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Showing posts with label 1 John. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2023

Seize the Day with JOY! - Purity 1183


 Seize the Day with JOY! - Purity 1183

Purity 1183 10/27/2023 Purity 1183 Podcast

Purity 1183 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a late afternoon sun blazing in the heavens, that seems to be pouring it’s light directly into the decorative well in the side yard at my place “down by The River” comes to us from yours truly as I stopped to take a second to peak around the corner of my house after work yesterday to appreciate the end of the day and the place where God has brought me to live.  

Well, it’s Friday, let’s Thank God, Amen? And as the weather is forecasted to be a balmy 78 degrees in the capital district, I am calling “Carpe Diem” for those of us that need a reminder to stop looking into the shadows of the past or who are focusing too far into the future to appreciate today.  If you are into circumstantial happiness, today may be the day to take a day off because my electronic personal assistant who will remain nameless informs me there is a chance of showers tomorrow.  October ends with Halloween on Tuesday so if you want to go out and see some fall foliage in what is forecasted to be a “good one” it’s Time to “Seize the Day!” 

Me? I work outdoors, mostly, and although I don’t know what “troubles” I will face today, I am content regardless of where the day takes me today because my sovereign Lord has shaped the last week to accommodate my needs for periods of rest in between the various ministry, work, and education responsibilities that have been filling my schedule. 

As things begin to get a little complicated in a time of merging changes in the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group and the completion of my training with Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry, there really isn’t a day where I shouldn’t be looking ahead to make sure that I will be prepared for what’s ahead of me, when I get there.  

The Celebrate Freedom Growth Group reaches a milestone next week as we will be meeting for 25th and final lesson of the Celebrate Recovery lesson material.  But that doesn’t mean that the Celebrate Freedom Group will close up shop.  Early on in the ministry, when I considered giving the ministry a rest for a few weeks for a “summer vacation” the leadership at Starpoint Church indicated that there was a great need to have a continuous recovery/discipleship growth group at the church, so when I went on my two weeks vacation, Debbie Deyoe and Scott Salvadore rose to the occasion and led the group in my absence.

After that, it was determined among the Celebrate Freedom leaders that with the exception of Thanksgiving week, we would host a meeting every Wednesday for the rest of 2024, and after meeting with Starpoint Church’s leadership about starting “afresh” with lesson one of the CR material in 2024, (on January 10th – for those who are considering recovery and a new life of freedom in the new year) – it was decided that we would be a continuous ministry for all of 2024, or at least we submitted a schedule to accomplish that if the need arises.

So, what do you do when you have reached your last planned lesson, with a 9-week gap before you begin the material again? Well, you get creative and luckily the Lord knows whom he is dealing with here and as it turns out, I just happened to compose a 7 week course of recovery-themed discipleship classes for my master’s thesis in Christian Counseling back in 2020.   So I am currently reviewing, updating, and editing my old lessons and modifying them for use for the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group.  So far, I have Lesson 1 – on the Kingdom of God and Recovery- edited and ready to go, and will try to stay ahead of the 8 ball and get all my lessons edited and ducks in a row to be prepared for the 9 weeks before we start up the Celebrate Recovery material again next year.  

Simultaneously, I am past the halfway point on the fourth and final course of Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry Training, and halfway past completing the “Prayer Ministry Project” that is required for graduation.  I am currently leading a brother through the Steps to Freedom in Christ in prayer ministry and am scheduled to meet with him two more times before we complete our last session on November 7th.   When you add the regular weekly course work for Deeper Walk into the mix, and my daily blogging, you can imagine that things are pretty busy right now. 

But you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am in a season where I am being equipped, experiencing new levels of freedom, serving the body of Christ, and falling more and more in love with my wife, TammyLyn.  And even though things are busy, I have joy and peace in knowing that I am thriving in my purpose right now and have been given opportunities to learn and grow that I never would have dreamed were possible. 

And don’t get me wrong, I am not looking so far ahead that I am forgetting to enjoy the moment. Come Fridays, I rejoice in the presence of my wife and use the weekends to rest and enjoy the peace of our countryside home. My wife has moved my workspace  “out of the closet” and into the living room of our countryside home and I love how it feels to not be hidden away in the back corner of the house as I can sit, pray, study, write or read in the living room and my wife has open and easy access to visit me while she takes care of cooking and other household activities in the kitchen.  One of our mutual love languages is physical touch and we have both been blessed by the way this move has increased our physical availability to one another. I am more at peace at Countryside now and whether or not that’s because I have more space in the living room or its because I am receiving a lot more hugs, I’m not sure but man do I like it!

So, as we roll into another Friday, let’s do the work that the Lord puts before us to the best of our abilities and “get ‘er done” today, if we can, but regardless of how the day goes, remember the good things in your life and remember the God who made them all and who has given you new life in Christ.  When we take care of what we need to take care of, we can have a sense of accomplishment, but when we appreciate what we have been given freely we can have a peace and joy that goes beyond our understanding.  So keep walking and talking with God and Seize the Day with JOY!

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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.

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)
20  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother..

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

 12. If you claim to love God but you hate your brother, you are a liar.

Today’s verses call us out of the hypocrisy of claiming to have a relationship with God but being in opposition with our fellow man.  God created us to love and while we are to Love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, as His FIRST Commandment, Jesus also directs us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

God is love. He revels Himself through Jesus Christ to tell us just how much He loves us. God, through God the Son – Jesus -, was willing to die for us so we can have peace and eternal life with Him.   He loves us. – individually and corporately – God loves me, He loves you. He loves everybody.   And so, He doesn’t want any of us to hate one another.  

The state of this world broken by sin is not God’s plan for us but because God wants us to freely love Him, He has given us the ability to decide if we will love and follow Him or not.  The evil that men do is not God’s perfect will.  Evil men who claim their acts of violence are done in the name of God are deceived by the ruler of this world Satan. 

While God would call us to love one another, the enemy is here to kill, steal, and destroy. While God would sow the seeds of love, the enemy would sow the seeds of hate.  

So although we stand for the truth of God’s word and “hate evil”, we need to recognize that Jesus called us to love our enemies, not hate them!  As counterintuitive as that may be, our zeal for righteousness should not surpass our capacity to pray for and love our enemies.  

Before coming to Christ, I was a hopeless sinner. But it only took a simple message about the love of God to tell me that even I could be accepted by Him, because of His love.  

So don’t fall into the trap of hating others.  When we do that, we show that we don’t know the Lord and His will for us very well. We should instead seek to do the hard thing and love those who don’t know about God and pray for them to make His acquaintance and to experience the life-giving Spirit of His love.  

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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 as a Member of the Trinity

“Thou shalt fear (worship—Matthew 4:10) the LORD thy God, and serve Him” (Deut. 6:13). Now the Lord our God is a Unity in Trinity, that is, He subsists in three Persons who are co-essential and co-glorious. Therefore the Holy Spirit, equally with the Father and the Son, is entitled to and must receive devout homage, for we are here commanded to render the same to Him. This is confirmed by the “holy, holy, holy,” of Isaiah 6:3, where we find the seraphim owning separately and worshipping distinctively the Eternal Three. The words that follow in verse 8, “Who will go for Us?” make it quite clear that the threefold “holy” was ascribed to the Blessed Trinity. Still further confirmation is found in Acts 28:25, 26, where the Apostle prefaces his quotation of Isaiah 6:9 with “well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the Prophet.” If, then, the angels ascribe glory and render worship to the Holy Spirit, shall we, who have been regenerated by Him, do less!?

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Ps. 95:6). Who is our “Maker?” Perhaps you answer, Christ, the eternal Word, of whom it is said, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3 and cf. Col. 1:16). That is true, yet Christ is not our “Maker” (either naturally or spiritually) to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Godhead, equally with the Father and the Son, is our “Maker.” In proof of this assertion we quote, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the Breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). Let the reader carefully compare Job 26:13 with Psalm 33:6. Let it also be duly noted that this 95th Psalm (vv. 7–11) is quoted in Hebrews 3:7–11 and prefaced with, “Wherefore as the Holy Spirit saith.” Thus not only may we worship the blessed Spirit, but here in Psalm 95:6 we are commanded to do so.

It does indeed seem strange that any professing Christian should raise any objection and question the propriety of worshipping the Spirit. Are we not to acknowledge our dependence upon and obligations unto the Holy Spirit? Surely! surely! He is as much the Object of faith as is the Father and the Son: He is so in His Being and perfections, His Deity and personality, His offices and operations. Moreover, there are particular acts of trust and confidence to be exercised on Him. As He is God, He is to be worshipped, and that cannot be done aright without faith. We are to trust Him for His help in prayer and the discharge of every duty! We are to exercise confidence that He will complete the good work which He has begun in us. Especially should ministers of the Word look to Him for His help in and blessing upon their labors.

“Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the Wind (Breath), prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (Ezek. 37:9). We sincerely trust that none of our readers will suppose that the Lord bade His servant to perform an idolatrous act by invoking the literal “wind.” No, a comparison of verses 9 and 10 with verse 14 shows plainly that it was the Holy Spirit Himself who was referred to—see John 3:8. Nor does this passage stand alone. In Song of Solomon 4:16 we find the Spouse praying to the Spirit for renewal and revival: “Awake, O north Wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” She expressed her desires metaphorically, but this is what she breathed after. It is the Spirit of life, then, we should always apply to for quickening, for the enlivening and exciting of His graces in us.[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.).

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Being Real with God - Purity 1181


Being Real with God- Purity 1181

Purity 1181 10/25/2023 Purity 1181

Purity 1181 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of water cascading down rock while nearby trees display the hues of autumn comes to us from my brother, Michael Clark, who shared this scene from a recent visit to Katterskill Falls, in “Upstate NY !!!” on social media back on October 15th.  

According to Wikipedia, “Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall on Spruce Creek in the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York, between the hamlets of Haines Falls and Palenville in Greene County. The two cascades total 260 feet (79 m) in height, making Kaaterskill Falls one of the highest waterfalls in New York, and one of the Eastern United States' tallest waterfalls. The waterfalls are one of America's oldest tourist attractions, being depicted or described by many books, essays, poems and paintings of the early 19th century.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaterskill_Falls)”.

According to Google Maps, the falls are a 58-minute drive from my place “down by the River” and yet, I have never been there!

Well, Wednesday and while a trip to Kaaterskill Falls is not in the offering today, I figured I would share this scene to inspire us all to make plans to do the things we have never done and to allow this Catskill Mountain scene to visually remind us that regardless of our plans we will be summiting the midpoint of another work week as we make it over that “hump” later today.  

I am a little more rested today than I was yesterday and after last night’s prayer ministry/freedom appointment with a brother and a friend I am beyond the halfway point of completing my requirements of graduating and being a certified Deeper Walk Prayer Minister. My heart’s desire is to transition to full-time ministry someday, possibly as an Independent Christian Counselor or Life Coach, or wherever the Lord should call me, (Hello? Lord? Send Me!) but regardless of whether or not that desire, or the goal to be certified with Deeper Walk, is realized, I consider myself to be blessed with the opportunity to help others in the body of Christ to resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts through the Steps to Freedom in Christ and to encourage them to learn how to “walk in the Spirit”.  

My unnamed friend is relatively new to “walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit” but he has willingly accepted my offer to equip him with the Freedom in Christ course and to lead him through a prayerful repentance process by leading him through the Steps to Freedom.  He went through Steps 1-3, last night in which he renounced any and all “occult, cult or non-Christian spiritual experiences”, confessed the lies that he believed (from the world, the flesh, and through common mental defense mechanisms) and he bravely unburdened himself of some real traumas of the past and present by choosing to forgive people who have wronged, abused, or offended him.   My friend was open, honest, and humble in our two-hour prayer ministry session and ? I am humbled myself when I think of the courage it took for him to trust me, the Lord, and the process of going through the Steps to help him.  While the Steps are written on paper in easy-to-read text, there is nothing easy about confessing, renouncing, and forgiving all the pains you have suffered through in life.  My friend was “real with the Lord” and its not surprising that he seemed more at peace and texted me his thanks when our appointment with God was done.

I just love how the Lord sets people free when they humble themselves and decide to follow Him and how what He did for me is not unique. Freedom, victory, peace, and joy are available to all who put their faith in Jesus and repent.  

And tonight, I host the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group to invite more people to discover the wonders of God’s love and the power of His grace. I got home last night to discover that some new registered for the group and I pray that they decide to come to our meeting tonight. I would love to say that we have 100% participation but although some may be moved to recognize the possibility that our growth group could help them and register for it, not everyone who registers shows up. It takes courage to admit you need help with a “hurt, habit, or hang-up” and it may take even more courage to go to a “Christian recovery group” but I know that when you make yourself vulnerable and humbly step out in faith to ask the Lord for help, He never lets you down.  

While God nay not instantly bless you and make all your problems go away at once, when you surrender to His will for your life and earnestly follow Him, He will put you on a pathway to peace, meaning, and purpose.  But you have to surrender, you have to humble yourself, and make the daily decision to keep “walking and talking with God.”

So let me encourage you to seek the Lord and to consider following Christ.  When you get “real with God”, He gets real for you and you will be really amazed when he transforms your life with joy and peace, for real.

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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.

1 John 3:11-20 (NIV2011)
11  For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13  Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15  Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19  This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:
20  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

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

 10. Hatred is murder.

Today’s verses show us that our hate is akin to murder, and that Christians are to be known for their sacrificial love and we can only truly know what love is by knowing who Christ is and by adopting His ways to ours.  

Why did Cain kill Abel? Because His ways were evil, and Abel’s ways were righteous. And even though Cain was warned by God to turn his frown upside down and to do what was right to be accepted, Cain’s jealousy and hate let sin in. 

If we hate, we haven’t let the love of God change us. If we hate, we need to repent and learn to let the Lord’s love move through us or we run the risk of being exposed as someone the Lord never knew.  Unbridled hate may murder others but if it stays within us, it’s murder spree may end with us as it will keep us out of the Lord’s kingdom and deliver us to death.

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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

31 - The Spirit Endowing

Practice of Gifts in the Church Meeting – 2 of 2

To affirm that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (v. 32), that is, their “gift” of prophecy is under the Prophet’s own control, is a vastly different thing from saying that the prophets were to be subject to the Holy Spirit! No matter how strong was the impulse to speak, he could not rightly defy the command given, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (v. 29) under the plea that the Spirit urged him to speak. So again, how easy it had been for the Apostle to affirm, “If the Spirit impel anyone to speak in a tongue, He will move some other brother to translate;” but so far from that, he commanded, “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church” (v. 28), which utterly demolishes the idea that these Corinthians were being presided over by the Holy Spirit.

Nowhere in 1 Corinthians 14 is it stated that the Spirit conducted (or ought to conduct) their meetings, nor were the Corinthians rebuked for failing to look to Him for guidance. There is not a hint of their sinfulness in limiting His sovereign freedom among them! Instead, the Apostle says, “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied” (v. 5), and, “I had rather speak five words with my understanding … than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (v. 19) which he most certainly had not said if his theme here was the Spirit’s superintendence, for in that case the Apostle would have gladly and entirely subjected himself to His control. Throughout the entire chapter the Apostle presents action as coming from the side of the possessors of the gifts, and not from the side of the Spirit. It is not, “when ye come together the Spirit will move one to speak in a tongue, another to prophecy, etc.” No, they are bidden to use good sense, to show their love to one another by subjection, and to beware of shocking visitors (vv. 20, 23). But enough.

As there were offices extraordinary (Apostle and Prophets) at the beginning of our dispensation, so there were gifts extraordinary; and as successors were not appointed for the former, so a continuance was never intended for the latter. The gifts were dependent upon the officers: see Acts 8:14–21; 10:44–46; 19:6; Romans 1:11; Galatians 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:6. We no longer have the Apostles with us, and therefore the supernatural gifts (the communication of which was an essential part of “the signs of an Apostle:” 2 Cor. 12:12) are absent. None but a Prophet can “prophesy!” Let it be definitely noted that the “Prophet” and the “teacher” are quite distinct:1 Corinthians 12:28, 29; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5—the one is no more, the latter still exists. A Prophet was inspired by God to give out an infallible communication of His mind: 2 Peter 1:21.

Surely it is a manifest absurdity, then, to take a chapter which was given for the express purpose of regulating the exercise of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and apply it to a company today where none of those gifts exist! Furthermore, if 1 Corinthians 14 sets forth the Spirit’s superintendence of the local assembly in worship, why is it that there is not a single mention of Him throughout the whole of its 40 verses? That is indeed a hard question to answer. Obviously, there has been read into it what is not there! But do we not still have the “word of wisdom” and “the word of knowledge?” Certainly not; they were among the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:1, and that word “spiritual” is not used there in contrast from “carnal” (as is clear from 1 Cor. 3:1, for they were not spiritual in that sense), so that it must mean inspired, and “inspired” men ceased when the Canon of Scripture was closed!

It is true that the Spirit acts today, but it is in secret, and not in open manifestation as in the days of the Apostles; and by mixed agency. The Truth is taught, but not perfectly as the Apostles and their delegates preached it. The best sermon now preached or article written, is not a standard (as it would be if inspired by the Spirit), for it has blemishes in it; yet the Spirit is not responsible for them. What the Spirit does now is to bestow ordinary ministerial gifts, which the possessor must improve and develop by study and use. Toseek power from Highor a specialfilling of the Spiritis to run the serious risk of being controlled by evil spirits posing as angels of light.[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.).

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Healing, Commitment, and Grace in Recovery – Purity 1170

 


Healing, Commitment, and Grace in Recovery – Purity 1170

Purity 1170 10/12/2023 Purity 1170 Podcast

Purity 1170 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining in an ethereal blue sky over what we believe to be Heart Lake in the Adirondacks comes to us from Lisa Warner who shared this scene on social media on Monday.  

Well, It’s Thursday, and while I didn’t share a pathway photo as I normally do on Thursdays as a visual reminder and encouragement to my friends to get on stay or stay on the path of Christian Discipleship, I can assure you that Lisa had to take a path to get to the destination in today’s photo, as Lisa’s post confessed that while the Hike to Heart Lake was a short one, it proved to be personally challenging for her as she has recovered from “RA & a knee replacement” surgery. It was a physical and mental challenge as she pondered whether or not she should “go back or press on”? Lisa decided to press on and “got ‘er done” and we celebrate her achievement today by sharing her photo. 

Lisa and I were “more than friends” in college but were veritable strangers following graduation but reconnected via FB and became friends again. After I became a Christian and went into recovery, I apologized and made amends for the way I treated her in college and that bit of repentance resulted in healing and inspired both of us to pursue physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.  And I am filled with joy when I see Lisa sharing photos of another hike.

Anyway speaking of recovery, last night the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group met at Starpoint Church again to encourage one another and to review Celebrate Recovery’s Gratitude Lesson – which instructs us to practice gratitude for: God, for others, for our recovery, and for our church indicating that living with an attitude of gratitude is a great defense against relapse. If we are focusing on the Lord, the positive people in our lives, our spiritual home (y’all need a church), and our recovery (the fact that things have changed) our inclination to go back to our old hurts, habits, and hang-ups will be greatly diminished because we will be focusing on the here and now and moving forward into the life that we always wanted to live but never thought we could.  

The topic of relapse came up as some in the group confessed to giving into temptation, but they attended the meeting last night to get support and to show that while they may have fallen, they were choosing to rise up and get back on the road to recovery, freedom, and victory by being honest and committing themselves to try again.    

With my recent deviations from my food plan, I could relate to relapse and how it can be very disappointing when we lose focus and choose to do the things we wanted to stop.  However, relapse can actually fuel our fire from freedom and provide us with a lesson in humility.   For those in Christian recovery, I remind people that it is because of Christ that we were saved, and likewise, it will be through our relationship with and reliance on Jesus that we will be able to be more than a “dry drunk” and live out the transformed life we received when we put our faith in Him.  

I told the men in our small group discussion that I “sell the whole package” of a surrendered life of Chrisitan discipleship that would seek obedience to God’s word in all the areas of our lives because that’s what Jesus instructed his disciples to do and I have discovered that progressively surrendering to the Lord’s will for my life has led to victories and freedom and an empowered purpose for living that has given me peace, love, joy and the other fruit of the Spirit in increasing measure.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)  tells us
24  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

I’ve answered the call to be an “authentic Christian”, to follow the Lord with the way I live, increasingly with the Lord’s help and guidance and I have “found my life” because I decided to “lose my life” for Christ’s sake.  I decided to stop living how I did in the past and start following Jesus and it has led to an abundant life of peace and joy.  

I used to decide what I would obey and what I wouldn’t obey in God’s word, and I still do in many respects – I don’t obey everything perfectly just yet – and you’ll have to be patient as I have discovered that the Lord is gracious enough to allow me to attack and defeat one stronghold at a time.   But I know I could be more obedient to God’s word and will get there when I get there.  While I don’t do everything I could or should, I no longer say “I won’t or can’t” when it comes to the prospect of being obedient to principles of morality and behavior that are outlined in God’s word.  I know God’s way is the right way and hope to continually be transformed into the image of Christ with the way I live.

My sponsor and mentor, Pastor Bob Costello used to tell us about “but Christians” and “therefore Christians” in regard to Christians who seemed to like to “pick and choose” what they would believe, and do, about God’s word.  

“But Christians” would say: “I know that the word of God says “this” BUT I’m going to do things my way. I’m not doing THAT!”

“Therefore Christians” on the other hand would say: “God’s word says “this” so THEREFORE, I will do what it says. I will do my best to do THAT!”

So we try to be therefore Christians, but the realities of relapse can cause a major problem in our walk of faith on the road to recovery and freedom.   If we relapse, NOT WHEN we relapse as if it’s a foregone conclusion that will are destined to relapse, (although we very well may- as I have in the past - but let’s try not to do that), we have to avoid the extremes of “quitting recovery” – it's not about perfection it’s about progress, okay – and of “beating ourselves up” – condemning ourselves.  

I offer Romans 8:1-2 & 1 John 1:9 – as the remedy for those who fall into temptation. 

Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 tells us not to condemn ourselves, encourages us to walk in the Spirit, and reminds us that we have been made free from “the law of sin”.  If we are in Christ, our old sins don’t have authority over us anymore – we can say no – but we have to walk in the Spirit – aka pick up our cross and follow Jesus – to experience our freedom. Don’t stop following Jesus.

And

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So when we slip up and relapse – don’t keep it a secret. BE HONEST and confess it to your accountability team, and ask for the Lord in prayer, continuously to help you to be “cleansed from all unrighteousness”.  

So if we relapse, we give ourselves “grace” – God has already accepted us when we put our faith in Christ – our recovery is not about being accepted by God – we are already accepted.  Our recovery is about our love for God. We love Him and we want to be obedient to His instruction for the way we live our lives.  We also want to experience the peace and joy that comes from being in a harmonious relationship with God that is increased when we obediently follow God’s word with the way we live our lives.   

While we give ourselves grace and don’t beat ourselves up if we relapse,  we also should take our relapse seriously. We should try to learn from our mistakes and recommit ourselves to living a righteous life by making “total freedom in Christ” our goal and to endeavor to make relapse a “non-negotiable”.

Just like a “But Christian” can say “I’m not DOING THAT” to the instructions in God’s word that seem difficult, we can say “I’m not DOING THAT, anymore, ever again – because it’s not who I am anymore. I don’t DO THAT anymore because of who I am in Christ! I am a new creation in Christ, and I am choosing every day to live like it!”  

Recovery will lead you to healing and freedom, IF you abide with Christ and walk in the Spirit – and have a “This is who I am in Christ now” mentality” that simultaneously gives us “grace” when we are less than perfect and drives us to make a continuous commitment to make sin a “non-negotiable” for our lives.  

We take it easy on ourselves if we make mistakes, but we don’t take it easy on the sin and compromise that would lead us away from God’s ways for living.  

So go easy and keep walking and talking with God. It gets better the further you get down the road, but you have to keep following Jesus to experience it.

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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 Assurance of Salvation.

1 John 3:1-3 (NASB)
1  See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2  Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
3  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Today’s verses fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Assurance of Salvation.

 6.  Now we are the children of God, and we shall be like him.

Today’s verse reminds us that we are in the family of God now.   The moment we put our faith in Jesus – we are “in”! We become adopted by God the Father and we become co-heirs with Christ.  And because we belong to God’s family, the Holy Spirit indwells us and will lead us to become holy as God is holy.   We fix ourselves on Jesus and purify ourselves just as He is pure.  

So represent the family of God by following the Lord with the way you live your life.

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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

29 -The Spirit Confirming

More about “Earnest”

An “earnest” remains the irrevocable possession of its recipient until the bargain is consummated, and even then it is not taken from him. Therein an “earnest” differs from a “pledge,” for when a pledged article is returned, the pledge is taken back again. So, too, the “earnest” which Christians receive is irrevocable and inalienable: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). As the Lord Jesus declared, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). How blessedly and how positively this intimates the eternal security of God’s elect! Jehovah has made with them “an Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure” (2 Sam. 23:5). Even now they have received “the firstfruits of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:23), and that is the Divine certification of the glorious harvest, the plentitude of God’s favor yet to follow. Like Mary, the believer today, by yielding to the Lordship of Christ, has “chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away” (Luke 10:42).

“Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:21, 22). It is to be duly noted that both the sealing and the earnest are for our “stablishing.” As one hymn-writer put it, “What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who to Jesus for refuge hath fled?” And what more can He do, we may ask, than what He has done to assure His people of the glorious inheritance awaiting them? We have the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven with our nature, to show that our nature shall yet come there: “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:20). Nor is that all: we have the Holy Spirit sent down into our hearts as proof that we are not only children, but also the heirs of God: Romans 8:14–17.

“Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:5). That “selfsame thing” is not to be restricted unto a resurrected body: it is the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” of 2 Corinthians 4:17, the “things which are not seen” of 4:18. Having spoken of the everlasting bliss awaiting the saints on High, for which they now groan and earnestly long (5:4), the Apostle mentions two of the principal grounds on which such a hope rests. First, God has “wrought us for” the same, that is He has regenerated us, giving us a holy and heavenly nature which fully capacitates us to be with Himself. Second, He has given us “the earnest of the Spirit” as a guaranty of this glorious estate. Thus are we fitted for, and thus are we assured of the infinitely better life awaiting us.

“After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13, 14). In this passage (1:3–14) the Apostle describes those wondrous and numerous blessings with which the saints are blest in Christ. Eternal election (v. 4), membership in God’s family (v. 5), acceptance in the Beloved (v. 6), the forgiveness of sins (v. 7), and understanding of Divine mysteries (vv. 8, 9), predestined unto an inheritance (v. 11), sealed with the Holy Spirit (v. 13), and now the Spirit given to us as “the earnest of our inheritance”—a part-payment in promise and pledge of the whole. The dwelling of the Spirit in the believer’s heart is the guaranty of his yet taking his place in that holy and joyous scene where all is according to the nature of God and where Christ is the grand Center.

According to the literal meaning of the figure, an “earnest” signifies the clinching of a bargain, that it is a sample of what has been agreed upon, that it confirms and ensures the consummation of the contract. And that is what the operations and presence of the Spirit in the believer connote. First, they supply proof that God has made a covenant with him “ordered in all things and sure.” Second, the present work of the Spirit in him is a real foretaste and first fruit of the coming harvest. Is there not something of the glorified eye in that faith which the Spirit has implanted? Do the pure in heart see God face to face in Heaven? Well, even now, faith enables us to endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). Is there not now something of that glorified joy wherein they in Heaven delight themselves in God: “In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul” (Ps. 94:19). And is there not now a real though faint adumbration of that glorified transformation of soul into the image of Christ? Compare 2 Corinthians 3:18 with 1 John 3:2!

The “earnest” ensures the consummation of that contract. It is so here. The first operation of the Spirit in the elect is the guaranty of the successful completion of the same: “being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Thus, God has given us something in hand that we may confidently anticipate the promised inheritance. And this, so that both our desire and our diligence may be stimulated. We are not asked to mortify sin, deny self, forsake the world, for nothing. If the “Earnest” be so blessed, what shall the Inheritance itself be! O what lively expectations of it should be cherished in our hearts! O what earnest efforts should be made in “reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13)!

And what is the Inheritance of which the Spirit is the “Earnest” unto the believer? It is nothing less than God Himself! The blessed God, in the trinity of His Persons, is the everlasting portion of the saints. Is it not written, “If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17)? And what is Christ’s “inheritance?” “The LORD is the portion of Mine inheritance” (Ps. 16:5), He declared. The future bliss of believers will consist in the fullness of the Spirit capacitating them to enjoy God to the full! And has not the believer already “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Pet. 2:3)? Yes, by the Spirit. The Spirit is the utmost proof to us of God’s love, the first fruit of glory: “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Gal. 4:6).

God, then, grants His people a taste in this world of what He has prepared for them in the world to come. The gifts and graces of the Spirit in the elect affirm the certainty of the glory awaiting them: as surely as an “earnest” guarantees the whole sum, so do the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:23) the coming harvest of bliss. The nature of the Christian’s “earnest” intimates both the character and the greatness of what is in store for him: even now He bestows a measure of life, light, love, liberty—but what shall these be in their fullness! One ounce of real grace is esteemed by its possessor more highly than a ton of gold: what, then, will it be like to bathe in the ocean of God’s favor? If now there are times when we experience that peace which “passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) and are made to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8), how incapable we are of estimating the full value of our Inheritance, for an “earnest” is but a tiny installment of that which is promised. O that the realization of this, faint though it be, may move us to look and long for the heavenly glory with greater vehemence.[1]

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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