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Monday, July 31, 2023

Do You Think You Are Someone or Something that You are Not? - Self-Deception Series 19 – Purity 1108

Do You Think You Are Someone or Something that You are Not? - Self-Deception Series 19 – Purity 1108

Purity 1108 07/31/2023 Purity 1108 Podcast

Purity 1108 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a skyward view of a large palm tree somewhere on Isabela Island comes to us from Mark Germain who shared this scene on social media back on July 5th during his epic vacation to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.    

Well, It’s Monday and I share today’s palm tree as a visual proclamation of official start of my two week vacation! While I won’t be taking a vacation from the blog or podcast, I won’t be at my day job for two weeks and will be hitting the road in a few hours to begin the road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, with my wife and 4 out of the 5 of her children (the 5th, Rachel, is on active duty for the USMC in Japan),  So I would appreciate your prayers for safe travels and the Lord’s peace as this will be the largest extended gathering of this cast of characters from our “blended family” as we will be spending the next 5 nights together as a group, for the first time, bouncing around the coast of Lake Erie. 

Although I use the term “blended family”, I will keep it real by saying that we are all still “separate and unbalanced” and getting to know one and are not quite and may never be “fully blended” in a typical sense. Is there anything typical about a “blended family”?  I mean, we are dealing with 2 separate households that an hour apart, (5 if you count the ex’s current residences or properties),  and 7 “kids”, spread out in age from 23 to 14 years, who are miles apart in terms of personalities, and who are currently spread out across two continents in physical distance.  So I’m not trying to tell you that this is the new Brady Bunch or anything like it because I don’t even think Alice the Maid could tidy up our situation into a neat little package!

But when TammyLyn and I realized that we loved one another we decided to marry, love one another now, do our best to love and serve one another’s families, and to meet the responsibilities that come from our complicated lives.  So we have put the Lord at the center of our marriage and rely on His guidance to make us the people He created us to be and to show His love to our loved ones the best we can.  We are just two Christians with complicated situations who are trying to do things the Lord’s way the best we can.  And we freely admit that we are a “work in progress” that needs all the mercy, grace, guidance, strength and love that the Lord can impart.

So I’m not trying to tell you that we are something that we are not.

 And that brings us to our current series on Self- Deception, where we have decided to investigate some of the ways we deceive ourselves by walking through Step 2, Deception Vs. Truth, of the Steps to Freedom in Christ to see what ways we may have been deceived by “the world” and ourselves and in what ways we have wrongly defended ourselves. 

So we present the third of the  “Ways to Deceive Yourself”:

3. Thinking I am something or someone I’m really not.

The scripture reference for this point is:

Galatians 6:3 (NKJV)
3  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Today’s item from the Steps to Freedom in Christ challenges us to honestly look at ourselves and to ask, “Am I really the person I think I am or am I just deceiving myself?”  

Now this is a complicated issue because although self-examination can lead us to discover the lies that we have believed it can also be used by the enemy to sow seeds of doubt and condemnation to make us “unstable in all our ways”.  

Satan would readily accuse us of not being “real Christians” in the first place after all and would happily tempt us to believe that we have “delusions of grandeur” when we seek to claim our new identities in Christ.  Satan would be the first to tell us that we are “nothing” or that we are “someone or something” that we are really not.  He would be the first to tell you that Pride is a sin if it meant he could cause you to condemn yourself and keep you from experiencing your freedom in Christ or from finding your purpose in God’s kingdom.  Or he could tempt you into exalting yourself into believing you are a “Very important person” who is too busy, necessary, or special to humbly follow the Lord.  The enemy doesn’t care if he knocks you down or lifts you up and will push you to either extreme of pride to make you believe that you are someone  or something you are not.  

So, we have to be balanced and agree with what God says about us in His word and avoid the equal and opposite pitfalls of conceit and low self esteem that the enemy would push us towards.   

Needless to say this requires wisdom and discernment. We have to accept our new identities in Christ and recognize and remember what we are and where we came from before coming to God. We have to try to see the truth that we are a combination of our histories, attributes, and talents of our pre-Christ existence and our new spiritual inheritance.  We don’t deny who we were, but we recognize that we are no longer the same after coming to Jesus and that much of what may have defined us before may not be a part of who God is calling us to be.      

Walking in the Spirit is all about living according to God’s truth and accepting our new lives and purposes in Christ and growing into our destinies in the kingdom of God. So we must endeavor to see the lies that we believed about ourselves, renounce them, and agree with what God says about us and what He is calling us to be. We don’t want to be “puffed up” or to think too lowly of ourselves. We want to live according to who we really are now in Christ.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials.

Psalm 119:75-76 (NASB)
75  I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76  O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials

 5. “The psalmist was thankful for affliction for it taught him to keep God’s precepts. 

Today’s verses are the third of a trio of verse couplets from psalm 119 that our reference guide uses to illustrate this point. 

This last verse couplet a keen insight from the psalmist that reveals that “the God of the Old Testament” wasn’t just a “law giving – judging – punishing” God, that He is sometimes made out to be, as the psalmist testifies that his affliction was done in faithfulness by a God who was loving and kind!

This paradox – that God could righteously afflict us as a means to cause us to grow – is an ongoing theme or principle in scripture. After all Jesus had to die in order for us to live, so likewise the Lord may have to use “growing pains” to take us from death to life and from childlike faith to a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.  

Just as a loving parent will chastise a wayward child to keep them safe and to show them the right way to live, or how a surgeon will cause pain to heal, the Lord may bring the trials of our affliction to our lives to mature us in our faith, to see the wisdom of His ways, or to know His enduring love that will never leave us or forsake us.   

As disciples of Jesus, we should know that suffering can have a divine purpose and we should seek the Lord’s wisdom, presence, comfort and lovingkindness when trials or affliction comes our way.

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3) 

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

16 - The Spirit Working Faith

How the Spirit Works Saving Faith

When the soul has sunk into the mire of despair no human power is sufficient to lift it out and set it upon the Rock. Now that the renewed sinner perceives that not only are all his past actions transgressions of God’s Law, but that his very heart is desperately wicked—polluting his very prayers and tears of contrition—he feels that he must inevitably perish. If he hears the Gospel, he tells himself that its glad tidings are not for such an abandoned wretch as he; if he reads the Word he is assured that only its fearful denunciations and woes are his legitimate portion. If godly friends remind him that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, he supposes they are ignorant of the extremities of his case—should they urge him to believe or cast himself on the mercy of God in Christ, they do but mock him in his misery, for he now discovers that he can no more do this of himself than he can grasp the sun in his hands. All self-help, all human aid, is useless.

In those in whom the Spirit works faith, He first blows down the building of human pretensions, demolishes the walls which were built with the untempered mortar of man’s own righteousness, and destroys the foundations which were laid in self-flattery and natural sufficiency, so that they are entirely shut up to Christ and God’s free grace. Once awakened, instead of fondly imagining I am the man whom God will save, I am now convinced that I am the one who must be damned. So far from concluding I have any ability to even help save myself, I now know that I am “without strength” and no more able to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior than I can climb up to Heaven. Evident it is, then, that a mighty supernatural power is needed if I am to come to Him who “justifieth the ungodly.” None but the all-mighty Spirit can lift a stricken soul out of the gulf of despair and enable him to believe to the saving of his soul.

To God the Holy Spirit be the glory of His sovereign grace in working faith in the heart of the writer and of each Christian reader. You have attained peace and joy in believing, but have you thanked that peace-bringer—“the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13)? All that “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8) and that peace which “passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7)—to whom is it ascribed? The Holy Spirit. It is particularly appropriated to Him: “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 and cf. 1 Thess. 1:6). Then render unto Him the praise which is His due.[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/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - The 5 Baptisms in the Bible - 07/30/2023


 

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 07/30/2023

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: The 5 Baptism in the Bible Podcast

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



 The 5 Baptisms in the Bible

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”Mt. 28:19

 

There are five baptisms mentioned in the Bible; baptism in water, repentance, Holy Spirit, fire, and suffering. Today we will look briefly at each in order to bring some clarity and understanding to the subject of baptism.

 

The word in Greek is “baptizo” which means: immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i. e. fully wet); can also be translated “wash”.

The word is only found in the New Testament, but as we will see, conceptually it is evident in the Old Testament in the form of several typologies.

 

Water Baptism

         Water baptism is perhaps the most controversial because some insist that baptism is a requirement for salvation, sighting the above verse (Mt. 28:19) and I Pet. 3:21, and Acts 2:38.

Suffice to say...just get baptized!

It is difficult to say how water baptism came into being. As far as we know from the Scriptures John the Baptist was first recorded to practice this rite. There were, however, some ceremonial washing and cleansing rites in Judaism that it may have come from.

The early church typically practiced baptism very shortly after a confession of faith; the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36) and Cornelius (Acts 10:47)

         Though we don’t see the practice of water baptism in the OT, we do see much in the way of typology. Creation is baptized out of water in Gen. 1:2,3; mankind is rescued from the great flood in Gen. 7&8, the passing through the Red Sea in Ex. 14 and the crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3. Also, in Lev. 8:21 it was necessary that the offering be washed with water before being burnt. Hmmmm!

Baptism of Repentance:

         Is often associated with water baptism because it is associated with John; “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mk.1:14

Heb. 6:1 calls them, “repentance from dead works”. John says, in Mt. 3:8, and Lk. 3:8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

We understand, and often emphasize that repentance is a very important aspect of our new life in Christ.

 

Baptism in the Holy Spirit:

         So much to say. Let’s begin by looking at Acts 1:5 where Jesus says, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit…” Shortly following, in Acts 2, the promise of this event takes place. Later, in Acts 10:44, we see Cornelius and his whole household baptized in the Holy Spirit before they were even baptized in water.

Some segments of the church insist that when salvation comes it’s a full package deal with the Holy Spirit included. I believe that Acts 19:2-6 refutes that teaching. Consider the full immersion of the Holy Spirit and its consequences, when He takes up residence.

Suffice to say, the Holy Spirit is a gift, (Acts 10:45) and Paul says, “earnestly desire the best gifts.” I Cor. 12:31

 

Baptism of Fire:

         Although this could be associated with the “tongues, as of fire…” which appeared on the disciples in Acts 2:3, I believe that it is better intended to mean a refining fire. It was John the Baptist who said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Mt. 3:11 and Lk. 3:16. Peter gives greater clarity on this when he says, “the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.” I Pt. 1:7. We may also consider I Cor. 3:15, “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

When the metallurgist refines gold, they turn up the heat to bring up the dross. Then they scoop off the dross, and when he can see his face in the reflection of the gold, he knows that it is pure.

Baptism of Suffering:

This is the one everyone desires!!!

This is only translated in the NLT; Mk. 10:38, 39; and Lk. 12:50

In each instance Jesus is speaking of His impending suffering on the cross. Praise be to God that we will never have to endure that degree of suffering. But suffering, similar to the baptism with fire, is a necessary dynamic that forms us into Christ’s likeness.

Rom. 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Heb. 12:7 “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”

As believers we should embrace the full immersion of our engagement with Christ since He is fully committed to us. Some forms of baptism are an outward expression of our inner conviction, such as water baptism. Others, as we have seen in Scripture are a transcendent force that comes upon a believer at the kiros moment of God’s sovereign timing and our openness to receive. Still others are part and parcel of our life journey. How we navigate them will determine much.

Paul encourages us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Eph. 6:10



-----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/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Believing I Have No Sin - Self-Deception Series 18 – Purity 1107


 Believing I Have No Sin - Self-Deception Series 18 – Purity 1107

Purity 1107 07/29/2023 Purity 1107 Podcast

Purity 1107 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the setting sun over the Allen Waite Farm, with a “less than clean windshield filter” comes to us from yours truly as I drove “down” the last leg of my trip up to my countryside home in Easton NY last evening to officially begin my two week vacation.   

Yesterday was a hot one in upstate New York, and even though I was blessed with a relatively easy last day of work at my “9 to 5”, my spirit, or the Spirit, convicted me of the need to be a good steward to what the Lord had provided me with at “River House” causing me to decide to mow the lawn “down by the River” and take care of a few other household responsibilities after my day job before I could have peace about going on vacation.   The temperature was around 90 degrees, the lawn was thick, and the work was truly a work of patience, endurance, and prayer!  While I have been known to experience the heights of ecstasy over joyfully “stewarding” my property in the past, yesterday’s mowing session was a struggle that required a steady stream of the reliance on the Lord’s strength and blessing.  While I listened to worship music as I worked, the heat was draining and even though I had moments of joy, most of my “yard work session was spent calling on the Lord to help me to complete it!

At the halfway point, I stopped the mower to top off the gas and was severely tested when it initially refused to start.  After three failed attempts to bring the engine back to life, and with thoughts in my mind that I “flooded it”, I was overcome with a moment of hopelessness, and perhaps a demonic taunt, that the mower wouldn’t start.  But because I was convinced and determined that I must “get ‘er done”, I took a deep breath and paused and restated my intention, to myself or the enemy, that I was going to finish this last task before vacation no matter how long it took and then I did what we should always do when we are being tested – I called on my heavenly Father for help!  So took a long deliberate pause and then, I prayed “God, please make it start” or something along those lines and pulled the pull string again.  The engine showed the faintest hint that it was thinking about starting and I said “Thank You Lord, for starting the mower” and what was a whisper of a hint of the engine starting puttered until the engine was “resurrected” and roaring to life to which I proclaimed: “You are a GOOD, GOOD FATHER LORD! Thank You!”  While that wasn’t the end of the struggles with the lawn, the front end of my property was particularly dense and required more prayer for strength and patience, I had the certainty that I would be able to accomplish what I set out to do, eventually, and I did, with much toil, sweat and the Lord’s help.

This is just another example of what “walking in the Spirit” can look like. A seemingly mundane or common place task properly becomes a place where we can commune with and rely on the Lord. When we put our faith in Jesus, God is with us always so we should spend our lives abiding in His presence and drawing from his love, peace, strength, and wisdom.   The Lord’s continual presence is a Truth of our new lives in Christ and an integral part of our victory over the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil.    

And that brings us to our current series on Self- Deception, where we have decided to investigate some of the ways we deceive ourselves by walking through Step 2, Deception Vs. Truth, of the Steps to Freedom in Christ to see what ways we may have been deceived by “the world” and ourselves and in what ways we have wrongly defended ourselves. 

So we present the first of the  “Ways to Deceive Yourself”:

2. Saying I have no sin. 

The scripture reference for this point is:

1 John 1:8 (NKJV)
8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

While I referred to yesterday’s first item on the self-deception list, “Hearing God’s word but not what it says”, as the “free space of the Bingo card” of the Steps to Freedom in Christ because every person I have led through the steps has admitted to it, today’s item is one of the few check boxes from Step 2, that is rarely checked off and I don’t recall anyone every admitting to saying they have no sin.  

However, as infallible human beings, we have no limits on our ignorance or pride and this item makes the list because as hard as it may be for us to imagine, there are people out there who will say they have no sin.  

Like the rich young ruler who pridefully and ignorantly proclaimed having kept the law from youth, there are apparently some people who believe they have arrived at a Christ like status of “sinlessness”.  This phenomenon is shown in the history of the Holiness movement in the 19th century where certain protestant denominations preached that “Christian perfection” – a sanctified state that enabled one to be free of outward sin swell as “evil thoughts and tempers” was possivle (https://www.britannica.com/event/Holiness-movement).

Although I can testify that freedom and victory over many areas of outward sin is both possible and something we should pursue with diligence, the mistake that is made here is that one would contradict the word of God by saying they have “no sin”. The Apostle John tells us clearly if we do that we deceive ourselves.  

Yes we may stop sinning in many areas of our lives but if we understand the full measure of what sin is, we should never come to the conclusion that we have “no sin”.  Sin not only includes thoughts and actions that are disobedient to God’s word, it is also a sin to not to do all the things that we know are good that we know we should do, perfectly, all the time.   If we understand it, the one thing that should never allow us to ever proclaim that we are without sin is our limited knowledge. We don’t know everything, and we don’t know the Lord’s will for our lives perfectly, so if we are honest we should agree with the word of God and never say that we have no sin.   Our attitudes, actions, thoughts, or the things we fail to do would testify against us.  

So strive for sanctification humbly and celebrate your victories over sin that you experience  but make the mistake of saying you have no sin.  Because of our ignorance, shortcomings, actions, failures, thoughts, pride, or inaction, when we say we have no sin, we are lying to ourselves or others and that qualifies as sin – got ya – so think deeply and see that while we can be “getting better all the time”, we have to admit that we won’t be free of sin until we are glorified and the Lord’s kingdom comes into full fruition.  

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials.

Psalm 119:71-72 (NASB)
71  It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
72  The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials

 5. “The psalmist was thankful for affliction for it taught him to keep God’s precepts. 

Today’s verses are the second of a trio of verse couplets from psalm 119 that our reference guide uses to illustrate this point. 

Continuing the theme, today’s verses are the atypical admission that comes from proper reflection that is most often associated with the higher abilities of perception by one who is educated by the wisdom of the Lord and a few lessons from the school of hard knocks,

For the most part, it is hard to appreciate suffering.  Some would deny anything of value coming out of the bad things they experience. And while Other may agree that they have learned things from the afflictions they have faced, not everyone in this group would tell you that their sufferings gave them a heartfelt desire to learn and obey the Lord’s “statutes”.

However, the psalmist proclaims that knowing the Lord’s law – His instruction – is of inestimable value and that his afflictions helped him to realize it. His suffering sent him to seek the Lord’s help and within His Word he discovered the wisdom of how things really are in life, and he considered it to be priceless information.  

He undoubtedly learned that when he chose to “sin” he chose to suffer, and his affliction gave him the desire to avoid future sufferings, some of which he realized he could avoid by knowing and applying God’s wisdom to his life.  

So let’s seek the Lord’s wisdom and apply it to our lives to avoid affliction where possible and to be comforted and strengthened when it inevitably comes to us.  

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

16 - The Spirit Working Faith

Saving Faith Is the Work of the Spirit

“Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and bath anointed us, is God” (2 Cor. 1:21). None but God (by His Spirit) can “stablish” the soul in all its parts—the understanding, the conscience, the affections, the will. The ground and reason why the Christian believes the Holy Scriptures to be the Word of God is neither the testimony nor the authority of the church (as Rome erroneously teaches), but rather the testimony and power of the Holy Spirit. Men may present arguments which will so convince the intellect as to cause a consent—but establish the soul and conscience so as to assure the heart of the Divine authorship of the Bible, they cannot. A spiritual faith must be imparted before the Word is made, in a spiritual way, its foundation and warrant.

1. Faith In the Word: The same blessed Spirit who moved holy men of old to write the Word of God, works in the regenerate a faith which nothing can shatter. That Word is the Word of God. The stablishing argument is by the power of God’s Spirit, who causes the quickened soul to see such a Divine Majesty shining forth in the Scriptures that the heart is established in this first principle. The renewed soul is made to feel that there is such a pungency in that Word that it must be Divine. No born-again soul needs any labored argument to convince him of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures: he has proof within himself of their Heavenly origin. Faith wrought in the heart by the power of the Spirit is that which satisfies its possessor that the Scriptures are none other than the Word of the living God.

2. Faith in Christ: Not only does the blessed Spirit work faith in the written Word—establishing the renewed heart in its Divine veracity and authority—but He also produces faith in the personal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The imperative necessity for this distinct operation of His was briefly shown in a previous chapter upon “The Spirit Comforting,” but a further word thereon will not here be out of place. When the soul has been Divinely awakened and convicted of sin, it is brought to realize and feel its depravity and vileness, its awful guilt and criminality, its utter unfitness to approach a holy God. It is emptied of self-righteousness and self-esteem, and is brought into the dust of self-abasement and self-condemnation. Dark indeed is the cloud which now hangs over it; hope is completely abandoned, and despair fills the heart. The painful consciousness that Divine goodness has been abused, Divine Law trodden under foot, and Divine patience trifled with, excludes the expectation of any mercy.[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/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Virtuous Cycle – Hearing and Doing God’s Word - Self-Deception Series 17 – Purity 1106


 The Virtuous Cycle – Hearing and Doing God’s Word - Self-Deception Series 17 – Purity 1106

Purity 1106 07/28/2023 Purity 1106 Podcast

Purity 1106 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s work of art comes to us from British artist, Sebastian Pether who painted this moonlit “River Scene” back in 1840.  A father of nine children, Pether’s life seems to be that of overeducated but underpaid artist who had a fair share of tragedy in his life, losing their children to consumption before his death at the relatively young age of 51,  due to an inflammatory attack.  But although he may not have prospered financially during his life, he has left behind a legacy of artistic beauty consisting of “firelights, moonlights, and sunsets”.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Pether).  

Well, It’s Friday, Thank You God, and as the sun sets on another work week and I contemplate that today’s artist was the same age as me when he died, I am thankful for the life God has given me and how He has guided me to discover how beautiful my life has been despite some extended periods spent in darkness. Just like Pether’s painting reveals how soft moonlight can highlight the beauty of a landscape, I have discovered that when you follow the Lord, His Light will shine even in the darkest hours of your life to reveal the beauty even in the midst of your pain.    

So I am rejoicing today because I am still alive, have found my freedom in Christ and will find myself a little “free-er” at the end of the workday because I am on vacation for two weeks! So praise the Lord for all that He has done and will do! Amen? Amen!

As I often recall my journey of faith over the last 13 years, I am continually reminded of the fact that I progressively learned more and more about the Lord from His word and developed the discipline of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” when I realized that: 

I was a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

And there really was “no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 8:1).  

It took some renewing of the mind because of God’s word, but I came to understand that the things I thought about myself – that I was evil, cold-hearted, no good, bad, and maybe a little insane weren’t true about me anymore.  I had finally heard the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and made Him my Lord and Savoir and when you do that you not only receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, but you also receive the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21) and a sound mind to boot (2 Tim 1:7)! 

I was made a brand-new creation by putting my faith in Jesus and what was true about me in the past was no longer true about me now. I was no longer dead in my trespasses and sins, and I was no longer a slave to sin but in order to experience my freedom in Christ – I had to believe it and live it.  And so the process of believing the truth about who I am in Christ and renouncing the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil began, and it changed the way I thought, the way I felt, and the way I lived.   I had spent my life believing the lies of the world and finally the truth of God was setting me free, and it continues to transform my life and give me peace and joy!  

While I know I have been blessed, I also want to stress that I am “nothing special”. All I did was to believe the Lord and follow Him and I encourage others to do the same by putting your faith in Jesus and starting that process of renouncing the lies you have believed that has left you chained to sin and kept you from the peace that God has for you.

And that brings us to our current series on Self- Deception, where we have decided to investigate some of the ways we deceive ourselves by walking through Step 2, Deception Vs. Truth, of the Steps to Freedom in Christ to see what ways we may have been deceived by “the world” and ourselves and in what ways we have wrongly defended ourselves. 

So we present the first of the  “Ways to Deceive Yourself”:

1. Hearing God’s Word but not doing what it says.

The scripture reference for this point is:

James 1:22 (NLT2)
22  But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

Or as those familiar with the NKJV know:

James 1:22 (NKJV)
22  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

As we move into the section of the Steps to Freedom of Christ that really highlights self-deception,  I marvel over how common and accepted this first way we deceive ourselves is.    

When I lead people through the Steps, I refer to this one as the “free space on the Bingo card”  in the Steps to Freedom in Christ, because EVERYONE, if they are honest, has to admit that they hear God’s word but don’t do what it says.   

While this may seem like a “no brainer” – that of course – we all sin and fall short of the glory of God – and that none of us always does what God’s word says, all the time, perfectly, the big problem that plagues the body of Christ is just how complacent Christians can be regarding the fact that they hear the word of God and don’t do what it says.   Although obedience to God’s word can be difficult for sure, it doesn’t mean that we are to throw our hands in the air and declare that “it’s impossible” and choose to stop trying to grow in our sanctification.  

While we will never reach sinless perfection, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make progress becoming more and more life Jesus in our character. God has given us the power over sin, but we have to exercise it. God has given us the ability to do good works, pray, and renew our minds with His word, but we have to choose to and actually practice those things.  When we believe in the Lord and follow Him obediently we begin the ”virtuous cycle” which is centered on truth and surrounded with motivation, encouragement, confirmation, and good works.  

 

We first believe the truth.  That motivates us to do good works (like acts of kindness or service, or going to church, or reading our Bibles or praying) and this confirms to our hearts and minds that “Yes, I really am a Christian” and that confirmation encourages us to do learn more of God’s truth, to believe it and stand in it, which in turn motivates us to continue into more “good works” and to continue this life giving process of “Living in the Spirit”.   – which all amounts to “Hearing God’s word and doing what it says!” 

So hear that word, and do what it says, continually and progressively until you realize that you are living in the “virtuous cycle” that produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials.

Psalm 119:67-68 (NASB)
67  Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
68  You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials

 5. “The psalmist was thankful for affliction for it taught him to keep God’s precepts. 

Today’s verses are actually the first of a trio of verse couplets from psalm 119 that our reference guide uses to illustrate this point but instead of sharing them all at once we will present them individually and see what the Lord leads us to reflect or meditate on over the next three days.   

Today’s verses testify that hard times – affliction – can really convict our hearts of how we have gone astray and create an opportunity to see how the Lord is good and to produce a desire to repent and learn from Him.  

I love Pastor Bob Costello’s testimony of when he first came to Christ.  His wife was a Christian, but Bob was still on the fence and pretty worldly but because He loved his wife and he agreed in principle that faith was a good thing, he begrudgingly agreed to go to a Christian retreat. At the retreat, Bob was directed to go into a room and to pray to God and to make a list of all the “good things” and all the “bad things” he had done in life.   Bob was able to make a long list of “bad things” he did in his life but when it came time to do the “good list” he couldn’t think of anything he did past the age of  13 that was particularly good. Bob had a hard life growing up in the streets of the Bronx and had learned to fight to survive and to get what he wanted but in that room he recalled how he hadn’t always been like that.  When he was young he was a “good kid” and as he struggled to think of anything good in his life, he lamented in his heart over how he had become “such a bum”.  Saddened by the loss of his innocence and the state of his life, Bob asked for the Lord’s forgiveness, surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, and asked God to help him to be “good again”.    The Lord’s presence filled that room and Bob was overcome by the joy of His salvation.  And although Bob had secretly planned to cut out early on that retreat before going in that room, afterwards He stayed and told everyone about how He met God.  

When Bob went back to work on Monday, his co-workers speculated that Bob must have had a wild weekend since he had given up working the overtime that had been available, but Bob repeated his confession of faith and told those who asked how he had “met God”. 

Later in the afternoon one of his work buddies came up to Bob and asked how he was feeling.  Bob reported that he was feeling great!   To which his friend said, “Oh good because there was a rumor going around the shop that you had a mental breakdown!” To which Bob explained how He had come to faith and that everyone should have what happened to him, happen to them.  

So yes, an honest examination of our lives of affliction can show us that God is good and lead us to surrender to Him and to experience the life He has for us and to continually seek to learn His wisdom.  

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3) 

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

16 - The Spirit Working Faith

What Is “Saving Faith”

It is a great mistake to define Scriptural terms according to the narrow scope and meaning which they have in common speech. In ordinary conversation, “faith” signifies credence or the assent of the mind unto some testimony. But in God’s Word, so far from faith—saving faith, we mean—being merely a natural act of the mind, it includes the concurrence of the will and an action of the affections: it is “with the heart,” and not with the head, “that man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). Saving faith is a cordial approbation of Christ, an acceptance of Him in His entire character as Prophet, Priest, and King; it is entering into covenant with Him, receiving Him as Lord and Savior. When this is understood, it will appear to be a fit instrument for completing our union with Christ, for the union is thus formed by mutual consent.

Were people to perceive more clearly the implications and the precise character of saving faith, they would be the more readily convinced that it is “the gift of God,” an effect or fruit of the Spirit’s operations on the heart. Saving faith is a coming to Christ, and coming to Christ necessarily presupposes a forsaking of all that stands opposed to Him. It has been rightly said that, “true faith includes in it the renunciation of the flesh as well as the reception of the Savior; true faith admires the precepts of holiness as well as the glory of the Savior” (J. H. Thornwell, 1850). Not until these facts are recognized, enlarged upon, and emphasized by present-day preachers is there any real likelihood of the effectual exposure of the utter inadequacy of that natural “faith” which is all that thousands of empty professors possess.[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/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).