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Saturday, January 1, 2022

Starting the New Year Off Right – Life in Context – Purity 617


 Starting the New Year Off Right – Life in Context – Purity 617

Purity 617 01/01/2022  Purity 617 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing sun over a snow covered field next to Waite Rd in Easton NY comes to us from yours truly on what proved to be the last day in 2021 that the sun made such a spectacular appearance. Some may know that this photo was captured on the day after Christmas. It was a Christmas that simply was like no other I had experienced previously because it was a veritable cocktail of the fruit of the Spirit as it had aspects of goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, self-control, peace, love, and joy as I spent the day alone with my fiancé, but as unmarried Christians who wanted to honor the Lord, we decided to leave some gifts unopened.  

Well today we are getting married and after our covenant is official and blessed by the Lord we will rejoice and seek to enjoy our love without limits knowing that the Lord would approve as we followed His plan for marriage. Just like today’s photo shows us beyond the forest areas of Waite Road, we have made it out of the woods of our short engagement to discover the wide open places that God has waiting for us to experience in marriage.

So it’s sort of a great way to start the New Year.  We will be coming together in the presence of our family and friends to have our love legitimized and blessed by the Lord God Almighty as we only wish to do His will individually and as a couple from this day forward and for evermore.   

Ok, yesterday I did a year in review of sorts where I detailed some of my walk in 2021 and how blessed I was to find my bride and claimed that God had been with me.  

Someone who had obviously suffered some loss or trauma in 2021 replied to my post stating in essence that it was “good for me” because God had let a lot of other people down in 2021.  

Well, the problem I have with that statement and idea is not with the person who made it but the lack of understanding that it represents that is common among the populace in general and also in the body of Christ.   There are some presuppositions that are inherent in a claim that God “let us down” that are the product of ignorance and the deceptions enemy or an evil mix of both.  

Christianity and life in general have some hard truths to face.  What the enemy does is he takes the nice aspects of our world and tries to rip them to shreds by actively seeking to steal, kill and destroy us but then turns around and whispers in our ears that it is wrong when we lose those nice aspects of life through suffering.     

Some teachers in the body of Christ do us all a great disservice by emphasizing some of God’s qualities over others and make grand promises based on the word of God that are taken out of context or are not necessarily guaranteed for every Christian to experience in every season of their lives.  

The fact that God will help us, protect us, provide for us, and prosper us is true but our ideas of what we should have and when we should have it may not align with what the Lord has in mind.  Also the promises of God are intended for the people of God, those who put their faith in Jesus Christ, and those promises are often conditional. 

Yesterday’s verse of the day, Psalm 37:5, taught us that God will help us, but the first part of the verse demanded that you commit everything you do to the Lord and trust Him.  So have you committed everything you do to the Lord? Do you trust Him?  

If you are saying “Yes” through tears from the pain of loss and suffering, I commend you, but the Bible also tells us to “wait on the Lord.”  

I know, when we are suffering, nobody wants to hear that they have to wait.   

One of those harsh realities of life is that we will suffer, and we will have to wait.  Don’t believe me? Just go the emergency room at your local hospital today and watch as the suffering of the patients is judged and given a preferential order of importance.  Only if your life is hanging in the balance will you get moved to the front of the line and even that is not guaranteed as hospitals and doctors sometimes have to decide who will live and who will die because of depleted resources.   

Cheery thought for New Year’s Day, I know, but I think the only way we come to trust the Lord is to know the truth. 

The idea that God lets people down presupposes somethings that are unrealistic, selfish, or just uninformed.  

In order to trust the Lord, we have to know the Lord and we have to accept His kingship as sovereign God.  While we have a measure of free will to make choices in life, God, as the Creator of all things and the One who lives above and beyond time and space itself, determines where we go into eternity.   God makes everything for His purposes and is shaping human history to fulfill the prophecies in His word. God is in control.  

However as humans we have a pretty selfish and limited view of life and unfortunately we don’t know what role our lives play in God’s grand design.  And even worse, some people believe the lies of the enemy that seem to adhere to the ways of world but deny the reality of the unseen God.  

When we are selfish or hurting, we are very vulnerable to the lies of the enemy and unknowing side with him by pushing our own agenda rather than looking for God’s purpose for their life.   Here are some lies that surround trauma that the enemy seeds the earth with that grow relatively unabated:

·       Why did they have to die?  It’s a mystery   -  It’s not a mystery, since the fall of man, sin came into the world and is the unseen cause of death for everyman.  All men throughout history have died and all men will die until Christ returns to reclaim the earth.  

·       It wasn’t their time! – Wrong. There is nothing that God doesn’t know about beforehand. If someone dies, it was their time, obviously – they are dead. 

·       There is no God! – Wrong.  The universe and all life, His creation, speaks of the reality of a Creator. Our consciences that tell us right from wrong are the product of God’s law written on the hearts of men who are made in His image.  Also people whose lives are changed because of their interactions with God through miracles, providence or sanctification also bear witness that God is alive, real, and cares about mankind.  

·       It’s wrong that they had to die! Death is wrong! -  Death is part of life because of the fall of man and it is used to send the evil to eternal punishment and to send those who put their faith in Jesus Christ to God’s eternal kingdom. 

·       It’s wrong. They will never get a chance to experience the good things in life… - Nothing on this earth compares to the glory of God’s kingdom. If we think the things of this world are better to being in the presence of the Lord, we need to seek His presence to know how good He is.

·       No good God would allow this to happen! What’s the purpose in suffering!? – Wrong. Suffering is a product of the fall of man, sin. It can be used to judge people or draw them to seek peace with the Lord.   When bad things happen to evil people, few question if it was right.  The problem is that according to the word, all sin and fall short of the glory of God and that those who do not make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ will be judged and lost in eternity so the suffering on this earth is purposeful and will be alleviated or increased depending on your eternal destination.  

·       You don’t know what it’s like! – God does. He knows all things.  Jesus lived as a man and suffered greatly before dying for our sins.  We can find comfort in the presence of the Lord here on earth and eventually in His eternal kingdom.       

·       God doesn’t care! – Wrong. He does.  He cared enough to send His only begotten Son to suffer and die for us. Those who put their faith in Him and follow Him as a disciple can experience the fruit of the Spirit here on earth and is guaranteed a good place in His eternal kingdom.  

·       You can’t know God! -  That’s a lie. The Bible was written by the inspiration of God so we can know all about Him and to teach us that a new eternal life is possible through faith in Jesus Christ.   Also the Lord’s presence can be experienced through the Christian disciplines of Bible Study, prayer, worship, praise, thanksgiving, and walking in the Spirit.   If you don’t know God, it is because you are not seeking Him or living in rebellion to His ways for living or both. 

·       It’s not fair!  - I’m not sure what your concept of fair is but because of our sin we deserve death. Everyday alive regardless of the circumstances are a gift and is to be used for God’s purposes. If we aren’t living out God’s purposes for our lives, we in affect are choosing to suffer through our own actions or inaction. 

In my walk through life, I have suffered losses and traumas and suffered because of the choices I made or through my own inaction.   I think I have said all the statements above at one time or another in my life.  

While I may have not suffered through all the pains that other people have suffered, I have lost a few automobiles due to accidents, mismanagement, and deer.  I have had experience with various broken relationships that could be classified as abusive. I have suffered the loss of a couple houses and personal property, one due to a fire, specifically arson, and another to divorce.  I have suffered various injuries and diseases, including a cancer scare with ongoing monitoring of that situation. I have lost a child to an early death and a suffered a persistent depressive period that followed loss.   

For a lot of that trail of tears, I didn’t have a relationship with God and when the bad times came I felt all alone thinking there was no God, or I was angry at God. Thankfully, the great sufferings I went through in life caused me to seek the meaning of life.  I didn’t know it, but I was seeking truth.  I didn’t know it, but I was seeking God.  

And even though I made some real wrong turns in life and looked for love in all the wrong places, my seeking was genuine and was eventually rewarded when God revealed the truth of gospel of Jesus Christ to me, of how Jesus was the means that God created to make peace with mankind.

