Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Surf’s Up: Overcoming the Waves of Adversity - Purity 458

 Surf’s Up: Overcoming the Waves of Adversity

Purity 458 06/30/2021   Purity 458 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend who joined their son for some sunrise surfing on one of the beaches of near Jacksonville Florida. They shared this beautiful view this past Sunday with the instruction to “Make it a great day.”  

As I already documented, my Sunday was great, as I officially graduated with my master’s degree in Christian Counseling and the blessings kept coming as I continued to receive congratulations yesterday. So as we walk out of the month of June, I would like to again thank all who recently wished my happy birthday and congratulations on my graduation. Great days are made even greater when we have friends and family to share them with. So, thank you!

As our friend was surfing Sunday, it appears that we in upstate New York, and people elsewhere across the country, have been riding the crest of a heat wave as the last few days have seen record high temperatures all over the country but just as Wednesday is the hump in the middle of our week, it looks like it will all be downhill from here as our local forecast predicts temperatures going back down to a high of 70 degrees on Saturday.

No matter how hot or turbulent our lives can be at times, if we walk with God, we know that we can lean on His strength to see us through the waves of adversity that can come our way.   In my experience, it has been in the worst of times that the Lord really shows that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Suffering loss, trials, and heartaches is often a lonely road as friends and family only have a limited amount of capacity to help you. They have lives of their own and their own set of problems and concerns to deal with. So it is no fault of their own when they are less than perfect in offering help or support.    

That’s why it is critical to have a relationship with the Lord. There will be times when we will walk through challenges by ourselves. A lot of the problems we will face are consequences of things we have done, or failed to do, and when push comes to shove the responsibility falls to us to get ourselves out of the messes we have made.  In those times we will need the comfort, assurance, love, strength, and guidance that only a comes from a covenant relationship with God. 

I hate to get specific to those who like a more general spiritual outlook, but the truth is that the promises of God for a new and eternal life are conditional upon faith in Jesus Christ.   The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is also contingent on faith in Christ. 

And for those who don’t know, our reception of the Holy Spirit, adoption into the kingdom of God, and a new identity in Christ are the game changers that give peace in the midst of the most turbulent waves of change we will face.  

While most of us can adapt and overcome problems and trials in our own strength by gritting our teeth and putting our noses to the grindstone, the big questions of life will never be answered through man’s limited knowledge or individual efforts.  

The questions of life beyond death must be addressed. Ultimate meaning and reality must be considered.   Otherwise, we are micromanaging our lives, problem solving and planning from one moment to the next without true meaning or purpose. 

You can even make short- and long-term plans for every eventuality that you can imagine for life here on earth but unless you secure the Truth, the Way, and the Life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, your best laid plains will be as castles made of sand that the wind and waves of life will wash away, eroding your limited conception of what life is along with the pride that held your dusty kingdom together.   

So stop fighting the waves all by yourself. Seek the Lord’s answer and you will see the cross of Christ.  The cross bridges the gap between God and man and provides those who place their faith in Christ with the ability to rise above the waves of this world. 

With your eternal destiny secured in Christ, you trade your castles of sand for the kingdom of God. The spiritual reality of your new life in Christ gives you the ability to ride the waves of adversity with strength, patience, and skill.  So let go and let God bring you through and to a place where their will be peace and life everlasting.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Today’s verse is the cliff notes for evangelism.  Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Enough said.   That’s Pretty Straightforward, I think, but I would highlight the two aspects of this simple instruction that will make the difference between a true and a false conversion.  

“Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus” means two things. 

First, it means that we must “speak it”. We must make a public confession of our faith. “Hey guys! Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m a Christian!.. Please don’t hurt me.”

Yeah, outside of areas of the earth where there is heavy-duty persecution, there should be no uncover Christians.  To quote my high school history teacher, Mr. Burley, “Say it Loud and say it proud!”   You have to, and should be proud to, say that Jesus Christ is Lord.  

Second, confess means to “agree with”. That means that you are not just saying something and not meaning it.  Your saying Jesus Christ is Lord is not just lip service. It means that you are making Jesus the Lord of your life with the implication that you will obey your Lord and Master.  

“Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” is also integral to the promise of salvation.  

“In your heart” points to a sincere heartfelt conviction that you not only believe the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, but you also believe in the spiritual meaning of the resurrection and that God’s redemptive plan applies personally to you.   

So not only do you believe the resurrection happened, but you also believe the resurrection happened to you as those who place their faith in Christ are crucified to death and raised to life with Him.   

So if you evangelize, make sure that the people you speak to understand the implications and spiritual realities that are inherent in their act of confession. Reciting a sinner’s prayer is not more spiritual than saying the pledge of the alliance to the Untied States if people don’t agree that Jesus is Lord and don’t believe in their heart that they are resurrected with Christ.  

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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

What the Spirit-Filled Walk Is

If the Spirit-filled walk is neither license nor legalism, then what is it? It is liberty. "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17).

Our freedom in Christ is one of the most precious commodities we have received from our spiritual union with God. Because the Spirit of the Lord is in you, you are free to become the person God created you to be. You are no longer compelled to walk according to the flesh as you were before conversion. You are not even compelled to walk according to the Spirit, but you are inwardly bent in that direction. You have the choice to walk according to the Spirit or to walk according to the flesh.

Walking according to the Spirit implies two things. First, it is not sitting in the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is not sitting around in some holy piety expecting God to do it all. Second, it is not running in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is not an endless round of exhausting activities in which we are trying to do it all by ourselves. Thinking we will become more spiritual if we try harder is a typical error of many believers. If Satan can't tempt us to be immoral, he will simply try to make us busy.

How much fruit can we bear if we try to do it all by ourselves? None! Apart from Christ we can do nothing (see John 15:5). How much gets accomplished in the kingdom of God if we expect God to do it all by Himself? Not much! God has committed Himself in this age to work through the Church (see Ephes. 3:10). We have the privilege to water and plant, and God causes the increase (see 1 Cor. 3:6-9). If we don't water and plant, nothing grows.

A pastor was working in his garden one day when one of his deacons paid a visit. "My, the Lord sure gave you a beautiful garden," the deacon said. To which the pastor responded, "You should have seen it when God had it by Himself."

This truth is illustrated by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

In His youth, Jesus was a carpenter. In those days, carpenters didn't frame houses; they fashioned wooden doors and yokes. Jesus metaphorically used those products to describe the spiritual life. For instance, Jesus is the door to spiritual life (see John 10:9), and a yoke is a wooden beam that fits over the shoulders of two oxen. How well does the yoke work if only one person is in it? You would be better off not having it on you. It only works if two are yoked together and pulling in the same direction.

A young ox is trained by putting it in a yoke with an old seasoned ox who "learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). The typical nature of the young ox is to think the pace is too slow and to run ahead, but all it would get is a sore neck. "Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:30, 31). Some young oxen will be tempted to drop out, but life goes on and the debts pile up. Others will be tempted to stray off to the left or the right. Then one day the young ox thinks, This old ox knows what he is talking about and how to walk; I think I will learn from Him.

I once owned a rather dumb dog named Buster. I bought a choke chain and sent Buster off to dog obedience school with my son. It didn't work. So one day I thought I would take Buster for a walk. I said "walk" not "run." So I put the choke chain on Buster and off we went. I was the master and I knew where I wanted to go on this "walk." Buster just about choked himself to death trying to run ahead, but I was determined to be the master and walk at my pace. Then he would stop and sniff a flower or some gross thing, but I kept on walking.

"Did that dumb dog ever learn to walk by its master?" you ask. No, it never did, and I have met a lot of Christians who haven't either. Some try to run ahead of God and burn out. Others fall into temptation and stray off to the left or the right. Some just drop out even though their Master is saying, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). We can find rest for our souls if we learn to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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


God bless you all!


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Keep Your Eyes Open: Seeking the Kingdom, Finding His Presence - Purity 457


Keep Your Eyes Open: Seeking the Kingdom, Finding His Presence

Purity 457 06/29/2021   Purity 457 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of blue heavenly skies over water from the vantage point of a starboard window comes to us from a friend who was taking the ferry to Burlington Vermont on a recent trip to their camp in Highgate.  Although I am sure our friend was excited about getting to their final destination, they had the presence of mind to keep their eyes open for the beauty that God had prepared for them along the way.   

As I encourage others to “walk in the Spirit”, one of the basic instructions I give comes from Matthew 6:33 which says:

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The depths of meaning that can be drawn from this verse are seemingly limitless as the Holy Spirit can continually reveal new aspects to it.  

The aspect of seeking is what our friend tapped into when they didn’t become distracted by the details on the boat or with what was on their phone or with thinking about what it would be like after getting off the boat. They seemingly let all of those possible distractions go and discovered a pleasant view that could draw their minds and hearts to heaven.   

When we see sights like this one we could just recognize it as “pretty” or we can recognize it as part of the setting that God has put into our life’s narrative. If we do the latter the response is gratitude, awe, wonder, and expectancy as we look to see what God will bring into our lives next.   

Many have drawn off the wisdom of the word of God in Jerimiah 5:21, that says foolish people have eyes and see not, and have said that there are none so blind than those who will not see.  

Likewise, I would say that sentiment applies to our relationship with God. If we are not seeking His presence in our life, we won’t see it and we won’t be able to enjoy it or draw from His strength and wisdom.

So no matter where your travels take you today, try to remember to seek the Lord’s kingdom and righteousness along the way. He has things for you to see and He has experiences that He is inviting you into that will show you heaven on earth and allow you to be a channel of His love, joy, and peace.           

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 14:27 (NKJV)
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Today’s verse shows us the care and concern Christ had for His followers in the dwindling hours before His crucifixion and death.   

The Apostles were undoubtedly troubled by Christ’s statements concerning His betrayal and being turned over to the authorities and at Christ’s insistence that He must leave them and go to the Father.     

In the preceding verse Christ promises that the Holy Spirit would come from the Father to teach them and cause them to remember all that Christ had taught them, but Christ’s words here indicate that He knows the state of confusion and anxiety the disciples are experiencing in these moments.   

Jesus seeks to assure them that in this chaotic time of transition that His intention is for them to have peace, and that peace is possible as the Apostle’s eternal relationship with Him can calm troubled their hearts and cast out their fears if they trust in Him.  

These words of Christ are often in liturgical services leading us to the time of communion, when we fellowship with God by partaking of the Lord’s supper.   This tradition is intended to bring us in God’s presence and to bring God’s presence into us. 

The admonition of peace in the service reflects the time Christ sought to give His followers comfort and to draw them close into the new covenant that He was instituting.   

As members of the Body of Christ, we are part of the new covenant and have also been encouraged to have peace through our faith in Jesus Christ. 

So don’t be afraid, and don’t let your heart be troubled. When our minds and hearts are focused on Christ, we can partake of the peace that Christ wants us to experience; the peace that only comes by faith and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. 

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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Parameters of the Spirit-Filled Walk

When we first became Christians, we were similar to one-third-horsepower lawn mower engines. We could accomplish something but not very much because we were not very mature. Our goal as Christians is to become DC9 Caterpillar engines—real powerhouses for the Lord. Without gas, though, neither a lawn mower nor a bulldozer can accomplish anything. Neither can we accomplish anything apart from Christ (see John 15:5). No matter how mature you are, you can never be productive unless you are walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to walking according to the flesh and walking in the Spirit, our wills are like toggle switches. The wills of new Christians seem to be spring-loaded toward fleshly behavior. New believers are going to live according to what they know, and they don't know very much about the Spirit-filled life. The wills of mature Christians are spring-loaded toward the Spirit. They make occasional poor choices, but they are daily learning to crucify the flesh and walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit is relationship, not regimentation. To illustrate, think about your marriage. You may have started your marriage by relying on rules for effective communication, meeting each other's sexual needs and so on. If after several years you can't even talk to each other or make love without following an outline or list of steps, however, your marriage relationship is still in infancy. In a mature marriage, communication flows naturally from two who love each other.

Another example is prayer. Perhaps you learned to pray using the simple acrostic ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. If, however, you have been a Christian for a few years and your prayer life is no deeper than an acrostic, you have never learned to pray by the Spirit (see Ephes. 6:18). Prayer is a two-way communication with God that requires listening as well as petitioning.

Paul defines what it means to walk by the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-18: "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." Actually, this passage mainly tells us what walking by the Spirit is not, but that is helpful because it gives us two parameters within which we can freely live.

What the Spirit-Filled Walk Is Not

First, Paul said that walking according to the Spirit is not license. License is a disregard for rules and regulations constituting an abuse of privilege. Some Christians wrongly assert that walking by the Spirit and living under grace means, "I can do whatever I want to do." Walking by the Spirit means, "You may not do the things that you please." Living by the Spirit doesn't mean you are free to do whatever you want to do. That would be license. It means you are free to live a responsible, moral life—something you were incapable of doing when you were a bond servant of sin.

I was invited to speak to a religion class at a Catholic high school on the topic of Protestant Christianity. At the end of my talk, an athletic-looking, streetwise student raised his hand and asked, "Do you have a lot of don'ts in your religion?"

I answered, "I don't think I have any that God doesn't, but I think what you are really asking me is, 'Do I have any freedom?'" He nodded.

"Sure, I'm free to do whatever I want to do," I answered.

His face mirrored his disbelief. "Get serious," he said.

I responded, "I am free to make the decision to rob a bank. But I'm mature enough to realize that I would be in bondage to that act for the rest of my life. I would always have to look over my shoulder wondering if I would someday be caught. I would have to cover up my crime, possibly go into hiding and eventually pay for what I did. I'm also free to tell a lie. But if I told a lie, I would have to remember who I told the lie to and what I told them."

What some people think is freedom is nothing more than license that leads to bondage. Freedom doesn't just lie in the exercise of choice; it ultimately lies in the consequences of those choices. The Spirit of truth will always lead us to freedom, but the desires of the flesh will lead us to sin and bondage. The commandments of God are not restrictive; they are protective. Our real freedom is in the ability to choose to live responsibly within the context of the protective guidelines God has established for our lives.

Second, walking by the Spirit is also not legalism. "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law" (Galatians 5:18). If you want to relate to God purely on the basis of moral law, then you need to listen to Paul's words in Galatians 3:10: "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse." You will be a driven person or a guilt-ridden dropout. "Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law" (Galatians 3:21). The law is powerless to give life.

Telling people that what they are doing is wrong does not give them the power to stop doing it. Christians have been notorious at trying to legislate spirituality with don'ts: Christians don't drink, don't smoke, don't dance, don't attend movies, don't play cards, don't wear makeup and so on. Others may claim not to be legalistic, but all they have done is gone from negative legalism (don't do this and don't do that) to positive legalism (do this and do that). We are "servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).

The law also has the capacity to stimulate the desire to do what it intended to prohibit (see Romans 7:5, 8)! Let me illustrate. What happens when you tell a child, "You can go here, but you can't go there." The moment you say that, where does the child want to go? There! He probably didn't even want to go there until you told him he couldn't go. A Christian school published a list of movies the students could not see. Guess which ones they all wanted to see? Why is the forbidden fruit the most desirable? Apparently it was in the Garden of Eden as well.

Christianity is a relationship, not a ritual or a religious code of ethics. We could not keep the commandments by human effort living under the law. The law was a "tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). In Christ we can actually live by faith according to the righteous laws of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Suppose you were walking along a very narrow mountain road. On the right side is a cliff too steep to climb down and too far to jump. On the other side of the road is a roaring forest fire. Ahead of you is a church and a roaring lion is behind you. Which way do you run? Off to your right is an option. Just sail off that cliff. Can you imagine the initial thrill? There are serious consequences to that decision, though, like the sudden stop at the end. That is the nature of temptation. If it didn't initially look good, you wouldn't be tempted. Giving in to temptation always has serious consequences. When people advocate free sex, they are advocating license that has deadly consequences to meaningful relationships and even life.

On the left is another option, but you will be burned by legalism as well. The accuser will give you no peace when you try to live under the law. The only path of freedom is straight ahead, but no church building or group of people will provide an adequate sanctuary. A devil is roaring around like a hungry lion seeking someone to devour (see 1 Peter 5:8), and your only sanctuary is in Christ. No physical place can provide a spiritual sanctuary for you on planet Earth.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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


God bless you all!


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, June 28, 2021

Celebrate Life: Love God and Love People - Purity 456

 Celebrate Life: Love God and Love People

Purity 456 06/28/2021  Purity 456 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of my cousin and his sons on the shores of Big Bear Lake under cloudless blue skies with some of the peaks of San Bernadino Mountains in the background comes to us all the way from Big Bear Lake Village California.  My cousin’s lust for life is infectious and the only thing that could surpass it is his love for his family.   Here you can see that zest for life being imparted to the next generation as he celebrates the day with his sons.       

I don’t usually share photos with people in them because I seek to highlight the glory of God’s creation but after the outpouring of love that I have experienced over the past weekend I just thought that this photo captures the celebratory spirit that makes me want to give everyone a big high five! It also speaks of the fact that God purposely put us all here together to love one another.

My birthday was Friday, and I was blessed by many greetings and wishes for a happy birthday. We never know the impact we have on other people’s lives but occasionally you get indications that we do not walk through this world without affecting those around us.

For instance, one person shared that I was somehow instrumental in introducing them to the joys of classic hip-hop! Who knew?  Although I would rather be remembered for who I have become in Christ, I was touched by the fact that this person had fond memories of me from distant childhood.  

I spent the first evening in my 49th year enjoying the joys of a bonfire and a hot tub under a star filled sky with new friends as we shared each other’s company and encouragement.   

Saturday was a day relaxation and self-examination as I have successfully completed the first week of the Optavia 5 & 1 plan with a ten-pound decrease in weight as the result and started to do some of the “homework” to transform my mindset regarding optimal health as well as my body. 

My father is suffering from various pains and conditions that have be exacerbated by his unhealthy eating habits and it showed me the writing on the wall for what happens when we enter our later years if we let ourselves go too much. My father’s suffering influenced me to change.

So I decided to ask for help, signed up for this plan, got the support of a good friend, and now am in the process of changing my thoughts and habits about how I live and am setting the intention to flip the script and use and develop the self-control that God has increasingly blessed me with through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday was another day of celebration as Rock Solid Church had our annual summer picnic and I was one of several students of Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary to receive recognition for completing our course of studies.  In addition to the picnic and graduation ceremonies, our church family wished a heart wrenching but fond farewell to the Romano family who are pursuing the Lord’s call on their lives and moving to Florida. Christopher Romano is the president of Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary which is headquartered in Florida, and he is relocating there to work to expand the college and the Lord’s kingdom by focusing all his efforts on that calling.

The impact that we can have on one another’s lives couldn’t be better expressed than by the Romano family’s example, as Chris, Tara, and all their children have lived out their faith in our church community with love and service for the past 23 years.  The vast number of lives touched by this family is countless and will only increase as they take their kingdom mission to a new location and to undoubtedly new heights.   

So live your life in the pursuit of God and His kingdom because when you do, your life becomes an ongoing journey and celebration where you get to glory over all that God has created and provided; and as you go through this life, the love He has given you gets poured out on all those you meet along the way, leaving them forever changed.    

Someone said that Christ’s great commandments could be summed up with the simple instructions to love God and love people.  It’s one of those truths of the Christian faith that is simple yet profound in that if we do that with our lives we can not only be transformed from darkness to light ourselves, but we can spread the light of God’s love in ways we may never completely see or understand.  

So love God and love people. Celebrate the life He has given you and infect those around you with the great love that never dies.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Revelation 21:2 (NKJV)
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Today’s verse shows us that God’s plan includes the creation of a whole new world in which God’s people will dwell with Him forever and ever – that comes down from heaven!

For several reasons people don’t understand that the cycle of life and death that has been evident on the earth since Adam’s fall is not the only story.   Our observations tell us that everyone dies eventually, and the common view of the future is that all will go into eternity never to be seen again. 

The science program “The Universe” on the History channel even had an episode in which they documented the “end of the universe” in which the last star burns out leave nothing but a dark and dead universe.   

The thoughts of our deaths and everything falling apart is troubling, so we don’t like to think about it.  Any concerns for the universe burning out of existence are tempered by the real and present danger that our own mortality presents.  

We are given a hundred plus years tops on this earth and then we go into what lies beyond this life.  Regardless of our view of the afterlife, the vast majority find comfort that we can live with by either imagining a good place of eternal spiritual life with no suffering or death or we can choose to imagine the cold comforts of extinction as all suffering is taken away as our consciousness blinks out of existence.   

But the word of God refutes both these ideas of an unending ethereal realm of spirits and the cold dark option of nothingness, the study of the Bible reveals that God will create a new heaven and a new earth for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ.   Our lives don’t end in heaven.  Everyone gathered into God’s kingdom now will one day inhabit the new Jerusalem.  

Many people are frightened by the book of Revelation because of the devastation that will occur on the earth as God pours out His wrath and judges the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, and the unbelieving but their end is not our end. 

Revelation is good news because it tells us that the wicked will face justice and that God’s people will be set apart and experience a new creation and spend eternity with God with glorified bodies.  

Revelation is a comfort, but it is also difficult to contemplate how things will be for us “when the saints go marching in”.  Eternity is a long time, but we should be assured that the culmination of God’s plan for us will not be boring and that all things will work together for our ultimate good.  

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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Three Persons and the Spirit

In 1 Cor. 2:14-3:3, Paul distinguishes among three kinds of people in relation to life in the Spirit: natural persons, spiritual persons and fleshly persons. The simple diagrams in this chapter will help you understand the differences pertaining to spiritual life that exist among these three kinds of individuals.

Ephes. 2:1-3 contains a concise description of the natural person Paul identified in 1 Cor. 2:14 (see Figure 5-A). This person is spiritually dead, separated from God. Living completely independent from God, the natural person sins as a matter of course.

The natural man has a soul, in that he can think, feel and choose. As the arrows on the diagram show, however, his mind, and subsequently his emotions and his will, are directed by his flesh, which acts completely apart from the God who created him. The natural man may think he is free to choose his behavior. Because he lives in the flesh, however, he invariably walks according to the flesh and his choices reflect the "deeds of the flesh" listed in Galatians 5:19-21.

Living in a stressful age and having no spiritual base for coping with life or making positive choices, the natural person may fall victim to one or more of the physical ailments listed on the diagram. Medical doctors tell us that more than 50 percent of the population is physically sick for psychosomatic reasons. Possessing peace of mind and the calm assurance of God's presence in our lives positively affects our physical health. "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you" (Romans 8:11).

The natural person's actions, reactions, habits, memories and responses are all governed by the flesh. "Whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). The natural person cannot help but struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt.

The spiritual man also has a body, soul and spirit. Yet, as illustrated in figure 5-B, this individual has been remarkably transformed from the natural person he was before spiritual birth. At conversion, his spirit became united with God's Spirit. The spiritual life that resulted from this union is characterized by forgiveness of sin, acceptance in God's family and a positive sense of worth.

The soul of the spiritual man also reflects a change generated by spiritual birth. He now receives his impetus from the Spirit, not from the flesh. His mind has been renewed and transformed. His emotions are characterized by peace and joy instead of turmoil. He is also free to choose not to walk according to the flesh, but to walk according to the Spirit. As the spiritual man exercises his choice to live in the Spirit, his life exhibits the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22, 23).

The body of the spiritual person has also been transformed. It is now the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit and is being offered as a living sacrifice of worship and service to God. The flesh, conditioned to live independently from God under the old self, is still present in the spiritual man, but he responsibly crucifies the flesh and its desires daily as he considers himself alive in Christ and dead to sin.

"That all looks and sounds great," you may say. "But I'm a Christian and I still have some problems. I know I'm spiritually alive, but sometimes my mind dwells on the wrong kinds of thoughts. Sometimes I give in to behavior from the wrong list: the deeds of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes I entertain the desires of the flesh instead of crucifying them."

The description of the spiritual person is the ideal. It is the model of maturity toward which we are all growing. God has made every provision for us to experience personally the description of the spiritual person in His Word (see 2 Peter 1:3). However, most of us live somewhere on the slope between this mountaintop of spiritual maturity and the depths of fleshly behavior described in Figure 5-C. As you walk according to the Spirit, be assured that your growth, maturity and sanctification toward the ideal model are in process.

Notice that the spirit of the fleshly person is identical to that of the spiritual person. The fleshly person is a Christian, spiritually alive in Christ and declared righteous by God; but that is where the similarity ends. Instead of being directed by the Spirit, this believing man chooses to follow the impulses of his flesh. As a result, his mind is occupied by carnal thoughts and his emotions are plagued by negative feelings. Though he is free to choose to walk after the Spirit and produce the fruit of the Spirit, he continues to involve himself in sinful activity by willfully walking after the flesh.

The fleshly man's physical body is a temple of God, but it is being defiled. He often exhibits the same troubling physical symptoms experienced by the natural person because he is not operating in the manner God created him to operate. He is not presenting his body to God as a living sacrifice, but indulging his physical appetites at the whim of his sin-trained flesh. Because he is yielding to the flesh instead of crucifying it, the fleshly man is also subject to feelings of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt.

Several years ago, I conducted a little personal research to discover how many Christians are still the victims of their flesh. I presented the same following question to 50 consecutive Christians who talked to me about problems in their lives: "How many of the following characteristics describe your life: inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry and doubt?" Every one of the 50 answered, "All six." Here were 50 born-again children of God who were so bogged down by the flesh that they struggled with the same problems of self-doubt that inundate unbelievers who live only in the flesh.

If I asked you the same question, how would you answer? From my counseling experiences, I imagine that many of you would admit that some or all of these six traits describe you. It is evident to me that a staggering number of believers don't know how to live their lives by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you struggling with feelings of inferiority? To whom or to what are you inferior? You are a child of God seated with Christ in the heavenlies (see Ephes. 2:6). Do you feel insecure? Your God will never leave you nor forsake you (see Hebrews 13:5). Inadequate? You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (see Phil. 4:13). Guilty? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (see Romans 8:1). Worried? You can have the peace of God and learn to cast your anxiety upon Christ (see John 14:27; Phil. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7). Doubt? God provides wisdom for the asking (see James 1:5).

Why is there often such great disparity between these two kinds of Christians: spiritual and fleshly? Why are so many believers living so far below their potential in Christ? Why are so few of us enjoying the abundant, productive life we have already inherited? We should be able to say every year, "I am more loving, peaceful, joyful, patient, kind and gentle than I was last year." If we can't honestly say that, then we are not growing.

"His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3). Yet, countless numbers of Christians have been born-again for years—even decades—and have yet to experience significant measures of victory over sin. Ignorance, lack of repentance and faith in God, and unresolved conflicts keep people from growing.

The world and the flesh are not the only enemies of our sanctification. We have a living, personal enemy—Satan—who attempts to accuse, tempt and to deceive God's children. Paul wrote about Satan: "We are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11). Perhaps Paul and the Corinthians weren't ignorant, but a lot of present-day Christians surely are. We live as though the kingdom of darkness doesn't exist. Our naivete in this area is exacting a crippling toll that keeps many Christians from experiencing their freedom in Christ.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Communion - 06/27/2021

 Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 06/27/2021

Listen to our discussion at:  Listen to today’s Bible Study Discussion



At face value we see, in the word “communion” two words

         common and union and is similarity to words such as:

         community, commune, communicate.


The Greek word is “koinonia” which can be translated, fellowship, distribution and contribution. It’s meaning is participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction.


It’s an interesting word in that it is not the word used to describe our, “union with Christ” Col. 2:10, or “unity of the faith” in Ep. 4:13

or “with one accord” Acts 2:46


The “communion of saints” is described, in Catholic Doctrine as, “the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head…”

It appears in the 5th cen. version of the Apostles’ Creed.


It is also specifically defined as, “the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.”


We see it used in this sense in I Cor. 10:16

         The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not      the communion of the body of Christ?


This is where we shall focus our attention for the balance of our study today.





Luke 22:14-23 records that Jesus institutes, what we call, “the Lords’ supper” or “communion”, by saying, vr. 19, “do this in remembrance of Me.”


This occurs at the last Passover, of which God instructed the children of Israel to “remember”.


Three meals mentioned in Scripture of covenant grace are:

         1) The Passover, which points ahead to a redeemer; Christ.

         2) The Lords Supper, a bloodless meal that points to the cross

         3) “The marriage supper of the Lamb” Rev. 19:9 anticipated.


Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology has turned this into something mystical where in the “elements” (the bread and wine) actually become the body and blood of Christ, (Transubstantiation)


In Lutheran  theology the elements become the body and blood of       Christ as soon as they mingle with our bodies.


II Cor 11:3 Paul says, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent          deceived Eve by he craftiness, so your minds may be     corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”


Every aspect of our Christian Faith is designed to draw us, drive    us, and bind us into unity with Christ and with one another.


The meal is a popular fellowship motif. Consider the fellowship aspects of sharing a meal.


The violation occurred over a meal, Gen. 3:6, not surprising that    the restoration should involve a meal.

The power of remembrance, and of fellowship far outweigh some presumed miracle that happens. Jesus said in Mat. 15:17, “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?