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Friday, February 9, 2024

Still Crazy After All These Years – Maintaining Your Freedom - Purity 1270


 Still Crazy After All These Years – Maintaining Your Freedom  - Purity 1270

Purity 1270 02/09/2024 Purity 1270 Podcast

Purity 1270 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a hazy sunset over Schodack Creek comes to us from yours truly as I was moved to capture the view from my driveway at the end of the workday yesterday afternoon, basking in the unseasonably warm weather and being filled with peace.  

Well, It’s Friday, thank God, and it is my prayer this morning that my friends who are reading or listening to this message will find some peace at the end of the work day today to take into the weekend with them and to consider taking some time this weekend to reach out to a friend that you haven’t heard from in a while to share your appreciation for their friendship and to check in to report and hear how the Lord has been moving in both your lives.    

That suggestion is both timely and God inspired, as I reached out and met with old friend just last night after the Lord put them on my heart during prayer a few days ago.  Instead of letting the thoughts of them just dissipate into the ether, I reached out via FB messenger and we arranged to meet last night just to shoot the breeze and to encourage one another in our walk of faith.  

An old Paul Simon song is on my mind this morning as I think of our meeting last night and so now I will infect you with its lyrics to possibly inspire you to see how old “what’s their name is doing”,  the song goes:  

I met my old lover

On the street last night

She seemed so glad to see me

I just smiled

And we talked about some old times

And we drank ourselves some beers

Still crazy after all these years

Still crazy after all these years

Forgive the song choice but that’s what came to mind.  Warning: I am not trying to inspire reaching out to old lovers or encourage you to have a nostalgic time that leads to drunkenness but to simply share your appreciation for a friend that you have not seen in a while, that’s all and to satisfy your curiosity about whether or not they are still crazy after all these years, and if applicable to share the good news of Jesus Christ to ensure you will see your old friend in eternity.  

An amazing amount of my past “friends in low places” have come to have faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior and it is within the fellowship of the body of Christ where we can really be sure that we can be “best friends forever.”  

Anyway, the friend I talked to last night isn’t really that old of a friend. They were actually one of the first “students” of the freedom in Christ course that I first facilitated back in the early months of 2022.  So the length of our relationship hasn’t been too long but the quality of it is what is dear to me because it has Jesus at the center of it. While we have different backgrounds and similar past struggles, the fact that we have Jesus and Freedom in Christ in common makes our friendship one that will endure, no matter how crazy that may seem to the rest of the world.  

My friend had a significant shift in his life through the Freedom in Christ course and through going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ. He was set free from condemnation and sex addiction and since our time together has moved on to lead other men to freedom from sex addiction through facilitating an online Conqueror Series Men’s group.  It is truly a blessing to see how my friend has received his freedom and has taken it to inspire other men to find theirs.  

But my friend's journey to lead others into freedom from sex addiction wasn’t a flawless one, last he admitted that after a time he regressed in his recovery a bit and was inspired to sign up to be a facilitator for the Conqueror Series in part because he wanted to reclaim the freedom that he had previously had.  He testified that after we had parted ways that he had enjoyed his freedom for a long time but became lax in maintaining a daily spiritual practice and began to seek comfort in the ways of the flesh instead of abiding in the ways of the Spirit.  

“And that’s what I admire about you M.T., you have your spiritual disciplines that you do every day.” is what my friend said to me, realizing that was where he had gone astray. And it’s true, I’m still “crazy after all these years”.  I can’t recall exactly when I started rising early to pray, read the Bible, and to write about my walk with God since I was born again in 2010 and went into recovery in 2015,  but I know it was and is a major factor in maintaining freedom.  Every morning I rise early and ground myself in my identity in Christ through prayer, reading scripture or Scripture heavy Christian resources, practicing gratitude, and writing about my life with God or various aspects of our faith.

You might call me crazy when you consider how early I get up to do all this but the results of living this Vida loca with Jesus is crazy amounts of peace, freedom, victory, and joy.   And it is in maintaining this walk in the Spirit that I have not only maintained my freedom but have moved it into different areas of my life.  My series of teachings, the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course – hits what I thought were super important keys to my victory (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYr9n4D1yfkqqfZAmeJtWFsrH3tHyKpZE) but Ascension was my wording of the concept of progressive sanctification because I realized that if I wasn’t moving from my victory over one area of my life to take on another it would only be a matter of time before things would fall apart.  As Christians we are called to keep moving forward and to answer the upward call of God on our lives, so we claim our freedom and victories and then we look for the “next thing” that God wants to do in our lives – be it a new way to serve the body of Christ or a new area of our lives that we need to put under the control of God’s will for our lives. 

But I understand, we need to know how to maintain our freedom if we are going to move forward so I am going to share Neil Anderson's advice on maintaining your freedom from his book Restored – but these instructions are also in The Steps to Freedom in Christ, to encourage a lifestyle of Christian Discipleship that will keep relapses at bay, to continue to fight the good fight of faith,  and to give you peace and purpose for each new day.

MAINTAINING YOUR FREEDOM

 

Experiencing your freedom in Christ is exciting, but what you have gained must be maintained. You have won an important battle, but the war goes on. To maintain your freedom in Christ and grow in the grace of God, you must continue renewing your mind to the truth of God’s word. If you become aware of lies you have believed, renounce them and choose the truth. If more painful memories surface, then forgive those who hurt you and renounce any sinful part you played. Many people choose to go through The Steps to Freedom in Christ again to make sure they have dealt with all their issues. Sometimes new issues will surface. Some go through The Steps again as a periodic “house cleaning.”

 

After going through The Steps, people sometimes have thoughts like nothing has really changed. You’re the same person you always were. It didn’t work. In most cases you should just ignore those thoughts. We are not called to dispel the darkness; we are called to turn on the light. You don’t get rid of negative thoughts by rebuking every one; you get rid of them by repenting and choosing the truth.

I encourage you to read Victory Over the Darkness (Bethany House, 2000) and The Bondage Breaker (Harvest House, 2000). To continue growing in the grace of God:

1.    Get rid of or destroy any cult or occult objects in your home (See Acts 19:18-20).

2.    Get involved in a small group ministry where you can be a real person, and be part of a church where God’s truth is taught with kindness and grace.

3.    Read and meditate on the truth of God’s Word each day.

4.    Don’t let your mind be passive, especially concerning what you watch and listen to (music, TV, etc.). Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

5.    Be open and honest with God in prayer. (See Liberating Prayer, Harvest House, 2012).”

So, if you don’t have your freedom, you can experience it through the prayerful repentance process, The Steps to Freedom in Christ.  You can get the book, Restored, for free from Freedom in Christ Ministries (https://www.ficm.org/ministry-materials/free-resources/)  to teach you about the process and to take you through the Steps.

And then you can follow Neil’s advice to maintain your freedom. Not surprisingly, it involves abiding in Christ, practicing Christian spiritual disciplines every day and living a Christian with the way you live. 

So get free and stay free by making Jesus your Savior and the Lord of your Life. When you follow Jesus, you find a new life of freedom, peace, and joy. So get started or keep on walking and talking with God.

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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 verses come 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 Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 11:11-13 (ESV)
11  By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
12  Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
13  Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Today’s verses are the first 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 give us practical advice on relationships with our fellow man and how to use our speech to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We are not to belittle or slander our neighbors through gossip. Instead, we are to stop the sin of gossip before it happens by remaining silent and keeping secrets covered.   Sharing someone’s dirty laundry isn’t helping them, keeping confidence does.  Our not sharing dirty secrets establishes trust with others and gives us a platform from which we can encourage repentance and guide others in the way of the Lord.   So be silent when it comes to sharing juicy stories but speak boldly to those we protect about the abundance of fruit that comes from walking in the Spirit.

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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 2

“He was in the house.” – Mark 2:1

What happens when Christ is in a house? Notice the following things:

There is a Drawing Power. “Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them” (v. 2). Wherever the Lord Jesus is, there is drawing power. “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself ” (John 12:32).

There is Preaching Power. “He preached the word to them” (v. 2). Luke adds, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them” (Luke 5:17). Paul tells me that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). When Christ is in the house, there is perfect liberty for preaching.

There is Healing Power. To quote Luke again, he says, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them” (Luke 5:17). Notice also the healing of the palsied man, and also the forgiving of his sins.

Lord, take Your rightful place in MY house.[1]

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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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