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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Imagine Freedom - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther - Day 1 - Purity 1274

 

Imagine Freedom - Lent with Martin Luther Day 1 - Purity 1274

Purity 1274 02/14/2024 Purity 1274 Podcast

Purity 1274 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a post-sunset view of the Hudson River from the vantage point of just outside of my front door comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out getting the mail yesterday afternoon.   That view can set our imaginations on fire as we think about the One who created our world and when we think about Him we can:

Imagine Freedom

This morning I continued reading Lacy Finn Borgo’s Faith Like a Child and thought of a few fellow travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship who could use the simple wisdom of using our imaginations for good that Borgo writes about and to encourage them, and myself to use our imaginations to make a change, to increase our peace and to experience a deeper relationship with God or to accomplish new victories and more freedom from the ways of the world and the bondage to the flesh. So I share from chapter seven of Borgo’s Faith Like a Child -

“Young children use their imaginative powers for good. Often when I lead adults through an experience of using their imaginations, I hear a bit of pushback around their perceived “lack of imagination.” One simple question generally helps us get in touch with reality:  Do you ever worry?

Worry and its cousin, anxiety, are products of imagination at the service of fear.

But young children use their imagination in the service of wonder, curiosity, exploration, and play. They can tap into the creative goodness woven within each person to work through problems and find solutions for the future.

For children, imagination is common and glorious. It is play and creativity on steroids. It’s one way children embody the image of God, who is effortlessly and endlessly imaginative.”  From Faith Like a Child - Lacy Finn Borgo

Then I write: Imagine living a life of peace and freedom. Use your imagination to get there and do the things that connect you to God and give you peace.

Notice what you always do, and imagine a different way.  Ask the Lord to help you to walk in it, to surrender to His pathway to peace.

Imagine becoming the person God created you to be: A Child of God who listens to His Father, does what is right according to Him, and lives in the peace and joy of His Father’s love.

Well, It’s Wednesday – Ash Wednesday – Valentine's Day – And the beginning of Lent 2024 and the beginning of my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season. 

We walked through Lent Last Year with the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Ronald Klug and so this year we decided to do it again but with a different author and a different theologian whom we highly respect.  So it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we begin.

Journey Day 1

Martin Luther Writes:

“I will tell you as best I can what I do personally when I pray. May our dear Lord grant to you and to everybody to do it better than I! Amen.

First, when I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thought (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little Psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word for word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do.”

Biblical Wisdom

Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17-18

Silence for Meditation.

Well – Pause the podcast, or stop reading and sit quietly for 60 seconds, 5 minutes or 10 to 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on how Martin Luther said he prayed, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       What is Luther’s solution for coolness and joylessness in prayer, does it seem a good solution? Why or why not?

Martin Luther writes that he would recite the Ten Commandments – The Creed – (The Apostle’s Creed – Lutherans do this – But if your tradition does the Nicene Creed have at it) and if he had the time would use His Bible to glean the wisdom of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or in the Psalms.  In my opinion, it is a wonderful solution to coolness and joylessness in prayer because it simultaneously focuses on the truth of God’s word – what we want to come in alignment with and causes us to renew our minds – and it fully affirms who we are in Christ.

·       How do you, your faith community, and your culture think about the “devil”?

My faith community, the Body of Christ, which includes Trinitarian Christian churches of various denominations - who believe and teach that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and I myself, believe what the Bible says about – Satan – the devil, the enemy, or adversary – that he is a real being that seeks to oppose the purposes of God. I am sharing got questions.org’s teaching on Satan that reflects a Christian/Biblical worldview of who Satan is (https://www.gotquestions.org/who-Satan.html) to share the truth about the very real devil.  My Western secular culture in the United States generally does not believe in the supernatural and believes that Satan is not real. Those who believe that have ironically have been deceived by Satan or themselves and are wrong.   

·       Why does the “devil” want to impede us in our prayer? What obstructions to prayer have you experienced?

The devil wants to kill, steal, and destroy us and to do that he impedes our prayer to keep us separated from knowing God or from doing His will. Scripture bears out that Satan can tempt, accuse, and deceive us in our thought lives.  We can defend against these spiritual/mental attacks - those” fiery darts” mentioned in Ephesians 6:16- by putting on the full armor of God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  Obstructions to prayer that I have experienced are sinful thoughts, anxious thoughts, an inability to quiet, and discursive emotions like sadness, anger, or fear. The battle with the devil takes place in the mind and the war is real but we can win it when we stand in our identity in Christ, submit to God, and resist the enemy. 

Psalm Fragment

Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the House of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD. May the LORD, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion. Psalm 134:1-3

Journal Reflections

·       Describe in your journal your own present practice of prayer.

Every morning I spend some time in prayer where I spend time thanking God for the blessings of this life- and for who I am in Christ (reciting the Who I AM in Christ List). I also pray for situations that are happening in my life or in the lives of others – asking for help, guidance, or strength. I pray a Neil Anderson-composed prayer called the Overcomer’s Covenant usually and will pray the Lord’s prayer periodically. My prayer life also includes just talking, AND listening, to the Lord as you would with your best friend. I do that in the morning and throughout my day as I walk in the Spirit as I journey through what’s left of my time on earth before Christ comes to rule and reign.

·       Write the 10 commandments, the Apostles' Creed, and the Lord's prayer, in your journal if you haven't done it, memorize them.

For the Apostle’s Creed, you can go to a link I am sharing on the blog today (https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-apostles-creed/).  The Ten Commandments are in the Exodus 20.  The Lord’s Prayer is in Matthew 6:9-13.  From Martin Luther’s practice: Jesus and Paul’s words are found in the New Testament, The Psalms are in the Book of Psalms.  Keeping a journal is a good spiritual practice. Mine is the blog/podcast that you are reading or listening to now!

·       Write down what you want to learn about the life of faith as you begin these 40 days.

I will do that for each of the 40 days of Lent – which are only observed on weekdays and Saturdays, as every Sunday is viewed as a celebration. 

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that God will give you (and any others who join in this journey) joy in these next forty days as you study the Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer.

Pray for Today

Lord Jesus, thank you for your great disciple Martin Luther. Help me learn how to dwell in your word always.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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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 verse comes from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV)
23  Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Today’s verse is the fifth of five passages of scripture that fall under the eleventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

11.     Do not hurt your neighbor by gossip or careless talk; control your tongue.

Today’s verse encourages us with the wisdom of how to stay out of trouble, by keeping our moths and tongues to ourselves.  Silence is golden and when we practice is we can rest assured we won’t say anything to get us into trouble.

A variation on this advice is to follow the quote that is attributed to eccentric English writer Charles Caleb Colton, who said: “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” (https://assertiveway.com/if-you-have-nothing-to-say-then-say-nothing-at-all/#:~:text=There%20is%20an%20old%20saying,from%20Disney's%20animated%20Bambi%20films.). He is just echoing the truth that is inherent in the word of God.   

So listen to what the word of God says and keep yourself out of trouble by keeping your mouth and tongue to yourself!

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: MARK 6

“They were greatly amazed in themselves beyond
measure, and marveled. For they had not understood
about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”
– Mark 6:51-52

The Lord Jesus, prior to this incident, had fed five thousand people with five loaves and two small fishes. It was a miracle calculated to beget faith in any heart. But it evidently made little impression on the disciples. Had they considered the miracle of the loaves, they would have recognized Christ's omnipotence. Had they considered Christ as the Sustainer and Upholder, they would have recognized Him as the Creator, and therefore Master of the elements. But no, their hearts were hardened. Hebrews teaches that the hardened heart of unbelief comes through departing from the Living God through the deceitfulness of sin.

Lord, may I never harden my heart
to the point that I fail to consider Your hand
in the world around me.[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


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