Murphy Family Weekly Newsletter From Tucson, Arizona 04/16/2008
Warm Greetings to you from Tucson, Arizona, where it is getting a bit warm, in the low 90s, which is about 14 degrees above normal. We almost turned on the air conditioner last night. We are all fine under our wonderful God’s love and grace.
Don had a 95 minute atrial fibrillation episode
on Monday night, but he is doing well.
Praise God. Naomi has been busy
with her studies and taking care of her baby birds. One blessed thing is that Terry Kroll from
the CDO church called and told us that she would sell them for Naomi. Terry has an aviary and raises cockatiels,
love birds and parakeets.
David has returned home this morning from his trip to China and Japan. We are anxious to hear from him about his trip. God is showing Jim his love so closely and he is touched. He will be traveling a lot for a couple of weeks, teaching at various spring baseball camps. May God guide and bless him. Thank you, Lord. Our grandson Titus called a few nights ago and sang songs for us. It was a joy.
The other day our sister in Christ Karin Noah brought Naomi home from her physical therapy. What a wonderful surprise! Thank you, Lord, for all the love You have shown us.
Michi talked on the phone with our friend Hyeok Flynt the other day. Her daughter Rebekah needs healing. She still has grand mal seizures. Hyeok is now working as a nurse’s aid at a hospital. Rebekah is not well, and without a husband, it is very difficult. Please pray for the family. God made us brothers and sisters, and we are feeling so much love of our God the Father. We need to reach out also.
God Is Love
The greatest joy of being a disciple of Jesus is resting in God’s love, knowing that He, the creator of the world, loves me and takes care of me. Jesus said that a disciple should relate to God like a little child relates to his father, resting in his love. (Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17) The apostle John says that God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16)
How do we experience this life of living in the love of God? Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12) Jesus prayed to our heavenly Father, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” (John 17:13-14)
Yes, in this world the disciples of Jesus will have tribulations but we can be of good cheer when we live in love. (John 16:33) We read in Acts 16 the amazing story of Paul and Silas who had received a severe beating and thrown into prison with their feet in stocks. Yet about midnight they were singing and praying with the other prisoners listening. They were of good cheer even in their suffering.
Living in love has two parts, resting in the love of God and showing active love to others. When we live in love we experience the joy and peace of being close to God, our heavenly Father. Therefore the apostle Paul writes that the disciples in the kingdom of God experience the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
Jesus tells his disciples, “One day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:20-21)
The Lord showed his love for us today when he answered Don’s prayer so quickly. Michi was gone shopping when Don prayed, “Lord, watch over Michi and bring her home safely.” The instant he prayed that, Michi came in the door and said, “I’m home!’. God is love and he does love us so.
Jesus Shows Us How to Love
In John 8:31-59 is the amazing story of false Christians. Here Jesus is speaking to some believers and told them that if they live according to his teachings, they are truly his disciples and will know the truth and the truth will set them free. These believers didn’t want to hear this so Jesus told them the plain truth – that they were actually children of the devil! People who believe in Jesus but don’t want to live according to his teachings and commands are children of the devil! Amazing, isn’t it? Well, this group of Christians proved Jesus to be right by getting angry with him and tried to do him harm.
Sadly we see this same thing throughout history. The Catholics and the Protestants in the 16th century tortured and killed thousands of Anabaptists. The Catholics and Protestants in Germany supported Hitler with the result of millions being killed. They considered Hitler to be a Christian. Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf, “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” (Do some Christians today substitute the word ‘Moslem’ for the word ‘Jew’ in the above quote?)
The atheists love to point out what the German Christians did to the Jews and others; proving, they claim, that Christianity is an evil religion. Today we see a similar thing in America with the invasion and occupation of Iraq which results in the Moslems seeing Christianity as an evil religion.
Are the Christians who support war acting contrary to the teachings of Jesus and his apostles? The song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil man.” Paul taught, “Overcome evil with good.” Peter taught, “Do not repay evil with evil.”
A modern preacher, Greg Boyd of St. Paul, MN, teaches that true Christians are to respond to evil with love, Calvary-like love. But so many Christians since the time of Christ seem to have this problem: "The god of this age has blinded their minds..." And a sign of this blindness, this madness, is their response when someone tries to point out this problem. They tend to become unreasonably angry. The apostle Paul encountered this and wrote about it. "We are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life." ( 2 Cor 2:15-16)
Therefore when we live a life of love we have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age. (Gal 1:3-5) True, long lasting, eternal joy and peace comes only by living a life of love according to the teachings of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Distinguishing Between Spirits
If an evil spirit has blinded the eyes of some Christians to the truth, how do we recognize this? How do we distinguish between spirits? How do we recognize sin? In addition to the teachings of Jesus in John 8:31-59 about how living according to his teachings will enable us to know the truth, the Lord God has also given some disciples the supernatural ability to discern evil. The apostle Paul wrote: “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, you were influenced and led astray to idols… Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit… the ability to distinguish between spirits.” (1 Cor 12:1-10)
It seems clear to us now that those Christians who supported Hitler were badly mistaken. And part of the reason that it seems clear to us is that we were not involved. But what about when we do get involved in something that is wrong? How can we discern that? One answer is our response when someone tries to point it out to us. If we become angry that should be a sign to us that we are motivated by an evil spirit, shouldn’t it?
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit
in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
This first Psalm stands as a kind of introduction to the rest of the Psalms. Its subject matter is very general and basic, but it touches on two subjects that continually occur throughout the Psalms. It declares the blessedness of the righteous and the misery and future of the wicked.
Man’s spiritual life is set forth negatively and positively, inwardly and externally, figuratively and literally. Above all else, it summarizes all that is to follow in the rest of the Psalms, and, for that matter, in the rest of Scripture.
It presents two ways of life: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. However, the key subject is the centrality of God’s Word to the life and fruitfulness of the righteous who truly love His Word.
Now may the God of all grace who has called you join Him in His eternal glory with Christ, may He continue to make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10-11)
your brother and sisters in Christ,
Don, Michi & Naomi Murphy
Tucson, Arizona, phone 520-297-1639
"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)