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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Purity 380: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 Purity 380 03/31/2021 Purity 380 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo was captured by yours truly at the intersection of Hays Road and State Route 9J in Rensselaer NY as I was returning from dinner at a friend’s house last night.  This sunset caught my eye because of the peculiar cloud formation that seemed to be directly pointing down at the at the setting sun. 

In our discussions over dinner with my friend, we discussed recent changes and losses in our lives, our friends’ lives, and the state of our Christian walks.  As confusing and troubling some of the changes that we have seen in our immediate circles over the last few weeks and months have been, we both expressed our hearts desire to continue following the Lord and strengthening our commitment to not stray away from our relationships with God but to instead to draw closer to Him by seeking Him in prayer, in study, in the ways we used our spare time, and in the ways we live our lives.    

It’s Holy Week, and to me any signs and wonders in the sky make me wonder.  Although it just seemed like a straight line of clouds in the sky, when I looked at it I got a cross like impression, or maybe a crucifixion nail, and I took it as an encouragement from the Lord to keep walking and talking with Him and to trust that He would be present with me no matter what changes may be in store in the months ahead. 

Regardless of what you see in this photo, I was reminded that God is above, and that this week is special and that He is with us.  

So I encourage you to not get too caught up with the things happening in and around your lives here on earth without considering the Lord’s place in it all. God is with us and wants us to turn to Him continually to seek His strength, love, and wisdom as we go through life. And I believe that occasionally, He gives us signs because He wants us to know that He is watching over us.  


This morning’s meditation verses are:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Today’s verses remind us of the truth that we gleaned from Romans 3:28 yesterday which told us that a person is not justified by works.  

I believe that this truth is being presented purposefully by the Holy Spirit, through the “random” selection of the index card with these verses on it, to further express the fact that our salvation is not based on our efforts or works but is indeed a gift of God and is the product of God’s grace to activate our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  

When we go from unsaved to saved, we receive the truth of the gospel that we never understood or accepted before.  I went from someone who was a practicing Buddhist who basically denied the idea of a personal God and privately pitied and mocked anyone who had faith or believed in the truths of Christianity.   

But on that fateful day in March of 2010, in a parking lot on Aviation Road in Albany New York, the Lord anointed a Christian radio message with His grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I heard the truth as if for the first time of Christ’s work on the cross and God’s great love for me.   It was by God’s grace that I realized that truth and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.   

Before that moment, I was spiritually dead and lost. After I said “Yes” to Jesus, I was alive and the new life began to manifest in a desire to know God’s word, to live according to it, and to share this good news with anyone who would listen.     

We don’t have to earn it. We just have to seek God and give Him an opportunity to touch our hearts and to open our eyes.  

I begrudgingly listened to that Christian radio message, with the full intention to mock it, but when I did I unwittingly opened a door for God to come into my life.  

So if you think you must earn your place in God’s kingdom or have to be a good person before God will accept you, I beg you have an open heart and mind to the possibility that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  

When you invite God to reveal Himself to you, when you seek Him in the smallest way, you can receive His grace, His unmerited favor, to know the truth and to be given a new and eternal life.    

And like the verse says, you won’t be able to boast about having done anything to receive your new life, but you will be filled with the peace, joy, and love of God that will compel you to tell others all about it and invite them to experience it too. 

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

C. How to Discover Deliverance from Dependency

Bobby Richardson had agreed to officiate Mickey Mantle's funeral, and he was summoned to Dallas, Texas, three days before the death of baseball's greatest athlete. Bobby visited Mickey in the hospital as he lay suffering with liver cancer. He knew this could be his very last opportunity to make an appeal that would direct the eternal destiny of "the Mick," so there was no time for small talk or hesitation.

"Mickey," Bobby implored, "I love you, and I want you to spend eternity in heaven with me." Nothing more needed to be said, for Bobby had already clearly communicated before to Mickey that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and rose again, opening the door for full forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life. So how would his longtime friend respond in these final moments? Would he accept or reject the amazing grace being extended to him?

Mickey smiled, and serenely said, "Bobby, I've been wanting to tell you that I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior."

On August 13, 1995, baseball legend Mickey Mantle died a healed man. He was healed physically, delivered from dependency and no longer suffering the pain and anguish of a disease-ravaged body. And he has been healed spiritually — every single sin Mickey Mantle ever committed has been forgiven by Christ ... never ... ever ... to be brought up again. ...

"In him we have ... the forgiveness of sins. ..."
(Ephesians 1:7)

Just as a chemical dependency doesn't develop overnight, neither does deliverance from dependency. A sequence of events leads people into bondage and another sequence leads people into freedom.

At the moment of your salvation, you were delivered from the penalty of sin (eternal death), and you can be delivered from the power of sin (destructive addictions). But you must realize that freedom from the power of dependency is a process that requires focused, active participation on your part. You must choose to believe and practice the truth about yourself and God. In order to do that, you will need to ...

  • Admit you are powerless over your dependency.

"I am unable to manage my life — I cannot control my life."

·    Accept your dependent condition and your vulnerability to chemical addiction.

·    Acknowledge your inability to manage your life and to overcome your drug dependency.

·    Articulate to God your total inadequacy and your deepest need of His power in your life.

"Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead" (2 Corinthians 1:9).

  • Realize that the God who made you and saved you has the power to restore you.

"I am asking Christ to be my Redeemer, to restore every area of my life."

·    Accept the Lordship of Christ Jesus in your life as your Master, Ruler, and Owner.

    • Acknowledge your need for God to comfort you and to restore you to wholeness.

·    Articulate your gratitude to God for His saving power operating within your mind, will, and emotions. Thank Him for what He plans to do in and through your life.

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more" (Psalm 71:20-21).

  • Yield your will to the will of the Lord.

"I am asking Christ to take control of my life."

·    Accept the fact that your sinful nature died on the cross with Jesus and that sin (your addiction) is to no longer rule your life.

·    Acknowledge the devastation that has resulted from your self-willed living in the past.

·    Articulate your determination to stop your self-willed living and your decision to yield your will to the Lord.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

  • Face reality — face your true self.

"I will look honestly at my life, asking God to uncover my sins and character flaws."

·    Accept the truth that you have deceived yourself about your dependency and your desperate need for help.

·    Acknowledge your previous reluctance to face the truth about your wrong choices and patterns.

·    Articulate to God and to others your willingness to know the truth about yourself and your commitment to evaluate honestly your life, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

  • Admit your struggle with sin, both to God and to someone else.

"May I see my sin as God sees it and hate my sin as God hates it."

·    Accept the depth and the duration of your struggle with chemical dependency.

·    Acknowledge to a supportive person the power that your dependency has had over you. Confirm your present commitment to freedom.

·    Articulate to both God and a friend your desire to overcome your dependency and to live in the victory Jesus secured for you at Calvary.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).

  • Accept God's help to change your patterns of the past.

"I will commit my life into the care of Christ."

·    Accept your limitations and your need for help in changing your unhealthy patterns of dealing with life.

·    Acknowledge your frailty and the feebleness of your willpower and self-effort to effect change.

·    Articulate to God your helplessness and your pledge to cooperate with Him as He changes you from the inside out.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7).

  • Confess your defects and daily failings.

"I'm willing to see myself as God sees me."

·    Accept that you are not perfect and that you will fail at times despite your good intentions.

·    Acknowledge your failures immediately and confess them to God and to those you have offended. Then correct your course.

·    Articulate any sins and shortcomings to God on a daily basis, and claim His forgiveness and cleansing.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" (Psalm 51:10-12).

  • Ask forgiveness of those you have offended.

"I will find those whom I've hurt and from my heart ask for their forgiveness."

·    Accept your need to ask forgiveness of anyone you offend, even though you may have been offended yourself.

·    Acknowledge your great need of God's mercy and grace and your resolve to extend mercy and grace to others.

·    Articulate to both God and to those you have offended your grief and regret and your resolve to change where you need to change.

"If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24).

  • Make restitution where you have wronged others.

"I will go and make amends where possible with the help of God."

·    Accept your obligation to do whatever is within your power in order to right your wrongs.

·    Acknowledge to God and to those whom you have wronged your desire to make amends in any way possible.

·    Articulate your responsibility to make restitution and your commitment to repay whatever debt you owe, whether repaying money or labor, correcting a lie, showing respect, or extending love.

"If they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil — that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live" (Ezekiel 33:15-16).

  • Keep a clean slate when you realize you have been wrong.

"Each day I will take responsibility for my irresponsibility."

·    Accept your charge to keep a clean slate before God and every person.

·    Acknowledge each and every failure in order to live as God would have you to live.

·    Articulate each failure to God on a moment-by-moment basis, making no excuses, but recommitting to live a self-controlled, Spirit-empowered life.

"The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives ..." (Titus 2:11-12).

  • Pray to know God's path for your life.

"I want to be led by the Lord and to be put only on His path."

·    — Accept your new dependence on God and your vital need to communicate with Him on a daily basis through Bible study and prayer.

·    — Acknowledge your need to have the prayer support of others to know God's truths and God's ways.

·    — Articulate to God your desire to be what He wants you to be and to do what He wants you to do.

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:4-5).

  • Reach out to others with your hand and your heart.

"I will care for those who need care and will help with a heart of compassion."

·    — Accept your need of others and their need of you.

·    — Acknowledge your giftedness from God and His mandate to use your God-given gifts to serve others in tangible, practical ways.

·    — Articulate ways that God may be leading you to minister to others and ask for His confirmation and for the guidance of mature Christians who can help you to reach out to others.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).

This impactful prayer, crafted during World War II, has become known worldwide because, every day, countless numbers of people around the globe pray this. They are looking to God for the grace, courage, and wisdom to walk through each day totally surrendered to the only One who has overcome the world — and the very One who enables us to be overcomers in this world.

The Serenity Prayer

 

God, give us grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

 

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

— Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Jesus imparts this comforting promise ...

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Purity 379: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 379 03/30/2021 Purity 379 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo from Dave Baun Photography. They captured this shot of Temptation Sailing returning from one of their twilight cruises from the vantage point of the Glenelg Jetty in South Australia late last summer.  Temptation Sailing tempts its potential patrons with cruises along the Adelaide coastline or with the chance to swim with wild dolphins for those who are a little more adventurous.  So if going “Down Under” and swimming with dolphins are on your bucket list, this is a temptation that will only cost you time and money but could be a once in a lifetime experience.  

When it comes to temptation, I would offer the following friendly advice. If your temptation is to get over your fears and trepidations about trying something new or doing something you always wanted to do, that doesn’t go against the moral principles presented in God’s word, I would say to go for it.  The biggest regrets in life usually involve the things that we don’t do.    

Of course, as someone who has given into all types of temptations that were contrary to common sense as well as the Word of God, I feel I can give you some solid advice when I tell you not to give into the temptations that are born out of selfish desires with no thoughts of the consequences.  I have faced various negative consequences from some of the choices I have made, and I can tell you that giving into the temptations that I knew were wrong was never worth the pain and suffering that I caused other people and to myself.

Possible criminal charges, physical pain, mental anguish, financial losses, relationship problems, and just plain old guilt and shame are what lies behind the things that you want to do but that you know are wrong.  Ask me how I know…       

So live your life in a way that goes past the limitations that fear and the opinions of men may keep you from trying but stay inside the boundaries that the Lord wrote upon your hearts.  

If you have lived a morally upstanding life, don’t regret staying out of the darkness. It turns out, you never regret doing the right thing or at least you shouldn’t.

Take it from someone who has suffered from living life selfishly, the scars are nothing to be proud of and the damage is more than skin deep.  

But the good news is that Jesus Christ is the healer.  He can not only take your pain, shame, and guilt away, He can heal your broken heart and lead you out of the darkness of your former self into a new life that you always wanted to live but never thought you could.     

Our wrong choices may have made us feel like we have killed a part of who we were and that there is no way to get our innocence back.   Instead of bringing that old person back to life with all their problems, Christ gives you the opportunity to live a new life.  

Resurrection Sunday is coming. You can be a part of it like never before by answering Jesus’ call to “Come forth and Live.”  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 3:28 (CCNT)
28 We have come to the conclusion that a person is justified by faith without works of law.

Romans 3:28 (NKJV)
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Today’s verse speaks of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ: the truly good news that we are not justified by the works of the law.  

Justified means to be declared righteous by God.  This verse tells us that we are not declared righteous by our works. We are declared righteous by faith.     

With Holy Week upon us, I’m sure several people in the Body of Christ without this basic understanding of the gospel will be beating themselves up on Good Friday because Jesus died for their sins and they may even cry because of His suffering on their behalf.  They may decide that they must pay Jesus back by living a good life and doing their best not to sin so they can be worthy of salvation.    

While I think repentance and changing the way to live because of our faith is exactly what we should do, I would caution everyone that we don’t earn our salvation through our efforts.  We never could.

It is our faith that justifies us, not our works.  So thank Jesus for the work He did on the cross for us by putting your faith in Him as Lord and Savior. After you do that you become spiritually alive and have the ability to live the Christian life.  

Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior gives us new life.  You don’t have to earn it!  He gives salvation as a gift.  Stop trying to earn what the Lord wants to freely give to you!

He also frees you from the power of sin, as well as the power of death.  

That means that you can say no to sin.   The key to victory is believing you have received it the moment you put your faith in Jesus.   If you believe that you are free from your sins, you will be free. 

Christ gives you the power to overcome by faith in Him, meaning that if you believe He has done that for you, you can live it out. 

Dr. Neil Anderson points out in several of His books that the statements of Romans 6:1-11(that we have died to sine and are alive to God) are true about our condition as believers in Christ.  We don’t have to “do” anything to live that way other than to believe it.

So stretch your faith to go beyond your belief in your salvation, believe that Christ has sanctified you the same way he saved you: by faith.   If you truly believe that Christ has given you a new life, you can live it through the power of your faith. 

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

IV. Steps to Solution

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!"
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

A new thing...that is the best way to describe the transformation that God has brought about in Josh Hamilton's life. Josh is not only back in the game, he's "on top of his game" after being reinstated back into baseball in 2007.

In 2010, the Texas Rangers clinch the American League Championship and play in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers' star outfielder helps carry his team to the top tier event, racking up impressive stats for the year: .361 batting average, 31 home runs, and 97 runs batted in. In 2011 the Texas Rangers return to the World Series to play the St. Louis Cardinals, once again, largely due to the tremendous efforts of Josh Hamilton. Nicknamed "the Hammer" for his powerful batting arm and nationally recognized for his athletic agility, Josh has been likened to New York's ... "The Mick."

Today, Josh Hamilton is sober and drug free, and it's all because God has done a new thing.

A. Key Verse to Memorize

As with Josh, it took "hitting rock bottom" for Mickey Mantle to turn from substance abuse. With his body deteriorating, his memory lapsing, his family crumbling, Mickey does what everyone thought was unthinkable — he entered rehab.

But immediately upon finishing treatment, Mickey was under enormous pressure to relapse. ... His son, Billy, died of a heart attack and then his mother died. But just as there once had been great expectation for him to drink with the guys, Mickey now knew there was great expectation for him to stay sober.

Son Mickey, Jr. assessed the situation: "Out of all the things he did, the World Series teams he starred on, the home runs he hit, the records he broke, his induction into the Hall of Fame, what I admired him for the most was getting sober." Mickey eventually experienced on a very personal and profound level the transforming truth of these words ...

"I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
(Isaiah 41:13)

B. Key Passage to Read

Mickey made the call at 6:00 in the morning.

"Betsy, let me talk to Bobby, I want him to pray for me." The request was inconceivable ... it seemed impossible ... that the raucous, rebellious slugger would ever solicit God's help. Yet Mickey phoned his former Yankee teammate Bobby Richardson because he finally recognized that he needed God in his life.

For too many years Mickey succumbed to one temptation after another, but now he wanted to stand in the strength and grace of the God that his friend Bobby knew. Bobby prayed with Mickey, and the aged baseball buddies had several more conversations about spiritual things. ...

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words."
(1 Corinthians 2:13)

10 Truths About Temptation

1 Corinthians Chapter 10

  1. If you think you're fairly invulnerable to temptation, be vigilant and careful so that you won't fall.

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (v. 12).

  1. If you think your temptation is unique, clearly it's not.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind" (v. 13).

  1. God won't let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" (v. 13).

  1. God will provide a way for you to withstand the test.

"But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (v. 13).

  1. Don't prioritize what is permissible — prioritize what is beneficial.

'"I have the right to do anything' you say — but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything' — but not everything is constructive" (v. 23).

  1. Don't focus on yourself — focus on the good of others.

"No one should seek their own good, but the good of others" (v. 24).

  1. Don't violate the conscience of others — curb your freedom for their sake.

"But if someone says to you, 'This has been offered in sacrifice,' then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person's conscience, not yours" (vv. 28-29).

  1. Let your eating and drinking — and everything else you do — bring glory to God.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (v. 31).

  1. Don't cause anyone to stumble by your actions.

"Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God ..." (v. 32).

  1. Seek the good of others so that they might be truly saved.

"For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved" (v. 33).

Biblical Position

Question: "What is the biblical position on drinking alcohol?"

Answer: While the Bible does speak of medical benefits of wine (1 Timothy 5:23) and Jesus provided wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11), the Bible clearly prohibits both drunkenness and addiction to alcohol, calling this behavior sinful.

God does not want you to lose control because of the influence of alcohol, but rather to yield to the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. Addiction to alcohol or any other drug makes you a slave to that controlling substance. God wants you to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be free. ...

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ..."
(Ephesians 5:18)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship