on Christmas Eve with his family and shared it with his friends on social media.
Well, it is Tuesday and for the vast majority of the working population of my friends, the sun of the Christmas holiday – actual or observed – will have set last night as they will be rising this morning and returning to work.
As for me? I will continue to enjoy an extended holiday vacation this week in the “bliss bubble” of my countryside home which I only left briefly yesterday for a couple of walks down Waite Rd with the dog. Although I may be prone to “cabin fever” because I am usually on the go 6 if not 7 days of the week, and enjoy getting out to stretch my legs, the cold temperatures with highs in the 20’s, has made the walks brisk ones and fewer in number if the environment was more hospitable.
As for the accommodations inside, I have no complaints as my wife has created an atmosphere of warmth and love where I feel cared for and carefree as she provides for my every need while simultaneously giving me the space to not feel smothered as we each have individual projects and activities to occupy our time and interest independent of one another.
I have been reading through “Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You”, a text by Jim Wilder & company that I will be required to study as part of Deeper Walk International’s School of Prayer Ministry that begins in a few weeks. To familiarize myself with the content of the book, I decided to dictate it’s contents into a word document, creating my own e-version of the book. The book creates a “Life Model” for individuals and churches to follow that encourages recovery from trauma and maturing in one’s faith through community, essentially developing a spiritual family from the body of Christ that helps us overcome the things in our pasts that shouldn’t have happened (Type B traumas) and providing us with the good things we never received (Type A traumas). The testimonies presented in the book demonstrate how our faith and the church, when operating properly, gives us everything we need to become the people God created us to be. I all but finished the dictation of this book yesterday, with just a few last sections to complete today or tomorrow as I have been working on “getting ‘er done for a week or two, here and there.
Dictating can be a draining process and as I have made great progress to all but complete this project over the last few days, I have often hit a wall of exhaustion of frustration that needed to be allieviated by taking the dog for a walk, lying down and taking a nap, or taking a break and listening to an audiobook that I started just before Christmas.
As the impending yuletide splendor of secular Christmas was upon us I decided to listen to “The Insanity of God” as a way to not only keep Christ in Christmas but to remind me of the reality of the costs of Christian discipleship. I heard about the “Insanity of God” back when I was in my undergraduate days of Bible College and had put it on my “wish list” years ago but I didn’t actually purchase it until shortly before Christmas, admittedly as part of an out of control spending spree where I was making some final purchases to take care of my Christmas shopping and decided to “treat myself” as well.
Anyway, perhaps out of guilt or a true desire to draw close to God in repentance, I started listening to “The Insanity of God” on Christmas Eve Eve or the day before and have been listening to it here and there ever since. Although I had heard it was a “good book” I didn’t recall exactly what it was supposed to be about. Having listened to all but a few hours of the totality of the book, I can report that “The Insanity of God” chronicles a Christian missionary’s life and his and his family’s experiences in Somaliland in the 1990s and the author’s search for the answers to the hard questions that come when one takes Christ’s direction to go out into all the world to make disciples seriously. Tragic, frustrating, and almost unimaginable things happen in the mission field which causes to author to seek the answer to his questions from others who have experienced persecution for their Christian faith leading him to conduct interviews of persecuted Christians I the former USSR, the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and China where persecution was a normal and expected part of life as the “sun rising in the east”. I’m not through the book yet but the heart wrenching testimonies of faithful Christians who suffered emotional, mental, and physical torture and the amazing things that they experienced to maintain their faith makes me thankful to be a Christians and relatively free of any persecution and almost unworthy to be mentioned as being a part of the same body of Christ of these Christian saints and martyrs. If my resolve to remain faithful to the call God put on my life to encourage others to be disciples ever wavered before, the testimonies of these other brothers and sisters in Christ encourages me to continue walking and talking with God and to pursue this “crazy” course that the Lord has called me to.
Considering all that I have received and considering all that other Christians have suffered for their faith and intention to live and share the gospel of Jesus Christ, I consider that my efforts are the very least I can do for the Lord.
I was a little puzzled by the title of the book can understand why it is called that. In this world broken by sin and that actively seeks to silence the gospel, it is considered “crazy” to follow the Lord, and positively insane to have to suffer for our faith.
The author, as a young man, was a few weeks away from pursuing his dream to become a veterinarian, when he suddenly heard a “voice” from the Lord calling him to abandon his planned out course to follow the Lord. Even though his faith and knowledge about Christianity or Christian service was minimal, the author answered the call and he has been answering it ever since and despite the pain and suffering his journey has led him through, his encounters have confirmed the goodness and presence of God here on the earth.
Similarly, I have experienced loss and suffering as I have answered the Lord’s call to follow Him and even though I sometimes wonder about this path of Christian Discipleship and how positively insane some of it has been, I too am convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s ever present goodness, presence, and love.
So, let me encourage you to ignore those who would call you “crazy” and to instead seek the Lord and His purpose for your life. As those who have received the new life in Christ will agree, God’s love and life make ANYTHING we have to go through worth it all.
If you feel anything like I do after this Christmas of over indulging and over spending, you feel ripe and ready for repentance. We might not have gone far from Him but it is so easy to take a few steps in the wrong direction when we seek to “treat ourselves” but that’s okay because the Lord is still calling us to come on home with open arms and to start walking in His wisdom and ways again.
I’m taking a vacation from sharing the “Bible Verse of the Day from the “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”, again, well frankly because I think I left that book back at Riverhouse! But I did grab the “Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Krus and will share the first Bible verse listed, right in the introduction, to impress upon you the importance of reading God’s word:
Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT2)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
Today’s verse tells us that ALL Scripture is useful to teach us what is true and what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us and teaches us to do what is right. God uses the Bible to prepare and equip us to do every good work.
So read the Bible, every day. Start with the New Testament to learn about Jesus and to learn how we as members of the body of Christ, the church – the saints, are supposed to live.
It might seem “crazy” to live according to the Bible in this post Christian age, but the author of The Insanity of God, countless numbers of Christians who have experienced the new life and Christ, and myself would tell you to “be crazy” and to answer God’s call and obey His word because His life and His love make it worth it all!
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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’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 Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship
The Image of Christ
“Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family” (Rom. 8:29). To those who have heard the call to be disciples of Jesus Christ is given the incomprehensibly great promise that they are to become like Christ. They are to bear his image as the brothers and sisters of the firstborn Son of God. To become “like Christ”—that is what disciples are ultimately destined to become. The image of Jesus Christ, which is always before the disciples’ eyes, and before which all other images fade away, enters, permeates, and transforms them, so that the disciples resemble, indeed become like, their master. The image of Jesus Christ shapes the image of the disciples in daily community. For disciples, it is not possible to look at the image of the Son of God in aloof, detached contemplation; this image exerts a transforming power. All those who submit themselves completely to Jesus Christ will, indeed must, bear his image. They become sons and daughters of God; they stand next to Christ, their invisible brother, who bears the same form as they do, the image of God.
God once created Adam in God’s own image. In Adam, God sought to observe this image with joy, as the culmination of God’s creation, “and indeed, it was very good.” In Adam, God recognized the divine self. Thus, from the beginning, it is our unfathomable mystery as human beings that we are creatures and yet are called to be like the Creator. As created human beings, we are called to bear the image of the uncreated God. Adam is “like God.” In gratitude and obedience, Adam now ought to bear his secret of being creature and yet God-like. The lie of the serpent was to suggest to Adam that he would still have to become like God, and to do so by his own deed and decision. That was when Adam rejected grace and instead chose his own deed. The mystery of his nature, of being creature and yet God-like, was what Adam wanted to solve by himself. He wanted to become what, from God’s perspective, he already was. That was the fall. Adam became “like God”—sicut deus—in his own way. Having made himself into a god, he now no longer had a God. He now ruled alone as creator-god in a world bereft of God and subdued.
But the puzzle of human existence remains unresolved. Human beings have lost their own, God-like essence, which they had from God. They live now without their essential purpose, that of being the image of God. Human beings live without being truly human. They must live without being able to live. That is the paradox of our existence and the source of all our woes. Since then, the proud children of Adam have sought to restore this lost image of God in themselves by means of their own efforts. But the more seriously and devotedly they strive to regain what was lost, and however convinced and proud they are of their apparent victory in achieving this, the deeper the contradiction to God grows. Their distorted form, which they modeled after the image of the god of their own imaginative projections, resembles more and more the image of Satan, even though they may be unaware of this. The image of God, as the Creator’s gracious gift, has been lost on this earth.
But God keeps on looking at God’s lost creature. For the second time, God seeks to create the divine image in us. God wants to be pleased with the creature once again. God seeks the divine image in us, in order to love it. But God cannot find it except by assuming, out of sheer mercy, the image and form of the lost human being. God must conform to the human image, since we are no longer able to conform to the image of God.
The image of God should be restored in us once again. This task encompasses our whole existence. The aim and objective is not to renew human thoughts about God so that they are correct, or that we would subject our individual deeds to the word of God again, but that we, with our whole existence and as living creatures, are the image of God. Body, soul, and spirit, that is, the form of being human in its totality, is to bear the image of God on earth. God is well pleased with nothing less than God’s own perfect image.
The image springs from real life, the living primordial form. Form is thus being shaped by form. The prototype from which the human form takes its shape is either the imaginative form of God based on human projection, or it is the true and living form of God which molds the human form into the image of God. A reshaping, a ‘metamorphosis’ (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18), a transformation has to take place if, as fallen human beings, we are to become again the image of God. The question is how it can become possible that human beings could be transformed into the image of 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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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship