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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Register for a Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course for this Fall, Now!


 Announcement Podcast

I am happy to announce that I will be facilitating another round of the Freedom in Christ Course for Freedom in Christ Ministries this fall! And we are going national! My group is the only men’s group and we will be meeting on Tuesday evenings via Zoom.

But there other classes available as well, see below and follow the link to register!

Freedom in Christ Course Classes

Classes start the week of September 6th

Freedom in Christ Ministries is offering national Freedom in Christ Course classes with registration open now.

There are 5 different class options. These are being organized by Sue Huber, CFMA from the Northeast team. They are open to everyone.

The Freedom in Christ Course is designed to help every Christian become a fruitful disciple and make their life count. Over 350,000 people have gone through the curriculum in English, and it has been translated into over 25 languages. Some of the areas covered in the course include:

– How we became brand-new people from the inside out when we became Christians

– Why we can go boldly into God’s presence any time we like without fear

– How nothing we do can make God love us any more or any less

– How to resolve the effects of even the deepest issues from the past

– How to deal with repeating patterns of sin

– Understanding what God’s purpose for your life is (it may not be what you think!)

This is our foundational discipleship course.

If you know anyone who is interested, please have them apply soon. We have already had 14 people sign up in the last 12 hours! To find out more:

https://www.ficm.org/.../freedom-in-christ-course-fall-2022/.

Applications/registrations will be open through August 23, 2022.

 

The “R” Word and Living in the State of Grace- Purity 806

The “R” Word and Living in the State of Grace- Purity 806

Purity 806 08/10/2022  Purity 806 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a clear blue sky and blazing sun over the “hump of a tree” and the “peak” of my neighbor’s house comes to us today from yours truly as I captured this spontaneous shot back on July 9th when leaving my countryside home to walk the dog. 

Well, it’s Wednesday again and today’s pictural offering may be lacking the mountain’s majesty that I usually share to represent the midweek hump but I think it can serve as a simple reminder to see the beauty that is right outside your front door and to appreciate the simple things in life. 

Also, I had some technical difficulties in this photo being delivered to my laptop and while I was waiting I was a little bit overwhelmed by the lag and the fact that I had other photo’s I could share but had no idea of their origin as I will just grab lots of photos off of social media to possibly use and with time, I forget where they came from! I have confessed that weakness before and unfortunately I haven’t instituted any measures to change it!

And thus we have stumbled upon today’s topic I guess: breaking the sin-confess cycle.  

Have you ever heard some one say, perhaps to you: “You say you are sorry, but if you were really sorry, you wouldn’t do that anymore!”  

Duck! Because if you are anything like me, those are shots fired in your direction and those slugs hurt!

If anyone ever tells you that the Christian faith is simple, they are failing to tell you about  the “R” word: repentance.  Just so you can see I am not legalistically making the need to change up out of thin air, I share the following verses from the New Testament:

From the Apostle Peter:

Acts 3:19 (NKJV)
19  Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

From the Apostle Paul,

Acts 17:30 (NKJV)
30  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

From Jesus:

Matthew 4:17 (NKJV)
17  … Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mark 1:15 (NKJV)
15  … "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Luke 13:3 (NKJV)
3  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)
19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Okay, I hope that is sufficient to demonstrate that “repentance” is a fundamental part of our faith.  Christians are called to believe in Christ, to put their faith in Him as Lord and Savior, and to repent: to change our minds and to decide to exchange our ways of thinking and living for God’s wisdom and ways. 

I’m pretty sure most of us know that and it is perhaps the number one reason why people resist becoming a Christian. Change is hard and they don’t want to change. 

Even those of us who do want to change, know what a difficult thing that can be.  And that’s we needed and will continually need God’s grace: His divine favor.  

God’s grace shined upon us of course when we first came to Christ. It was God’s grace that revealed to us the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and caused us to put our faith in Him.  

But God’s grace, His divine favor, doesn’t leave us at salvation.  Some Christians refer to a “state of Grace”, and although the systems that usually use that particular phrase indicate that this “state” is something we can move in and out of based on our behavior, the word indicates that nothing can separate us from the love of God, so I would encourage you to know that grace is a state that you have taken up permanent residency in the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ and nothing can change that.  

However, our attitudes and behaviors are subject to change. That’s good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that we can be walking well in our new found faith but then through temptation and deception, we can decide to forget who we are in Christ and make poor sinful choices.  We have formed selfish fleshly habits of living and they are difficult to change over night.   However, because of who we are in Christ, no matter what we do we are forgiven – when we came to Christ all our sins, past, present, and future sins, have been forgiven.

That’s grace and that’s why it is called “Amazing grace” because we simply can’t believe it is true!  And because we have been raised in a world system that has taught us that WE HAVE TO WORK to be approved, many will reject God’s grace because they believe it is too good to be true, but it is.  

Anyway, the good news about our attitudes and behaviors being subject to change is that we can change them! Thus repentance.  In fact, the best evidence for the truth of Christianity are people who have come to Christ and changed the way they lived.  

So, those new in Christ will try to “be good” now that they have “said the prayer” but unless they develop their love for God, repentance will just be a process of frustrating work that will be marked by failures and confessions.   We will say we are sorry but will feel powerless to change. 

So why is that? I’m trying hard here! What’s the deal!?! 

Well the deal is that you are trying to establish your freedom and victory over your besetting sins in your own strength according to the world’s ways rather than “turning” to God’s strength, wisdom, and ways. Also you are probably, subtly separating yourself from God by feeling condemned and by trying to “do it yourself”.  

Our Christian faith is a relationship with God and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.  We have to love God, get to know God, and dedicate ourselves to our relationship with Him and know the peace that comes from living in the “state of grace”.   We have to know that even if we fail, God still loves us. 

That realization should be liberating. As His adopted children through faith in Jesus, God will never leave us or forsake us and will pour His grace upon us throughout our lives. His divine favor is ours and it can be the catalyst for change.   When we live in God’s grace, we live in the peace of knowing that we can do no wrong in God’s eyes. 

Now don’t get it twisted, just because we haceGod’s grace doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer from acting like a fool but it does mean that when we humble ourselves and decide to live according to God’s ways He will give us the power to overcome.  

Some people in your past may have said: “If you loved me, you would change.” But they were only human, may have had a selfish agenda, and certainly didn’t have the power of God’s grace to help you. 

People try to change one another through manipulation, through positive or negative reinforcement. While these methods can be effective in changing outside behaviors, they generally don’t effect the heart.  We can do what you say, whether we “like it or not” but it doesn’t mean that we are convinced. It doesn’t mean we are changed.  

However, love can sometimes motivate us to change. Love will cause us to do all kinds of things that we didn’t think we are capable of.  Many a human relationship has been saved because the consequence of the loss of love was hanging in the balance, and in some instances, those changes were “taken to heart”.  

With God on our side, our ability to change has been greatly increased because in reality He has made us new. He doesn’t have to change our heart because He will give us a new one.

The prophet Ezekiel prophesied about the thing that God would do through Christ:

Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV) 26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

When we received Christ as Lord and Savior, we received the Holy Spirit and the process to change our hearts of stone to a heart of flesh has happened.  Ever wonder why your emotions are all over the place since coming to Christ, you have a new heart!

So let that new heart beat with the love for the God who saved you and made you new. Use your love for God as your motivation to know Him more and to repent, to “take to heart” His truth found in the word of God and to apply it to your life.  

The good news is that we don’t have to be perfect in this process of change.   We just have to keep following the Lord.  His grace will work in our lives the more we seek Him and follow His lead. 

So keep walking and talking with God.  You tried to change and failed, your failure probably caused you to stop talking to Him and made you want to run away.  But stop running, there is nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of any more. God is with you, no matter what.  So don’t run and hide, instead stay with Him, ask Him for His strength and you will receive it, renew your mind with His word and you will receive His wisdom and if you apply it, it will transform your life.  

But above all remember that repentance is the process of becoming who you were made to be and the God of all creation is encouraging you every step of the way. Like a Father teaching His children to walk, He will cheer you on, He will steady you as you go, and He will pick you up when you fall.  So reach out to Him, take His hand and go with Him to the new life of freedom and victory that is yours for the taking.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT2)
7  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Today’s verse encourages us that we can give all of our worries and cares to God because of the simple fact of His love for us. He cares for us.  

He cares!

Have you ever met someone new and come to the realization that they liked you?  Have you ever had someone express their fondness for you by helping you out in some way?  

If you have, you probably have had a moment where inside your mind or heart you said to yourself: He cares! or She cares!  And on earth, there isn’t really many feelings that beat that feeling.  To feel loved, to feel cared for.   And God loves us. God cares about us.  

Now sometimes in human relationships we can discover that some people’s care for us was conditional. There are heartbreaking true stories of people leaving others in relationships when “the going got tough”.  “Fair weather friends” are perhaps the mildest form of this but even the deepest bonds or relationships like marriage or family can suffer or be broken because people are limited and can seek escape from “your problems”.  

But God’s not like that.  Today’s verse tells us of the truth of God’s tenacious and loyal love for us. It tells us that we can give all of our worries and carries to Him.  

So no matter what you are facing, or no matter how many people decide to cut and run or just don’t want to hear about your problems anymore, remember that God care for you and will not only listen to your worries and cares, but will also give you the strength, wisdom, and guidance to endure them and overcome them.  

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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 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.

Prayer As the Primary Weapon

If Paul were to summarize the primary way of gaining access to the power of God for waging successful spiritual warfare, he would unwaveringly affirm that it is through prayer. Prayer is given much greater prominence in the spiritual warfare passage than any of the other implements. Prayer is also the only spiritual piece of armor that is not given a corresponding physical weapon (like a breastplate or a shield).

When Paul spoke of prayer, it was closely related to his concept of faith. He also mentioned faith for its role in engaging in spiritual warfare. He associated it with the shield. It is mentioned explicitly as the means of overcoming intense diabolic attack: “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:16). Prayer became for Paul the practical manifestation of faith. By these means, Satan is effectively resisted.

Throughout Ephesians, Paul stressed the role of faith in appropriating the power of God. The faith he called for is based on the objective fact of Christ’s resurrection and exaltation over the supernatural powers. God’s power is not imparted to Christians by wearing a magical amulet or even a crucifix. Neither does one gain access to it by performing a rite or by chanting certain words. God’s power is given through simple trust in him.

This trust finds expression most commonly in the act of prayer. Paul consequently summoned believers to pray “at all times” and “for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). Paul himself modeled this to the readers in this letter, telling them the essence of what he has prayed for them—their increased awareness of God’s power and for God to strengthen them with his power (Eph 1:15–23; 3:14–19).

The spiritual warfare passage is often viewed in individual terms; that is, each individual Christian should pray and ask God for strength to do battle. Paul actually depicted the arming in corporate terms. The whole church is involved in the process of arming. In fact, each believer is responsible for arming other believers. All of Paul’s admonitions in this passage are in the plural. More important, however, is the fact that Paul urged believers to pray “for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). Since this exhortation is part of Paul’s explanation of prayer as the final piece of armor, it is most natural to understand it as his recommendation as to the prerequisite and means of acquiring divine enablement. This fact is supported when he requested prayer for himself in the verses immediately following. In essence, he is asking his readers to arm him for spiritual warfare, particularly in his offensive act of proclaiming the gospel. Certainly the two prayers of Ephesians 1 and 3 model this fact. Through those two prayers, Paul deployed God’s armor for the protection and use of his readers. By leaving aside the metaphorical language of spiritual warfare and putting it into the simplest terms, one could say Paul prayed that God would endow them with his power so they could successfully resist Satan’s temptations and be divinely enabled to proclaim the gospel fearlessly in spite of demonic hindrance and hostility.

Spiritual warfare, therefore, is more proactive than reactive. It is the preparation before the storm. In practical terms it involves praying for “the healthy” in addition to praying for “the sick”; that is, praying specifically for individuals to resist temptation in their personal areas of vulnerability. It involves praying for the progress of the gospel in light of localized and intense demonic hostility to the ongoing mission of the church. This concept has the potential of rejuvenating prayer groups and prayer meetings in the church today.

Today’s church needs a stronger sense of the mutuality of the body of Christ. The Western church, in particular, is guilty of an “individualistic Christianity.” Instead of condemning the brother or sister who falls into sin, we need to look first to ourselves. Did we pray for God’s grace to enable that person to resist Satan’s solicitations to evil? Spiritual warfare is a call to corporate prayer.[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 158–159.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

A Rebel’s Surrender and Care of the Temple - Purity 805


A Rebel’s Surrender and Care of the Temple - Purity 805

Purity 805 08/09/2022 Purity 805 Podcast

Good morning,

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

( https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/elevationworship/givemefaith.html)

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. 

I surrender.

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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![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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] 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.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Free to Leave - Purity 804


Free to Leave - Purity 804

Purity 804 08/08/2022 Purity 804 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the public beach at Schroon Lake comes to us from yours truly as I spontaneously found myself further north than I would have ever dreamed Saturday and decided to make the most of it.  

Shortly after reporting Saturday that I didn’t have any “have to’s” to take care of on Saturday, I received word  that the Word of Life Inn & Conference Center in Schroon Lake was sold and the organization were giving away furniture and “other things” away to the public. Imagining Christian resources, books!, wall hangings, and usable furniture for the taking, my curiosity, and the lack of any other plans got the best of me and launched me into action and on a spontaneous journey an hour north of my already northern countryside home.

There was quite a bit of traffic going into and coming out of the Lodge by the time I got there so the pickings were slim but in the spirit of the frenzy I was influenced to “grab something” and ended up grabbing a blue armchair that I will imagined I could use in my bedroom to read, relax or watch t.v. in. 

I tested it out yesterday afternoon and although it takes up more space that I would like, it will meet it’s imagined purpose and it could give my wife a place to sit in my room other than my bed, as I only had a single office chair in the room before.   

Although I got the chair, I was disappointed because there was nothing else like I imagined. The only books they were giving away were Bibles that had been in each room in the inn, and I have plenty of Bibles already.  Yeah my imagination of Christian resources was a false expectation as I discovered that the Lodge was more a less a hotel and the offerings would be what you would expect from any hotel giving away its old furniture: beds, night stands, lamps, arm chairs, low height dressers, but I didn’t know that when I left at a moments notice and went barreling up I-87 to get there.  

So now that I realized that I was at Schroon Lake with nothing else to do, I decided to make the most of my hour and fifteen minute long drive and googled public swimming. I carry a bag in my car with a towel, swim trunks, and other clothes to be prepared for spontaneous fun or unexpected trips or overnight stays so I was ready for some spontaneous swimming fun and discover the public beach would be opening at 11 and was only a short drive a way. 

So I got there at about a quarter of 10 and figured I would read or something until the beach officially opened but shortly after I parked I saw other people setting up their beach chairs and then go into the water! So even though there were no lifeguards and the beach wasn’t officially opened, I headed down the grassy embankment that encloses the small beach and set up shop on the grassy plateau that over looks the beach. I’m not crazy about sand and my elevated position on the grassy plateau gave me a little privacy and distance from the beach below and gave me a nice view of the whole scene. After I set up my camp chair that I also keep in my car at all times for spontaneous fun,  I was soon loving my decision to make the most out of my impromptu trip as I immediately “broke the rules” and was enjoying the cool but not cold waters of Schroon Lake.  I had never been there before and I would definitely recommend it to my friends, but I would encourage you to follow my example and go early because the beach is small and it filled up pretty quickly aftre 11 AM.  

I would also recommend being careful if you decide to follow my example and decide to stay on the grassy hill that surrounds the beach.  There is a reason why not many people joined me on the perfectly level grassy plateau. 

After my maiden swim and an hour of reading and enjoying the sun, I got thirsty so I made the trek back up to my car to get some water I had left behind.  There was a sun bather nearby so I decided to take a different route up the hill and was shocked to discover what appeared to be cat or small dog poop all over the grassy hill side! I was disgusted and wondered what kind of people would be so thoughtless to let their pets relieve themselves in a public park to such an extent that the grassy hillside was a veritable mine field of poop!

So although I did go back to my spot and went swimming a few more times and stayed another hour, the growing crowd, suddenly appearing flying insects, and the fact that I now knew that the entire hill was covered in animal feces all combined to cause me to leave.  

After telling my wife of my misadventures at Schroon Lake, she shared her knowledge of living up north and shared that what I took for pet droppings left by irresponsible owners or strays, was in actuality goose poop! Apparently, unlike most birds that I am familiar with, geese poop is much larger.  

Anyway,  I guess I share all of that to encourage my friends to be spontaneous in life, to make the most of your opportunities to experience something new, but to also be aware of their surroundings!  Apparently there is always something new to learn and sometimes the lessons we get aren’t always pleasant!

And another thing that I would point out from my experience is that we can have good experiences in less than ideal circumstances, but when we discover the unpleasant truth about the place we are in, it doesn’t mean we necessarily have to stay there!  

As the circumstances surrounding my “beach day”, started to go south, I had a decision to make, I could “get over myself” and stay and decide to just “focus on the good” or I could leave! And I did leave!

For me maintaining the peace and joy of my life wasn’t “beach centered”, it’s God centered and the great thing about God is that He goes where I go. The beach had given what I needed to experience and I decided to go when the going was good.  

As someone who encourages others to experience their freedom in Christ, one of the lesson I teach is that we are free to leave negative circumstances, places, and people behind as we follow the Lord.    When we decide to follow Christ, not everyone will be walking with us and the Lord may call us to “go” rather than to endure.  

Yes, a good deal of living as a disciple of Christ involves being good, kind, faithful, gentle, and patient as we endure through bad situations and deal with difficult people but make no mistake, who the Son set free is free indeed and as we walk with Him we will discover that the Lord calls us to leave situations, people, and places behind to answer another call or to maintain our life in the Spirit.  

From the beginning, Abraham was called to leave His family and all he knew to follow the Lord,  Moses lead the nation Israel our of Egypt, and Christ told his disciples to shake of the dust of a town that did not receive His word.   So listen to what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do, but it’s “time to go”, go.   

So as we enter into a new work week, fight the good fight of faith and try to live peacefully where the Lord has brought you as you answer His call on your life to be the best “worker, parent, manager or whatever” that the Lord made you to be.  

But if you discover that the circumstances have gotten to be untenable, remember that the Lord has also given you the freedom to leave.  And if we decide to leave, we necessarily have to scream from the roof tops just how unpleasant things were on the way out the door.  

As much as I may have been tempted to scream “Hey, that hill is covered in poop!”

I didn’t because:

I didn’t want to point out the negative

I didn’t want to take away someone else’s joy

And just like when we share the gospel, often people don’t hear or understand what we say, or don’t listen to us anyway, and somethings we have to experience for ourselves.  

So keep walking and talking with God, and keep pursuing the meaning and purpose He has for your life, that may call you to stay or may call you to exercise your freedom to go.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT2)
17  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Today’s verse testifies to the spiritual reality of a brand new life that comes to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  

The biggest stumbling block to experiencing our new life in Christ is our failure to pursue the life we have been given.   Instead of being transformed by the renewing our minds with the word of God as the Bible directs us, we continue to stay where we are and do the things we have always done. 

If you are perplexed about why you don’t “feel like a new creation”, it is probably because you have misunderstood the gospel that tells us that there is “nothing to do” but put your faith in Christ to be a child of God and decided that there was “nothing to do” with your new life in Christ and thus have remained doing what you have always done.  

When we are saved, we are saved from God’s wrath.  

But what are we saved “to”?  We are made children of God to represent His kingdom and to give Him glory.  

What exactly in your life before Christ was doing that?  Probably not much.   

So if you saw the need for a Savior for your salvation, why would you assume that the way you were living before you came to Christ was “just fine”?

The call from Christ is the call to everlasting life but it is also the call to repentance.  We are made new the moment we make Christ our Lord but that doesn’t mean that nothing needs to change.  A Christian life is a transformed life.  

So if you don’t feel like you have been transformed, you need to believe that you are and make the transformation a reality in your life by changing the way you think and live to be in line with God’s word.  

So rejoice over your new life in Christ, and seek His wisdom and ways to see it manifest more and more as you make the daily decision to follow Him. 

