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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Living with a New Name – Walking into Repentance - Purity 619


 

Living with a New Name – Walking into Repentance - Purity 619

Purity 619 01/04/2022   Purity 619 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink, blue, and golden sunset sky over the Hudson River somewhere along River Rd in Easton NY comes to us from the love of my life as she captured it on our return trip from a day of errands as man and wife that included TammyLyn Seguin legally declaring her new identity as TammyLyn Clark.  This beautiful sky gave us great joy as we knew I would be sharing one of the several shots TammyLyn captured on our first Monday as husband and wife and that it would be the first photo highlighting God’s creation in 2022 that was taken in 2022.  

Well it’s Tuesday and as the old Soul II Soul song says it’s “Back to life, Back to Reality” as both me and the Mrs. will bid adieu to what was the period of our lives that was a whirlwind romance, engagement, and wedding and now have to go back work pretty much like we were before this weekend but fundamentally changed in very significant ways as we reenter the working world as married people, one of us with a new name.  

Sometimes in life we form relationships that change who we are forever.  In the Bible, there are several scenes where God’s interactions result in people receiving a new name. Abram to Abraham, Jakob to Israel, Simon to Peter, and Saul to Paul are some examples of people who were called by God who got a new name.  But would the name fit? 

When I developed the blog and tried to think of a name for it, I thought that “Empty for Christ” would be a good way to express how we have to “empty” ourselves to be filled with the life that God has for us.  But then I thought of my name, Marc Thomas, and how my initials M.T. sort of sounded like “Empty”, and because the blog was going to be about my testimony and my decision to try to live a Christian life, I decided to make the name MT4Christ because it adequately expressed not only the idea of the need to surrender to the Lord in general but it also served as a proclamation of sorts that I, M.T., was indeed for Christ as I sought to surrender myself to His will for my life for the rest of my days.  

But just like the patriarchs of our faith and the Apostles, it took me sometime to grow into the new name.  Even though I started mt4christ.org back in 2015, I personally didn’t really decide to “go by” my initials until 2020 when I completed my master’s Thesis in Christian Counseling and decided to get trained for and to begin a Community Freedom Ministry. Although I boldly started the work in 2015, I didn’t have the boldness to adopt the “new name” until relatively recently.  A lot has changed.

It might surprise some that I never really spoke in public or shared writings publicly before coming to Christ.  All of this, my writings, my serving in the church, my teaching and ministry work, and now my podcast were all products of the transformation of Marc – “the fun loving but secretly troubled worldly dude” to M.T. – “encourager and promoter of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

And guess what, just like the Apostle Peter would show his faithfulness one minute and put his foot in his mouth and show more “Simon” like characteristics the next, I haven’t arrived yet.  I am still a work in progress.  

Even though I made great strides in 2021 towards my goal of optimal health, perhaps because of stress or due to the surrounding seasonal celebrations of Autumn that begin with Halloween and lead to Christmas and New Year’s, somewhere along the line M.T.’s resolve to stay the course got engulfed in behaviors that were more like “Marc’s”.  And just like a Mr. Hyde induced hangover, Dr. Jekyll is left feeling the pain, so I M.T. am left to pick up the pieces and start again.   

So with the new year upon us, I am officially renewing my goal to reach and maintain a body weight and state of health that distances me from the classification of “obese” and brings me closer to normal, or healthy, according to the BMI scale and my personal standards.   

Also I am in the midst of doing a spiritual check up as I lead a new Online discipleship class Thursday and want to be able to encourage others to pursue their freedom in Christ and provide them with an example of someone who has had a measure of success but who is still human but who is committed to the path of Christian Discipleship because I know that our relationship with Christ and living according to God’s word reflects the Lord’s perfect will for our lives.   

So as is my habit, and my local church’s tradition, I have begun a period of fasting and prayer to both crucify the flesh and renew the mind as I surrender the time spent in eating and meal preparation to focus on God and my walk of faith.   

With one day fasting under my belt, I already feel the deep relief that comes from surrendering to the Lord and from giving my body a break from the season of feasting that I have been in.   

When we give ourselves to the Lord, I have learned that you never regret it.  So as we try to adjust our lives to be less like our old selves and to better fit into God’s mold and into our “new names”, let’s remember to keep going. Let’s keep walking and talking to God.

And now that we have 2021 behind us, let’s open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts, and open minds and listen to what the Lord wants us to hear. Let’s pray and ask Him for His love, guidance, and strength as we seek His repentance to turn from our old ways and seek to represent Him and give Him glory on the earth. 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 6:23 (NLT2)
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today’s verse puts things pretty clearly.  Sin leads to death. Christ is the free gift from God that leads to eternal life.  

As the Bible and most of society will gleefully point out: nobody’s perfect, everybody sins.  But before we relax and rest in our sinful lives, and unknowingly just keep on trucking on the Highway to Hell, let’s remind ourselves and world at large that the wages of sin is death.   All sin and all die.

But these statements that seem so true, “all sin, all die, nobody’s perfect, and nothing lasts forever” are contradicted by the reality of an everlasting God and the person of Jesus Christ.  

Christ is perfect. Christ never sinned. And although, Christ did die, He was resurrected and lives forever.   And Faith in Him, gives us the answer to those wages of sin. Faith in Christ results in the forgiveness of all your sins and in eternal life with Him.     

Today’s verse, and Jesus’ said that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. 

In John 11:25-26 – Jesus said
....., "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

This is THE CRITICAL QUESTION: Do you believe this? 

For those who do and put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, they receive a new and eternal life. 

For those who don’t, they receive their wages for sin: death.   

So don’t let people make those statements like “all sin, everybody dies, nobody’s perfect, and “nothing last forever” without challenging them and letting them know, quite frankly, that they are wrong.   

Christ is exception that gives us hope. He didn’t sin. He didn’t stay dead. And makes a way for us to live with Him forever.   

Sometimes these “common knowledge statements” that are so ingrained in our cultures and society are evidence of the lies of the enemy ruling the world when they are compared to the Truth of Jesus Christ.  So seek the Truth, seek Christ’s salvation, and Live. 

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 3.   

 

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

SATAN IS THE DECEIVER

Jesus described Satan as the father of lies. “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”61 He cannot speak from truth because there is no truth in him. He can distort the truth, and he will even quote Scripture as he did when he tempted Jesus.

Satan keeps people in bondage by deceiving them and by blinding the minds of the unbelieving.62 The power of Satan is in the lie, and the battle is for the mind. If he is able to deceive Christians into believing a lie, they will be spiritually impotent. He can’t do anything about our identity and position in Christ, but if he can get us to believe it is not true, we will live as though it isn’t. When the lies are exposed, Satan’s power over the believer is broken.

Asking the Lord to reveal the deception and declaring the truth in the Doctrinal Affirmation at the conclusion of this Step is a powerful experience for many who have been deceived for years. Some will become increasingly confident as they verbalize the truth. You may struggle just trying to read through the Doctrinal Affirmation, but when you have completed the Steps, come back and read it again, and you will see the difference.

Most Christians honestly desire to live righteous lives but have distorted concepts of God and are ignorant of their position and identity in Christ. As you make this 49

public declaration of faith, you are choosing God’s truth about His nature, character and redemptive plan for your life.

STANDING AGAINST THE DECEPTION

The battle is for the mind, and Satan will twist Scripture or tell half-truths in order to deceive us. So we must trust God to expose the deceit, remembering that the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. In this Step, we use truth to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”63

During this Step a lady suddenly said, “Do you know what I’m hearing now? It’s just a thought! That’s all it is! I don’t have to believe that trash anymore.” She understood what the battle was, and it no longer had a hold over her. Another lady printed up a bunch of cards and was handing them out to anyone who wanted one. Each card contained the following questions, “Where did that thought come from? A loving God?”

If the voices, noises or laughter in your mind seems too overwhelming, stop and pray as you did at the beginning of these Steps on Page 33. You maintain control by exposing the lies and the battle for the mind, and by ignoring the distractions and continuing on with The Steps. Freedom doesn’t come from swatting flies (demons), it comes from taking out the garbage (sin). The way we overcome the father of lies is by choosing the truth. We are not called to dispel the darkness; we are called to turn on the light. The freedom progressively comes by resolving the conflicts. The noise in your head is just an attempt by the enemy to get you off the path that leads to freedom. If you seemingly can’t go on, then pray out loud: “I renounce this attack on me, and announce that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I choose to continue to seek my freedom.”

Marcy was a sincere Christian who was being mentally “beaten up” with lies and accusations. She had been deceived into thinking that God was not a good God, that she couldn’t trust Him, that she would never be free from her past. This fragile lady was slowly and gently guided through The Steps, renouncing all the lies as they surfaced. A few days later, she wrote:

God is different from what my concept of Him has been, and I choose to trust how God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. I am His child, and I choose to believe that He will relate to me as a good Father would. I am a new person. This day is new, and I eagerly await to experience it as a new creation, free from my past.

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

 

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, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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