The Pathway to Happy Valley
Purity 459 07/01/2021 Purity 459 Podcast
Today’s photo comes to us from Dave Baun Photography as our friends Down Under got a case of “Go fever” when they took to their bicycles. Intending to take a relatively short ride to McLaren Vale, they pushed the envelope and completely circumnavigated the entire Onkaparinga River National Park area by taking a long route back that took them to the outskirts of Happy Valley on their journey home.
They documented their route on the Strava app, that runners and cyclists us to track their progress. The Strava App was also how Dave, a yank from Pennsylvania, met the love of His life, Liisa, half a world way in South Adelaide Australia where they married and now reside. Who knew that God would use a cycling app to bring two people from different countries together in the happy valley of marriage! If you want to see the wedding video, look in the archives of the mt4christ dot org blog.
Today’s is Thursday and I shared Dave’s photo to share his amazing love story once again, but I also shared it because his photo, taken somewhere along that 81-kilometer bike ride, that’s 50.3 miles for those of us in the US, features a pathway. As is my habit I share photos of pathways on Thursday because I teach a Christian Discipleship class at Rock Solid Church tonight and I wish to encourage others to join us on the pathway of Christian Discipleship. If you are not local to me, you can always listen in to the classes on the mt4christ247 podcast.
I wasn’t always on this path of Christian Discipleship myself as I didn’t truly make Jesus my Lord and Savior until I was 38 years old. Since than I have discovered that the answers to all of life’s questions are in God’s Word and that peace beyond understanding and circumstance is possible through faith in Jesus Christ Alone.
In Christ, we are given victory over sin and death the moment we are saved but we will not experience our victory unless we pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus. We need to renew our minds and live our lives by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to experience the limitless joys of our freedom in Christ.
Nobody is perfect of course, so we have to learn how to live by faith. We must understand what that means and begin to practice what we profess in our daily lives. The Lord knows that I have learned with a lot of trials and a lot of error, but I know now that when you surrender your ways and ideas about life for God’s wisdom and ways the result is an abiding peace that comes from your harmonious relationship with Him.
So set out, or continue, on the path of Christian Discipleship by renewing your mind with God’s word and by implementing the Lord’s ways for your life. When you do that, you will discover that the Lord will lead you out of the pits of confusion, fear, and darkness and bring you to your own happy valley.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Peter 4:14 (NKJV)
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Today’s verse reminds us that the Christian path is not always an easy one, but it also assures us that the opposition we face honors God.
To reproach means to address someone in such a way to express disapproval or disappointment. When you leave the kingdom of darkness behind by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, you can expect reproach and possibly from the people closest to you in your life.
When you turn to God and turn from your sin, you become a light in the world that exposes the darkness of others. Your vocal expression of your faith and your mere presence become a source of conviction for those who are outside of God’s grace or who are not living according to God’s ways.
If you haven’t suffered the loss of relationships because of your faith, you must have been the black sheep surrounded by Christians because for most people who come to faith in Christ and who share the gospel with those around them broken friendships and family discord are common.
Christ said that the world hated Him so it will also hate His followers. He also promised that His disciples would be persecuted. The martyrdom of the Apostles and countless saints, aka believers, from antiquity until now testifies of the truth of Christ’s warning.
So are we to lash out when people reproach us?
No, as 1 Peter 4:14 indicates the reproaches we receive may be seen as blasphemy for those who speak ill of us, but they are evidence that the Spirit of God resides in us.
Christ’s disciples are to be known by our fruit and one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. We will have to have patience as we face reproach and persecution, but we can have a measure of joy in our sufferings by the fact that it confirms our faith in Christ, and it glorifies God.
Christ went to the cross for the glory set before Him. The Apostles rejoiced as they were counted worthy to suffer persecution for the sake of Christ. Likewise we should take any reproaches directed at us as an assurance of our faith and with a compassionate heart towards those who disparage us because they are blind to God’s goodness and are in grave danger on the road to perdition.
So take the reproaches that come your way, thank God you are His, and in return speak the truth in love that has the power to save.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org 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:
Being Led by the Spirit
We are also being "led by the Spirit" (Romans 8:14). The Lord used another metaphor to describe our relationship with Him. He is the Shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. Sheep need to be shepherded. I know because as a farm boy in Minnesota, I had the privilege to be a shepherd of sheep. In the spring after the snow melted, we would herd the sheep along the roadside for them to eat the fresh green grass. We had to keep them moving or they would eat until they bloated and died. We chased them from the back, just as an Australian sheep dog barks at the heels of the sheep.
While studying in Israel, I watched a shepherd tend his flock on a hillside outside Bethlehem. The shepherd sat on a rock while the sheep grazed. Then he stood up, said a few words to the sheep and walked away. The sheep looked up and followed him. Unlike my experience of chasing the sheep from the back, the shepherds of Israel lead from the front even to this day. Suddenly, the words of Jesus in John 10:27 took on new meaning to me: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." Paul said, "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
The Proof Is in the Fruit
How can you know if you are walking according to the flesh or according to the Spirit? Take a look at your life. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, . . . and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21). These deeds are spiritually dead acts which do not reflect the life of Christ. So if people have outbursts of anger, are they living according to the Spirit? Can they blame someone else for their outburst of anger? No, that is a deed of their flesh. Jesus said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man" (Mark. 7:20).
We must learn to have enough self-awareness to know when we are living according to the flesh and to assume responsibility for our own attitudes and actions. We need to walk in the light and learn to confess our sins, which means to consciously agree with God. When a deed of the flesh becomes evident, mentally acknowledge that to God and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. The more you practice that simple little discipline, the more you will live according to the Spirit.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22, 23). Notice it said fruit, not fruits of the Spirit. Fruit comes from something that is living. It is the result of abiding in Christ and the ultimate expression is love, which is the character of God. "We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 John 4:16).
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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, and Audible.com.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship