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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Walk with Me - Encouraging not Chasing - Purity 626


Walk with Me  - Encouraging not Chasing -  Purity 626

Purity 626 01/12/2022  Purity 626 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing sun peaking through the clouds somewhere along the Florida coastline comes to us from a friend who shared a treasure trove of photos of their recent 12 day holiday get away where they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time.  I love the stillness that they captured in this photo and because the sun is to the left of center I thought it was a good representation of our being in the beginning stages of getting over the hump of the midweek.  

Yes, It’s Wednesday and after we get past today it’ll all be down hill from there, or at least we can hope.  And for those of us who know their freedom in Christ, we know that we always have a reason for our hope. In Christ we have the assurance of an eternal life in His kingdom and death has therefore lost its sting.  When we know we have a right standing with God and live with this perspective, the problems of this world don’t seem so big because we know that God is with us and will see us through.  

I moderate a Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course Men’s Group each Thursday online and have taught in-person classes in the past.  So people know what I am about and sometimes I am blessed because people will reach out to me to receive counsel.  Tonight I am meeting with a man that has expressed having some measures of success in his Christian walk but seems to still struggle with depression and fear.  

As a teacher, Christian Counselor, and vocal advocate for a lifestyle of Christian Discipleship, I have to be careful when I meet with someone new because I have discovered that all though Christians are all brothers and sisters in Christ we don’t all have the same levels of maturity in our faith because each of our educations, understanding, and experience in Christianity differ. 

Unfortunately, in the past I have felt that I may have tried to teach too much, counsel too much, or encourage too much, because after I have described what worked for me in my faith walk to overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety, the people I have talked to may have determined that “it was just too much” and their lack of follow up proved they, for whatever reason, weren’t on board because they didn’t accept one of the many options I gave to enter into a one-on-one discipleship/accountability relationship, join a class, or to do a periodic email correspondence.  I would offer to cater the encouragement I gave to them at whatever level they wanted but they didn’t accept the invitation.  

Now why didn’t I follow up and pester them until they said yes? Is letting them walk away with out help the Christian thing to do?  

Well, no where in the New Testament do we see Jesus chasing after people saying: “Come on guys, follow me!”   Quite the opposite.  Christ had many hangers on after his miracles and at one point in his ministry his teaching about drinking His blood and eating His flesh sent people heading for the exits.  Did Christ run after them? No, in fact Jesus challenged the Apostles to leave too!

John 6:67-69 (NKJV)
67  Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68  But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

God doesn’t force us to follow Him. We must choose for ourselves. So when someone that we encourage walks away, we can check in to see if they are still interested in coming along beside us but after a while we should accept their “no to be no”  and we can pray for the Lord to convict them and help them.      

As for tonight’s session with this new acquaintance, I plan to take extra time to listen to get to know what their walk is like and to hear some of their history so they can know that I genuinely care about them being set free from their fear and depression.  But I will also encourage them that their freedom is dependent upon their relationship with God more than their relationship with me.  

The One who has the words of eternal life and the One that caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear is the One that can heal them. 

But regardless of the responses I get I will be faithful to encourage everyone who seeks counsel to trust in the Lord to deliver them from their struggles, but I will inform them that their healing and transformation will require them to believe in the Word of God and to apply it to their lives and to faithfully answer the call of the One whose call is simply:

Matthew 4:19 (NKJV)
19  … "Follow Me..."  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 3:20 (NLT2)
20  Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Today’s verse tells us that God is all knowing and that He is greater than our feelings.  

I love the way the NLT simplifies this verse from the original KJV

1 John 3:20 (KJV)
20  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

When our heart condemns us that is guilt! God being greater than our heart means that He is greater than our feelings!  

This is why I encourage people to consult other versions of the Bible or to consult Bible commentaries to get understanding when they are struggling to know what God’s word is trying to say.  

In the preceding verses (1 John 3:18-19), John is encouraging  us to not just show our love with words but to show it with actions and assures us that our actions will show us that we really are in the Christian faith and that we can be assured of our right standing with God.  

Today’s verse is to answer to the Christian that says : “I know I said I believe and do some Christian things like go to church but I don’t feel like I am a Christian…”   

It tells us that when it comes to our salvation our feelings are not to be trusted, the word of God is to be trusted and believed.  That’s what it means to be saved by faith!  We need to believe it, to trust it, to have faith in it, and live it!   

So if you have doubts about your faith, stand on your confession to make Christ your Lord and Savior and tell yourself: 

“My feelings say that I am no different: But the word of God says in Romans 10:9, that  if I have confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. I did confess Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I do believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead!  So, I am saved”

In Christ you are accepted, secure, and significant.  But you have to know that and remind yourself of that to feel that.  So I am sharing a link to a PDF of Who I am in Christ from Freedom in Christ Ministries (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf) that you can meditate on that tells you who you are and that can be used as part of your daily spiritual practice to renew your mind and change your feelings to align with what God says about you.  

We can all feel guilty at times but if we are in Christ, we can simply pray to the Father to forgive us our latest transgressions to take away our guilt and restore our harmonious relationship with God once again.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Talking to God is reading His word and communing to Him in prayer to seek His wisdom, guidance, and strength continually.  Walking with God is simply realizing that God is with you always and applying His wisdom to your life in the ways that you think and in the ways that you behave.

If you do those two things, you will walk away from guilt, anxiety, fear, and depression as the fruit of the Spirit of peace, love and joy take their place.  God is greater than our feelings and believing what He says about us will give us peace.  

 

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 4.   

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.

GIVING UP OUR RIGHT TO BLAME

Some people deal with their emotional pain by pointing fingers. “That person violated me” or “I’m suffering because of that person.” While that may be true, it doesn’t resolve the problem. Blaming someone else can be a cover for your own guilt, or it reveals a heart that is more prone to seek revenge than to forgive.

To place the blame on somebody else can be nothing more than an excuse to stay in the bondage of bitterness. The reason that many still feel the emotional pain from the past is because they haven’t forgiven. I can empathize with these people because they have been hurt. But I also care enough to help them realize that bad things happen to good people all the time, and it may happen to them again. I can’t guarantee that a woman will not be sexually assaulted, but I can say that God has a means by which that event doesn’t have to control her for the rest of her life. Nobody can fix your past, but by the grace of God you can be free from it.

Forgiveness is an act of the will whereby we give up our claim to seek revenge for an offense against us. God could have justifiably exercised His wrath against us and all mankind. Instead, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”71 Was it difficult for Jesus to accept His Father’s will? He said to Peter, James, and John, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death,”72 and He cried out, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” The will of our heavenly Father was that Jesus go to the cross, but the grace of God was incredibly evident even in His hour of agony. As Jesus looked down upon those who would crucify Him, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”73

The Cross reveals the cost of forgiveness and the pain of bearing the penalty of someone else’s sin. At the Cross, Jesus died once for all the sins of the world.74 He paid the penalty for my sins, your sins, and all the sins committed by others against all the people of this world. The victim cries out, “Where is the justice?” It’s in the Cross. Forgiving others would be a moral outrage without the Cross.

In the same manner that God has forgiven us, God wants us to forgive others. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”75 When you face the reality of forgiving others, know that the grace of God will always enable you to do the will of God.

Many Christians try to forgive over and over again, but still feel hurt and confused. They haven’t understood how to forgive from the heart, or they haven’t finished all the Steps, and the process isn’t complete without doing that. Forgiving from our hearts is part of submitting to God, but it will take the rest of the Steps before they are fully ready to resist the devil. People win a major battle going through this Step, but complete freedom doesn’t usually come until the last Step.

GIVE SATAN NO ADVANTAGE

One of the most definitive teachings on forgiveness is in Matthew 18:21-35. Several issues stand out in this passage. First, we are to continue forgiving no matter how many times we have been sinned against. Second, the degree that we have been forgiven by God is far greater than the degree we will ever have to forgive others. Third, repayment is impossible. Fourth, we are to forgive from our hearts or suffer the consequences of being tormented by the accuser of the brethren. If we will not forgive as we have been forgiven, our heavenly Father will hand us over to the torturers (see verses 34 & 35). That’s not because He doesn’t love us; that’s because He doesn’t want us to live in the bondage of bitterness. He wants us to live free and productive lives in Christ. God disciplines those He loves.

Paul warns us about Satan’s entrapment when there is unforgiveness: “Whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes [thoughts].”76 We are not to sin through anger, because that gives the devil an opportunity as well.77

 ---------------------------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. 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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