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

Friday, March 1, 2024

Gifts of Appreciation and Love – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 15 - Purity 1288


 Gifts of Appreciation and Love – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 15 - Purity 1288

Purity 1288 03/01/2024 Purity 1288 Podcast

Purity 1288 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of roadside setting sun over the Hudson River comes to us from yours truly as I just had to pull over to capture this scene on my way home from work yesterday in Castleton NY, 

Well, It’s Friday, thank God, and as I share this photo from a moment when I truly appreciated the shining sun and the fact that my commute makes moments like this possible, I encourage you to regularly practice appreciation and gratitude as part of your walk on the path of Christian Discipleship.  If you are in Christ, you have received a new life but if you don’t remain grounded in an attitude of gratitude based on your new identity in Christ and take times to appreciate all that the Lord has done and is doing in your life, you could miss the abundant life of peace and joy that Jesus came to give you.  

Beyond the essential practice of thanking and appreciating God, which would help you in being obedient to Jesus’ commandment to love the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, and mind, we should let the love and joy we have received from God be passed along to the other people in our lives, to fulfill  Christ’s second great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

Our family, friends, and neighbors have been sovereignly placed in our lives by the Lord and while some of our relationships may be challenging, we shouldn’t take our good relationships for granted and periodically do something special to show our thanks and appreciation, or to offer help, to those we love. 

This week I sent a surprise gift of appreciation to Julaine Kammrath because she has been graciously teaching me how to be a more effective prayer minister and counselor. She has sacrificed her time and shared her wisdom with me for several weeks of Immanuel Prayer training and I felt moved to spontaneously send her a book I thought that she would enjoy.  She received the book yesterday and  texted me her thanks and I felt great because I really wanted to show my appreciation for what she has done for me and for our friendship. 

I also sent a book to someone I love, who shall remain nameless, who is going through a major trauma, and who hasn’t been exactly wise in how they reacted to the losses they have faced.  I sent them June Hunt’s “How to Handle Your Emotions” to encourage them to press into their faith and to process the complex emotions of what they are going through according to the Lord’s wisdom.  I was nervous about how that little gift was going to be received because this person isn’t the most faithful Christian but was pleasantly surprised to receive their thanks and genuine appreciation for the book and was able to offer my best advice on how to apply the books wisdom and to take proactive steps to help move them through their current crisis with dignity and hope. 

I have received so much from the Lord and the body of Christ through the years and now I encourage others to follow the Lord to get what I got – a new abundant life of freedom, peace, and joy – that comes from following the Lord – and my giving these gifts of appreciation and love is part of that process. 

When we surrender to God’s will for our lives and live according to the ways of Jesus, we thrive because we come into harmony with God and His love flows through us. 

Well it’s the season of Lent, and there is no better time to draw close to God than right now, and speaking of Lent…

It’s the fifteenth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 15

Now, as we said before, these words, (the Ten Commandments), contain both a wrathful threat and a friendly promise, not only to terrify and warn us but also to attract and allure us, so that we will receive and regard God's Word as seriously as he does.

For God declares how important the commandments are to him and how strictly he will watch over them, namely that he will fearfully and terribly punish all who despise and transgress his commandments; and again, how richly he will regard, bless, and bestow all good things on those who prize them and gladly act and live in accordance with them.

Thus he demands that all our actions proceed from a heart that fears God, looks to him alone, and because of this fear avoids all that is contrary to his will, lest he be moved to wrath. Conversely, he demands that our actions proceed from a heart that trust in him alone and for his sake does all that he asks of us, because he reveals himself as a kind father and offers us every grace and blessing.

Biblical Wisdom

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; But whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5: 17-19.

Silence for Meditation.

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

 

Questions to Ponder

·       Are the commandments a cause of terror, a means of grace, or both? Explain.

The Ten Commandments are both a cause of terror and a means of grace because they convict us of our sins, cause us to fear God’s wrath,  and show us our inadequacy to save ourselves causing us to put our faith in Jesus to receive our forgiveness and peace with God.  

·       Is it possible to have a heart that “trusts” in God alone? If so, how is such a heart developed and nurtured? If not, why not?

I have to believe that it is possible to have a heart that trusts in God alone. Christ was fully man and He trusted in God alone and as God has called us to put our faith in Jesus and to become more like Him I have to believe that such a heart can be developed and nurtured in us and the way that we do so is by abiding in Christ and to progressively surrender to living like Him.  Luckily, God blesses our efforts to be more like Christ and the further we come to know and love God the more our hearts are changed to trust God alone.

·       How might a community of faith help us to know that the law is kind and God is a kind father, as Luther says?

The community of faith can help us to know that the law is kind and God is a kind Father by teaching from the whole counsel of God’s word that clearly teaches that God is love and by demonstrating the love of God through providing acommunity of love and fellowship.

Psalm Fragment

O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart, who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors. Psalm 15: 1-3.

Journal Reflections

·       Do you experience God's law primarily as a “wrathful threat” or a “friendly promise”? Explain.

I would say that I formerly thought of God’s law as a wrathful threat but since I have put my faith in Jesus and have the assurance of my salvation, I now look at it as a friendly promise. God’s commandments will convict us of sin, but Jesus pays the cost and when we put our faith in Him we no longer need to fear the punishment of the wrath of God, instead we can see that the law reflects God’s love for us as breaking the Ten Commandments always results in suffering. God doesn’t want us to suffer and so His love causes Him to teach us how to live wisely and purely.

·       Meditate in writing on how you imagine God to be. What are your primary images of God? How do these images shape your faith and your life in the world?

I don’t have enough time or wisdom to write sufficiently on how I imagine God, so I point to the word of God and its descriptions of God as a Loving, Just, and Holy Father to shape my relationship with Him and to guide my life in the world.  I spend the days of my life now in a continuous dialog with God where I express my thanks and love for Him and ask for His guidance as I walk through this world.  Like a smitten child, I confess my love to God throughout the day because I imagine Him to be wise and kind.

·       Meditate on whether you “receive and regard God's word as seriously as he does.” Does your meditation suggest any changes you might need to make?

It’s not possible to take God’s word as seriously as He does because if I did I would live according to it perfectly, which I don’t. I am continually trying to apply the wisdom of God’s word to my life. I do take it seriously, but I am sure it wouldn’t take long to show me the many ways in which I fall short of following it perfectly. Yes, my meditation on this fact does cause me to contemplate many changes I need to make to be more like Jesus – being a good steward to my body, finances, and relationships being one, and finding my purpose for God’s kingdom in the future, being another.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you and others in your community will try to live as God has commanded so that life will flourish, and you may walk blamelessly in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, I pray that I and others in my community will try to live as You commanded so that our lives with flourish and that we may walk blamelessly in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear Lord Jesus, you claimed to be the fulfillment of the law and to give me life. Make my heart pure and obedient to you.

Amen.

 

 

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

 

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

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

1 Timothy 6:7-10 (NASB)
7  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
9  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Today’s verses fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

2. Learn contentment, for love of money brings misery.

Today’s verse warns us of the love of money being the root of all sorts of evil and tells us that if we have the bare necessities of life we should be content.

One of the most eye-opening experiences we can have as Christians is going into the economically depressed areas of the world in missionary service.  Going into the mission field challenges our Western ideas of what the “bare necessities” are and can show us that it is possible to be quite happy with next to nothing materially.  Today’s verses tell us to be content with food and covering as those two things are really all we need materially to survive.   

However, being in survival mode would not bring us joy if we don’t have the hope and love of the Lord in our lives.  Meeting just food and shelter needs would not satisfy if we were striving for circumstantial happiness but when we have peace with God and the assurance of life with Him forever, those two things and the abundance of joy we have in the Lord is more than enough to make us content.

-----------------------------------------------------------

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

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

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

EVENING READING: LUKE 4

“I must preach.” – Luke 4:43

These were the words of the perfect preacher, the Lord Jesus Christ. His very heart burned with a holy passion for souls. “I must preach,” it was imperative. His great love compelled Him. His holy ministry was characterized by His devotedness to His ministry. He was to seek and to save. Therefore:

       • He must be about His Father's business (Luke 2:49).

       • He must preach (Luke 4:43).

       • He must go through Samaria (John 4:4).

       • He must be lifted up (John 12:32).

The apostle Paul burned with the same spiritual zeal. He therefore could say, “Necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). And, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved” (Rom. 10:1).

Create this passion within my soul, O Lord.[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

Thursday, February 29, 2024

I Do Believe… and I’m Living It. - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 14 - Purity 1287

I Do Believe… and I’m Living It. - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 14 - Purity 1287

Purity 1287 02/29/2024 Purity 1287 Podcast

Purity 1287 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of my canine pal, Harley rounding the corner from Waite Rd to the unmarked Farmer’s gravel road, which we have affectionately named “Freedom Road”,  comes to us from yours as I paused for a second during last Friday’s full moon late afternoon stroll to capture the moment.

Well, it’s Thursday and I share today’s photo of a gravel pathway to encourage my friends to take that bend in the road of life to step on the path of Christian Discipleship, where you decide to not on believe that Jesus was who He said He was, but that you put your faith in Him as Lord and Savior and commit your life to following Him as disciple, an eager and obedient student, and surrender your life to God’s will for your life.  Beyond “easy believe-ism” – or “nominal faith” (– essentially being a Christian in name only – claiming the faith but living like your non-believing neighbors), discipleship is agreeing to not only to “believe in the gospel” but to also repent – to turn from the world’s ways to learn and live by the “way of The Master” as we voluntarily commit ourselves to become “slaves to Christ” and to live for God and do His will on earth until He calls us home or Jesus comes back.  

Unfortunately, the idea of living for God has somehow been separated from the way our faith is presented for quite some time and has led to shallow faith and great misconceptions about what it means to be a Christian.  Christ said:

Luke 6:40 (NKJV)
40  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

And so we are to be like Jesus, who also said,

John 14:15 (NKJV)
15  "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

and

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
24  … "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
31  …. "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Luke 14:33 (NKJV)
33  …. whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

 

John 15:8 (NKJV)
8  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Jesus instructs his disciples – us – to abide in His word, to forsake the things of this world, to obey his commandments, to follow Him with the way we live our lives and to make other disciples.  

Yesterday, I spent some time talking to one of the men taking the Freedom in Christ course and he confessed that while he had great hope from the things that he was learning, he was struggling with  negative thoughts and falling into sin. His internal dialog told him he was a failure and his confession revealed that he was stuck in a vicious cycle of bad feelings – temptation – sin and guilt that kept going around and around.  He stated that he “believed” what the gospel told him in “his head” but didn’t believe it in his heart.  

I asked him if he ever felt joy or was thankful to God for His salvation or was ever moved by emotions during worship.   And He admitted that he often was.  To which I responded that indicated He did believe in His heart, but He was being deceived and was actively denying what the word of God said about who He was in Christ by believing the lies of those negative thoughts and was not submitting to God and resisting the devil by failing to repent and say no to the sins that were driving his shame and guilt and feelings of condemnation. But His cycle truly started with failing to stand in the truth of who He is in Christ.  I told Him that he had to “believe” and prove his belief to himself by living as a disciple of Jesus Christ – which meant “doing” the things that Jesus said and that if he would start actually doing the things that Jesus tells us that His disciples did – those faithful actions would further confirm His identity in Christ and give Him the “fruit of the Spirit” – feelings of peace, joy, and love as he grew in his goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.   And if He did that One day at a time: He could say: “I do believe… and I’m living it”.  

There is no better time to start living it than today. It’s the season of Lent – so repent and believe in the gospel.   Speaking of Lent…

It’s the fourteenth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walk through Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 14

YOU ARE NOT TO COVET your neighbor’s house.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not try to trick our neighbors out of their inheritance or property or try to get it for ourselves by claiming to have a legal right to it and the like, but instead be of help and service to them in keeping what is theirs.

You are not to covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, cattle, or whatever is his. 

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not entice, force, or steal away from our neighbors their spouses, household workers, or livestock, but instead urge them to stay and fulfill their responsibilities to our neighbors.

These commandments are aimed directly against envy and miserable covetousness, so that God may remove the root and cause from which arise all injuries to our neighbors... Above all, he wants the heart to be pure, even though, as long as we live here, we cannot accomplish that. So this commandment remains, like all the rest, one that constantly accuses us and shows just how upright we really are in God's sight.

Biblical Wisdom

But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. James 3: 14-17

Silence for Meditation.

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

Questions to Ponder

·       Why do you think Luther calls covetousness “miserable”?

I don’t know if there is a more psychologically, spiritually, or emotionally miserable state than the feelings of wanting, longing, jealousy, shame, guilt, anger, lust, and envy that surround covetousness – the desire for things that are not yours.  Covetousness comes from a false belief that you are lacking something and is idolatrous in nature as it falsely sees the obtaining of something that doesn’t belong to you as the means to your happiness and because it sets your eyes on other people’s possessions it is also a form of theft or adultery.  At the bottom of covetousness is rebellion against God as it reveals a distrust of the Lord to adequately provide for you.  And this commandment reveals just how serious God is about our thought lives and the desires of our hearts – God doesn’t want us to be putting our minds or hearts into this activity because He knows it separates us from Him and if left unchecked will do damage to our mental health if not to our relationships with our neighbors.  Covetousness is the root of so much pain and sin that God was specific in including it in the Ten Commandments.

·       Greed, envy and covetousness are all around. How can our faith help us to counteract this reality?

Our faith should show us that we are accepted, secure, and significant in Christ alone and that none of the things we would covet or are greedy or envious of will meet those needs. Our faith would properly reveal the lies that covetousness causes us to believe.

·       Why does Luther see helping the neighbor as so important to the Ten Commandments?

Jesus affirms that loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves to be the culmination of the law and profits, so Luther rightly includes encouragements to go beyond ourselves and help our neighbors when he teaches on properly following the Ten Commandments. Breaking the Ten Commandments usually involves harming our neighbors, so Luther advises us to help them instead.

Psalm Fragment

The righteous will see, and fear, and will laugh at the evildoer, saying, “See the one who would not take refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches, and sought refuge in wealth! Psalm 52: 6-7.

Journal Reflections

·       Envy is often pictured as a green-eyed monster. As you examine yourself, write about what if any role this green-eyed monster plays in your own life.

If I am honest, I am envious of others with successful ministries. It is my heart’s desire to be used by God for the glory of His kingdom and I pray that I can come to a place where I am in full-time ministry. My fear (and I say “my obligations and responsibilities”) keeps me from abandoning my day job to pursue full-time ministry and so I look at others who were brave enough to do that and am envious of their convictions and the success of those who are thriving in it.  Materially, I am also sometimes envious of those who have wealth even though I know that money won’t bring happiness or love. 

·       Would you describe yourself as content or envious of others? Are you satisfied or covetous? Explain.

Although I just admitted to feelings of envy, I would describe myself as content and satisfied – because I am. I am extremely happy with where the Lord has brought me in life and am content to stay more or less right where I am.  But at the same time, I feel a call or a compulsion to keep going and to see what else the Lord wants to do in my life, so I am content and satisfied day to day for the most part but continue to look forward to whatever the future the Lord has for me. 

·       Meditate on what it would mean to have a pure heart. Luther says we can’t accomplish it on our own. Do you think that is true? How would one go about seeking a pure heart?

A pure heart would be one free of covetousness and that is only possible through our faith in God and through His power to change us. I believe that to be true. We need God’s wisdom to see how we desire the wrong things in life. We can seek a pure heart by surrendering to God and following Him with the way we live our lives – that means repentance – changing our thoughts, desires, beliefs, and actions to cast out anything impure that causes us to stumble.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray for those who may be consumed with envy so much that they cannot be freed from it. Ask that you would have the courage to speak to your relative or friend about the problem.

Lord, I pray for those who are consumed by envy to come to know You and to be saved and set free of the miserable state that covetousness creates. Give me the courage to speak to those who are suffering from envy’s poison with compassion, wisdom, and love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Lord Jesus, come into my heart and purify it, cleanse it from envy and covetousness, and help me to live in gratitude for what I have.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

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

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

1 Timothy 6:6 (NASB)
6  But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

Today’s verse falls under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

1. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Today’s verse tells us that godliness and contentment are the means of great gain. Not surprisingly the verses that lead to this one tell us not to  be “obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions” as Paul talked of men destitute of the truth who thought they could gain something through godliness – sort of like the prosperity gospel –being motivated by selfish desires and believing primarily that if they “ act right and make the right arguments or “believe right” theologically they will be blessed materially…. But the Apostle puts us straight that it is contentment ( not striving after material or positional blessings) and godliness that leads to great gain – spiritually – that matters.  

So be godly and content and testify to just how great the gain you receive is when you walk with the Lord and are happy with the things you have. 

-----------------------------------------------------------

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

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

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

MORNING READING: LUKE 3

“The word of God came unto John …
in the wilderness.” – Luke 3:2

In Luke 1:80, it is recorded of John that he was “in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.”

It is very obvious that the desert or the wilderness were God's training school for this coming Man of God. He had to learn of God in private before preaching in public.

The wilderness speaks of the place of retirement, rest, and quiet. It is only in such a place that God can teach the more intimate and secret revelations of His will. It is very interesting and important to note, the number of times the Lord Jesus sought the quiet and retirement of the wilderness during his ministry (Luke 5:16). It is the place where the Word of God becomes the real weapon for the battle of preaching.

Lord, make my times with You a desert experience
full of rest and revelation from You.[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

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Positive Side of Not Killing Anyone- 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 10 - Purity 1283

 

The Positive Side of Not Killing Anyone- 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 10 - Purity 1283

Purity 1283 02/24/2024 Purity 1283 Podcast

Purity 1283 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunrise on the horizon between two mountain peaks comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene, presumably from somewhere near his home in Murphy NC, on social media on Thursday, along with the following poetic sentiment.”

“Waiting on the new sunrise.

When changing colors fill the skies.

A mountain top.

My happy place

The rising sun

Will warm my face.

High in a tree a young bird sings.

Of opportunities

The new day brings.”

Well as the sun sets on another week and will arise a new tomorrow, it is my prayer that all my friends follow Fred’s example by keeping their eyes open to the beauty around them and by choosing to look at each new day as an opportunity to enjoy their lives and work to make them better.  Fred had to put forth some effort to find his happy place and so I encourage all of us on the path of Christian Discipleship to not forget that our relationship with God and our experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is dependent on that paradoxical balance between faith and action.   We trust the Lord to do His part in our walk of faith, but we realize that we have to do our part too. 

Repentance is more than just agreeing with the Lord’s ways of doing things. Repentance also includes our actively “turning” and walking in the way God would direct us to go. We choose each day to follow the Lord and put forth our best efforts to be more like Jesus while understanding that any hopes for our success in doing so needs to be supernaturally empowered by the Lord. 

And so we are happy to report some success this morning (food plan success!) as I have repented of my “vacation indulgence diet” and am back on my Keto food plan that has been instrumental in putting me in the best physical shape of my life.  The Lord has impressed upon me that repentance includes being a good steward to the temple of the Holy Spirit, my body, and it feels good to have the first of what will prayerfully be a long line of days being victorious and free over the bondage to comfort eating.    And what better time to look for new opportunities to make a change and simultaneously draw close to God than the season of Lent. 

It’s the tenth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walk through Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 10

“YOU ARE NOT TO KILL.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.

This commandment is violated not only when we do evil, but also when we have the opportunity to do good to our neighbors and to prevent, protect, and save them from suffering bodily harm or injury, but fail to do so.

If you send a naked person away when you could clothe him, you have let him freeze to death. If you see anyone who is suffering from hunger and do not feed her, you have let her starve. Likewise, if you see anyone who is innocently condemned or in similar peril and do not save him although you have means and ways to do so, you have killed him. It will be of no help for you to use the excuse that you did not assist their deaths by word or deed, for you have withheld your love from them and robbed them of the kindness by means of which their lives might have been saved.”

Biblical Wisdom

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13: 8-11.

Silence for Meditation.

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

 

Questions to Ponder

·       How does it change our understanding of this commandment to think of both what we should not do and what we should do?

A big part of changing our faith from a religion to a relationship comes from understanding that obeying the commandments of the Lord is not met simply by the things we don’t do.  “I haven’t killed anybody today” isn’t something we should point to as evidence that we are following the Lord. To follow the Lord we have to understand that walking by faith not only requires us to abstain from overt sins – the things we should not do -  but also requires that we look for opportunities to love our neighbors as ourselves – to look for the things we could do to help others – to do the things we should do – and do them.  Our Christians' lives should not be defined by the evil we don’t do but should also be demonstrated by the good things we do.  This makes us more like Jesus and gives God glory.  

·       What good might it do for us and our society if you and I love our neighbors and help them to flourish?

When we love our neighbors and help them flourish we could cause them to choose to follow the Lord and in turn do good to others to help them to flourish. Our efforts to love our neighbors could bear more fruit as our good deeds inspire others to do their own random acts of kindness as part of their new lives in Christ. Our purpose in blogging and podcasting is to encourage others to do just that – to not only have their lives transformed by choosing to follow the Lord with the way they live their lives but to also impact others with our message of hope and the good works we engage in.  The Lord’s love in us can create a chain reaction of love and community when we help others.

·       In a world where so much violence is both encouraged and sanctioned by certain “religious groups”, how might you both encourage and support the positive understanding of this commandment?

We can encourage and support the positive understanding of this commandment by being advocates for peace and righteousness. Our motivation is to serve God and our mission is to show others His love through kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. We are to protect those we can and help others to see the wisdom of following the Lord from the peace it brings to our and other people’s lives. 

Psalm Fragment

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore. Psalm 133: 1, 3b

Journal Reflections

·       Reflect on how you keep this commandment. Do you hear only its negative side (do no harm), or does its positive side (do good) cause you to think of your neighbor and his or her needs differently?

As I indicated above, I try to keep this commandment from both its negative side, by trying not to harm anyone, and from its positive side, by doing good, and the best way I can think to do this is to encourage others to put their faith in Jesus and to follow Him.  While I can give to good causes and help people with problems they face as I encounter them in my everyday life, being used by the Lord to bring people into the kingdom of God or to help Christians discover their identity in Christ and the new life they have in Him, has the potential to do infinitely more good than right here and right now as those God blessed activities can spread and bear fruit beyond my limited understanding and reach.

·       Remember times when you withheld love from a neighbor or family member and journal about your reasons. What did it feel like? What, if any, consequences were there? Would you do it differently now?

I have often said that we regret the things we don’t do in part because I can remember times when I had the opportunity to do something good for someone else and because of fear, I decided not to do them.  Instead of being bold, courageous, and faithful, I shrunk away from the opportunity to “DO SOMETHING” – to either protect, defend, encourage, or help others that I have encountered along the path – and in hindsight knew that I could have done more to love my neighbors as myself.  It feels bad when you realize that you chose not to do good, and it convicts me to not drop the ball next time. The reasons of fearing that my efforts would cost me something, or fail to be competent, adequate, or effective that prevented me from action are never comforting when I consider that my actions could have helped.    

·        Are there any friends or family members with whom you are in conflict and you long to be reconciled with? If so, write about steps you can take to begin the process. Take those steps.

Currently, the only person I could say I am in conflict with is my son, Brennan, who is in his twenties and who lives with me with the understanding that he will pay a modest sum each month for rent and utilities. Inexplicably, Brennan made decisions that have caused him to lose his job and now I am in the unenviable position of being the only person in my son’s life that has any power to compel him to do what’s right.   At the beginning of February, I gave him 60 days' notice to get a job and to start paying rent or to move out of my home. Reconciliation is a two-way street, and I can only be reconciled with my son when Brennan chooses to work and pay his way.  In a few days, I will remind Brennan of the obligations of living in my home and encourage him to get a job to meet those requirements.  I am praying for things to change.

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Pray that you may see the world and the people in it with more tenderness.

Lord God, help me to see the world and the people in it, including those I am in conflict with, with more tenderness and to follow You with the way that I respond to them. Help me, Lord.  Amen.

PRAY FOR TODAY

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to keep hatred and contention from my heart and mind, and help me to work on the best for my neighbor.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

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

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Conscience.

1 Timothy 4:2 (NLT2)
2  These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.

Today’s verse falls under the fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

4. A conscience can be seared.

Today’s verse reminds us that people’s consciences can be dead. Romans 1 tells us that our sin changes us.  When we give into sin, if we persist in it, it can harden our hearts to deny that there is anything wrong with what we are doing to the point that our minds become debased and we not only defend our right to sin but then become advocates of evil and encourage others who do the same.  

A look at our society with its sins of the flesh proves that the word of God is true.  Evil begets evil and kills the conscience. 

So don’t let your hearts be hardened toward God and what He tells us about good and evil. Let your heart be afflicted and your eyes be open to the truth of the evil of persistent sins that the world accepts. Turn to the Lord in repentance and let your conscience be restored to His good, pure, and holy ways.  

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

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

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

MORNING READING: MARK 15

“He answered nothing.” – Mark 15:3

Surely, this is where grace in all its divine splendor shines forth!

He who called the world into existence by the utterance of a word, He who upholds the worlds by the word of His power, He who could have asked His Father for more than twelve legions of angels to come to His aid – this One, my blessed Lord, stood in that judgment hall, “bearing shame and scoffing rude”5 and “answered nothing” (v. 3).

Oh, matchless grace, that Jesus there alone
On Calv'ry's cross for sinners should atone:
To such a Friend, a Saviour and a King
Our lives for service we will gladly bring.6[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

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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