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Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween – Satan’s Favorite Tricks and Treats - Purity 876


Happy Halloween – Satan’s Favorite Tricks and Treats - Purity 876

Purity 876 10/31/2022 Purity 876 Podcast

Good morning, 

Today’s photo of the sun peaking through a section of a post-peak autumn forest comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to capture a few scenes of the Autumn season as it seems to be quickly slip sliding away as I walked along them west side of Wait Rd on Saturday.  

Well, Happy Halloween, although I suspect that some people would have been a lot happier if All Hallows Eve had fallen on a Friday or Saturday. But I know that those who may have wished that undoubtedly didn’t let the actual day of Halloween get in the way of celebrating it enthusiastically over the weekend. 

I myself, volunteered at a “Harvest Festival” that was a Harvest Festival in name only as the event hosted by Operation Adopt a Soldier at Gavin Park in Wilton featured a Haunted Hayride and gave out prizes each night for the best Halloween Costumes. So even though today is the day, for many Halloween is all but over as most of us have celebrated it already and won’t be doing much tonight as Tuesday morning and its work responsibilities will be coming quickly. 

However, today is the day and for some Halloween is their favorite holiday and they will be celebrating with all the gusto they can muster and may even arranged to take All Saints Day off in anticipation of the need to rest and recover from their less than Holy festivities.   

And in light of the great enthusiasm some have for Halloween, I have to ask the rhetorical question:  

If you like Halloween more than Christmas, does that mean you are going to hell?  

I’m just saying, if you take delight in a holiday that celebrates the macabre and dark supernatural things of this world more that the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ, is there any way that you have a place in God’s kingdom?

Or is Satan just driving around today looking at all the homes that are decked out with decorations that display witches, zombies, and ghosts and smiling and maybe singing that 1980 Queen Hit: “Another One Bites the Dust”?   

I don’t mean to take lightly the fact that some will be separated from God and be confined to a realm where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but when I see people literally proclaiming that what is evil as good in such an outlandish fashion, some will be dressing up as Satan today, as a devil, a demon, it makes me see just how sinister the prince of darkness is and how well he has tricked most of mankind to dismiss his actual existence and subsequently reject the Lord and His word which warns us to have nothing to do with darkness.  

While today could serve as the most stark example of people either intentionally or unwittingly aligning themselves with the forces of darkness,  Satan delights in deceiving us in subtle ways as well.   

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light as well and so it doesn’t matter to him which of the many highways of hell that he diverts you to, He just doesn’t want you to put your faith in Jesus and decide to follow His narrow path that leads to the fruit of the Spirit in this life and ultimately to eternal life with God.   

I was reminded this weekend of how Satan uses the traumas of our human existence to convince us that we can be so broken that even God can’t heal us and that we need something other than God to find peace in this life.  

In my ministry work for Freedom in Christ ministries I have encountered Christians that have believed all kinds of lies about themselves that have kept them bond to sin and feeling defeated.  One man who is on prescription medication for depression and anxiety confessed that he believed that he would always be depressed and that he sort of indicated that his hope lied in the abilities of his physicians to get the medications “just right”.   

While I would never dissuade people from seeking medical treatments for physical ailments, I have trouble advocating medication as the way to peace.  Better life through chemistry is the methodology of addiction and I don’t care if they are street drugs found in a back alley, some herbal treatment found in a zen garden, or distributed by a pharmacist through doctor’s orders when we look for a physical substance to provide peace, we should really question if this was God’s plan for your life, that the only way to find peace was through taking or ingesting something.  

As someone who has worked in the mental health field as a counselor, I have seen the dangers of dependence on medications and becoming “put in the system” of mental health. I have seen people with relatively minor problems who once were somewhat self-sufficient become worse after they were diagnosed and told of their chronic problems. 

Did their conditions worsen on their own or did they become indoctrinated in a system of belief that told them they were a hopeless case, that they should never go off of their meds and that they were basically incapable of taking care of their selves?  

In mental health circles, there is much care but little hope for healing as the narratives surrounding mental maladies are that they incurable and the best we can do is manage the symptoms.  

But Christ said something else.  

John 14:27 (NKJV) HE said:
27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The world offers peace though medication, drugs, money, material possession, and creating the right circumstances or human relationships.   Tonight, Halloween offers sweet treats and wicked thrills from the safety of hiding behind a mask in the shadows of darkness

But Christ offers a different type of peace. He offers us peace with God and He invites us into the light of His truth and righteousness where we need not be ashamed and we need not hide.  And through faith in Him, Christ offers healing for our souls.  

Long before any antidepressants or anxiety medications were developed. Christ offered us peace and through walking in the Spirit we can know it, along with love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and joy.  He offers these things freely through faith and through His invitation to know Him and follow Him in the way we live our lives.   

So don’t celebrate the dark things of this world or take delight in your dark habits that will ultimately fail to satisfy, instead seek the Lord and the peace that found in Christ Alone.  That’s right keep walking and talking with God and you will see the truth and know the peace that comes from Him.

  

     

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT2)
9  “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the need to seek the Lord, because if we do we will find Him. So although short time this morning I made a point to share this verse because within in it there is the hope of peace and eternal life with the Lord.

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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 sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary” continues

In the New Testament, the enemy is always the one who hates me. Jesus does not even consider the possibility that there could be someone whom the disciple hates. Enemies should receive what sisters and brothers receive, namely, love from Jesus’ followers. The actions of the disciples should not be determined by the human actions they encounter, but by Jesus acting in them. The only source of the disciples’ action is the will of Jesus.

Jesus speaks of enemies, that is, of those who will remain our enemies, unmoved by our love; those who do not forgive us anything when we forgive them everything; those who hate us when we love them; those who insult us all the more, the more we serve them. “In return for my love they accuse me, even while I make prayer for them” (Ps. 109:4). But love must not ask if it is being returned. Instead, it seeks those who need it. But who needs love more than they who live in hate without any love? Who, therefore, is more worthy of my love than my foe? Where is love praised more splendidly than amidst love’s enemies?

This love knows no difference among diverse kinds of enemies, except that the more animosity the enemy has, the more my love is required. No matter whether it is a political or religious enemy, they can all expect only undivided love from Jesus’ followers. This love recognizes no inner conflict within myself, even between my being a private person and my being an officeholder. In both cases I can be only one who follows Jesus, or I am no follower of Jesus at all. I am asked, how does this love act? Jesus says: bless them, do good to them, pray for them without condition, without regard for who they are.

“Love your enemies.” While the previous command spoke only of defenseless suffering from evil, Jesus here goes much further. We should not only bear evil and the evil person passively, not only refuse to answer a blow with a blow, but in sincere love we should be fond of our enemies. Unhypocritically and purely we are to serve and help our enemies in all things. No offering which a lover would bring to a beloved can be too great and too valuable for our enemies. If, because of love for our kindred, we are obliged to offer our goods, our honor, and our life, then in the same way we are obliged to offer them for our enemies. Does this, then, make us participants in the evildoing of our enemies? No, for how should that love which is born not of weakness but of strength, which comes not from fear but from the truth,[141] become guilty of the hatred of another? And to whom must such love be given, if not to those whose hearts are suffocating in hate?

“Bless those who curse you.” If our enemies curse us because they cannot bear our presence, then we should lift our hands to bless them: “You, our enemies, be blessed by God; your curse cannot harm us, but may your poverty be filled by the riches of God, by the blessing of God, against whom you rail in vain. We shall willingly bear your curse, if only God’s blessing comes over you.”

“Do good to those who hate you.” Words and thoughts are not enough. Doing good involves all the things of daily life. “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink” (Rom. 12:20). In the same way that brothers and sisters stand by each other in times of need, bind up each other’s wounds, ease each other’s pain, love of the enemy should do good to the enemy. Where in the world is there greater need, where are deeper wounds and pain than those of our enemies? Where is doing good more necessary and more blessed than for our enemies? “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[143][1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 139–140.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Image Nations - 10/30/2022

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 10/30/2022

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Image Nations Podcast

Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube: 


Coming Soon!

 


Image Nations

 

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” II Cor. 10:4,5

 

The above verse is the “go to” verse for engagement in spiritual warfare. The landscape is identified, as is the method of engagement.

 

We think of warfare as disagreements between governments, or people groups that turn violent.

                        Read Js. 4:1-10

 

Mat. 11:12 says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take if by force.”

Companion verse is Lk. 16:16

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.”

 

The kingdom of darkness is in direct opposition to the kingdom of God, and conflict is inevitable.

 

It is controversial whether we, as believers, should engage in actual violence. Our resistance should definitely be in radical determination to walk in obedience and righteousness regardless of the cost.

The kingdom of darkness has no such parameters.

The KJV translates “arguments”, in our opening verse, as    “imaginations”

The word in Greek is “logismos” meaning: reasoning,       imagination, thought.

 

It’s not a true etymology of the word, but if you cut the word in half we get, “image” and “nation”

 

        This speaks volumes to the setting of the spiritual warfare. The battlefield of our mind.

James gives us a clearer picture of the progression:

1:14:15 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

 

        We tend to play out actions and ideologies in our mind long before we manifest them. Abstract thought is a unique quality man possess among created beings. This what likens us to God. Satan attacks us at our greatest strength by feeding us spiritual junk food to compromise and eventually subdue our imaginations. In Gen. 3, Satan merely engages Eve with a thought.

       

        Where would we be if we fantasized about healing the sick, or casting our demons, or preaching to ten thousand people? What if we actually did pray without ceasing, or if praise was continually on my mouth?

 

Consider carefully the ways in which Satan infiltrates our imagination, and ask the Lord for deliverance!

-----Join us for another Bible Study Next Week -------

or

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

 

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

 

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

Purity 875 10/29/2022 Purity 875 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a multicolored October Sky comes to us from Rocco Saya the man behind  Celestial Blue Photography, (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069048257152), who shared this scene from Oswego NY back on October 23rd reporting that he hadn’t picked up his camera in two weeks due to his “massive preparations for Halloween” but that he took a break for the sunset and was rewarded with a “perfect way to end the day in fall.”

Rocco truly has pulled out all the stops in decorating his home for Halloween and if you are in Oswego area in the evening hours you can stop by 157 E 9th Street to see it for the next week, but he suggests stopping by on Halloween night because he will be synchronizing music with the light show as his way of saying: Happy Halloween.  If you aren’t near the shores of Lake Ontario and want to see a preview of what Rocco has done there is a link (https://fb.watch/gsErl-8ksW/) to a post on the Celestial Blue Photography page on the blog today that provides a video of Mr. Saya’s Halloween Decorating Triumph.

Well it is Saturday of Halloween weekend, and it is my prayer that we all have a good and SAFE weekend, I know that Halloween is not until Monday but I am sure that won’t stop many a Halloween custom party from happening between now and then and I know from my past, that mischievous youth may take to the streets tonight or tomorrow to wreak havoc in their communities with acts of destruction or vandalism.  I also know that the bars will be profiting off of and encouraging its patrons to lose their inhibitions and to drink deep and to make some wicked connections with the safety of masked anonymity.

As much as Halloween can be considered to be just “harmless” fun for our youth with costumes and trick or treating, this celebration of all things spooky really is revealed as a dark holiday by its rebellious, destructive, and licentious spirit that condones mischievous pranks, tricks, fantasy, and overindulgences in the sins of the flesh.

But beyond these evidences that can easily be seen there are the spiritual forces of darkness that are unseen but remain very real that delight in our society turning toward the darkness in the name of fun and which actively seek to steal, kill, and destroy.

As my attempt to share the truth that the Bible declares about the “paranormal” aspects of life, I am sharing an excerpt from Freedom in Christ’s Ministries blog from this week called: Halloween: The Paranormal (https://blog.ficm.org/blog/halloween-the-paranormal).   FICM USA’s board member Dr. Jonathan Carol continues his second installment regarding Halloween by writing:

So what is the paranormal? Should I be scared? Is it real, or is it all fake and pretend?

Some paranormal “occurrences” are nothing but fraudulent hoaxes. Yet some paranormal activities are very real and spiritually significant.

1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (ESV)

Are ghosts real? Can my dead relatives come back to talk to me? What about familiar spirits and spirit guides? Can a place be haunted? Is it wrong to talk to or hunt ghosts? Is it wrong to go to haunted houses?

Any real “ghost” sightings or hauntings are actually disguised demons trying to gain your attention and affection. They either want you to 1) be afraid of their powers, 2) be self-confident in your abilities, or 3) be distracted from God by being absorbed into whatever experience they are presenting. Avoid the temptations of these experiences and flee from their evil.

2 Corinthians 11:14 “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”

What’s the one sure-fire thing I can do to survive paranormal attacks? (FYI: Don’t miss this!)

Real “paranormal” activities and beings are clearly demonic when they fail to accurately point to Jesus and His biblical truth, love, and righteousness. The only way to survive such paranormal attacks is by repenting of sin and being born again with saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Christians, if you ever come under paranormal/demonic attack, there is only one strategy for success. Don’t try to fight these spiritual battles in your own power, seek Jesus and His truth. Repent from sin. Walk in righteousness. Renew your mind with His truth (Romans 12:1-3) and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

James 4:7–8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

"Study Satan’s tricks, and acquaint yourself with his tactics." William Gurnall

What is evil? What is good? How can I know what is true and what is false? Which is the best book on this topic? Who is the best person to talk to on this topic?

There is a spiritual battle raging around us between the followers of Christ against the unseen spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). Although many authors and books seek to describe this warfare, the best place to start and finish is in the Bible. If you are a Christian, the Bible is your weapon as a “sword of the Spirit” who is within you. Don’t go unarmed into battle, cite the Scripture with your lips and with your life.

Ephesians 6:16–17 “In all circumstances take up…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”

"Do not pretend you want to be led into truth if you will not bother to study the whole Word of God." William Gurnall

Is it ok to watch paranormal movies and TV shows? Read books and blogs? Is there any harm in Zombies? Pok√©mon? Cartoon witches? Avatars? Vampires? Werewolves? Should Christians “celebrate” Halloween?

Sometimes we face complicated decisions that are best left up to Christian conscious. We should study God’s Word, evaluate our motivations, consider the potential impact on our Christian obedience and witness, and prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

If a Christian finds peace about participating in Halloween activities, they must use wisdom. Many faithful Christians have a clear conscience about participating in certain Halloween activities by taking with precautions about their destinations, costumes, and behaviors. Some believers see Halloween as a wonderful witnessing opportunity in which their neighbors and strangers will visit their homes or community outreach events (Galatians 5:13 and 1 Peter 2:16).

1 Corinthians 10:23–24 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

What if I am just a “normal Christian”? Does this subject really affect me? Am I safe from all of this paranormal and demonic stuff? How can I prepare for future attacks (spiritual, mental, marriage, etc.)? How can I live with ongoing struggles and suffering? What if Satan doesn’t leave me alone?

The lessons of Halloween carry over throughout the year. Everyday we all face spiritual battles where “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:10-20). We must daily prepare as we go into spiritual battle. As we mature in our faith, our perspective and passions may change or grow regarding the details of Halloween. May we seek to use our Christian freedom in ways that honor Jesus and share His light with a dark and dying world. May we live with joy in our salvation and move forward with bold courage against Satan and his demons!

Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’”

For more about spiritual warfare in the early church, summaries of some of Neil Anderson’s most important works, or  A Bible reading plan for 2023, Dr. Carl invites us to  www.spiritualwarfare.blog/free-books for some of his free e-books and writings on the various subjects regarding our faith and spiritual warfare.   

So tonight as I will be volunteering at the last installment of Operation Adopt a Soldier’s Harvest Festival and Haunted Hayride at Gaven Park in Wilton NY, probably as a bouncer for the “bouncy house”,  I will be sure to encourage everyone I encounter to be kind to one another and to be safe in their celebrations and if I get the chance I will remind them that the darkness, no matter how prominent it may seem around Halloween or in our culture, has been defeated in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross and I will tell them that they can participate in that victory by putting their faith in Him and by continually walking and talking with God.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 4:9 (NLT2)
9  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that our Christian faith may not always be a bed of roses and that we may be knocked down from time to time in our walk of faith but it assures us that no matter whether we are hunted down, we are not abandoned by God and even if we get knocked down, we are not destroyed.  

Hunted down? Yup, in the Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship Lesson I presented the other night, the German theologian warned of a time of coming persecution and while we in the relatively safe confines of the US may say we don’t see it, an article on Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2022/01/20/one-in-seven-christian-minorities-under-threat-in-2022/?sh=58e956a77d2d) states that:

“According to the research, the persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. “Across 76 countries, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – an increase of 20 million since last year.” 312 million Christians live in the top 50 countries alone. One in every seven Christians live under at least high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith.”  

“An increase of 20 million since last year”!  So although we in the US are mostly only socially ostracized and encouraged to remain silent in our faith by our Post Christian culture, other Christians in the world aren’t waiting for the persecution to come, it’s already here and it is apparently increasing at an alarming rate. And this is being reported by Forbes, not exactly some right wing reporting agency trying to disseminate Christian propaganda. So as we move forward, we need to really know who we are in Christ and know the truth of today’s verse.  

We may be hunted down someday because we are Christians. We may be knocked down because of our faith in Christ. But we will never be abandoned by God and we will never be destroyed. 

But that only applies to those in Christ: Jesus said in

Matthew 10:28-33 (NKJV)
28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


32  "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

So take courage and comfort if you have made Christ your Lord and Savior because in Him we are safe, we are never abandoned, and we are never destroyed.  

But don’t just rest in your safety, let those you know who aren’t Christians learn the truth: that they need Jesus, and encourage them to seek the safety, acceptance, security, and significance that is found in Christ alone.

 

 

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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 sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who abuse and persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:43–48).

This is the point in the Sermon on the Mount where we encounter for the first time the word which summarizes everything in it: love. Immediately it is put into the clear-cut context of love for our enemies. Loving one’s kindred is a commandment that could be misunderstood. Loving enemies makes unmistakably clear what Jesus intends.

“Enemy” was no empty concept for the disciples. They knew it well. They met enemies daily. There were those who cursed them as destroyers of the faith and lawbreakers; there were those who hated them because they had left everything for Jesus’ sake and did not highly value anything but communion with him; there were those who insulted and scorned them for their weakness and humility; there were those who persecuted them, who feared a growing revolutionary danger in the group of disciples and were intent on destroying them. One kind of enemy were the representatives of a people’s piety, who could not tolerate Jesus’ claim to exclusive and complete loyalty. They were armed with power and respect. Another enemy, which would be apparent to every Jew, was the political enemy in Rome. The Jews experienced powerful oppression from that enemy.[133] In addition to these two inimical groups, there was all the personal enmity which anyone encounters who does not participate in the norms of the majority: daily defamation, humiliation, and threats.

To be sure, nowhere in the Old Testament is there a statement which commands us to hate our enemies. On the contrary, we find the commandment to love our enemies (Exod. 23:4f.; Prov. 25:21f.; Gen. 45:1ff.; 1 Sam. 24:7; 2 Kings 6:22; and elsewhere). But Jesus is speaking here, not of natural enmity, but of the enmity of God’s people against the world. Israel’s wars were the only “holy” wars[135] the world has ever known. They were God’s wars against the world of idols. Jesus does not condemn that enmity, otherwise he would have to condemn God’s entire history with God’s own people. Instead, Jesus affirms the Old Covenant. His only concern is to overcome enemies, to achieve victory for God’s community. But in this command, once again he released his community of disciples from the political form of the people of Israel. As a result, there will be no more wars of faith. God promised that we would gain victory over our enemies precisely by loving them.

Loving one’s enemies is not only an unbearable offense to the natural person. It demands more than the strength a natural person can muster, and it offends the natural concept of good and evil. But even more important, loving one’s enemies appears to people living according to the law to be a sin against God’s law itself. Separation from enemies and condemning them is what the law demands. But Jesus takes God’s law into his hands and interprets it. To overcome enemies by loving them—that is God’s will which is contained in the law.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 137–139.


Friday, October 28, 2022

Bend, Don’t Break…. Or Go Ahead and Break it! - Purity 874


 Bend, Don’t Break…. Or Go Ahead and Break it! - Purity 874

Purity 874 10/28/2022 PURITY 874 PODCAST

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun captured between clouds and framed perfectly between the seasonally decorated posts of a front porch comes to us from a friend who shared a series of photos of their newly constructed home.  While my friend didn’t share their new address, judging by the distant horizon, I would guess that they didn’t move far from their previous place and that this view is of an easterly direction toward the Hudson River and the distant Berkshires, but that only narrows down the location of their new homestead to be, possibly in the Ulster, Greene, or Albany County areas of Upstate NY.

My friend’s husband is a humble man of God who I worked with on a vacation mission trip to flood affected areas of Louisiana back in 2017 and I knew him to be highly skilled in the areas of construction, but the other photos his wife shared of their new home show that he is a master craftsman as the photos she shared could have been lifted from the pages of Better Homes and Garden.  

Well, It’s Friday again and as much as we might like the excitement of going away for the weekend or going away for vacation to distant lands, in the end there is really no place like home to find comfort and rest.   And I for one am looking forward to the end of the work day as I will make my way north to be with the one who gives me a sense of home no matter where we are, my beloved wife TammyLyn.  

In our love for one another, we married with two households. While we may have to be patient to arrive at a date when we dwell under the same roof on a permanent basis, we knew that we were meant to be together and I was just telling her last night of how I couldn’t imagine, and didn’t want to imagine,  a life where she wasn’t my wife. They say home is where the heart is and my heart is with TammyLyn, now until the day the Lord calls me home.  

Well as much as I can find peace in the presence of the Lord and my wife, I am currently in a season where the demands of work, ministry, and family are all coming together in a way where there is scarcely a moment to kick back and enjoy all that the Lord has provided me with. 

The Freedom in Christ Course I facilitate only has three weeks remaining and I am now in the season of leading the participants through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.   I am also currently presenting an informal walk through of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship on the MT4Christ247 podcast and YouTube Channel on Thursdays. Tonight and tomorrow I am volunteering for Operation Adopt A Soldier’s Harvest Festival. And the week after next, I am hitting the road to volunteer at an “Evening with David Jerimiah” event at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo NY on November 11th. And two weeks after that it is Thanksgiving.  So while we are coming to the end to October on Monday, with All Hallows Eve, in my mind I am contemplating just how I will have to simultaneously take care of the things before me but also keep an eye out for the Next Thing to be adequately prepared when they arrive.   

The Bonhoeffer study I am doing is a labor of love but it requires time to adequately absorb the material and to create a power point presentation for each session.  So to stay on top of things I have started creating the next one as soon as I complete creating the power point that I am going to present.   The one I did last night was long, 40 slides! and the total program ran longer that any of the other one’s I have done thus far and it was my goal was try to keep it close an hour. 

So you can imagine the stress I was feeling when I slapped together the barest bones of the next power point presentation for the study when it came in at 50 slides! 

While normally,  my tendency is to just “press in and get ‘er done”, I realized that because, my time is also being divided by volunteering and with freedom appointmenst,  that I was going to have to do something else, especially when I saw those 50 slides.  

“Its all too much Lord.” is a common lament when you are walking in the Spirit but just like the Lord will show us a way of escape to overcome and avoid temptation, He also will cause us to think outside of the box to consider alternatives to “just pressing in”. 

Generally, it is good advice to bend and not break, right? So I thought of postponing the Bonhoeffer study for a few weeks until things settle down, and I still might do that. My decision to do it was born out of a desire to highlight the material and encourage others to get on that path of Christian Discipleship and even though I desired to have it done at a particular time, I am not really under any deadlines with it other than the ones I put on myself.  So I might take a break from it, if I determine I need to but this morning, while I rose to start my day, I had the conviction to forgo my normal work out and to take a look at the power point I had started.  

So I went against my normal discipline and as I struggled to figure out what to do with this behemoth of a power point presentation, an idea suddenly occurred to me: Cut it in two.  

Instead of trying to figure out a way to trim it down or “bend it”, I got an intuition to “break it”.  Now for anyone who has put presentations together before as good as an idea that might sound, in reality sometimes you can’t break it because there is no middle point that would give you two good halves.  The content might not be so easily divisible.  

But of course, I walk in the Spirit and I don’t think this idea to “break it” was my bright idea. So although I had this feeling to “cut it in two” I was skeptical that I would be able to do it in a balanced way.  

But sure enough as I went through the material I realized that there were four chapters in this presentation and the dividing point just happen to be right in the middle of the presentation and all I had to do was save a copy of it, change the design to the new copy and delete the first half of the new copy to have another power point for a subsequent lesson. And as for the power point for next Thursday, I just had to delete the second half to be at a point where I could start to “get er done” for next weeks lesson.  And all of this took a relatively short time to figure it out.  So what was one big headache became two lessons and launched me into being prepared possibly a week in advance, or at the very least on track, granted with an additional week.  

But the solution and last nights extended session, showed me the limits to keep things in and it told me that instead of being captive to a self-imposed deadlines, I could and should keep things fresh and that “less was more”.   

Bend but don’t break, Or if it don’t bend, break it, Get ‘er done, or take your time.  Take a rest, or Keep on Going.  Do it now or Do it Later.  Lee

In contemplating all these things I realized that we have freedom and when we walk in the Spirit the things we do don’t need to be so rigid. In Christ, we are accepted. Although we may have ideas of good works we can do, none of our accomplishments will cause God to love us or accept us more. 

So if things get hectic, remind yourself of that, God loves you. God accepts you. 

The way the Spirit operates to reveal truth to us and to guide us in a way that will keep the fruit of the Spirit flourishing in our lives, we can see that there are no deadlines or commitments that we put on ourselves that will make us more loved or accepted. 

Christ came to give us life and life more abundantly but He also came to give us peace.  So your life is getting too abundant, remember to listen to the Holy Spirit and He will show you the way of escape and guide you in the pathway to peace.  

Out of time for today, but that’s okay. I have peace with just doing what I can and will keep walking and talking with God to stay there.   

 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 sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

Retribution concludes

At this point, the Reformation interpretation introduced a decisively new concept, namely, that we should differentiate between harm done to me personally, and harm done to me as bearer of my office, that is, in the responsibility given me by God. In the former case I am to act as Jesus commands, but in the latter case I am released from doing so. Indeed, for the sake of true love, I am even obligated to behave in the opposite way, to answer violence with violence in order to resist the inroads of evil.[121] This is what justifies the Reformation position on war, and on any use of public legal means to repel evil. But this distinction between private person and bearer of an office as normative for my behavior is foreign to Jesus. He does not say a word about it. He addresses his disciples as people who have left everything behind to follow him. “Private” and “official” spheres are all completely subject to Jesus’ command. The word of Jesus claimed them undividedly. He demands undivided obedience. In fact, the distinction between private and official is vulnerable to an insoluble dilemma. Where in real life am I really only a private person and where only the bearer of my office? Wherever I am attacked, am I not simultaneously the father of my children, the pastor of my congregation, the statesman of my people? For this reason, am I not required to fight back against any attack, just because of my responsibility for my office? Am I not always myself in my office, too, who stands alone before Jesus? Should this distinction cause us to forget that followers of Jesus are always completely alone, single individuals who can act and make decisions finally only by themselves, and that the most serious responsibility for those entrusted to me takes place precisely in these acts?

But how can Jesus’ statement be justified in light of our experience that evil seeks out the weak and rampages most wildly among the most defenseless? Isn’t Jesus’ statement just an ideology which does not take into account the realities of the world, let us say the sin of the world? Perhaps this statement could be valid within a Christian community. But in confrontation with the world it seems to be an enthusiast’s ignoring of sin. Because we live in the world and the world is evil, therefore this statement cannot be valid.

But Jesus says: because you live in the world and because the world is evil, that is why the statement is valid: do not resist evil. It would be difficult to accuse Jesus of not knowing the power of evil, Jesus, who battled with the devil from the first day of his life onward. Jesus calls evil evil and that is just why he speaks to his disciples in this way. How is this possible?

Indeed, what Jesus says to his disciples would all be pure enthusiasm if we were to understand these statements to be a general ethical program, if we were to interpret the statement that evil will only be conquered by good as general secular wisdom for life in the world. That really would be an irresponsible imagining of laws which the world would never obey. Nonresistance as a principle for secular life is godless destruction of the order of the world which God graciously preserves. But it is not a programmatic thinker who is speaking here. Rather, the one speaking here about overcoming evil with suffering is he who himself was overcome by evil on the cross and who emerged from that defeat as the conqueror and victor. There is no other justification for this commandment of Jesus than his own cross. Only those who there, in the cross of Jesus, find faith in the victory over evil can obey his command, and that is the only kind of obedience which has the promise. Which promise? The promise of community with the cross of Jesus and of community with his victory.

The passion of Jesus as the overcoming of evil by divine love is the only solid foundation for the disciples’ obedience. With his command Jesus calls disciples again into communion with his passion. How will our preaching of the passion of Jesus Christ become visible and credible to the world if the disciples avoid this passion for themselves, if they despise it in their own bodies? Through his cross Jesus himself fulfilled the law he gives us, and in his commandment he graciously keeps his disciples in communion with his cross. In the cross alone is it true and real that suffering love is the retribution for and the overcoming of evil. Participation in the cross is given to the disciples by the call into discipleship. They are blessed in this visible community.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 134–137.