______________________________________________________________________

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 Resistance

Four times in the passage Paul used the word stand/withstand (same root in the Greek: Eph 6:11, 13, 14). In the larger context of Ephesians it is clear Paul did not want believers to “give a place to the devil” with excessive anger, lying, stealing or succumbing to any other temptation to moral impurity (Eph 4:27). Paul described the devil and his powers as working in concert with the flesh and the world (Eph 2:2–3—see above) to promote sin among Christians and hinder the progress of the gospel. For this reason the Christian needs to appropriate God’s enabling power in order to live with moral integrity.

Spiritual warfare is therefore resistance. It is a defensive posture. It involves recognizing the supernatural nature of temptation and being prepared to face it. It also implies appropriating God’s power to progress in eradicating moral vices that already have a place in one’s life.

The first two spiritual weapons Paul named are “truth” and “righteousness.” There appears to be two sides to these weapons. On the one hand, they need to be understood as divine endowments for the task of spiritual warfare. On the other hand, they are to be regarded as virtues that need to be cultivated in the lives of believers. This understanding is quite natural in that the gospel brings with it implications for Christian conduct. Paul saw the gospel as “truth” (Eph 1:13) and as the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). In contrast, the devil is the archadversary who uses many schemes designed to misrepresent, deceive and trick. Believers need to be convinced and assured of the gospel’s truth and what it affirms about them as God’s children. By implication, believers need to conduct their lives in a manner consistent with the truth of the gospel. Lying and deceit can have no place in a believer’s life; they are an affront to the God of truth. Consequently, in Ephesians, Paul told each Christian that he or she “must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Eph 4:25; see also 5:9).

One of the most remarkable parts of the salvation that God provides is the gift of “righteousness.” After informing the Romans that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10), Paul elaborated on the wonderful news that “this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22). This righteousness means that those who believe in Jesus have been acquitted of all guilt before God. They are completely forgiven and reconciled to him as friends, better yet, as sons and daughters. The devil and his malicious powers would certainly like Christians to believe otherwise. The powers strive to convince people that God could not possibly forgive them for some of the horrible things they have done in the past. Such a notion could not be further from the truth. Christians have indeed been pardoned through Christ’s blood, and as such, can live boldly and confidently, not with guilt, fear and timidity.

Possessing God’s righteousness, however, brings responsibility. The apostle admonished his readers to strip off the old self and put on the new self, which is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). The development of personal holiness and integrity is part of the preparation for engaging in victorious spiritual warfare. Conversely, a lack of integrity and personal holiness will certainly hinder a believer’s ability to resist the onslaught of Satan’s minions successfully.

Another very important aspect of a believer’s resistance is “salvation,” which is linked to the helmet as the fifth piece of armor (Eph 6:17). Salvation needs to be understood as Paul explained it in the larger context of the letter. In Ephesians 2:5–10, Paul twice reaffirmed to his readers that “by grace you have been saved,” eloquently describing the concept of salvation. These two occurrences are the only occasions in all of Paul’s letters where he used the Greek perfect tense to refer to salvation. The perfect tense stresses the results of a decisive action in the past Paul wanted his readers to be very secure in their identity in Christ. They are people who are saved and enjoy the benefits of being saved.

Paul clarified what he meant by salvation in that same context with three powerful thoughts: (1) believers have been made alive with Christ, (2) they have been raised up with Christ, and (3) they have been seated with him in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:4–6). For Paul it is vitally important that believers know who they are in Christ in order to resist the influence of Satan and his forces on their lives. Only through their salvation and union with Christ will they be able to resist

Finally, the believer is given a “sword” to fend off the attacks of the evil one. The sword is linked with the Spirit and the Word of God. Just as Jesus used Scripture to resist Satan’s temptations while he was in the wilderness (Mt 4:1–11), Paul called on believers to use God’s Word to resist the devil in their own situations. This is not to be understood as a semimagical use of Scripture, quoting it out loud as a means of thwarting the devil. It involves gaining a thorough familiarity with Scripture and an accurate understanding of its relevance for any given situation. When Jesus was tempted, the devil applied Scripture inappropriately and out of context; Jesus responded to the devil by applying Scripture appropriately and according to its proper intent in conveying the mind of God on specific matters. The thorough, systematic study of Scripture on a regular basis is vital for all believers. It is an integral part of engaging in effective spiritual warfare.[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 154–156.