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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

“Safe from the Slutty Pumpkin” – Halloween Reflections - Purity 1186


“Safe from the Slutty Pumpkin” – Halloween Reflections - Purity 1186

Purity 1186 10/31/2023  Purity 1186 Podcast

Purity 1186 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a brilliant autumn showing of color and the double image of a white footbridge reflected in waters beneath a pleasant blue sky comes to us from Lisa Warner who shared this “peak” experience on social media back on October 1st after her visit to the Cranberry Lake and the Wanakena Footbridge.  

Well, It’s the Tuesday, the last day of the month, and little holiday called “Halloween”, and I don’t know whether or not October 1st was officially the “peak” of Fall Foliage or not but I can tell you that 30 days later the colors have faded and many of the trees are bare skeletons compared to there full fall leaves glory.  With the falling of the leaves, comes Halloween and the terrifying prospect that “Winter is Coming” but before we shriek in terror over the possibility of white precipitation, yes I superstitiously will not say the S-word because although I don’t quite believe that our words make things happen, I have seen some “prophecies” fulfilled in my day and don’t wish to unwittingly predict something I would rather not see until December.  

But as we leave the month of October behind today, the elephant – our huge human skeleton- what is the deal with that people?- in the middle of the room today is “Halloween” and the controversy of whether or not Christians should shun it or turn this macabre fall festival into a celebration of Jesus over the powers of darkness, in some sort of “opposite day” where what is evil is a reminder of what is good.  

While I will pass the buck over to Break Point Ministries’ John Stonestreet, to give y’all a commentary of whether we should or shouldn’t celebrate Halloween with two of his articles “Too Boo or Not to Boo (https://breakpoint.org/to-boo-or-not-to-boo-2/) and “Honoring the Witness of All Saint’s Day” (https://breakpoint.org/honoring-the-witnesses-all-saints-day-2/) where Stonestreet shares Chuck Colson’s thoughts about the meaning of “All Hallow’s Eve” as anticipation of All Saints Day.  The links are on the blog for you to check out and ponder and to remind us all that the dead that Christians are to celebrate this time of year are NOT GIAGANTIC HUMAN SKELETONS erected for spooky mischief but are the departed faithful servants and martyrs from the body of Christ.  

Personally, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. As a child and a member of “cultural Christianity” where we were mostly nominals of a liturgical church tradition and practical atheists with a paradoxical mix of cheap grace and a works performance theology – saying “we believe” but not really knowing or obeying God’s word seriously and still “hoping for heaven”, I was raised as an enthusiastic “trick or treat”-er and considered Halloween to be a time to collect free candy, play pranks (aka perform criminal acts of theft and or vandalism), and watch scary movies and considered those who discouraged us from celebrating Halloween to be “religious extremists” who were just as scary if not scarier than any ghost, ghoul, or goblin that you would run into on a spooky October evening.  

I also have had a strange fascination and attraction to the thrills and chills of the horror genre sparked from my first “too early” exposure to John Carpenter’s Halloween.  I barely saw the first opening scenes of that movie as a kid but that “first-person” murder scene and Carpernter’s haunting soundtrack were enough to scare me good and cause me to seek that thrill and build the capacity to “not be scared” for most of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

 I have a confession, I still watch horror movies – not the slasher type stuff- that’s gross and pointless evil that men do stuff – no I prefer tales where there are supernatural aspects – where Satan’s dark spiritual forces are faced and defeated, something that doesn’t happen too often these days, as the horror genre seems to prefer unhappy endings where evil wins or promises to come back in the next sequel.  

But the truth is, that evil does not win. Jesus defeated the forces of darkness through his death and resurrection and all the “ghosts”, demons, and followers of Satan are on borrowed time and will face God’s wrath on judgment day, when Christ comes back to rule and reign.  

And this is the truth that sort of puts a damper on me celebrating Halloween like I used to.  I know that the dark macabre things that surround Halloween are “anti-Christ” – they don’t represent God’s kingdom and can be used by the spiritual forces of darkness to lead people away from the truth about reality and lead them into sin. 

Beliefs like “There’s no such thing as ghosts” quickly can turn into “There is no such thing as the Devil… or God.”  So total disbelief in the Spiritual isn’t a neutral position – it denies God and Jesus. You can’t abstain. A vote for any other spiritual expression or life philosophy other than trusting in Jesus is a vote for self-destruction.  

As for the sin – fantasy is another word for lie, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that Halloween which encourages us to wear masks would deceive us into believing we can have some “harmless fun” that engages the lust of the flesh.  Drunkenness, drug use, sexual promiscuity, and gluttony are all on the menu tonight – and no they are not harmless – they are bondage to the flesh – joy substitutes that will lock you in chains of addiction and leave you feeling ashamed, guilty, or plain empty when the light of day comes.  

So what should a Christian do tonight?

Well not that stuff, some Christians are deceived into thinking its all harmless- it isn’t – others think Halloween is absolutely evil – they are probably closer to the truth – but as we bear the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are called to be salt and light to the world – to be in the world but not of the world and the go into the world to make disciples’ – we could choose to use Halloween to reach people we wouldn’t meet otherwise.  

As Christians, we are free and so we have liberty to choose our own way on this one.  We can isolate and shun Halloween, we could celebrate and confess and repent of it later, or we could use it as a part of our mission to tell people about Jesus.   Faith in Christ saves us – not our performance on a particular day of the week or our “political or theological stance” on a mostly secularized holiday – So we should pray about it and see what the Holy Spirit would guide us to do.  

Me? I don’t get trick-or-treaters “down by the River” and my house is not decorated for Halloween and won’t be lighted to attract any if they should speed by on State Route 9J.  So that is not much of a concern. 

I haven’t received any Halloween party invites so you can mark me “safe from the “slutty Pumpkin” and other than some low carb- Pro Crunch bars,  I didn’t buy any sweets this year so you can mark me safe from overindulging on candy too.  

As for watching a scary movie on All Hallow’s Eve, I’m not sure. I may watch the Peanut’s Halloween special that I have on DVD for old times sake or I could watch any number of horror movies available in my video library or that are online to stream.  But lately, I have discovered that the more I follow the Lord the less I have of an appetite for that stuff and often find myself seeking Christian alternatives to occupy my time.  

For those who are serious about not celebrating Halloween, I would recommend watching something to do with the Reformation. Martin Luther did “set it off” on All Hallow’s Eve so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay homage to our brother in Christ by watching the Luther Documentary on YouTube (https://youtu.be/6VK0p-tuuao?si=Xr29pImglQPzlLPT)  

So I’m not sure what I will do tonight. I have school work and ministry preparation to take care of still and may just spend my evening taking care of those things and won’t have the time for any spooky entertainment.  But no matter what I do, whether I choose to watch a horror movie or not, I will rest easy knowing that I am safe because of my faith in Jesus and that if I follow Him, I will never go too far astray.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Be kind to those who don’t know the Lord or those who claim to but don’t seem concerned about the things they do that may go against what He says. God leads people to repentance through His Holy Spirit so all we can do is speak the truth in love and encourage others to find and follow Jesus.   

    

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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 Blame Shifting.

Genesis 3:12-13 (NKJV)
12  Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
13  And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Today’s verses fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Blame Shifting.

 1. Adam and Eve tried to shift blame.

 

Today’s verses point to the fact that we try to pass the buck. Adam tried to blame Eve and Eve tried to blame the serpent for their sins.

Right from the beginning, from the fall of man , we see that we try to shift the responsibility for our sins from ourselves to somebody else. “They made me do it.” Or The Devil made me do it, the serpent,

Ultimately, we are all personally responsible for the things we choose. So we can’t believe for somebody else. We have to put our faith in Jesus personally and repent of our own sin personally. 

So don’t do that.

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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 are sharing from A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology  - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book, and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.

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 free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold. 

The Arthur Pink Anthology – 1

1 John 2:2  - Part 1

There is one passage more than any other which is I appealed to by those who believe in universal redemption, and which at first sight appears to teach that Christ died for the whole human race. We have therefore decided to give it a detailed examination and exposition.

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). This is the passage which, apparently, most favors the Arminian view of the Atonement, yet if it be considered attentively it will be seen that it does so only in appearance, and not in reality. Below we offer a number of conclusive proofs to show that this verse does not teach that Christ has propitiated God on behalf of all the sins of all men.

In the first place, the fact that this verse opens with “and” necessarily links it with what has gone before. We, therefore, give a literal word for word translation of 1 John 2:1 from Bagster’s Interlinear: “Little children my, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin; and if any one should sin, a Paraclete we have with the Father, Jesus Christ (the) righteous.” It will thus be seen that the apostle John is here writing to and about the saints of God. His immediate purpose was two-fold: first, to communicate a message that would keep God’s children from sinning; second, to supply comfort and assurance to those who might sin, and, in consequence, be cast down and fearful that the issue would prove fatal. He, therefore, makes known to them the provision which God has made for just such an emergency. This we find at the end of verse 1 and throughout verse 2. The ground of comfort is twofold: let the downcast and repentant believer (1 John 1:9) be assured that, first, he has an “Advocate with the Father;” second, that this Advocate is “the propitiation for our sins” Now believers only may take comfort from this, for they alone have an “Advocate,” for them alone is Christ the propitiation, as is proven by linking the Propitiation (“and”) with “the Advocate!”

In the second place, if other passages in the New Testament which speak of “propitiation,” he compared with 1 John 2:2, it will be found that it is strictly limited in its scope. For example, in Romans 3:25 we read that God set forth Christ “a propitiation through faith in His blood.” If Christ is a propitiation “through faith,” then He is not a “propitiation” to those who have no faith! Again, in Hebrews 2:17 we read, “To make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Heb. 2:17, R. V.)

In the third place, who are meant when John says, “He is the propitiation for our sins?” We answer, Jewish believers. And a part of the proof on which we base this assertion we now submit to the careful attention of the reader.

In Galatians 2:9 we are told that John, together with James and Cephas, were apostles “unto the circumcision” (i.e. Israel). In keeping with this, the Epistle of James is addressed to “the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad” (1:1). So, the first Epistle of Peter is addressed to “the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion” (1 Pet. 1:1, R. V.). And John also is writing to saved Israelites, but for saved Jews and saved Gentiles.

Some of the evidences that John is writing to saved Jews are as follows. (a) In the opening verse he says of Christ, “Which we have seen with our eyes.… and our hands have handled.” How impossible it would have been for the Apostle Paul to have commenced any of his epistles to Gentile saints with such language!

(b) “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning” (1 John 2:7). The “beginning” here referred to is the beginning of the public manifestation of Christ—in proof compare 1:1; 2:13, etc. Now these believers the apostle tells us, had the “old commandment” from the beginning. This was true of Jewish believers, but it was not true of Gentile believers.

(c) “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him from the beginning” (2:13). Here, again, it is evident that it is Jewish believers that are in view.

(d) “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us” (2:18, 19).

These brethren to whom John wrote had “heard” from Christ Himself that Antichrist should come (see Matthew 24). The “many antichrists” whom John declares “went out from us” were all Jews, for during the first century none but a Jew posed as the Messiah. Therefore, when John says “He is the propitiation for our sins” he can only mean for the sins of Jewish believers.*[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 YouTube 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)

“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 Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).

Monday, October 30, 2023

Accept No Substitutes – Simple, Pure, Relational Joy - Purity 1185

Accept No Substitutes – Simple, Pure, Relational Joy - Purity 1185

Purity 1185 10/30/2023 Purity 1185 Podcast

Purity 1185 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of a tree being set a blaze by the rays of the setting sun comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene Saturday afternoon while out taking a walk with my canine friend Harley, my wife TammyLyn and her daughter Elisabeth as they took me up on an invitation to go and see a place nearby that they had never been before.  When I have the time and feel the inclination, I have gotten in the habit of taking Harley for extended walks down the dirt and gravel farm road that runs perpendicular to Waite Rd and have come to really enjoy it and as relational beings when people find something good in life, we have a tendency to want to share it. So after having a most magical experience between the setting sun and full moon on Friday I invited TammyLyn to check it out and Elisabeth, being an aspiring photographer decided to join us as well.  The chore of walking the dog turned into a nice family outing where we all were able to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and share in the joy of the experience.

Well, It’s Monday and even though that moment in the sun is over, because it was a moment of “relational joy” it qualifies as a “joy memory” – a memory that was simple, pure, and shared that can be recalled upon demand to remind us that there was a time where things were “good”. 

In my studies with Deeper Walk International’s School of Ministry, we are examining helping those with prayer ministry that are “dealing with addictions. In the lecture that we are assigned to examine and discuss, Dr. Marcus Warner explains that people were designed by God to “run on joy” but unfortunately when we lack for simple, pure, relational joy that we are to have in our relationships people have a tendency to find and rely on “joy substitutes” – the things, experiences, and behaviors that provide a measure of comfort or pleasure that lack the resilience building power of “simple, pure, relational joy’.  

Warner calls addictions “joy substitutes” because they are not simple, pure, and although they may involve other people, they lack that relational joy aspect – and thus they fail to provide lasting satisfaction and often lead to a “crash” when the experience wears off, guilt and shame when the activity we are addicted to is morally impure, unhealthy, or selfish, or feeling of pain when our minds or bodies suffer withdrawal or from the bumps and bruise that we encountered during our addictive escapades.   The costs of addictions include financial, mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational consequences that demonstrate to us why addictions are “joy substitutes. 

The costs of taking a walk to enjoy the company of others and the beauty of God’s on a pleasant afternoon are minimal and the joy it produces can be re-experienced as we fondly bring the experience back into remembrance.  

Unlike, the “fast times” of a life of addiction, the recall of simple, pure, wholesome, moments of relational joy aren’t blurred by foggy memories while under the influence or by the negative costs of the crash, guilt, shame, and pain that followed the addictive episode.

And so one of the recommendations that Dr. Warner made in his lecture on dealing with addiction is to encourage those who are suffering from addiction to get off of their “joy substitute” and to enter into a supportive community where they can form “joy bonds” with people where they can develop relationships where they can encourage one another in practicing quieting and appreciation to increase the ability to “return to joy” and build emotional resilience and can share experiences of “simple, pure, wholesome, relational joy”.  

I love the way the Lord guides me through life because as I decided to pursue being educated and trained in Deeper Walk’s heart-focused discipleship model and prayer ministry techniques, the opportunity arose at my local church to lead a “a recovery growth group”. I added the caveat that I would infuse it with Christian discipleship principles that went beyond Celebrate Recovery’s recovery curriculum and since May have been encouraging the members of Starpoint Church’s Celebrate Freedom growth group – to not only ask God to help them with their “hurts, habits, and hang-ups” but to develop their abilities to “build joy and emotional resilience” and have moments of “simple, pure, relational joy” at our meetings. 

While we do cover the CR lesson each week, even that is relational as volunteers from the group “do their part” as the lesson is read through and presented together as a group. Beyond that we have been developing the ”joy bonds” with one another as our weekly “check in” invites the group member to share what’s happening in their lives and to receive the support of the other who are “happy to see them” each week.  As sad as it may sound, the world is a rough place, and you aren’t often told that people are “happy to see you” and I know that the group members appreciate the community that we have built because the thing that many people report on being grateful for is the group itself. 

Our group encourages its members to appreciate who they are in Christ and the good things the good things that the Lord has given us in life.  So we develop our “joy bonds” with God as we develop them with one another . And we also “keep it real” by honestly reporting what we are going through and encouraging one another to be responsible in working out solutions to the things that are not so good. As we receive the support and start to improve things by doing things God’s way, things tend to get better, which in turn increases our peace and joy.   And each week we worship and praise the Lord in song – a spiritual practice that draws us closer to God and one another that just happens to increase our ability to build joy.  And I see the fruits of what the Lord has done through our group as some of the group members’ lives have been radically transformed.  

So, don’t seek out “joy substitutes” and stay locked in bondage to addiction, seek the simple, pure, relational joy with God and man that you can have when you put your faith in Jesus, decide to live as God directs you to live, and share the joy of it with other Christians on regular basis. That’s right, keep on walking and talking with God and invite others to join you as you go.

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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 Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV)
12  Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Today’s verses fall under the thirteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

 14. Hatred stirs up dissension.

Today’s verse keeps it pretty simple. Hatred stirs up strife – which means “angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues, conflict” – another word for dissension.  And these words and definitions are not exactly synonymous with peace. 

Whereas love is reported to cover all offenses.  Why?  Because love would cause us to be patient, kind, and forgiving. Love would cause us to not think too highly of ourselves and would lead us to think of the good of others first. Love would call us to, as much as it depends on us, to make peace.

Of course, “fundamentals issues” like believing that the Bible is the true inspired word of God and that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be saved, should not necessarily be compromised in the name of peace but we are to speak the truth in love and never sink to the depths of hatred in delivering our message of love.  So try to resolve strife with kindness, gentleness, patience, and love that tells others that although you may disagree on certain things, you represent the God that loves them anyway.

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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

32 - Honoring the Spirit

Worshipping the Spirit Directly – 2 of 2

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). What could be plainer? Here each of the three Divine Persons is distinguished, and the Apostle prays directly to the Lord the Spirit—obviously “the Lord” here cannot refer to the Son, for in such case it would signify “The Lord (Jesus) direct your hearts into the patient waiting for Christ.” As it is the Spirit’s office to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13), to “lead us into the paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3), so to “direct” our hearts into the love of God and longings after Christ. He it is who communicates God’s love to us (Rom. 5:5), and He it is who stirs us up to the performance of duty by inflaming our hearts with apprehensions of God’s tenderness toward us—and for this we are to pray to Him! It is just as though the Apostle said, “O thou Lord the Spirit, warm or cold hearts with a renewed sense of God’s tender regard for us, stabilize our fretful souls into a patient waiting for Christ.”

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness” (Rev. 1:4, 5). This is as much a prayer—an invocation of blessing—as that recorded in Numbers 6:24–26. The Apostle John desired and supplicated God the Father (“Him who is,” etc.), God the Holy Spirit in the plenitude of His power (“the seven Spirits”), and God the Son, that the seven churches in Asia might enjoy Their grace and peace. When I say “The Lord bless you, dear brother,” I should utter empty words unless I also pray the Lord to bless you. This “grace and peace be unto you,” then, was far more that a pleasantry or courtesy: John was making known to the saints his deep longings for them, which found expression in ardent supplication for these very blessings to be conferred upon them. In conclusion let us say that every verse of the Bible which bids us “Praise the Lord” or “worship God” has reference to each of the Eternal Three.

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Here is something very plain and expressive, the only point needing to be determined is, Who is “The Lord of the harvest?” During the days of His earthly ministry, Christ Himself sustained that office, as is clear from His calling and sending forth of the Twelve; but after His ascension, the Holy Spirit became such. As proof thereof, we refer to “The Holy Spirit said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them … so they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed” (Acts 13:2, 4)! So again we read, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers” (Acts 20:28). It is the Holy Spirit who now appoints the laborers, equips them, assigns their work, and blesses their efforts. In 1 Corinthians 12:5 and 2 Corinthians 3:17 the Holy Spirit expressly is designated “Lord.”

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all you creatures here below. Praise Him above you heavenly hosts—praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” Amen![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 YouTube 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)  

“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, October 29, 2023

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - The Poetry of God - Psalm 19:1-6 - 10/29/2023

 

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 10/29/2023

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: The Poetry of God Podcast

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





The Poetry of God

Ps. 19:1-6

“The anointed of the God of Jacob,

And the sweet psalmist of Israel:”   II Sam. 23:1

 

         The above verse is speaking of King David, and comes under the title of “David’s last words.” It’s beautiful how the Scripture engages different forms of language in order to convey the truth of God’s word to us. We are familiar with the descriptive language of the history books, the clinical language of the books of the law, and the legal language in the epistles. Jesus uses types of language in the gospels; He uses hyperbole, and parable, and simile. God’s intent is that we may know Him. Last week we studied the Names of God which are expressive of His character. It’s not, however, that we should just have information about God, but that we should come to know Him intimately and love Him because He first loved us. To accomplish this God often uses poetic language in Scripture in order to grip our hearts. Psalm 19 is a psalm of David and is an excellent poetic example in how it speaks of creation, the law, and our relationship with God.

         This psalm unites the two ways in which God has revealed Himself to us: by general revelation in His creation, and by special revelation by His Word.

 

1 “The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

One need only to drink in creation with the senses to come to the reasonable conclusion that a master designer accomplished all this.

Eph. 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

2 “Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

The poet uses the technique of personification to give a voice to inanimate objects. Hear we have “day” and “night” speaking “knowledge.” (da`at)   see commentary at Mal. 2:1

 

3 “There is no speech nor language

Where their voice is not heard.

Elsewhere, in Ps. 139:7 David says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Since we are in this creation and are part of it we can’t escape its message. No one has an excuse.

 

4 “Their line (sound) has gone out through all the earth,

And their words to the end of the world.”

 

5 “In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber

“tabernacle” (`ohel) a masculine noun, also translated “home”.

This implies the bridal chamber after consummating the marriage and speaks to the sort of intimacy that God is wooing us toward.

 

And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.”

Of course it does!!!

Is. 62:5,       “For as a young man marries a virgin,

                  So shall your sons marry you;

                  And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

                  So shall you God rejoice over you.

 

6 “Its rising is from one end of heaven,

And its circuit to the other end;

And there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

Jn. 3:21, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Eph. 5:13, “But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”

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

or

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, and "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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

“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, October 28, 2023

The Fact that HE is There – Solitude and Silence - Purity 1184

 

The Fact that HE is There – Solitude and Silence - Purity 1184

Purity 1184 10/28/2023 Purity 1184 Podcast

Purity 1184 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun and blue sky over the rivulet of a mountain stream in a Catskill Mountain autumn forest comes to us from Natasha Voisey who captured this scene somewhere along the Pine Hill – West Branch Trail as she made the ascent up Big Indian & Fir Mountain yesterday.  An avid enthusiast of exploring the Catskills who has put on a whopping 20 miles on her new boots with her last two hikes, Natasha took advantage of the pleasant weather in upstate NY and unknowingly took my advice to “seize the day” yesterday by spending the day going up and down the mountain. Her social media post confessed that her hike had its mental and physical challenges but overall she was energized and thankful for the experience,

Well, It’s Saturday, and while I have had some limited experience hiking in the Catskills, one fire tower to be exact, I prefer a more level playing field for my hikes. I enjoy the silence and solitude aspect of going into the great outdoors and don’t necessarily need to go huffing and puffing up a mountain to get that.  Not that I can’t or won’t do hilly or mountain hikes, it’s just that I don’t have to go too deep into the wilderness to enjoy the fact that I’m in the middle of nowhere, and it’s quiet, beautiful, and let’s face it dangerous.

Natasha’s post also testified about her gratefulness for the All Trails App to keep her on the right path because she could easily imagine going off course and getting lost if she had to just rely on her sense of direction or a compass. As much as I like to commune with God in nature, I have no desire to make the news as “Lost Man rescued by Forrest Rangers” or “Lost Man Found Dead”.  

No the only story I want to be told about me is “Lost Man Saved By Jesus and Made Alive by the Holy Spirit!”  

But I do recommend making regular trips to nature areas to appreciate the silence and solitude that you can find there.  It’s good to go out and experience God’s creation and to rest in His peace. 

As for me, I can find that peace right outside my front door here at my Countryside home. Our canine friend Harley thrives when we take him for “hikes” up, down, and off of Waite Rd, and I am thankful for “having to” walk the do.  During our strolls, I have often confessed to Harley that I am thankful for his desire to go out , because although I would like to think I would still go on my own, I don’t know if I would or if I would do so quite as often.  I don’t know if we have trained Harley or Harley has trained me, but when I am at Countryside he constantly comes to me and communicates his desire to go out and explodes in enthusiastic barking when I suggest we go for a “W-A-L-K”.  You have to be careful what you say around here because if he hears that word, he gets triggered to go!

Speaking of “triggered”, my day at work yesterday was a mix of peace, frustration, and ultimate joy as I cycled through a whole continuum of emotions as the day started off well, then was interrupted by some unbelievable blunders on my part, followed by a full return to joy as I reminded myself that “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” – my mantra – and I was able to rise above, move past, and correct my mistake by the work days end. 

I won’t go into details of the ins and outs of my blunders but as I encountered them I was both ashamed of the fact that I could not only continue to make similar mistakes I have made in the past but also seem to periodically fail in new ways – ways you would think would be next to impossible. Let’s just say exclamations like “REALLY?!” and “AGAIN?!?” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT THAT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!”  would have been appropriately used, if I didn’t actually say or think those phrases ver batim.  

But after the initial shock of the blunders, or the resolution of the problems I created, I was able to remind myself that I am not perfect, that everyone makes mistakes, and most importantly I am completely accepted and loved by God REGARDLESS OF MY PERFORMANCE.  Thank God!

So what turned into a frustrating day at work was magically transformed as I overcame the challenges I faced, ok maybe I created some too – but they were overcome – and I focused on Who I am in Christ and the Good, Good, Father I have in God.   Also the day was unseasonably pleasant yesterday and as I closed out my workday I was rejoicing over the beauty and wonder of God’s creation and the life He has given me.  

After reaching countryside and having dinner with my beloved wife TammyLyn, whose mere presence fills me with joy, I took Harley for an extended stroll down and off Waite Road where I just fell into the present moment of a late afternoon early dusk wonderland of God’s creation, stillness, and awe and wonder. 

After reaching our normal turnaroun point, which is marked by a dirt and gravel road that goes beyond for at least half a mile into plains and farmland, because of the beauty of the late sunset sky, I invited Harley to keep going and went down to the dead end where I discovered that the cornfields had been harvested.  As I walk down that long stretch of road a group of Canadian geese flew back and forth in formation before heading east into a magnificent full moon.  As I looked around I realized that I was between the fading light of day on my west and a full moon rising towards the east and all was well in the world. It was a magnificent moment in the solitude and silence of the presence of God in His creation and I thanked Him for my life.  

So, as we go into today, I invite you to go find God in the silence and solitude of nature. You don’t necessarily need to go up a mountain to find Him, because He is always with us no matter where we go and I think all we have to do to experience His presence is appreciate what He has done, what He has made, or just the fact that He is there.  

Just the fact that we know we are His and He is there is enough to give us peace.

So keep walking and talking with God and appreciate your life with Him.

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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 Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

Proverbs 10:18 (ESV)
18  The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

Today’s verses fall under the thirteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

 13. To conceal or harbor hatred in your heart is lying before the face of God.

Today’s verse shows us that God knows what we are thinking,  isn’t fooled when we try to cover up our emotions, and chastises us for speaking ill of others.  

God knows the intentions of our hearts and when we try to conceal our hatred the word of God tells us that we won’t get away with it, and in essence, our fa├žade is akin to lying to the face of God.  

Now I suppose this could cause a bit of concern for us.  Well, what am I supposed to do with my hate if I can’t conceal it? Express it? Tell people how I really feel? Let them know that I hate their guts?  

I suppose you could do that…. But I get the impression that God doesn’t want us to be self-righteous or angry Christians who spew forth hate and bitterness. Jesus directs us to LOVE others not hate them.  And based on today’s scriptures, it’s not okay to just conceal our hatred, it’s lying to God.  

So instead of concealing our hatred or expressing it, we should seek to resolve it – by offering forgiveness to those who have offended us or by seeing our enemies according to God’s perspective – as ignorant sinners who desperately need the love of God and knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ.  

So don’t conceal your hatred, resolve it in God’s way, and learn to love others as HE commanded.

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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

32 - Honoring the Spirit

Worshipping the Spirit Directly – 1 of 2

This subject is (alas) new to many. Not a few seem to have been misled through a wrong understanding of that word concerning the Spirit in John 16:13, as though, “He shall not speak of Himself,” signified He shall never occupy the saints with His own Person and work, but always direct them to Christ. It is true that the Spirit is here to glorify Christ, yet that by no means exhausts His mission. His first work is to direct the attention of sinners to God as God, convicting them of rebellion against their Creator, Ruler, and Judge. Then, too, He occupies the saints with the Father: His love, grace, and providential care. But John 16:13 no more means that the Spirit does not magnify Himself than Christ’s, “I have not spoken for Myself” (John 12:49) meant that He never occupied people with His own Person—His “come unto Me” (Matthew 11:28, John 7:37) proves otherwise.

Others create difficulty out of the fact that in the economy of redemption the Spirit now occupies the place of Servant of the Godhead, and as such it is incongruous to worship Him. Such a cavil hardly deserves reply. But lest some of our readers have been misled by this sophistry, let it be pointed out that during the days of His flesh, Christ occupied the place of “Servant,” the One who came here not to be ministered unto, but to minister—nevertheless, even during that season of His humiliation we are told, “Behold there came a leper and worshipped Him” (Matthew 8:2). And have we not read that when the wise men from the east entered the house where He was, they “fell down and worshipped Him” (Matthew 2:11)? Thus, the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Executive of the Godhead by no means debars Him of His title to our love and homage. Some say that because the Spirit is in us, He is not a suitable Object of worship, as the Father and Son without us. But is the Spirit within the only relation He sustains to us? Is He not omnipresent, infinitely above us, and as such an appropriate Object of worship?

That the Holy Spirit is to be publicly owned and equally honored with the Father and the Son is very evident from the terms of the great commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Now to be baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit is either a real act of worship, or otherwise it would be a mere formality—which of the two is not difficult to determine. In view of this verse, no one need have the slightest hesitation in rendering homage to the Spirit as he does to the Father and the Son. This is not a case of reasoning on our parts nor of drawing an inference, but is a part of Divinely-revealed Truth. If we praise and revere the Son for what He has done for us, shall not the Spirit be adored for what He has wrought in us!? The Spirit Himself loves us (Rom. 15:30), by whose authority, then, are we to stifle our love for Him!?

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14). Here again the Holy Spirit is honored equally with the Father and the Son—the Apostles certainly did not slight Him as do some of our modems. Let it be duly weighed that “communion” is a mutual thing, a giving and receiving. In our communion with the Father we receive from Him, and then return to Him love and obedience. From the Son we receive life, and acknowledge it in our praises. From the Spirit we receive regeneration and sanctification, shall we render Him nothing in return? We understand this verse to signify, “O Lord Jesus Christ, let Thy grace be with us; O God the Father, let thy love be manifested unto us; O Holy Spirit, let Thy saints enjoy much of thy communion.” This invocatory benediction revealed the longings of Paul’s heart unto the Corinthian saints, and those longings prompted his petition on their behalf.[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 YouTube 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)

“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.).