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Friday, February 23, 2024

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282


 

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282

Purity 1282 02/23/2024 Purity 1282 Podcast

Purity 1282 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun nestled in the branches of a huge and gnarly popular tree comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene yesterday during my short visit to Lake Eola Park in Orland. 

Well, I’m back home but that was a journey in itself as some renovations at the Philadelphia airport and “no heads up” from the folks at American Airlines caused me to miss my connecting flight to Albany last night, and when they shared the good news that while I couldn’t get a flight to Albany the next day because of the size of our party, they could put us on a flight to Hartford or Worchester.  That unbelievably obtuse suggestion caused me to scramble and arrange for a rental from the good folks at Avis  and a midnight run back to my countryside home.  We made it and it was so late that I decided to wish everyone a good day before I went to bed.  So this message might be a little shorter than normal, but I am happy to be back home and ready to forsake the sweet tweets I ate at Disney World and am ready to repent! You could finally say that I’m giving up sugar-laced snacks for Lent!  Better late than never I guess.  But that’s okay our walk on the path of Christian Discipleship is about progress not perfection and I hope that encourages you that it’s never too late to change – it’s never too late to repent. So this red eye repentance edition of the mt4christ247 podcast is brought to you by American Airlines who I will choose to avoid in the future and Avis rental cars who I am truly thankful for!

Anyway speaking of repentance, making progress, and dealing with things you need to give up, it’s the ninth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 9

YOU ARE TO HONOR YOUR father and your mother.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

First, then, learn what this commandment requires concerning honor to parents. You are to esteem them above all things and to value them as the most precious treasure on earth. Second, in your words you are also to behave respectfully toward them and are not to speak discourteously to them, to criticize them, or to take them to task, but rather to submit to them and hold your tongue, even if they go too far. Third, you are also to honor them by your actions, that is, with your body and possessions, serving them, helping them, and caring for them when they are old, sick, feeble, or poor; all this you should do not only cheerfully, but also with humility and reverence, doing it as if for God.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Honor your father and mother"-this is the first commandment with a promise:: so that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. "And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:2-4

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     To whom is this commandment addressed-very young children or older children with feeble parents who need their help?

Yes – this commandment is addressed to young and older children alike.  Your parents will always be your parents and the Lord commands us to honor them because He used them to give us life.   And just like with any form of repentance – it’s never too early or too late to honor your mother and father. 

     Luther extends the commandment to honor your father and mother to "others in authority." Who are those others? Does it make sense to bring them under this commandment?

Others in authority who are worthy of honor would be mentors, grandparents, or other friends or family who fulfilled the role of father or mother in some aspect of our lives. If we consider them as a kind of mother or father to us, I feel it is appropriate to bring them under this commandment.  Unfortunately, estranged relationships are a problem in our post-divorce culture and while I would never excuse someone from giving honor to their natural mother or father, I certainly wouldn’t prohibit someone from giving honor to someone they feel is a “mother” or father to them in some way.  Admittedly, this is my opinion and I can understand if someone, particularly estranged fathers or mothers would disagree. 

     In what ways does your faith community encourage and support people in keeping this commandment? What more might be done?

Bible-believing faith communities usually encourage obedience to God’s word and that would include the commandment to honor your father and mother.  However, more typically this sentiment is displayed in the church on Mother’s Day & Father’s Day, and not specifically mentioned all that much from recollections in various church congregations.

PSALM FRAGMENT

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.          Psalm 16:5-6

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Meditate on how the commandment to honor your parents might become a spiritual practice for you.

This commandment could come into practice in a variety of ways depending on the circumstances surrounding one’s relationships with their parents.  For myself, I could make honoring my parents a practice by scheduling more time for visits with them and thanking them for all they have done for me and my brothers throughout the years as our parents. 

 

     Reflect on what you have done or are doing for your parents to honor and help them. Were (or are) these duties burdensome to you or a pleasure for you? Explain.

I just recently went to my mother’s church on Ash Wednesday and ended up having breakfast with Mom and Dad and have made tentative plans to get together with them again when all my brothers can be in attendance.  These things are not burdensome, and I feel it is right to give honor to the ones who gave us so much.

     What "others in authority" in your life would you bring under the umbrella of this commandment? Why?

I guess I would bring this umbrella to my mentor, Pastor Bob Costello.  Bob is somewhat of a spiritual father to me and although I don’t really plan visits with Bob whenever I do see him I try to express my appreciation for the time He spent teaching and encouraging me to live as a Christian. 

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

If your parents are still living, pray for strength to continue to honor them. Whether living or dead, give thanks for whatever good they provided you, and pray for the power to forgive them for whatever wrongs they may have done you.

Lord God, I pray for the strength to continue to honor my parents.   I thank you for providing them to me as good examples of faith, hard work, and love. As you know Lord I forgave them for any bitterness I may have held against them due to the turmoil in my life before Christ and pray you bless them continually.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to me, even if I have not honored either you or my parents as I should. Help me to give honor to you and them and show me how to care for the young who need my help.

Amen

 

 

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Conscience.

1 Timothy 3:9 (NLT2)
9  They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience.

Today’s verse falls under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

3. Hold to the truths of the faith.

Today’s verse tells us that we as Christians must be committed to our faith and live with a clear conscience, presumably because we obey what the word says and try to live a shame-free existence as we become more and more like Jesus.   

-----------------------------------------------------------

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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: MARK 14

“She has done a good work for Me.” – Mark 14:6

What a blessed commendation! Such was given in response to the outpouring of the sweet and precious spikenard – a token of true heart love.

The Lord called it a “good work.” Good because it was seen by the Lord from the spiritual side. Man, like those who murmured saying, “Why this waste?” (v. 4), looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. And as He looked, He saw that it was the true expression of unadulterated love. God looked at creation and said it was “very good.” The Lord looked at this woman's heart and saw that His work in her heart was good.

When You look at my heart, Lord,
I pray You find this same quality of love.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Finding Rest and Keeping it Holy – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther- Day 8 - Purity 1281

Finding Rest and Keeping it Holy – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther- Day 8 - Purity 1281

Purity 1281 02/22/2024 Purity 1281 Podcast

Purity 1281 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a small white dot of a full moon over relatively huge palm trees and the hazy glow of the electric lights of Disney World’s  Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort comes to us from yours truly as I paused for a moment to capture this scene before going inside the main registration building to compose this message this morning.  

Well. It’s Thursday and although this isn’t much of a pathway photo, it was a scene along my path this morning and I share it to encourage my friends to get and see some of the world, and to be sure to take the Lord with you when you go.  Although a trip to Disney World is a tough sell as a spiritual pilgrimage, my faith has gone with me and even though I relaxed the restraints on my food plan this week, I haven’t let go of the Lord and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to help me keep things in the perspective of a Christian worldview, with awareness, spiritual discernment, kindness, compassion, and lots and lots of patience.  

Oh brother, the crowds, long lines, and barely contained chaos of herd mentality at Disney have given me lots of opportunities to practice patience, bridling the tongue, and adjusting my heart as I repeatedly shifted my mental assessments from “enemy mode” – viewing others with contempt or hostility – to seeing the other people around me for what they are people made in God’s image doing their best in life, with what they have, to find some fun with their family and friends. Even though I can tell that there are lots of differences between me and the others that I have seen in passing here at Disney World, I can see that we all have something in common – we all are trying to love one another to some degree and all need Jesus. We all need the Lord.  

And hey, I know I got Him- I have faith in Jesus and I have the Holy Spirit within me, but I also know that unless I believe in God’s word, live according to it, and stay in continuous contact with God through my daily spiritual practice and by “walking and talking with God”, I could easily lose the peace and joy that the Lord gives me.  It is in Christ alone that I have hope and find peace and so I do my best to abide in God’s presence, one day at a time, regardless of the location, through the different seasons of all the days of my life. And that brings us to our current season, Lent, which is a great occasion to recommit ourselves to growing in our faith and to growing ever closer to the Lord.

It’s the eighth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 8

YOU ARE TO HALLOW THE day of rest.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God's Word, but instead keep that Word holy and gladly hear and learn it.

What is meant by "keeping it holy"? Nothing else than devoting it to holy words, holy works, and holy living. The day itself does not need to be made holy, for it was created holy. But God wants it to be holy for you. So it becomes holy or unholy on your account, depending on whether you spend it doing something holy or unholy. How does such sanctifying take place? Not when we sit behind the stove and refrain from hard work, or place a garland on our head and dress up in our best clothes, but... when we make use of God's Word and exercise ourselves in it.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath. " Mark 2:27-28

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     Luther states that the sabbath should be devoted to "holy words, holy works, and holy living." What does that suggest to you about how we should spend Sunday?

Luther’s words suggest that we spend Sundays worshipping the Lord and doing our best to reflect our love for the Lord with the things we say and do. Beyond going to a church service, reading the Bible, praying, and singing the Lord’s praises, Luther indicates that what we do and how we live should be holy too. The way we behave should reflect the fruit of the Spirit of peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.

     In what ways is sabbath-keeping countercultural?

Keeping anything “holy” is countercultural. Setting aside time to thank and worship the Lord is countercultural.  In our postmodern increasingly atheistic society, the emphasis is usually placed on personal happiness and that quest is put over and above any considerations for God or the principles of faith and morality that are revealed in the Bible.  

     What does it mean to "exercise ourselves in God's word"? How does your community of faith encourage and support such "exercise"?

To “exercise ourselves in God’s word” is to practice what we preach – to be authentic Christians – to actually live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit by applying the wisdom of God’s word to our lives.  Exercising ourselves in God’s word would include spiritual practices of reading God’s word, praying, worshiping God, and giving thanks to the Lord but it also includes showing we know what God’s word says by repenting of our sins and by living a holy and righteous Christian life.

PSALM FRAGMENT

How lovely is your dwelling place, 0 LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Psalm 84:1-2, 4

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Reflect on the Sundays of your childhood. Write about your favorite memories. Did your family observe the sabbath? How? What did it mean to you? What does it mean to you now?

 I spent most of my childhood on Sundays, or Saturday afternoons, going to our local Roman Catholic church, St. Mary’s, in Hudson NY, by my mother.   Mom wasn’t much of a Bible reader, at all from my observations, but she was extremely faithful in bringing my brothers and me to Mass each week and making sure we were raised and confirmed in the Catholic Church.  While my penchant for the sins of the flesh conflicted with a devout and holy life later in life, I have mostly fond remembrances of going to Mass with my family.  The liturgy was familiar and comforting and the atmosphere at St. Mary’s caused me to think of it as a “holy place” where the Lord was to be honored with our worship, prayers, and reverent silence.  Church was serious business but there was peace to be found amongst the pews and even though I have major issues with the institution and doctrinal stances of the Roman Catholic Church, I don’t have a problem with the people who go there to be close to God and pray that they put their faith in Christ alone to be saved. Unfortunately, my times on Sunday in the Roman Catholic church meant religion – rules and regulations - and fear of going to hell but now that I have separated myself from its errors and gone directly to God and put my faith in Jesus – and have full assurance of my salvation – my life of faith in Jesus means everything to me. My faith in Jesus forms my identity and gives me peace as well as my purpose for living.

 

     Sabbath, or rest, is important to the rhythm of our lives. Is there anything you might do to give your life a better balance between work and rest? Between secular pursuits and holy pursuits?

I would say that the balance that I have between work and rest is right where it needs to be. I only give myself to “work” for the 40 hours a week I get paid and even during those hours I am “resting in the Lord” as I talk to God throughout the day.  Other than doing what I need to do during my day job to get paid, I don’t have any secular pursuits. I spend the rest of my time trying to follow the Lord and try to love my wife, family, and friends the best I can while trying to encourage others to seek the Lord with the way they live their lives. I have found new life in Christ and I’m going to live it.  The Lord has given me a great gift and I’m going to enjoy it.

     Have you ever "longed for the courts of the Lord"? If so, write about the feeling of longing. If not, can you imagine such longing?

Yes, I have longed for the “courts of the Lord” in several different ways, I suppose.  I have had longings for Sunday and church to come. I have longed to enter into full-time ministry, some way and some how ( Lord, call me, maybe?). I have longed for Jesus to return – Your kingdom Come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – today is as good as any Lord, so Come Lord Jesus.   So yeah, I have longed for the courts of the Lord because that’s where true meaning and peace are found.  I long for the day that we all know the “Lord’s courts” where Christ will rule and reign forever and ever.  Until then I will spend time at the local assemblies of believers I go to now, I long to be back there this Sunday.

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Pray that you and your family will take the time to hear God's word and keep it. Pray for someone you know who needs both rest and the refreshment that comes from hearing God’s word.

Lord, I pray that I and my family take time to hear Your word and to keep your sabbath holy. In this season of rest, I pray for the people I know who so desperately need the rest and refreshment that comes from hearing Your word and from knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.  Help them to see the truth and to long for the rest and peace that is found in Christ alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord Jesus, You made the sabbath for me to rest in you. May the day become holy for me through the use and exercise of Your word.

Amen.

 

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Conscience.

Acts 24:16 (ESV)
16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

Today’s verse falls under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

2.    Keep a clear conscience before God and men.

Today’s verse comes from the Apostle Paul as he tried to convince those in authority that even though the gospel he preached was turning the world upside down, he always took pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 

As Christians, we are to put God first but also are to be concerned with doing what is right in our dealings with our fellow man, whether they agree or disagree with us when it comes to matters of faith.  Although we are not to shy away from telling the truth that has been revealed to us through the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ,  we are to share that truth in love and to treat our neighbors as we would want to be treated.  While we can’t get anyone to believe in Jesus or convince anyone to follow Him (that’s the Lord’s work), our consciences can be clear of any worries when we know that we have told others the truth of the gospel and treated them with the dignity and respect that someone who is made in God’s image deserves.  Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, and gentleness are fruits of the Spirit that tell us how to treat our fellow man so let’s practice those with others and be sure that our conscience is clear with God and man.  

-----------------------------------------------------------

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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MARK 13

“For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
– Mark 13:11

What a promise to claim before setting forth to preach the Gospel! It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to present and reveal Christ. So that if it is He that speaks through me today, how fruitful will the ministry be!

The essentials are: Cleansing, Emptying, Filling with the Holy Spirit, Absolute Reliance upon Him for speaking, praying, and all service. Such reliance is vitally important if I am to be genuine when I preach Christ.

Then empty me, Lord. Cleanse me by Your precious blood.
Now fill with me the Holy Spirit. I take the fullness,
and thank You. Control me in all I do and say,
that You might be glorified today. Amen.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

One Change, One Turn Leads to Another - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 7 - Purity 1280


One Change, One Turn Leads to Another  - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 7 - Purity 1280

Purity 1280 02/21/2024 Purity 1280 Podcast

Purity 1280 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of what appears to be a large “hump” of rock and roots raised and ripped into two over strange vegetation comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene of a supposedly alien landscape while waiting to experience flight on the back of a Banshee yesterday during my visit to “Pandora” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Although James Cameron’s 2009, Avatar won Oscars for cinematography, art direction, and visual effects and now is put on display at Disney World, its visual effects could not suspend my disbelief enough not to notice its pantheistic worldview or make me like it. Apparently, my dissenting opinion isn’t unique as other internet scoffers have labeled the most successful movie of all time to be irrelevant and overrated. Shots fired. As visually stunning as Avatar is it couldn’t make me swallow the “Mother Nature vs Imperialistic Man” plot involving intergalactic opportunists oppressing 9 feet tall Blue indigenous pagan people group. Not a favorite, the ride was fun though.

Anyway, I repent of watching Avatar, renounce its pagan worldview as false, reject its profane language, violence, and lust as sin, and cancel any permission the enemy may have had in my life because of watching it or by visiting its attractions at Disney World. I cast out any spiritual forces of darkness that may have gained ground in my life because of my associations with it, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Oof, that felt good. Well, now that I repented of Avatar, I have to announce that I may have finally turned a corner in coming back to the path of self-control and food plan sanity as I today, even though I am still on vacation at Disney World, am committed to making one change that prayerfully leads to going back to my balanced regulated life of healthy eating that has put me in the best physical shape of my life- I am renouncing Disney World’s hot cocoa….

Here at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts, I have unlimited beverages and one of the offerings is Disney’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa which is automatically mixed and brewed via a dispensing machine. It’s delicious! But as I have learned that a Keto food plan leads to my optimal health, it really can’t have a place in my life and so even though I will be at Disney World today and for some of tomorrow, and could continue to indulge myself with its chocolate sweetness,  I am making the choice to “give it up for Lent”.  Yup, I’m going back to sanity slowly but I’m coming back knowing that “one turn – one change – can lead to another.  One small change from a life in the flesh is a victory for the life in the Spirit and can lead to more victories and complete freedom.  So we make this one small change and pray that it will cause us to make more and be completely free from sugar bondage in a couple of days when I return to NY and back to normal.  Well, it’s the season of repentance and so we repent and will continue to do so. And so let’s also continue with our 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther.

It’s the seventh day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 7

YOU ARE NOT TO MISUSE the name of your God.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not curse, swear, practice magic, lie, or deceive using God's name, but instead use that very name in every time of need to call on, pray to, praise, and give thanks to God.

With the words, "You are not to take the name of God in vain," God at the same time gives us to understand that we are to use his name properly, for it has been revealed and given to us precisely for our use and benefit. Therefore, since we are forbidden here to use his holy name in support of falsehood and wickedness, it follows, conversely, that we are commanded to use it in the service of truth and of all that is good-for example, when we swear properly where it is necessary and required, or also when we teach properly, or again, when we call on God's name in time of need, or thank and praise him in time of prosperity, etc.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Exodus 20:7

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     Read Exodus 3:13-15. What is God's answer to Moses at the burning bush when asked to give his name? What kind of name is that?

God tells Moses that His name is “I AM”. When Moses asks God what he is to tell about the God of their Father has sent them the Lord replies “I AM WHO I AM”, which honestly makes me think of the cartoon character Popeye, “I y’am what I y’am and that’s all that I y’am – I’m Popeye the Sailor man”  -  but unlike Popeye, God is more than just a mere man. God is the self-existent creator of all things. His Name of “I AM” is pointing to that fact – He IS and Always Was and Will BE – and HE Created all things – and Thus HE and His Name are to be highly exalted.

     In what ways does your community of faith use God's name "in the service of truth and of all that is good"?

My community of faith, the body of Christ, uses God’s name in the service of truth and all that is good through prayer and in all the instances where our words or actions exalt the Lord, share the good news of Jesus Christ, or give God glory. Today’s context is the spoken word so, to be in the service of truth and of all that is good, Christians should not use God’s name in disgust or as a curse, should be true to their oaths and in the promises we make, and be honest, encouraging, and edifying in our speech.

     How might a community of faith actually "misuse" God's name?

A community of faith may misuse God’s name by using it to prop up man-made religious traditions or by using it to control or manipulate others to meet our man-made agendas.  We can misuse it when we make an oath by it and fail to fulfill the conditions of the oath.  We misuse it when we utter it in frustration or disgust.  We misuse it when we use it to judge or curse someone else.   Honoring God’s name is a commandment because we tend to abuse it.  

PSALM FRAGMENT

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord! Psalm 148:13-14

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Meditate on the proper use and misuse of God's name. Make a list in your journal of the ways you properly use God's name. Make another list of the ways you misuse God's name.

I properly use God’s name when I give thanks, praise Him, point others to Jesus, and assure others of His love for them. I misuse God’s name when I fail in my Christian Walk, try to “fix” people, or utter it in frustrating times.

 

     Write a statement in your journal indicating your commitment to increase the proper uses of God's name and to decrease the misuse of God's name in your words and actions.

Lord, I pray to be more self-controlled in my speech, to increase the proper use of your Name,  and to decrease the number of times I misuse Your Name. Help me to see the errors of my ways regarding Your name and help me to turn from them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

     We use God's name properly when we "call on God's name in time of need, or thank and praise him" when things are going well for us. Are asking, thanking, and praising God daily "spiritual habits" for you? If so, describe your experience with them. If not, why not work them into your life?

I am happy to report that asking, thanking, and praising God daily are spiritual habits that I practice.  They are a part of my daily spiritual practice that begins in the morning and continues throughout the day. The instances of my misuse of the Lord’s name have greatly decreased when I made these practices regular habits in my life. With that said, I am still a work in progress.

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Call upon the Lord to help you use his name properly so that those who hear and see you may come to know God better.

Lord, Help me to use Your name properly so that those who hear and see me may come to know you better. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord Jesus, teach me the holiness of your name so that when I call to you it is always to ask for help or to thank and praise you and never to curse.

Amen

 

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Conscience.

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV2011)
15  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Today’s verses fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

1.         Keep a clear conscience.

Today’s verse reminds us that we represent the King and that the best way to do so is to keep a clear conscience by doing what is right according to God’s Word.  We are to have “good behavior in Christ” and when we do those who would speak maliciously against us won’t have much to say.  The reason for our hope is Christ and He is to be the catalyst to a righteous Christian life. Our love for our Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit makes a righteous, pure, and good life possible and as we walk in it, our conscience is made clear. When we confess and repent our sins, we are made right with the Lord and have harmony with Him and can confidently walk through this life knowing that we are living in God’s will for us – in our sanctification.   So keep a clear conscience by following Jesus with the way you live. 

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: MARK 12

“And the common people heard Him gladly.”
– Mark 12:37

These were the people who recognized and enjoyed the ministry of the Lord Jesus. A little further down in this same chapter, the Lord admonishes and denounces the Scribes and Pharisees, for though they appeared to be religious or godly, they were absolute hypocrites. The common people were those who not only recognized their need for teaching and healing, but also realized that the Lord Jesus could meet that need. Therefore, He says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).

Surely, it is to the common people that the Lord would have me go. If He could mix with sinners and publicans, surely it is for me to do likewise.

Embolden me Lord, as I seek to share
Your Word to those whose path I cross in
my daily comings and goings.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship