Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Who Are All These People? – Godsend Friends - Purity 511


Who Are All These People? – Godsend Friends                      

Purity 511 08/31/2021    Purity 511 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of man’s best friend under ethereal skies, somewhere on the shores of Lake Michigan comes to us from a friend who packed up their trailer and took to the highways and byways for a summer road trip.  

Today is the last day of August, and while Green Day sings a song that tells us to wake them up when September ends, I thought I’d give everyone a heads up that the eighth month of the year has less then 24 hours left in it.   I stated yesterday that it wasn’t too late to make some plans to make some milestone moments for the summer of ’21 but sometimes being spontaneous and making quick decisions to seize the moment will work too.  

As I was out west in Esperance NY yesterday and was tired after burying a wire that was longer than a football field by hand, the sun came out. Although it was near the end of the workday and I didn’t particularly have any ideas in mind other than going home to rest, I suddenly was reminded that it was the end of August, my free time in the months ahead will be limited, and I have a friend who graciously has given me an open invitation to use their swimming pool.   My tired body protested by my soul and spirit said that time was of the essence and if I didn’t take these opportunities to enjoy my life, I just might regret it later.  

So I contacted my friend and they assured me I could use the pool and suddenly it was go time. I rushed back to the garage and grabbed my bag. Oh yeah, I have a bag in my vehicle now that is packed and ready to go for such spontaneous swim sessions and other activites.  In less than half an hour I was dressed and swimming. 

The weather wasn’t as sunny as it was in Esperance when I decided to go but the water was perfect, and I enjoyed watching the clouds above me move in and dissipate as I stretched out swimming in lazy back stroke laps.  The significant change in the weather from the last time I went swimming at my friend’s place and some fallen leaves in the pool testified that summer is indeed on the way out.  So friends, don’t be too distracted this week or this weekend because the times they are a changing and if you don’t take time to enjoy these days you might miss out on something that could be good.

After going home and resting for a while, I joined a zoom prayer call that Freedom in Christ Ministries does once a week and near the end the session, the call came for prayers of gratitude.  At that point I realized what an amazing year it has been so far since joining Freedom in Christ ministries.  

After finishing my master’s degree last year, I really felt led to become a Community Freedom Ministry Associate and that decision has led me to so many new things. It caused me to meet new people in the ministry, sent me to Texas for the CFMA Practicum, and caused me to change my ministry work at my local church.  It caused me to start the mt4christ247 podcast. It led me to meet new people from different churches that I now call friends. It has led me to make friends and impact people in other countries, on other continents.   

That’s decision to follow the call to Freedom in Christ ministries and all the decisions that followed has introduced me to so many new things and to form relationships with so many people that I didn’t even know before this year began. I mean we are talking like over 30 new friends, ministry contacts, and acquaintances and an undetermined amount of people who have been reached by my testimony and encouragements. The podcast that didn’t even exist last year has over 2,100 downloads in just over 6 months. And while I can’t know what impact I have had in anyone’s life; I can tell you that I have been blessed by all the new people I have met this year and am happy to call them friends.      

A common lament of life is that we “just keep doing the same old same old” and that “nothing changes”. While there will always be some truth in these statements for most of our lives, let me assure you that if you make the intentional decision to draw close to God and let Him guide you in the way you should go, there will be changes and you will do new things and meet new people. 

And no matter how daunting the challenges may be that you will face on your journey of a life of faith, the destination will be a good one and when you open your heart to show other people the love of Christ that you have received, you will be blessing to the people you encounter along the way, and you will be blessed through them.

So seize the day and keep walking and talking with God. When you follow where He leads you, you may end up  wondering “Who are all these people?”,  But then you will thank the Lord as you realize that they are your “Godsend Friends”, who you never would have met if you didn’t surrender to Him and follow His call.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:21 (NKJV)
21  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Today’s verse points to the Christian’s disciple’s need to sanctify themselves in order to find and fulfill their purpose in Christ.   

The “latter” that is mentioned in today’s verse that we need to be cleansed from is “dishonor” in the context of this section of scripture.  The Apostle Paul warns Timothy , and all Christians, in the previous verses to not only be cleansed of iniquity, in verse 19, but to also “shun profane and idle babblings” in verse 16.  I like to point that out because it gives us a true sense of how all the aspects of our lives matter.  

Unfortunately, most Christians have a somewhat immature or ignorant view of our faith where they think of sin as a violation of certain rules of conduct and that the requirements of a Christian life lie in just “not doing bad things.”  

This section of scripture points to a higher standard. Yes, we are to cleanse ourselves of iniquity, overt outward volitional sins, but we are to also keep our minds free of idle and profane things of this world that would lead to iniquity.

So it’s not necessarily okay to look and listen, but not touch, where we try to indulge our desires of temptations to a certain point but not step over the line.  Nor are we to indulge in negative or profane thoughts that are contrary to the ways of God.  

Christians need to do more than change their outward conduct.  Christians can only experience the new abundant life that Christ has given us by renewing our minds to accept God’s ways for living and to reject the worldly ways that we grew up with.   

When we embrace Christ as our Savior and Lord, we don’t want to hold Him in our arms but have our minds set on things that are contrary to Him.  

So endeavor to let go of your sins and renew your mind with the word of God.  When you do that, you will increasingly know how good it is to be a “vessel of honor” that is useful to the Lord, and you will be prepared for the amazing things that He has planned for you to experience.  

Our purpose as Christians is twofold. We are to be transformed by the renewing of the mind as we conform to the image of Christ, but we are also to be an agent of transformation as we engage with the world and impact other people through the things we say and do.  

Walk towards to the honorable life of service and sanctification that the Lord has for you. For the word says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “… this is the will of God, your sanctification…”.      


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 13.


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:

Designs for Discipleship

Level III: Walking in Christ (Colossians 2:6)

Spiritually mature people are identified as those whose senses are "trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). Discernment is not just a function of the mind; it is also a function of the Spirit. Through His Spirit, God will identify to the spiritually mature believer a compatible spirit and warn against an incompatible spirit. Spiritual discernment is the first line of defense in spiritual warfare.

Rationally, people are perishing "for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Mature people can live productive lives if they know what to do or how to do it. Counseling at this level is just good, biblical common sense.

Emotionally, the mature believer learns to be content in all circumstances (see Phil. 4:11). This life is full of discouragements, and many of the believer's desires will go unmet. None of the believer's goals will go unfulfilled as long as it is a godly goal. In the midst of life's trials, Christians need encouragement. To encourage means to give people the courage to carry on. Every discipler should be an encourager.

Someone has said the successful Christian life hinges on the exercise of the will. The undisciplined person is incapable of living a productive life, but the disciplined Christian is a Spirit-filled person who has no unresolved conflicts of which he or she is aware.

Relationally, mature believers no longer live for themselves but for others. Perhaps the greatest test of the believer's maturity is found in the call, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love" (Romans 12:10). "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

Simply stated, the third goal of discipleship is to help others function as believers in their homes, on their jobs and in society. The effective Christian walk involves the proper exercise of intellect, talents, and spiritual gifts in serving others and being a positive witness in the world.

Too many Christians are stuck on Level I, locked into the past, immobilized by fear, and isolated by rejection. They have no idea who they are in Christ, so they are making very little progress in becoming like Him. Rather than telling immature believers what they should do, let's help them celebrate what Christ has already done and help them become who they already are in Him.

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, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, August 30, 2021

Things to Keep in Mind – God's Pathway to Peace - Purity 510

 Things to Keep in Mind  – God’s Pathway to Peace                                                                                          

Purity 510 08/30/2021   Purity 510 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of blue skies over Lake Lanier comes to us from a friend who enjoyed a boating excursion over the weekend with friends near Cumming, Georgia. As someone who had the opportunity to go boating with friends earlier this summer I know what great fun and peace can be experienced when you get out upon the waters.   

Reflecting on this photo last night, I thought of Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia on my Mind” that “old sweet song” that tells of a man who can find “No peace” but keeps his beloved Georgia on His mind.  The song has been interpreted as either a man reflecting on His home state of Georgia or of a woman named Georgia.  I like to cover all the bases and think of the song being about a woman named Georgia, who also lives in Georgia, the singer’s home state. 

But seriously, the key to the song is that while the singer has “No peace”, he is comforted by his thoughts of, and his musical homage to, Georgia.  He has no peace but finds some through his remembrance of Georgia.

I think we all hope the singer of the song will see His beloved Georgia again. But those of us familiar with heartache, the consequences of the choices we make, or the circumstances we are forced to accept in life sometimes, know that returning to Georgia may not be in the cards. The overall tone of the song isn’t particularly hopeful, and the singer’s lyrics admit that its “just an old sweet song” that keeps Georgia on his mind.  

But the thing I wanted to point out is not how we can be separated from the things we love and left in a state of depression and nostalgia, I wanted to point out the power that God has given us to find a measure of peace by directing our thoughts to determine our emotions.   

While we can find some peace in remembering old loves, familiar haunts of yester year, or things we once had, scripture repeatedly directs us to look forward, not back, and to look at the Lord and not things of this earth. Why? 

We are to look forward because we can’t change the past.  One of the things I stress to people that I disciple is that “It’s not where you start that matters, it’s how you finish that counts.” Yeah, things may have gone wrong but how can we find peace in the days ahead? What can we do now to make a better tomorrow?  I advise to look forward, make plans, and take actions today that will bring you closer to where you want to go. 

Also we must be realists, we only have so much time to live our lives so our greatest concern should be the contemplation of eternity and finding peace with God.  The good news is that I have done a lot of spiritual legwork in my life, and I can assure you that what scripture says about Jesus being “the way, the truth, and the life” is true. John 14:6 is the verse if you want to look it up and see its implications.

Placing your faith in Christ is the key to eternity but it also is the answer to life here and now.  While thinking back to dear old Georgia may give us some peace, reflecting on and actively following and communing with God gives an infinite amount of peace because there are no limits to His wisdom and love for you to receive.  

So look ahead and look to the Lord, you will find that when you do that the depression you have over the tragedies of the past lifts.  As you begin to trust the Lord, you discover He has a purpose for your life and that no matter where your road takes you He will guide you along on your journey, will bring you to a good place, and will show you amazing things along the way.  

Well it’s Monday again, and its August 30th, I don’t mean to bum you out, but I hope you accomplished what you were hoping to accomplish this summer because September is a couple days away and the season is going fast. 

But guess what, you still have time. You can make plans and take action to create milestone moments for the summer of ’21.  Just turn your thoughts from the days gone by and look forward to the days ahead. Draw close to the Lord and find the peace and joy of life that He has for you.  He wants you find some happiness in this world and believe me when I tell you that your happiness is elevated to joy when you continually walk and talk with Him.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 1:10 (NKJV)
10  but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Today’s verse points to what has been revealed by Jesus Christ coming to earth, dying for our sins, being raised to life, and ascending to heaven.   

The context of the preceding verses in this passage refers to the gospel – the good news.  What’s the good news? What has been revealed by Christ’s appearing? 

Well, Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, and the confirmation of His deity through His resurrection has abolished death and revealed that immortality comes through the “gospel”, the amazing news about Jesus that tells us that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” as Jesus said in John 3:16.     

As I often have stated, the most important question of life is “Who is Jesus to you?” 

While we are free to hold what ever opinions we want and can choose to believe or not,  the historicity of Christ can not be denied. He lived on earth and died on the cross. People testified that He was resurrected and ascended to heaven.  You can believe that or not. 

But whether we “believe” those reports to be true or not, it doesn’t matter unless you take the next step and personally put your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior.  We must not only “swallow” the hard to believe reports that come to us from the pages of scripture, we also must come into a relationship with God by confessing the truth of those events and by asking for God’s mercy and grace and proclaiming that we belong to God by placing our faith in Jesus.

Immortality certainly is worth seriously investigating and contemplating putting your faith in Christ. For anyone unsure and who hasn’t made Christ their Lord, I would you to encourage you to honestly seek the truth concerning Christ.  Lee Strobel’s documentary “The Case for Christ” is good place to start ( .   

But our faith in Christ isn’t about getting a “ticket to heaven” it is about coming into a relationship with the living God of all creation and discovering the new life and purpose that He has for you.  

So for those on the path of Christian discipleship already, rejoice over your salvation, share the good news, and keep walking to where the Lord leads you.    

For those not there yet,  open your eyes, minds, and hearts to the possibility that God is real, alive, and is calling you to Him. If you seek Him, you will find Him, and I pray that you find Him today. 


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 13.


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:

Designs for Discipleship

Level II: Built Up in Christ (Colossians 2:7)

Building up people in Christ begins in the spiritual dimension by helping them distinguish between walking according to the flesh and walking according to the Spirit. The more they choose to walk according to the flesh, the longer they will remain immature. The more they choose to walk according to the Spirit, the faster they will grow. Fundamental to this truth is the believers' understanding that outside circumstances do not determine who they are, how they walk or what they will someday become. Only God and our response to Him determine that.

Rationally, when Christians buy into Satan's lies or worldly philosophies, they will not be able to grow (see Col. 2:8, 18, 19). The battle is for the mind, and we must learn to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Discipleship requires mental discipline. People who will not assume responsibility for their thoughts cannot be discipled.

Emotions are a product of our thoughts. If our thoughts and beliefs are wrong, we will struggle with negative emotions. Persistent anger, anxiety and depression reveal a faulty belief system. The greatest determinants of mental and emotional health are a true knowledge of God, an acceptance of His ways and the assurance of His forgiveness.

Volitionally, Christians need to exercise the spiritual fruit of self-control instead of succumbing to the fleshly impulses.

Relationally, forgiveness is the key to freedom in Christ. It is the glue that holds families and churches together. Satan uses unforgiveness more than any other human deficiency to stop the growth of individuals and ministries. The unforgiving person is yoked to the past and is not free to move on in Christ.

The second goal of discipleship is to accept God's goal of sanctification and grow in the likeness of Christ. This entails the following:

  • Helping people learn to walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Guiding them to discipline their minds to believe the truth
  • Helping them get off the emotional roller coaster by focusing their thoughts on God instead of on their circumstances
  • Encouraging them to develop self-control
  • Challenging them to resolve personal problems by forgiving others and seeking forgiveness

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, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Joy and Obedience

 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)
6  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9  receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls. 

I saw the following posted on FB by my FB friend and fellow supporter of Freedom in Christ Ministries, Joanne Tilbury.  To my fellow Americans, forgive the anglicized spellings as Joanne hails from Sydney, Australia, lol.:  

"In my daily walk with God, I’ve learnt that my joy energises obedience to Him.
So many people say they have no joy because they are not obedient to God. I’ve learnt you can’t put the horse behind the cart, joy comes before obedience rather than after.
My joy is not in my obedience, my joy is in my knowledge of God. If you believe that everything God says about Himself and about you as His child then you will have joy, then joy is what energised obedience.
When your joy is based on performance it’s going to be up and down like the wind, up and down like the raging sea double minded and constantly changing.
Joy is not the result of obedience, joy is the result of what God has done. Now your joy is fixed on a fixed stable source."

- Joanne Tilbury

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Why Church? - 08/29/2021

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 08/29/2021

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Why Church? Podcast

Why Church?



Let’s read Heb. 10:19-25, eventually focusing on vrs. 25


Why has God ordained this institution and said:

         “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mat. 16:18

         That Christ shall be its “head” Col. 1:18

         That His glory may abide there in, Eph. 3:21

         That the church might be His bride, Eph. 5:27-32

         That He may call it His house, I Tim. 3:15

         That it may be a place of miracles, Jam. 5:14,15


God has established only two institutions amongst men…

                  marriage ________and _______The church


Notice how both are coming under attack in our culture.


The Hebrews passage starts right out by exalting Jesus, vrs. 19-21


         19, the only way we can enter the Most Holy Place is by the             blood of Jesus. His own blood!

                  In the Old Covenant, the high priest enters the Most           Holy place, with the blood of another, Heb. 9.25

                  The “boldness” on our part is not arrogance, but that it                     is bold to think that we might be invited at all.

         20. “He consecrated for us” the word “consecrated” is

                  “engkainizo” meaning, to renew, inaugurate, dedicate.

         21. He is the “High Priest” forever according to Heb. 6:20

                  The office of priest was installed as a meiator in order          to bring the people before God.




In the following verses, 22, 23, 24, we have “let us” statements

This is what Jesus did, therefore “let us”


Vrs. 22, “draw near” Isn’t that beautiful. Consider Jas. 4:8, “Draw          near   to God and He well draw near to you.” Nearness, in terms of       proximity, is a quality of intimacy.

Vrs. 23, “hold fast the confession of our hope” Rom. 8:24, “hope that is seen   is not hope”

Vrs. 24, “consider one another” may we not be so heavenly minded         that    we are of no earthly good. Jn. 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


This is the dynamic of us!


Vrs. 25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…”

          In other words, “having church”

This is a rather unique injunction in the Scripture. In other places the meeting is either implied or assumed. See I Cor. 5:4, Phm. 1:2


This coming, or gathering together becomes the hallmark of the early church. In its infancy it is believed that Jewish followers would go to synagogue, and then meet separately as confessing Christians (Acts 3:1). It is not until Acts 11:26 that followers of “the Way” (Acts 9:2) were first called Christians.


An OT comparison to this practice could be what the Scripture calls, “a holy convocation” beginning to show up in Exodus.


The coming together of like minded believers is liken to what happens in the         upper room in Acts 1:12 – 2:4.

Our “like mindedness” or “one accordedness” is:

          Concerning the person and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

          That He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven.

          That salvation is by faith in Him alone...He is the Way!

Everything about the Christian faith is determined to drive us together in intimate fellowship/relationship to encourage one another as we anticipate the return of our Lord and Savior. Our God is relational and we are called to be the same.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

When the world has you feeling BLAH – The Power of Simple Faith - Purity 509

When the world has you feeling BLAH – The Power of Simple Faith                                                                              

Purity 509 08/28/2021 Purity 509 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a sunrise in Jacksonville Florida comes from a friend who enjoys rising early and watching their son ride the waves.  If you zoom in you I’m pretty sure you can see our friend’s son right under the rising sun.  Our friend shared this photo last week testifying to the fact that “when the world has you feeling BLAH! A good sunrise let’s you know today can be a better day.” In light of the chaos in certain parts of the world, they also prayed “God bless our troops.”

Surprisingly, three days later our friend announced that they have made the decision to pick up their stakes and pursue a career opportunity in Charleston, South Carolina. So while we will lament the fact that we may not get anymore sunrises shots from Jacksonville, we congratulate our friend on their new journey and look forward to what they may share in the future from Charleston.  

As we enjoy Saturday today and the weekend, I am glad for the contact that technology allows us to have with old friends and the way it allows us to make new friends who we would have never met otherwise.  

I’m not sure of the depths of my friend in Jacksonville’s faith but his comments and greetings to his friends reveal some biblical wisdom.  Their thoughts on how a sunrise can let you know that today can be a better day reminds me of one of my favorite passages in scripture. 

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NKJV)
21  This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22  Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.


The Lord’s mercies are new every morning and therefore we can have hope.  Because God is faithful, we can trust Him and call out to Him in times of need.  

Our friend’s simply prayer, God bless our troops, also shows that they recognize ,however simply, that God is above the things of this world and that He can offer protection and favor.  I thought of a few verses that could apply to our troops for protection, bravery, or the sacrifices that they make but couldn’t settle on one, so I am sharing a couple of links that I found on Guideposts, which is a Christian periodical that is big on simple devotions, that provide various verse for soldiers. ( (  

Little did my friend know that his simply thoughts of well-wishing from last week would inspire today’s post. We all don’t have to be Bible school graduates or to be in active ministry to encourage another or to point to the fact that there is a God above our lives who oversees the course of this world and who can be interacted with.   

I shared yesterday in the concluding comments on my podcast that someone who saw my blog on reddit reached out to thank me for my posts.  They confessed that they were struggling with suicidal ideation and that my posts were leading them to relying on the Lord to see them through.  

Our words of hope can impact other people and with today’s technology our words of encouragement can span the globe.  

So if “the world has you feeling BLAH”, look to the heavens, count the blessings you have, and know that there is a God cares about you and that “today can be a better day”.

Our lives are a journey. No matter what the new day brings or where we will go, we have the Lord, and each other, to help us to experience lives filled with peace, joy, and love,


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Mark 12:31 (NKJV)
31  And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."  

Today’s verse highlight’s what Christ calls the second commandment and His authority to change the game.

Some people pay lip service to Jesus Christ by saying He was a wise teacher but then either reveal their ignorance or blasphemy by ignoring His words or the implications of His words.  

In this passage of Scripture, Jesus is rewriting the law by proclaiming that there are essentially two commandments: to love God and to love people. In a couple of sentences He simultaneously simplifies and complicates the expectations of those who wish to be right with God.  

One may think that Jesus’s commandments make things “simple” because there are only to commandments now, right?  

But the thing is that if we truly love God, and our neighbors as ourselves, our actions and attitudes would not only conform to the principles highlighted in the precepts of the Old Testament law, we would surpass those requirements that were put forth in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.   

If loving God wasn’t complicated enough with the expectation to be holy as He is holy, Jesus tells us that we are to love the difficult people in the world just as we would love ourselves. 

God may be in heaven, but He is good so while we may struggle with how we are to love Him we aren’t too thrown off with the idea of loving God because He is certainly worthy of our love. 

People on the other hand are right here in our face and while we may have more practical ideas of how we could express our love to them, we may have some serious doubts about why we should because they may not be so good, and we may decide that they are not worthy of our love. 

Christ’s second commandment presents the harsh reality that we are not to just opt out of society and go worship God in a cave somewhere. We are supposed to be in the world and share the love of God with the difficult people around us!

How can we do this impossible feat of loving our neighbors as ourselves?

We can only do the second commandment successfully if we practice the first one.  Through our seeking, following, and loving the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, we will be given the patience, joy, peace, love, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control that we will need to utilize to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

So we are to practice what we preach. We are to love God and love people. And there is a reason Christ put those two commandments in that order.  It is only through our relationship with God and the power of a life lived by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to experience the love of God.  

It is that love, the love of God, that we will use to love our neighbors as ourselves.  The earthly forms of romantic, friendly, or familial love just won’t transfer to our neighbors. It’s the love of God, that we are to share with them and in order to share it we first must receive it.   

So keep walking and talking with God. Seek His wisdom and love and when you receive it, obey Christ’s second commandment by sharing it with all the neighbors you encounter on your journey of life.  


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 13.


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:

Designs for Discipleship

Paul refers to three levels of maturity in Col. 2:6-10:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

According to Paul, believers are to be firmly rooted in Christ and then built up to walk, or to live, in Him. This defines three levels of maturity. Each level of maturity has specific conflicts that need to be resolved as illustrated in Figure 13-A. Figure 13-B illustrates the growth at the same three levels. Notice also the five dimensions of application for each level: spiritual, rational, emotional, volitional, and relational. Please understand that there are no clear boundaries separating the three levels of maturity or the five dimensions of application as the figures would seem to imply. We are not diced up into little squares.

Level I relates to being firmly rooted in Christ. These foundational issues are based on the fact that "in Him you have been made complete" (Col. 2:10).

Level II relates to being built up in Christ, which is how Paul describes our maturity in Christ (see Col. 2:7).

Level III relates to daily walking in Christ, which is based on our identity and maturity in Christ. Paul instructed, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6).

Each level of maturity is dependent on the previous level. Christians cannot have an effective walk (Level III) if they are not growing in Christ (Level II), and they cannot mature if they are not firmly rooted in Christ (Level I).

Level I: Rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:10)

The Level I spiritual conflict is the lack of salvation or the lack of assurance of salvation. God wants us to know that we "have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). To disciple people, we have to first lead them to Christ so the Holy Spirit can bear witness with their spirits that they "are children of God" (Romans 8:16).

The Level I rational conflict is intellectual pride. Prideful people are self-sufficient. They don't want anybody to tell them what to do or how to do it. Prideful people don't need God or anyone else. We have to come to the end of our resources to discover God's resources. We are ready to receive from God and others when our prideful spirits are broken.

The emotional conflicts at Level I are fear, guilt, and shame. Fear compels people to do what they should not do and inhibits them from doing what they should do. People who are motivated by fear are not experiencing their freedom in Christ. Fear of anyone or anything other than God is mutually exclusive to faith in God. Satan wants to be feared because he wants to be worshiped, but the fear of the Lord expels all other fears (see Psalm 34:4, 7). Guilt and shame also need to be overcome by the grace of God because, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

The Level I volitional conflict is rebellion. It is very difficult to disciple rebels because they won't submit to authority. Growth at this level involves understanding biblical submission to God and others.

The Level I relational conflict to overcome is rejection. The discipleship process is based on God's unconditional love and acceptance (see Titus 3:5). Building up one another does not start with authoritarian rule that demands accountability; it begins with acceptance and affirmation. When people know they are accepted and affirmed, they will voluntarily be accountable to authority. When authority figures demand accountability without acceptance and affirmation, however, they will never get it.

The first goal of discipleship is to help those you disciple become firmly rooted in Christ. This entails the following:

  • Leading individuals to Christ and to the assurance of salvation
  • Guiding them to a true knowledge of God and who they are in Christ, and starting them down the path of knowing God's ways
  • Changing their basic motivation from irrational fears to the fear of God and helping them overcome guilt and shame
  • Helping them see the ways they are still playing God or rebelling against God's authority
  • Breaking down their defenses against rejection by accepting and affirming them

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship