Showing posts with label 1 Peter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1 Peter. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The “R” Word and Living in the State of Grace- Purity 806

The “R” Word and Living in the State of Grace- Purity 806

Purity 806 08/10/2022  Purity 806 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a clear blue sky and blazing sun over the “hump of a tree” and the “peak” of my neighbor’s house comes to us today from yours truly as I captured this spontaneous shot back on July 9th when leaving my countryside home to walk the dog. 

Well, it’s Wednesday again and today’s pictural offering may be lacking the mountain’s majesty that I usually share to represent the midweek hump but I think it can serve as a simple reminder to see the beauty that is right outside your front door and to appreciate the simple things in life. 

Also, I had some technical difficulties in this photo being delivered to my laptop and while I was waiting I was a little bit overwhelmed by the lag and the fact that I had other photo’s I could share but had no idea of their origin as I will just grab lots of photos off of social media to possibly use and with time, I forget where they came from! I have confessed that weakness before and unfortunately I haven’t instituted any measures to change it!

And thus we have stumbled upon today’s topic I guess: breaking the sin-confess cycle.  

Have you ever heard some one say, perhaps to you: “You say you are sorry, but if you were really sorry, you wouldn’t do that anymore!”  

Duck! Because if you are anything like me, those are shots fired in your direction and those slugs hurt!

If anyone ever tells you that the Christian faith is simple, they are failing to tell you about  the “R” word: repentance.  Just so you can see I am not legalistically making the need to change up out of thin air, I share the following verses from the New Testament:

From the Apostle Peter:

Acts 3:19 (NKJV)
19  Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

From the Apostle Paul,

Acts 17:30 (NKJV)
30  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

From Jesus:

Matthew 4:17 (NKJV)
17  … Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mark 1:15 (NKJV)
15  … "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Luke 13:3 (NKJV)
3  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)
19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Okay, I hope that is sufficient to demonstrate that “repentance” is a fundamental part of our faith.  Christians are called to believe in Christ, to put their faith in Him as Lord and Savior, and to repent: to change our minds and to decide to exchange our ways of thinking and living for God’s wisdom and ways. 

I’m pretty sure most of us know that and it is perhaps the number one reason why people resist becoming a Christian. Change is hard and they don’t want to change. 

Even those of us who do want to change, know what a difficult thing that can be.  And that’s we needed and will continually need God’s grace: His divine favor.  

God’s grace shined upon us of course when we first came to Christ. It was God’s grace that revealed to us the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and caused us to put our faith in Him.  

But God’s grace, His divine favor, doesn’t leave us at salvation.  Some Christians refer to a “state of Grace”, and although the systems that usually use that particular phrase indicate that this “state” is something we can move in and out of based on our behavior, the word indicates that nothing can separate us from the love of God, so I would encourage you to know that grace is a state that you have taken up permanent residency in the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ and nothing can change that.  

However, our attitudes and behaviors are subject to change. That’s good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that we can be walking well in our new found faith but then through temptation and deception, we can decide to forget who we are in Christ and make poor sinful choices.  We have formed selfish fleshly habits of living and they are difficult to change over night.   However, because of who we are in Christ, no matter what we do we are forgiven – when we came to Christ all our sins, past, present, and future sins, have been forgiven.

That’s grace and that’s why it is called “Amazing grace” because we simply can’t believe it is true!  And because we have been raised in a world system that has taught us that WE HAVE TO WORK to be approved, many will reject God’s grace because they believe it is too good to be true, but it is.  

Anyway, the good news about our attitudes and behaviors being subject to change is that we can change them! Thus repentance.  In fact, the best evidence for the truth of Christianity are people who have come to Christ and changed the way they lived.  

So, those new in Christ will try to “be good” now that they have “said the prayer” but unless they develop their love for God, repentance will just be a process of frustrating work that will be marked by failures and confessions.   We will say we are sorry but will feel powerless to change. 

So why is that? I’m trying hard here! What’s the deal!?! 

Well the deal is that you are trying to establish your freedom and victory over your besetting sins in your own strength according to the world’s ways rather than “turning” to God’s strength, wisdom, and ways. Also you are probably, subtly separating yourself from God by feeling condemned and by trying to “do it yourself”.  

Our Christian faith is a relationship with God and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.  We have to love God, get to know God, and dedicate ourselves to our relationship with Him and know the peace that comes from living in the “state of grace”.   We have to know that even if we fail, God still loves us. 

That realization should be liberating. As His adopted children through faith in Jesus, God will never leave us or forsake us and will pour His grace upon us throughout our lives. His divine favor is ours and it can be the catalyst for change.   When we live in God’s grace, we live in the peace of knowing that we can do no wrong in God’s eyes. 

Now don’t get it twisted, just because we haceGod’s grace doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer from acting like a fool but it does mean that when we humble ourselves and decide to live according to God’s ways He will give us the power to overcome.  

Some people in your past may have said: “If you loved me, you would change.” But they were only human, may have had a selfish agenda, and certainly didn’t have the power of God’s grace to help you. 

People try to change one another through manipulation, through positive or negative reinforcement. While these methods can be effective in changing outside behaviors, they generally don’t effect the heart.  We can do what you say, whether we “like it or not” but it doesn’t mean that we are convinced. It doesn’t mean we are changed.  

However, love can sometimes motivate us to change. Love will cause us to do all kinds of things that we didn’t think we are capable of.  Many a human relationship has been saved because the consequence of the loss of love was hanging in the balance, and in some instances, those changes were “taken to heart”.  

With God on our side, our ability to change has been greatly increased because in reality He has made us new. He doesn’t have to change our heart because He will give us a new one.

The prophet Ezekiel prophesied about the thing that God would do through Christ:

Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV) 26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

When we received Christ as Lord and Savior, we received the Holy Spirit and the process to change our hearts of stone to a heart of flesh has happened.  Ever wonder why your emotions are all over the place since coming to Christ, you have a new heart!

So let that new heart beat with the love for the God who saved you and made you new. Use your love for God as your motivation to know Him more and to repent, to “take to heart” His truth found in the word of God and to apply it to your life.  

The good news is that we don’t have to be perfect in this process of change.   We just have to keep following the Lord.  His grace will work in our lives the more we seek Him and follow His lead. 

So keep walking and talking with God.  You tried to change and failed, your failure probably caused you to stop talking to Him and made you want to run away.  But stop running, there is nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of any more. God is with you, no matter what.  So don’t run and hide, instead stay with Him, ask Him for His strength and you will receive it, renew your mind with His word and you will receive His wisdom and if you apply it, it will transform your life.  

But above all remember that repentance is the process of becoming who you were made to be and the God of all creation is encouraging you every step of the way. Like a Father teaching His children to walk, He will cheer you on, He will steady you as you go, and He will pick you up when you fall.  So reach out to Him, take His hand and go with Him to the new life of freedom and victory that is yours for the taking.


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT2)
7  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Today’s verse encourages us that we can give all of our worries and cares to God because of the simple fact of His love for us. He cares for us.  

He cares!

Have you ever met someone new and come to the realization that they liked you?  Have you ever had someone express their fondness for you by helping you out in some way?  

If you have, you probably have had a moment where inside your mind or heart you said to yourself: He cares! or She cares!  And on earth, there isn’t really many feelings that beat that feeling.  To feel loved, to feel cared for.   And God loves us. God cares about us.  

Now sometimes in human relationships we can discover that some people’s care for us was conditional. There are heartbreaking true stories of people leaving others in relationships when “the going got tough”.  “Fair weather friends” are perhaps the mildest form of this but even the deepest bonds or relationships like marriage or family can suffer or be broken because people are limited and can seek escape from “your problems”.  

But God’s not like that.  Today’s verse tells us of the truth of God’s tenacious and loyal love for us. It tells us that we can give all of our worries and carries to Him.  

So no matter what you are facing, or no matter how many people decide to cut and run or just don’t want to hear about your problems anymore, remember that God care for you and will not only listen to your worries and cares, but will also give you the strength, wisdom, and guidance to endure them and overcome them.  


As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Prayer As the Primary Weapon

If Paul were to summarize the primary way of gaining access to the power of God for waging successful spiritual warfare, he would unwaveringly affirm that it is through prayer. Prayer is given much greater prominence in the spiritual warfare passage than any of the other implements. Prayer is also the only spiritual piece of armor that is not given a corresponding physical weapon (like a breastplate or a shield).

When Paul spoke of prayer, it was closely related to his concept of faith. He also mentioned faith for its role in engaging in spiritual warfare. He associated it with the shield. It is mentioned explicitly as the means of overcoming intense diabolic attack: “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:16). Prayer became for Paul the practical manifestation of faith. By these means, Satan is effectively resisted.

Throughout Ephesians, Paul stressed the role of faith in appropriating the power of God. The faith he called for is based on the objective fact of Christ’s resurrection and exaltation over the supernatural powers. God’s power is not imparted to Christians by wearing a magical amulet or even a crucifix. Neither does one gain access to it by performing a rite or by chanting certain words. God’s power is given through simple trust in him.

This trust finds expression most commonly in the act of prayer. Paul consequently summoned believers to pray “at all times” and “for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). Paul himself modeled this to the readers in this letter, telling them the essence of what he has prayed for them—their increased awareness of God’s power and for God to strengthen them with his power (Eph 1:15–23; 3:14–19).

The spiritual warfare passage is often viewed in individual terms; that is, each individual Christian should pray and ask God for strength to do battle. Paul actually depicted the arming in corporate terms. The whole church is involved in the process of arming. In fact, each believer is responsible for arming other believers. All of Paul’s admonitions in this passage are in the plural. More important, however, is the fact that Paul urged believers to pray “for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). Since this exhortation is part of Paul’s explanation of prayer as the final piece of armor, it is most natural to understand it as his recommendation as to the prerequisite and means of acquiring divine enablement. This fact is supported when he requested prayer for himself in the verses immediately following. In essence, he is asking his readers to arm him for spiritual warfare, particularly in his offensive act of proclaiming the gospel. Certainly the two prayers of Ephesians 1 and 3 model this fact. Through those two prayers, Paul deployed God’s armor for the protection and use of his readers. By leaving aside the metaphorical language of spiritual warfare and putting it into the simplest terms, one could say Paul prayed that God would endow them with his power so they could successfully resist Satan’s temptations and be divinely enabled to proclaim the gospel fearlessly in spite of demonic hindrance and hostility.

Spiritual warfare, therefore, is more proactive than reactive. It is the preparation before the storm. In practical terms it involves praying for “the healthy” in addition to praying for “the sick”; that is, praying specifically for individuals to resist temptation in their personal areas of vulnerability. It involves praying for the progress of the gospel in light of localized and intense demonic hostility to the ongoing mission of the church. This concept has the potential of rejuvenating prayer groups and prayer meetings in the church today.

Today’s church needs a stronger sense of the mutuality of the body of Christ. The Western church, in particular, is guilty of an “individualistic Christianity.” Instead of condemning the brother or sister who falls into sin, we need to look first to ourselves. Did we pray for God’s grace to enable that person to resist Satan’s solicitations to evil? Spiritual warfare is a call to corporate prayer.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 158–159.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Last Call Before Mourning – Purity 757

Last Call Before Mourning  – Purity 757

Purity 757 06/14/2022 Purity 757 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a group of palm trees under a 4 p.m. sun comes to us from a friend who recently visited the shores of Kahekili Beach in Kaanapali, Hawaii.  Our friend enjoys snorkeling here and decided to scatter some of the ashes of their beloved grandmother 25 yards off the beach between these palm trees in one of the most breathtaking views on the island of Maui to honor her memory.  So now they can visit her every year, and if we ever visit Maui, our friend invites us to visit her too.  

Deciding what to do with the ashes of our departed loved ones is a highly personal decision. When my ex-wife’s mother died, my family took a trip to southwest and spread her ashes in a couple of undisclosed locations in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico because Mary had deep affections for those areas of the United States and had vague plans to retire there someday.  So we honored her memory with the trip and released her ashes to desert winds to mingle her ashes with the sands that she loved.

The spreading of ashes was our way of honoring her wishes and it was a way of saying goodbye to her. Our relationship with her, although it hasn’t ended, has changed.  Our relationship with her lives on in our memories of course but the spiritual reality of life beyond the grave indicates that we very well may see her again.  

As far as the departed go we may not always know if they a saving relationship with the Lord, but in Mary’s case, I can testify that even though she was far from perfect, quite far actually, I can state when push came to shove, and when things were serious concerning the state of her health and the uncertainty of the length of her life, Mary named Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 

And as funny as it sounds, Mary’s health crisis that eventually led to her death was one of those time stamps of my entrance into God’s kingdom.   In 2010, Mary suffered a ruptured ulcer and had to section of her intestines removed. The doctors tried to put her back together but she wounds never really healed, and after a subsequent surgery to try to put her back together again, after 18 months of being in the hospital, the pain and trauma of that surgery caused Mary to decide to give up the fight and let nature take its course.

But before that end there was a beginning, Mary was in the ICU after her rupture and I was a full fledge practicing Buddhist at the time and working construction as part of  splicing crew.  I did a lot of flagging of traffic in those days.  After Mary’s admittance in the  hospital, I looked up some Buddhist medicine chants/prayers I guess, and while I would flag traffic at work, I would speak those unintelligible words and phrases in hopes that their utterances would somehow result in “good karma” and healing for my mother-in-law.   I know, they didn’t work. Surprise…. OOFF. 

So that the environment in which the Lord decided to come into my life and pull me out of the darkness.  Doing Buddhist medicine chants in the morning, I got saved by a Christian gospel radio message in the afternoon of March 19, 2010.  But I believe that I wasn’t the only one the Lord had in mind when He brought me into His grace.    

So, full fledge Buddhist gets saved and his mother in law is in the hospital and it is not clear if she will live our die, so what do you do?   You try to save her too!

So sometime after my salvation, I went to my mother in law’s hospital room and to lead her through a sinner’s prayer to confirm that Jesus was her Lord and Savior. 

My ex-wife who had the dubious pleasure of watching the shifting winds of change of her husband’s life and personality through the years, thought I was absolutely insane, I think, and she wasn’t happy about my new found faith in Christ and my status of a self proclaimed “born again Christian”, as evidence by our eventual divorce.

But it was desperate times with her mom, and even though she didn’t quite know what to make of what had happened to me, Michele didn’t try to stop me when I told her I wanted to pray with her mother.  

Mary was a mess.  Her hospitalization had done a number on her and when I sat before her to pray her voice was a dry almost soundless whisper but she was fully conscious and relatively normal after her extended stay and release from the ICU.  So she was fully awake and in her right mind, as far as Mary went anyway, shots fired. What? I kid.  If you knew Mary Sapp, you know what I’m talking about. 

Mary was an ultra-liberal feminist and protesting champion for almost any disenfranchised group or cause but she did have a semblance of Christian faith, as an Episcopalian, and even served on the vestry of her Episcopalian church. Before we anoint her St. Mary though let me be clear that it was liberal church. I was liberal I went there before walking away from Christianity.  The reverends their were good servants of the church and I always enjoyed the liturgical services they performed and the messages they delivered.  But Reverend Keith and Reverend Bob were gay.  Yup, not like flamboyantly gay, but cohabiting life partner quasi closeted gay.  So yeah, I was married by a gay minister. Wide and Deep were the errors of my former existence.    

So after coming to faith in Christ and understanding that church membership, no matter liberal or conservative, wasn’t enough to save you, I wanted to make sure that my mother-in-law was specific in naming Jesus as here Lord and Savior. It is by grace alone and through faith in Christ alone that we are saved, and with Mary’s life in question I wanted to make sure she was “in” the kingdom.  

So, I sat down in front of Mary and explained that I had put my faith in Jesus Christ and that I wanted to lead her through a prayer to make Jesus her Lord and Savior.   Much to my surprise, she didn’t object or smirk but wholeheartedly and enthusiastically agreed to be led through the sinner’s prayer. Even though her voice was a whisper, Mary prayed the prayer to be forgive of her sins and that proclaimed Jesus as the Lord and Savior of her life.     

So when comes to her eternal destiny, even though it’s hard to imagine considering her past, I believe that Mary put her faith where she needed to, in Christ alone, and that she has been saved from God’s wrath and is in His kingdom now.   

After my salvation, I couldn’t just assume Mary’s service on the vestry of her liberal Episcopal church meant she had faith in Jesus.  Even though I didn’t know the scriptures verses at the time, I had

Romans 10:9-13 (NKJV) in mind, that tell us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11  For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13  For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."  

In a hospital room, with tubes, scars, and a raspy voice that was only above that of a whisper, Mary Sapp called on the name of the Lord, and because the word says it, I believe she was saved by the Lord’s mercy and grace.  

So as we begin the second day of the work week, keep walking and talking with God. And  let’s be clear and let’s be specific in who we believe in and make our loved ones know about the gospel of Jesus Christ and clear up any misconceptions they may hold about “being a good person” or having their “good works outweigh their bad works” and let them know that salvation and the forgiveness of sins only comes by faith in Christ alone. And let’s be bold to encourage our friends, family, and anyone else to call on the name of Jesus, as Lord and Savior, to be saved.  


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 1:22 (NLT2)
22  You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of what happened at our salvation and the obligation of love that comes with it.  

The verse says we “must” show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters as we are called to love each other deeply with all our hearts.   As my testimony stated, we may be called to love difficult people and be called to make sure they are indeed our brothers and sisters in the faith.  

The greatest act of love, as demonstrated by Christ, is to save that which is lost, to save someone’s life.

So if we are unclear about someone’s salvation or if we know they are not in the body of Christ, we must show our love for them by praying for their salvation and by delivering the good news and encouraging their reception of God’s free gift.  

But we are also called to not stop there, we are to love our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ after they are saved too. And that could be difficult!

If you ever wondered where you could learn to be faithful, kind, gentle, forgiving, loving, and patient, wonder no more! The place where you can learn to practice those characteristics of a mature Christian is the local church!   

People are people and just because we are all saints the moment we put our faith in Jesus doesn’t mean we will always act like saints.   So the local church is where we can develop godly friendships and relationships, that will require the application of our faith.  

IF we love our brothers and sisters we will be patient with them, we will be kind, we will be faithful in our dealings with them. We will be gentle in our interactions.  We will undoubtedly be called to forgive from time to time. And all of that will strengthen our patience.  

So if you don’t attend church, you should. It is in the body of Christ where we can grow as Christians, and if we are not taking a chance and putting ourselves out there to show the love of God, we won’t grow into the person God would call us to be.  

It is because of God’s love that we will live, and so we should share that love and grow in that love as part of our purpose to be more like Him.   




As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Simon the Magician: Acts 8

In the book of Acts Luke records four separate instances involving the use of magic. In three of these instances Luke directly connects the magic with the work of Satan or his demons.

In Samaria a magician named Simon was bringing great attention to himself because of the amazing things he accomplished with his magic. So awestruck were the people of Samaria that they nicknamed him “The Great Power” (8:10).

Philip’s preaching of the gospel proved more compelling, however, and many Samaritans turned their lives to Jesus Christ, eventually even Simon. Luke paints Philip’s ministry in terms of what some missiologists would today call “a power encounter.” Although Luke does not describe it in terms of a showdown between Philip and Simon, he clearly indicates that Philip’s display of divine power is what gave him his hearing: “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said” (8:6). Philip’s miraculous signs completely overshadowed Simon’s. Philip made evil spirits come out of many people and healed numerous paralytics and cripples.

Luke simply tells us about Simon’s conversion without going into detail about whether he too had evil spirits commanded out of him. Unfortunately Simon allowed his affection for supernatural powers to take precedence over his devotion to the Lord Jesus and asked to buy the ability to impart the Holy Spirit to others. Detecting his perverse motives, Peter rebuked him in the strongest of terms, telling him to repent of his wickedness and observing that he was “full of bitterness and captive to sin” (8:23).

Some later church tradition claims Simon continued in his quest for divine power and became the originator of what would be known as Gnosticism. The second-century apocryphal book Acts of Peter vividly narrates Simon losing in a “power encounter” with the apostle Peter in Rome. After leading many astray with his heretical teaching, Simon allegedly flew in the air over the city of Rome, defying Peter. Peter prayed to the Lord, and Simon was struck down, causing his leg to break in three places.

A Jewish Magician and False Prophet: Acts 13

Luke surprises us by introducing his readers to a Jewish magician who went by the name Bar-Jesus (son of Jesus), or Elymas (13:4–12). Actually, we will later find (chapter four) that there was widespread Jewish involvement in magic, witchcraft and sorcery. The apostle Paul encountered this magician on the island of Cyprus at the outset of his first missionary outreach. Interestingly, this sorcerer was formally attached to a major political figure on the island, the proconsul Sergius Paulus.

Luke does not elaborate on the extent of the influence Elymas wielded with Sergius Paulus. Since political officials frequently consulted astrologers and diviners for guidance, we are safe to speculate that Elymas’s influence extended to the proconsul’s governance and to the political and economic structures he was responsible for. Most important for Paul, however, was the decisive opposition the magician presented to communicate effectively the gospel to Sergius Paulus and perhaps even to the area over which he governed.

Luke presents this sorcerer as the major opposition to Paul’s mission. Paul perceived the man to be under the control of Satan himself and pointedly revealed his true character to his face: “Filled with the Holy Spirit, [he] looked straight at Elymas and said, ‘You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?’ ” (13:10). Paul then took firm action against the magician. He announced that the hand of the Lord Jesus would be against him and he will be blinded. Immediately Elymas lost his sight. The “power encounter” again proved effective for the success of the gospel; the proconsul put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of Divination: Acts 16

While Paul was in Philippi, a slave girl with a “spirit of divination” troubled Paul greatly by following him and his companions around day after day shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” This spirit of divination was literally a “Python spirit” (Greek=pythōn), according to Luke. By this spirit, the girl was able to predict the future. Meanwhile, some profit-seeking individuals, who later created great problems for Paul (16:16–21), exploited her and her supernatural ability.

The Python spirit was associated with the oracle at Delphi in Greece (about eighty miles northwest of Athens), where the female prophetess was called a Python. In classical mythology the Python was a serpent that guarded the Delphic oracle and was slain by the god Apollo. Throughout antiquity people came from all over the Near East to consult the oracle at Delphi for advice. It was widely believed to be the center of the earth. An opening in the ground at the site emitted a gas that the Delphic prophetess would breathe in order to receive her prophetic insight. She would then pass on the information to the person in verse form. The grateful traveler would then depart, leaving votive offerings and expensive gifts.

Many people also believed the Pythian prophetess had a god living within her belly. This belief led to her being called “a belly talker,” since she was observed talking in a deep second voice while making her predictions. In fact, some ancient literature attributes this second voice to a daimōn.

Because Paul clearly believed a demon controlled this girl, he commanded the spirit within her: “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” Without any argument or hesitation, the spirit departed. Luke’s attention then shifts to the irate reaction of the girl’s owners, and this brief account is all that we know about her in Scripture.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 31–33.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Why Are You Angry? An All Encompassing Practice to Make Things Right – Purity 733


Why Are You Angry? An All Encompassing Practice to Make Things Right – Purity 733

Purity 733 05/17/2022 Purity 733 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a ethereal cirrus cloud formation in a blue sky above a stand of trees and a field of green comes to us from yours truly as I decided to capture this stunning scene while I decided to “do what was right” and take our canine border, Harley, for a walk on Friday afternoon along Waite Rd near my countryside home.

After a week of work I looked forward to resting but I knew that even though I could just put the dog out in the backyard on his run, a good dog owner and steward to what was entrusted to him would go beyond the minimum qualification of service and give the dog an opportunity to stretch his legs.  Although he was very enthusiastic when we initially set out,  Harley’s panting confirmed the fact that the afternoon was a hot one and I think he was as glad as I was when the walk was over and we returned to the house to rest.   

Lately, I have been convicted by the wisdom of “doing what is right” in any and all the areas of my life as an instruction for my walk of faith. “What would Jesus Do?” is a question that has been seriously considered by me and the answer of course is that “He would do what is right and He would do “what is right” in all the areas of His life.”

I came to this realization because I am constantly examining my life and I try to make things better.  I am continually seeking wisdom from God’s word and other Christians who have shared what they have learned from their studies of the Scriptures and how they have applied them to their lives.  

This latest “eureka” moment to “do what is right”, duh” came in part through the struggles I have had trying to forsake my occasional binges of candy and ice cream and the study of Jay Adam’s “Competent to Counsel”. 

I realized that when I indulged in the occasional “cheat day” from my diet, I was cheating myself. Not only did my increase caloric/carb/sugar intake disrupt the harmony that I had established in my body, it also negatively impacted my emotions as I would “feel bad” about having compromised my health goals. 

So why not avoid “feeling bad” by doing what is right?  The indulgence isn’t worth the negative effects so why not give up the indulgence and keep the peace and harmony that comes from knowing that I am taking care of myself by choosing to do the right thing? 

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I am beginning to let this simple wisdom permeate into my thick skull and be expressed in how I live and I feel that I may have turned a corner and begun the work of dismantling a pattern of thought and behavior that wasn’t good for me.   Reading Adam’s Competent to Counsel has really helped to remind me of the value of our obedience and the impact of our actions.

While my experience in overcoming my personal struggles through discipleship practices and my training in  Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Discipleship Counseling” techniques had put the emphasis on knowing who we are in Christ, living according to it, and allowing our thoughts to transform our emotional lives,  Adam’s work covers similar ground but puts forth the truth that actions also impact our emotional lives.  Drawing from the wisdom of God’s advice in

Genesis 4:6-7 (NKJV)  where
6  …the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

Adams points out that God in saying “if you do well”, God is telling Cain to “do what is right”, instead of what is wrong, that sin that is lying at the door to trip you up.  If you do what is right, you won’t be angry, your countenance will not be fallen, you won’t be depressed. 

Our concept of sin can sometimes be legalistic. We can think of sin as breaking laws. But sin is actually “missing the mark”, not hitting that bullseye of what God would have us do.  

And why does God want us to do things in a certain way?  Because He loves us. He made us and He has perfect knowledge.  He knows what is best for us. So we should heed His advice, and obey what He says.

When we obey “God’s law”, which in the Hebrew is also can be defined as “God’s instruction”,  we benefit from His wisdom. 

And this principle of “doing what is right”, transcends all things.  Beyond the 10 commandments, the idea of doing what is right touches every area of our lives.

Basic principles like “cleaning up after yourself”, “putting things in their place”, “keeping things neat and in order” or “being a good steward to the things entrusted to us” are all things we can do as an expression of our love for God. We appreciate what He has given us in our lives so we are going to thank Him by taking care of them and ourselves by “doing what is right”.  

Of course, the spirit in which we approach this all encompassing practice is very important.  If we attempt this practice by viewing it as an obligation, we will be just as angry as Cain because our hearts and minds won’t be in it.  

But if we decide to “start doing what is right” as an act of faith, as an expression of our love for God and thankfulness for what He has given us, we can not only see the wisdom behind “What Jesus would Do” but we can experience the peace that comes from not having a conflict in our consciences that comes from “knowing what we should do” and not doing it.  

Also our decision to “do what is right” will solve problems and change the atmosphere around us.  When we “clean up the messes” in our life, we see that our actions matter and that our efforts have rewards. Our continual commitment to live skillfully as an expression of our faith and as a part of our relationship with God results in growth and produces progress. Our patience grows. Our self-control grows. And prayerfully, if we see the love that lies behind the wisdom that God tried to impart to us in one of the earlies portions of the Bible, our love for God will grow.

When this practice of “doing what’cha gotta do” moment to moment is performed as an expression of our love and gratitude to God, we can realize we really are walking in the Spirit. We have gone to the “next level”, from just “knowing what we believe and why we believe it” to knowing the Lord and trusting that doing what He would have us do is not only right but it is for our good and for the good of everyone we will come in contact with as the peace we have and the love that we know has the potential to pour into the lives of other as well.  

So “do what’cha gotta do” and keep walking and talking with God, and feel good about it.  Your “doing what is right” will be blessed by your Heavenly Father.  When you do well, you won’t feel angry and won’t be depressed because you will know that you are doing what you were designed to do and that you have discovered the simple yet profound meaning and purpose for your life.


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 2:12 (NLT2)
12  Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us to live properly among our unbelieving neighbors as an expression of our faith.   

So if we needed another scripture verse on “doing what is right” you can add 1 Peter 2:12 to the list.  These verses in scripture remind us that our faith was never supposed to be just a mental cataloging of things we believe that is only demonstrated once a week by sitting through a worship service.  

Our faith is supposed to impact the way we live our lives and in turn to impact the lives of those around us. 

As today’s verse points out, we are to live properly even among our unbelieving neighbors as an act of bearing witness to the fact that God has changed our lives.  Not only will our living properly keep us from any accusations of wrong doing, our living according to God’s wisdom and ways gives glory to Him as our unbelieving neighbors will have no choice to admit that our “walk” as Christians matchers our “talk”.  

This verse concludes with a reminder that God will judge the world and so it motivates us to live for God. It matters how we live as not only will our obedience to God’s way be rewarded by our Heavenly Father, but our faithfulness to live according to Christian principles could be used by God to bring people to consider the Christian faith and in turn make Jesus their Lord an Savior.

Our actions matter. Our efforts to live properly can not only give us the peace that comes from living a righteous life but they also are a witness to the nonbeliever of the truth of our faith, give glory to God, and can be used to expand His kingdom.   So be careful to live properly as way to express your love and gratefulness to God and to bring Honor to Him.


As always, I invite all to go to 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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

When a Bobby Pin Mattered

We have seen the sacrifices that military people made in wartime during World War II. But it wasn’t just the military that changed its priorities. The whole country did, just like the whole church could today. During World War II,

the entire nation … seemed overnight to have snapped out of its Depression-era lethargy. Everyone scrambled to be of help. Rubber was needed for the war effort, and gasoline, and metal. A women’s basketball game at Northwestern University was stopped so that the referee and all ten players could scour the floor for a lost bobby pin. Americans pitched in to support strict rationing programs and their boys turned out as volunteers in various collection “drives.” Soon butter and milk were restricted along with canned goods and meat. Shoes became scarce, and paper, and silk. People grew “victory gardens” and drove at the gas-saving “victory speed” of thirty-five miles an hour. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without?” became a popular slogan. Air-raid sirens and blackouts were scrupulously obeyed. America sacrificed.

Such images are for me very powerful. Secondarily, they make me appreciate the benefits of freedom and prosperity. But primarily they rebuke me for my frivolous living and inspire me to make my life count for something more than comfort and worldly success—something God-exalting and eternal.

Yes, Yes, to Talk of War Is Lopsided

But I admit, as I said above, that the term “wartime lifestyle” or “wartime mind-set” is lopsided. After one sermon in which I used these terms one person wrote to me and asked, “When you stress the imagery of wartime living, do you leave any room for aspects of life that are not part of war, like art or leisure? Are there not other images of the Christian life that are more restful than war?”

Here is the answer I gave in my next message:

The answer is, yes, absolutely, there are other images of the Christian life that are more restful. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:1–2). That is a very different image than bombs dropping and blood flowing. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).

And yes, there is a proper time and place for the Christian to benefit from, evaluate, and transform the whole range of human culture. In fact, it is virtually impossible not to be a part of our modern, Western culture; and if we do not think in terms of measured appropriation, biblical evaluation, and thoughtful transformation, we will probably be consumed by the culture, and won’t even know that we are more American than we are Christian.

So, yes, by all means, use all the images of Scripture (not just war) to shape your life. And then let your radically Christian, God-enthralled, Christ-treasuring, giving-oriented life engage and shape your culture.

But my sense is that in the prosperous West, the danger in the church is not that there are too many overly zealous people who care too deeply about the lost, and invest hazardously in the cause of the Gospel, and ruin their lives with excessive mercy to the poor. For every careless saint who burns himself out and breaks up his family with misdirected zeal, I venture, there are a thousand who coast with the world, treating Jesus like a helpful add-on, but not as an all-satisfying, all-authoritative King in the cause of love.

The Ruinous Ethic of Mere Avoidance

One of the marks of this peacetime mind-set is what I call an avoidance ethic. In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to insure the joy of triumph? In peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possibly, avoid sin?

If we are going to pay the price and take the risks it will cost to make people glad in God, we move beyond the avoidance ethic. This way of life is utterly inadequate to waken people to the beauty of Christ. Avoiding fearful trouble and forbidden behaviors impresses almost no one. The avoidance ethic by itself is not Christ-commending or God-glorifying. There are many disciplined unbelievers who avoid the same behaviors Christians do. Jesus calls us to something far more radical than that.

The Wrong Questions and the Right Ones

People who are content with the avoidance ethic generally ask the wrong question about behavior. They ask, What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with this movie? Or this music? Or this game? Or these companions? Or this way of relaxing? Or this investment? Or this restaurant? Or shopping at this store? What’s wrong with going to the cabin every weekend? Or having a cabin? This kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying and makes people glad in God. It simply results in a list of don’ts. It feeds the avoidance ethic.

The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or display Christ? The Bible says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?[1]


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 116–119.