Through Christ we are forgiven of our sins and become adopted children of God’s eternal kingdom.  

AFTER, AFTER, AFTER – we put our faith in Christ, we can know God and experience our presence in our lives.   We come into relationship with God and the implications of that relationship cause us to a make choice. 

What kind of relationship are we going to have?  Are we going to commit everything we do to the Lord by learning all about Him in His word and adjust our lives to live according to His ways?  Are we going to trust Him even in the bad times, even when we are suffering, and even when we have to wait?  

The alleviation of our suffering comes through knowing God and applying His wisdom to our lives.  If we understand how He is and what He says we are, we can choose to live within the context of His truth even though we are surround by a world that deny Him and accuse Him of wrong.   

How dare we question God’s goodness! He made all of this existence! Anything good we have known in our lives, comes from God. How dare we call evil what has given us all the good we’ve known!

After coming to Christ, I suffered quite a bit to free myself from addiction and a broken marriage but when I did God was with me. When my situation absolutely sucked and would be considered a raw deal by almost anyone, I had the Lord to lean on and guide me through the darkness. 

As someone who has suffered before and after coming to Christ, I can testify that suffering with God is a whole lot better than suffering without God.  God gives our lives meaning and purpose and when we know Him we know that everything happens for a reason and that He will ultimately lead us to good and the trials we face can either be used to drive us to despair or to drive us to Him and the maturation that results.   

So as everyone seems to be declaring 2021 to be the terrible, horrible, very bad, no good year, I welcome you to 2022 and ask you to consider you living this year in the context of God’s reality, by either placing your faith in Christ or rededicating yourself to Him and choosing to seek the Lord and follow Him.  If you want, you can call it “MT’s 365 day – Walking in the Spirit Challenge!” 

So turn away from the world’s lie sand doubts, turn away from the worldly way of doing things,  and decide to live 2022 by walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit by reading God’s word, praying to Him, and then living out your faith every day.  

A Christian life is not without suffering but brother and sister, when you stay connected with God 24/7 you somehow find light in the darkness, you find the calm in the storm, and you find a way where there was no way.  

So keep walking and talking to God for He is with you!

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 6:19 (NLT2)
19  Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

Today’s verse suggests the need for a change of lifestyle that Christians are to make their purpose for living.

As Christians, we are not supposed to stay in a lifestyle of sin by claiming Christ’s forgiveness. We are to be sanctified – to become holy.      

Here the Apostle describes the spiritual reality of sin’s hold on mankind with the analogy of slavery.  As much as we choose to think that our sins are a volitional choice, the fact that we are powerless to stop proves that our supposed freedom is in fact bondage.  

Ironically, to get free Christians need to make the choice to become slaves to righteousness.  God gives us the power over sin and death to every believer but to experience victory we have to shackle our choices in life to adhere to God’s standards for living described in the Bible.  

It is only through our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation, and faith in His work being sufficient to save and change us forever by which we can walk away from the besetting sins that kept us in bondage.  

We are set free indeed, but we have to choose to become slaves to righteousness.  Slaves don’t have a choice. They must do what their master tells them.  If we are slaves to righteousness, we will live righteously. We don’t have a choice; we just do what righteousness leads us to do.   

And for the Christian, our righteousness is Jesus Christ.  We are made righteous because of Christ so we are to become slaves of Christ. 

Some one has said deciding is easy when you don’t have choice.  When you decide to follow Christ, there is but one choice: do your best to represent Him in all that you do.  

So free yourself from one evil master of sin, and sell yourself to a master of righteousness, who is Christ the Lord, and you will discover what real freedom means.  

 

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 2.   

 

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.

PRAYING FOR THE RIGHT GUIDANCE

The first step toward experiencing your freedom in Christ is to renounce (verbally reject) all involvement (past or present) with occult, cult, or false religious teachings or practices. Participation in any group that denies that Jesus Christ is Lord and/or elevates any teaching or book to the level of or a level above the Bible must be renounced. In addition, groups that require dark, secret initiations, ceremonies, vows, pacts, or covenants need to be renounced. God does not take lightly false guidance. “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists... I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among my people” (Leviticus 20:6). Since you don’t want the Lord to cut you off, ask Him to guide you as follows:

Dear heavenly Father, please bring to my mind anything and everything that I have done knowingly or unknowingly that involves occult, cult, or false religious teachings or practices. I want to experience Your freedom by renouncing any and all false guidance. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Lord may bring events to your mind that you had forgotten, even experiences you participated in as a game or thought was a joke. You might even have been passively or curiously watching others participate in counterfeit religious practices. The purpose is to renounce all counterfeit spiritual experiences and their beliefs.

To help bring these things to your mind, prayerfully consider the following Non-Christian Spiritual Checklist. Then pray the prayer following the checklist to renounce each activity or group the Lord brings to mind. He may also reveal to you ones that are not on the list. Be especially aware of your need to renounce non-Christian folk religious practices if you have grown up in another culture. It is important that you prayerfully renounce them out loud.

Non-Christian Spiritual Checklist

Check all those that you have participated in:

 


        Out of Body Experience

        Ouija Board

        Bloody Mary

        Occult Games

        Magic Eight Ball

        Spells or Curses

        Mental Telepathy/Control

        Automatic Writing

        Trance

        Spirit Guides

        Fortune Telling/Divination

        Tarot Cards

        Levitation

        Witchcraft/Wicca/Sorcery

        Satanism

        Palm Reading

        Astrology/Horoscopes

        Hypnosis

        Astral Projection

•Seances/Mediums/Channelers

        Black or White Magic

        Blood Pacts

        Fetishism/Crystals/Charms

        Sexual Spirits

        Martial Arts (Mysticism)

        Jehovah’s Witness

        New Age (Teachings, Medicine)

        Masons

        Christian Science/Mind     Science

        Unification Church (Moonies)

        The Forum

        Church of Scientology

        Unitarianism/Universalism

        Yoga (Religion, not the Exercise)

        Hare Krishna

        Baha’ism

        Native American Spirit Worship

        Islam

        Hinduism

        Buddhism (including Zen)

        Black Muslim

        Rosicrucianism

        False gods: money, sex, power, pleasure, certain people


        Other: non-Christian religions, cults, movies, music books, video games, comics, fantasy games that glorify Satan that precipitated nightmares or mental battles, and all other questionable spiritual experiences including spiritual visitations and nightmares

 

Additional questions to help you become aware of counterfeit religious experiences:

Do you now have, or have you ever had, an imaginary friend, spirit guide, or “angel” offering you guidance or companionship? If it has a name, renounce it by name.

Have you ever heard voices in your head or had repeating, nagging thoughts such as “I’m dumb,” “I’m ugly,” “Nobody loves me,” “I can’t do anything right”—as if there were a conversation going on inside your head? You should renounce paying attention to deceiving spirits.

Have you ever been hypnotized, attended a New Age seminar, or consulted a medium or spiritist? You should renounce each experience.

Have you ever made a secret vow or pact or inner vow? (i.e., “I will never . . .”) You should renounce such vows and pacts.

Have you ever been involved in a satanic ritual or attended a concert in which Satan was the focus? You should renounce such experiences.

 

Once you have completed your checklist and the questions, confess and renounce every false religious practice, belief, ceremony, vow or pact that you were involved in by praying the following prayer aloud:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have participated in (specifically name every belief and involvement with all that you have checked on the spiritual checklist), and I renounce them all as counterfeits. I pray that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may be guided by You. Thank You that in Christ I am forgiven. Amen.

If you have been involved in a false religion, you need to renounce specific beliefs and practices that you have participated in. For instance, if you came out of the Mormon religion, you may need to renounce the secret initiation you had and the ceremonies in baptisms and marriages for the dead in which you participated. If you are unsure whether a previous practice was false or not, but God is bringing it to your remembrance, you can be nearly certain it is something to renounce.

One area that sometimes needs explanation is sexual spirits. Demons may manifest themselves in vivid sexual dreams or fantasies or by a demonic presence in the room that aroused you sexually. Extreme cases will be vile in nature. If you stood against it at the time, there is nothing to renounce. It is no sin to be under attack. If you participated with the sexual spirits, then you need to renounce any involvement and every sexual use of your body as an instrument of unrighteousness.

The “Non-Christian Spiritual Checklist” is not exhaustive, so when you have finished checking off the items, ask the Lord if there is anything else you have participated in that you should renounce. Let the Holy Spirit bring those items to your mind. Any number of things might surface: books, photos, movies, music, or other materials, religious customs or traditions, praying to idols or angels by name, beliefs such as atheism, agnosticism, hedonism, or pharisaic control groups.

Some believe they don’t have a choice, but they do, and so do you. Consider the following illustration:

If I were to come to your house tonight and knock on your door, you would first come to the door to see who is there, and then you would have a choice to make. You could open the door to allow me to come in, or you could close the door to deny me access. In the same way, when the enemy tries to invade your mind with lies and accusations, you have a choice to make. You can choose to allow those thoughts to come in, or you can deny them access. To “open the door” to enemy lies, you simply remain passive. You let him set the agenda for your thoughts. To “close the door,” you take your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. You can choose to believe the truth or you can choose to believe a lie. You can choose to think bad thoughts, or you can choose to think upon that which is lovely, pure, and right. It is your choice.

You must assume responsibility for your own thoughts. You may not realize how passive you have been about entertaining deceptive thoughts. Others have never even considered the possibility of not obeying what they are paying attention to. In some difficult cases, a person will continue to be bombarded with thoughts that sound like voices in the head. If this happens, consider the following illustration:

Suppose we’re trying to carry on a conversation in a room where there are speakers playing loud music or there is a talk show blaring on the television set. If we wanted to continue our conversation, we would have to simply ignore the speakers. In the same way, you can choose to ignore those voices or thoughts. You can choose to believe, “I’m a child of God, and I will continue to work through the issues and find my freedom in Christ.”

When you exercise your authority in Christ that way, the symptoms usually subside, but it probably won’t be completely over until the last Step. Remember, they are just distracting noises and thoughts.

To make this Step complete, you should discard any books, photos, materials, artifacts, music, or any other items or gifts you own that may be tied to anything on the list. These may be symbols of allegiance to other gods, and if so, they are counterproductive to walking in the Kingdom of light. Follow the example found in Acts 19:19, where believers got rid of anything associated with darkness. Recognizing that Satan could continue to use the tools of their former religious practices, they publicly destroyed about 50,000 days’ wages worth of books, which is a mind-boggling sum. These New Testament believers would make any sacrifice to be rid of Satan’s influence in their lives and prevent further influence in their families.

CHOOSE THE TRUTH

While going through the Steps, you may have discerned specific events that have had a dramatic effect on your life, or specific lies you have believed. Hopefully you directly renounced them. For example, a woman had nagging fears and anxieties about her experiences with her aunt who was heavily involved in witchcraft. She was helped to pray, “I renounce any way in which Satan is using my relationship with my aunt against me. I renounce anything she said or did to me, and anything she may have done on my behalf. And I thank You, Lord, that I am not a victim of those experiences. I am a child of God and free to be the person You created me to be.”

Another woman had been led into a life of prostitution by her mother. She remembered that at a very young age a fortune-teller said to her, “Honey, you have a beautiful face and body. That will help you make it through life.” She was led to renounce that false prophet and the lies that she should use her appearance and body to make it through life. Then she was encouraged to announce the truth that her body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that God would supply all her needs.55 Whenever you renounce a lie or any counterfeit experience, you should also affirm the truth and the Christian practices that enable you to live free in Christ.

CHAPTER TWO:

OVERCOMING FALSE GUIDANCE

44. Proverbs 28:13

45. Matthew 3:7, 8

46. Romans 12:2

47. 1 Timothy 4:1

48. Matthew 24:24

49. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

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

 

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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