Showing posts with label 20 Cans of Success. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 20 Cans of Success. Show all posts

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth

The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

Lesson 3 Podcast: Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth Podcast

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3: Choosing to Believe the Truth  

Questions before instruction for contemplation : Do you believe that an atheist has more or less faith than a Christian? What about a Hindu or a Muslim? What about someone who “just doesn’t know”?   

 Focus Verse:

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Objective: To understand that everyone lives by faith in something or someone and that faith in God is no more than finding out what is already actually true and choosing to believe and act on it.   

Focus Truth: God is truth. Find out what He said is true and choose to believe it, whether it feels true or not, and your Christian life will be transformed.  


Ephesians 3:16-19 (NKJV)
16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) 17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Faith Is Simply Believing What Is Already True

 The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

Faith is just finding out what is already true and making a choice to believe it

Faith is simply recognizing what is already actually true.

Hebrews 13:7 (ESV) 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 

Everyone Lives and Operates by Faith 

The Critical Issue Is Who or What We Believe In  

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


Pause for Thought 1


“If you want to know what someone really believes, don’t listen to what they say, but look at what they actually do.” Spend some time thinking about or discussing this thought with others. 

God asks us to believe what the Bible says is true, even when it might not feel true. Share about a time when you chose to override your feelings and acted by faith instead. 

“It takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe in God.” What do you think about this statement?   


M.T. Clark's Testimony: 

As you get to know that God, the object of your faith, really can be trusted with absolutely anything, you will trust Him for bigger and bigger things. But start where you are right now.

Have you ever wondered how Abraham could contemplate sacrificing his son Isaac? He had come to learn through experience that God was loving and could be trusted.

You start with what God has said is true and you choose to believe it. Don’t start with what you feel — you’ll be all over the place! You don’t feel your way into good behavior — you behave your way into good feelings. Your feelings will follow in due course.

I’m not at the Abraham level of faith yet but as I look back I can see that God has deliberately engineered circumstances to build my faith. If I look back to the when I first got saved, for example, I can see that the Lord led me on a journey that increased my faith. I had a lot of problems that I was hoping God would help me with. I found it a frustrating process because I didn’t seem to make much progress at first. I knew Jesus was the answer for my problems, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what I should do apart from praying for God to take my problems away and that didn’t seem to change anything.

Of my many problems, I would say the most obvious one was my drinking problem. Unfortunately, although I asked God to instantly take it away from me. It didn’t work that way.  

But One day I was serving in my local church when the pastor made an announcement that they were starting a recovery ministry. I sensed that God was telling me that this new ministry was for me and to put my pride aside and to go to the first meeting.

Odd really — but I took a small step of faith and went. The pastor who ran it actually thought I came to the first meeting to volunteer to help with the ministry because I was a Bible college student and a member of the worship team. But I explained that I wasn’t there to help but to get help.  

That was the start of a radical change in the direction of my life as it turned out — I had no idea at the time. I made it through the program but thought that I still had work to do to truly discover the freedom in Christ that others talked about having.

Later I discovered Neil Anderson’s book the Bondage Breaker and it made a lot of sense. I was intrigued with a process in the back called “The Steps to Freedom in Christ” which claimed to help people resolve personal and spiritual conflicts. Every story in the Bondage Breaker, ends with people being set free by doing the Steps to Freedom in Christ, so when I got to the end, I knew that I wanted to try the Steps for myself.

I prayed through the Steps as instructed and I really felt the chains coming off as I dedicated myself to God’s kingdom and renounced all the bondages of the past.  When I was done I was surprised by the silence I had in my thought life. All the condemning thoughts that I was used to were gone! I had a mental stillness and clarity that I had never really known.  I was free and I knew it.  

Since then I was given the authority over the recovery ministry and decided that our local church community, those who needed recovery or not, would be better served by learning to realize their freedom in Christ. So I started a Community Freedom Ministry under the authority of our local church leadership and with the guidance and training from Dr. Neil Anderson’s Freedom in Christ Ministries. A CFM teaches the freedom message that is based on the word of God and is found in Dr. Anderson’s best-selling books, where we encourage people to claim their freedom as Christians by going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.      

As I look back at all that I have walked through to come to this point, it really helps my faith. I now know that I never need to manipulate events but can trust God to deliver what He promises. I just need to wait. God has been gracious enough to me to show me clearly that He is real. I think He is ready to do that in all our lives. We simply start where we are and do what He has told us to do no matter how small it seems.


Pause for Thought 2


What are some of the ways our faith grows?

In what circumstances or season in your life have you noticed your faith grow the most?

What are some of the ways you have discovered that help you get to know God better?   


Faith is Demonstrated by Actions

James 2:17-18 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 No matter what we say, it’s what we do that shows what we really believe.

M. T. Clark's Faith in Action 

When my marriage failed and it became clear that I was to divorce, a lot of things were unpleasant, and the future was uncertain.  When out divorce agreement was finally signed, I realized that the conditions were not in my favor, and I was going to have to figure out a way to pay support and find a new place to live for me and my kids to call home. 

The financial burdens from attorney fees, debt, and support payments made it necessary to get a second job.  I also had to help my teenage children learn to drive, one of which was suffering from diabetes and was in therapy because of the instability in their life caused by both their parent’s divorce and difficulties with a personal relationship with their significant other. In the same time period, the other child saw their dreams of starring in their high school musical and figuring out their future after high school go up in smoke because of the shutdowns and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though I didn’t know what was to become of myself and my children, I put my faith in the Lord and prayed everyday to give me the strength to carry on and to help deliver us from the toxic environment we were living in.   

As I worked two jobs, I encouraged my children the best I could and helped them get their licenses which was really needed because I was so busy with work.  The second job provided much needed income to help me to start a plan to get money for down payment and closing costs for a new house.  My meager planning would have resulted in my being able to begin to look for a house in June of 2020. 

But God, in the 9 months from October 2019 and June of 2020, the Lord strengthen and guided me to trust His still small voice to do things and to make financial moves that I didn’t really understand at the time but ultimately resulted in all my legal fees to being paid, the obligation to pay a portion of my ex’s legal fees to be paid, for all my personal debt to be paid, to provide for enough money for a down payment and closing costs to a new house, along with money to pay for needed repairs and renovations to the new place, along with new furniture for the new place.  

While my plans would have, allowed me to begin looking for a new house in June 2020, God’s plan had me essentially debt free and moving into a new house on the 25th of June, my birthday, in 2020, all during the Covid 19 pandemic.  

Oh by the way, I was also working on my master’s degree in Christian counseling during all this, eventually finishing my master’s thesis in my new home on October 31st, 2020.  I celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, or Reformation Day, knowing the full power of the Lord’s ability to take a seemingly hopeless situation and to turn it around for His glory.

My children and I now have a home that is defined by peace and stability. My one child no longer needs therapy, and both are currently flourishing and are enrolled in college.  

While I don’t know where our futures will take us, I know that I will continue to have faith and trust the Lord to be with us wherever we go.  

So, you can see that the question of how much faith you have is in your hands. It all depends on choosing to believe the truth and putting it into practice. 

If you want to know what you really believe, look at what you do

The outcome of your Christian life is in your hands.


The truth is that there’s no one here who can’t become a mature, fruitful disciple. There’s no one here who can’t resist temptation, get out of hopelessness, leave behind negative behavior and past influences and move on. You don’t need some special anointing from God or others. You just need to know what is already true, choose to believe it, and act on it. 

Now, we have another list of truths from the Bible that will help us with this. It’s called The Twenty “Cans” Of Success and I have provided it as a handout. Let’s read it aloud together. 

1.    Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength? (Phil 4:13)

2.    Why should I lack when I know that God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?  (Phil 4:19)

3.    Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind? (2 Tim. 1:7)

4.    Why should I lack faith to fulfill my calling knowing that God has allotted to me a measure of faith? (Rom12:3)

5.    Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God?  (PS 27:1)

6.    Why should I allow Satan supremacy over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)

7.    Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in triumph? (2 Cor 2:14)

8.    Why should I lack wisdom when Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it? (1 Cor 1:30, James 1:5)

9.    Why should I be depressed when I can recall to mind God’s loving kindness, compassion, and faithfulness and have hope? (Lam 3:21-23)

10. Why should I worry and fret when I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me? (1 Peter 5:7)

11. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom?  (Gal 5:1)

12. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says I am not condemned because I am in Christ? (Rom 8:1)

13. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me? (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5)

14. Why should I feel accursed or that I am the victim of bad luck when the Bible says that Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit?  (Gal 3:13-14)

15. Why should I be discontented when I, like Paul, can learn to be content in all my circumstances? (Phil 4:11)

16. Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin on my behalf that I might become the righteousness of God in Him? (2 Cor 5:21)

17. Why should I have a persecution complex knowing that nobody can be against me when God is for me?  (Rom 8:31)

18. Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace, and He gives me knowledge through His indwelling Spirit? (1 Cor 2:12; 14:33)

19. Why should I feel like a failure when I am a conqueror in all things through Christ? (Rom 8:37)

20. Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its tribulations? (John 16:33)

We’ll have one more list to share with you later in the course. Keep in mind that there’s nothing magical about reading these lists out. The truth in them will only have an effect on your life to the extent that you decide to believe it. But reading the lists out loud — as soon as you wake up in the morning for several weeks — is a great way to commit yourself to affirm and believe the truth. Many people have said that their lives have been completely transformed just by doing that.

Elijah said: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

Will you take this opportunity to make a new commitment to base your life completely on what God says is true, regardless of your feelings and regardless of the opinions of others?


 Objective: To help people grasp the truths in the “20 Cans of Success” list at a deeper level.

Read the 20 Cans of Success. Pause after each one and ask yourself why that truth is or could be particularly meaningful to you.  

Which truth is most significant to you? Write it down and personalize it, for example, “Why should I, MT, say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?  Take time to digest and enjoy this truth, asking God to help you receive it in your spirit.   



Think of someone you know who is not yet a Christian. What does the Bible say about why they don’t yet believe see 2 Corinthians 4:4, Romans 10:14-14)? 

Write a prayer you could pray that specifically asks God to do something about the things that are stopping them from believing. Then take God at his word and pray it.

In the Coming Week:

Every Day Read the 20 “Cans” of Success List out loud. Then pick one of the truths that is particularly appropriate to you and make a decision to believer it regardless of your feelings or circumstances. If you can find a way of stepping out in faith some practical way based on that truth, so much better! 


 Thank You for your interest! 

We pray that you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior of your life and will now choose to believe the Truth of God's Word and live by acting on it. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Put Your Hands Up: Surrender to God, Surrender to Victory - Purity 463

Put Your Hands Up: Surrender to God, Surrender to Victory

Purity 463 07/056/2021  Purity 463 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of the silhouettes of three women on the shores of Cap Cod at sunset comes to us from our friends at SK Photography & Design as they recently vacationed there with family.   While they captured the heavenly light of sunset in the sky and reflected on the waters of the Atlantic and sand below, they also caught three creations made in God’s image enjoying where the Lord placed them at this moment in time.  One of the party of three was so moved by their experience of the glory of their surroundings that they raised their hands to the sky in triumph.   

I share this photo because I love the view, but I also love the inherent joy that is visibly expressed in the one subject’s raising of hands.  We don’t know what that person’s narrative is but there is a freedom of expression of emotion on display here that we could all learn from.  

We could all imagine different stories of why this woman is raising her hands to the sky and whatever story we tell would reflect something about ourselves. 

We could imagine that she was in remission to cancer.

We could imagine that she had recently graduated from school or university.

We could imagine she recently left a bad relationship. 

We could imagine she had just suffered the loss of a loved one and was celebrating life in honor of them.

We could imagine she was celebrating overcoming addiction or some other personal struggle.

We could imagine she was just enjoying a vacation or a day off rather than working.

We could imagine she was just a free spirit who raises their hands to virtually everything.

We could even imagine that she was celebrating her relationship with God through her faith in Jesus Christ.  

As amazing as all those different possibilities may seem to ponder, perhaps the most amazing possibility is that her story could encompass elements of all the above!

Our lives are not one dimensional. Each of our lives are a robust blending of our personal histories, our education, and our individual experiences.  So as preposterous it may seem to say that someone had gone through all of that, I am sure there are people alive today that could check off every box on our list of experiences as life is a journey that can go through the deepest valleys of despair to the highest heights of joy.  

No matter how different each of our life journeys can be, there is one thing that is true of all of us: we have all been made in God’s image and He deeply cares for and loves each one of us.  

Our life experiences may have been filled with a good deal of suffering, but the Lord sent Jesus Christ to give us an example of His understanding of the pains of life and to make a way for all of us to overcome and to be reconciled with the One who made heaven and earth.  

So raise your hands in exaltation that you’re still standing. Raise your hands for all you have accomplished and all you have overcome.  Raise your hands at the beauty of this world and all the good you have experienced.    But remember that you were never alone. God was watching your walk every step of the way and He was patiently waiting for you to come to Him.  

The Lord is all knowing and ever present. There is nothing about you and your life that He doesn’t know. He offers wisdom and strength through His word. He offers comfort and healing for your pain. He offers forgiveness and eternal life in His presence through faith in Jesus Christ.     

So rejoice over all that the Lord has provided. Make peace with Him by making Christ the Lord of your life and by following where He leads. Throw your hands up to the Father and surrender to the new life He has for you.

You may have had to fight to survive but with Christ the war is over. When we surrender to Him, we surrender to victory.  

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

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This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NKJV)
12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.


Today’s verse encourages us to live our lives according to God’s way with the promise that we will participate in His kingdom and glory.  

Often in our Christian faith, there many who proclaim to believe in Jesus Christ and the word of God but their walk through this world is defined by sin and suffering.  Unfortunately, I was one of these people for years.  

I believed in Jesus Christ with my mind and my heart after I got saved in 2010 but somehow I had some huge blind spots in terms of how to walk worthy of the call of God. 

My limited understanding of faith from my liturgical upbringing had put religion in a box that would only be opened on Sundays and holidays.  After I became born again, I ripped that box open to include Bible study, mid-week services, prayer, and serving in the church to the expression of my faith and my efforts to develop my relationship with God.  

However, my enslavement to certain sins of the flesh seemed absolute and I assumed God knew that about me and that He was gracious enough to accept me anyway but certainly didn’t expect me to change.   

But my efforts to develop a relationship with the Lord worked and His communications to me encouraged me to trust Him with more and more of my life. I loved the Lord so much for rescuing me from perdition that I wanted to walk worthy of God’s call on my life, and I slowly started taking more and more steps in His direction.  

When I first came to faith in Christ, I thought that salvation was more than I could hope for, and I was happy to have it.  But God called me to life for a reason, He wanted me to enjoy all the benefits of being in His kingdom and knew that He supplied me with everything I needed to give Him glory.   

Eleven years later, my testimony includes overcoming a lot of those sins of the flesh, my addictions, and broken relationships. It includes serving the Lord in my local church and missions, foreign and domestic.  It includes graduated from Bible College, getting my master’s degree in Christian Counseling, and serving as a teacher of recovery, spiritual warfare, and Christian Discipleship. I did none, and do none, of the above because of me. I did it all for God’s glory because I had a heartfelt desire and a divine calling to walk worthy of Him.   

So now I endeavor to encourage others to walk worthy of the calling of God by adopting the path of Christian Discipleship for their lives. I know that walking worthy of God results in personal sanctification and victory but more importantly walking the disciple’s path that the Lord prepares for us allows us to experience our membership in God’s kingdom and to give Him glory.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Answer His call to walk worthy of Him.


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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 6.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

If You Believe You Can, You Can

If you think you are beaten—you are.

If you think you dare not—you don't.

If you want to win but think you can't,

It is almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose—you've lost.

For out of the world we find

That success begins with a fellow's will;

It's all in the state of mind.

Life's battles don't always go

To the stronger or the faster man;

But sooner or later the man that wins

Is the one who thinks he can.

Consider what the world has accomplished just by believing in itself. How much more could we accomplish if we really believed in God? The Christian community has been somewhat reluctant to buy into the power of positive thinking, and for good reason. We are not called to just think positive thoughts; we are called to think the truth. Without God as the object of our faith, thinking is merely a function of the mind that cannot exceed its input and attributes. Attempting to push the mind beyond its limitations will result only in moving from the world of reality to fantasy.

The Christian, however, has far greater potential for success in life through the power of believing the truth. Belief incorporates the mind, but is not limited by it. Faith actually transcends the limitations of the mind and incorporates the real but unseen world. The believer's faith is as valid as its object, which is the living (Christ) and written (Bible) Word of God. If you have the infinite God of the universe as the object of your Christian faith, you can go wherever God leads you.

Someone has said that success comes in "cans" and failure in "cannots." Believing you can live a victorious Christian life takes no more effort than believing you cannot. So why not believe that you can walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, that you can resist the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and that you can grow as a Christian. It is your choice. The following "Twenty Cans of Success," taken from God's Word, will expand your knowledge of our faith object: the almighty God. Building your faith by internalizing these truths will lift you from the miry clay of the cannots to sit with Christ in the heavenlies.

Twenty Cans of Success

  1. Why should I say I can't when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13)?
  1. Why should I worry about my needs when I know that God will take care of all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19)?
  1. Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)?
  1. Why should I lack faith to live for Christ when God has given me a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)?
  1. Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God (Psalm 27:1; Daniel 11:32)?
  1. Why should I allow Satan control over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)?
  1. Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in victory (2 Cor. 2:14)?
  1. Why should I lack wisdom when I know that Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it (1 Cor. 1:30; James 1:5)?
  1. Why should I be depressed when I have hope and can recall to mind God's loving-kindness, compassion and faithfulness (Lament. 3:21-23)?
  1. Why should I worry and be upset when I can cast all my anxieties on Christ who cares for me (1 Peter 5:7)?
  1. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that there is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is (2 Cor. 3:17)?
  1. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)?
  1. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)?
  1. Why should I feel as if I'm cursed or have bad luck when the Bible says that Christ rescued me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit by faith (Galatians 3:13, 14)?
  1. Why should I be unhappy when I, like Paul, can learn to be content whatever the circumstances (Phil. 4:11)?
  1. Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin for me so that I might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21)?
  1. Why should I feel helpless in the presence of others when I know that if God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)?
  1. Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace and He gives me knowledge through His spirit who lives in me (1 Cor. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:33)?
  1. Why should I feel like a failure when I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loved me (Romans 8:37)?
  1. Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems (John 16:33)?

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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


God bless you all!


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Purity 323: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 Purity 323 01/24/2021

Good morning!

Today’s sunset photo on the Pacific comes from our friend in California’s recent excursion to Rodeo Beach.   They stayed until the sun dipped into the ocean and I’m glad they did.  

I share it because I thought it a fitting farewell shot as I don’t normally post on Sundays, and this will be the last time for the foreseeable future as my church’s corporate fast comes to an end today after our morning service.    

Today is also the last entry from Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Twenty “Cans” of Success”, as we began sharing it a day after the fast started and it has now also come to completion.

20. Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems (John 16:33)? 

 Our success is built on knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems.  

 When our faith is in Christ, the truth that He has overcome the world and will one day return to reclaim it should be a constant source of peace and hope upon which we can walk through the various circumstances of life with confidence. 

 Christ is a living reality in our lives that can be enjoyed everyday until He comes back or calls us home.  So draw near to Him and experience the peace of His presence.

 Sunday is the Christian’s “sabbath”, which means to rest.  I, for one, will do that in earnest as the fast has been a rewarding experience both physically and spiritually but after three weeks without food, I am going to thank the Lord for what He has provided and partake in some baby back ribs!  

 I encourage all who read this to praise and worship the Lord today at your church or in your own way. 

 To adhere to Covid-19 guidelines for safety after possible exposure, Rock Solid will be having a virtual service again this week.   You can join us for service online at 10am at

the Rock Solid Church YouTube channel at:

(There is More at the restricted blog. Follow me on Twitter or MeWe for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

It being Sunday, I am going to give myself a rest from the second portion of the blog today. 

It is my prayer that all who see this have a wonderful day and to use part of it to worship the Lord in their own way.  

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


God bless you all!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Purity 322: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 Purity 322 01/23/2021 

Good morning!

Today’s photo takes brings us a little closer to home as a friend captured this shot while on a trip to the Saugerties Lighthouse in Ulster County. 

I don’t usually share photos that feature buildings really as I prefer to highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation, but I absolutely love the surrealistic cinematic feel that my friend captured here with the angles of the decking, juxtaposed with the lighthouse, the Hudson river, and the clouds that seemed to just all come together to give an equally inspiring or ominous impression, depending on your perspective.

Scenes like this just remind me that sometimes we just have to go out there and see what we can find.  Although the temperatures are going to drop locally, it is my hope that my friends make the most of their weekend and if you should be brave enough to seek new sights, we would encourage you to share them.  

Today I continue to share Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Twenty “Cans” of Success”, to encourage my friends that are fasting as well as those who aren’t.  

19. Why should I feel like a failure when I am more than a conqueror through Christ, who loved me (Romans 8:37)?

 Our success comes measuring ourselves from God’s perspective.   

 This world is filled with wealth. It is also filled with beautiful and talented people.   Beyond the ultra-rich, beautiful, and talented people, there are those that simply seem to have a little more in those departments than we do.  So it is very easy to either envy others for their accomplishments, talents, beauty, and wealth or to lament that we don’t have what they have.   When we compare ourselves with others that have more of certain qualities or possessions than we do, we can feel like utter failures.  

 When faced with these feelings of failure, we either strive to obtain what they have, despair, or accept our lives for what they are and be content.  The last option seems like the best choice but without a relationship with God it might be the most dangerous option of the three. 

 If we strive to obtain riches, knowledge, power, or beauty, there is the hope that somewhere in that search to achieve, the realization will come that none of these things can provide the satisfaction that we are looking for and it could result in seeking meaning and truth. In a way, this was my path to the Lord.

 If you despair, you are emotionally raw but there is hope for you.  As someone who was depressed due to a traumatic loss for a few years, I know that part of that dread and sadness is the search to find meaning in a seemingly cold and heartless world.  

 You can wallow in depression for a long time. You can try medication or use drugs, alcohol, and sex to try to give you comfort and be locked in a cycle of negative feelings and emotions that are interrupted by passing euphoria.   But hopefully, the depressed person will eventually look past themselves to a higher meaning to life.

 Some don’t. They determine that this world is meaningless and focus all their attention on comforting themselves. They tend to constantly change the circumstances in their lives to make themselves happy. Trips, new possessions, new clothes, and new hair styles, and new hobbies are all used to cope. They can have seasons of joy and peace but tend to relapse during dark seasons, explaining to others that they have be excused because that is simply the way they are. 

 The path of despair was mine too.  But thankfully, I looked past my self for truth and meaning, and after many years of being on the wrong path, I found what I was looking for.

 However, the third option, those being content without God, is the most spiritually dangerous choice.  Those who have decided that they are content are generally considered to be good, peaceful, and stable individuals. Some may be kind and generous. But if they are so content with their day-to-day existence and have decided that this world is all there is, or that God is so mysterious and confusing that they will just assume that they are right with God because they didn’t murder anyone or they did more good than bad, they will have kept themselves outside of God’s grace that is provided by Christ alone. 

 Their funeral will generally be well attended, or not, and will usually have a “prayer card” that is sentimental poem about life, smiles, happy thoughts, nature, or leaving pleasant memories behind, but there will be no mention of God and it will bear subtly witness to their spiritual condition.  Really no mention of God at all? No thanks for the life He’s given you or the blessings you’ve enjoyed? No mention of Jesus and the gift of eternal life He has given?

 We can’t judge the departed because God’s grace is amazing and we can repent and turn to Him in a moment, but Christ said that if we don’t acknowledge Him before man, He will not acknowledge us before God.

 So if your striving, despairing, or content, realize that all of these conditions are temporary and without a relationship to God through faith in Jesus Christ, they each are paths that have dire eternal spiritual consequences.  

 I say all this in love because I was lost for the vast majority of my life and I discovered the assurance of salvation and new spiritual life in Christ and it has positively transformed my life.

 In my experience, when you earnestly seek truth and meaning with an open heart and open mind, God will reveal Himself to you. 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 118:17 (NKJV)
17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD.

 The context of today’s verse is that of a psalmist that has a deep trust and faith in the Lord that has been strengthened by the opposition they faced and the Lord’s protection that was provided.   Previous verses speak of being surrounded by nations that desired to kill them, but the Lord provided protection, strength, and deliverance.   

 Everyone who has put their trust and faith in Christ should be able the echo the psalmist’s sentiments that we “shall not die, but live” for Christ has given us eternal life.  

 But will you “declare the works of the Lord”?   That is the question.  If we are in a harmonious relationship with the Lord through our faith in Christ, declaring His works should be a natural expression of our faith.   As Romans 1:16 says, we should “not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ”.  We should declare it. 

 For me, I really don’t have a choice for the more I surrendered to the Lord in my ten-year journey since being born again, the more He has demonstrated His presence, love, and power in my life.  He has delivered me from what the world and my flesh warped me into being.  He has taken me from a broken life and has put me into a new life.  My testimony of His goodness and faithfulness doesn’t end because He is ever present and eternally faithful, and I have sworn to walk in His ways and seek Him continually. 

 So I not only will not die, because I am His, but I shall live to declare the works of the Lord.

 I encourage all who read this to surrender to Him and go where He leads you.

 Today we continue chapter 10 of Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

Commit Yourself to Overcome Every Loss

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ (Phil. 3:7, 8).

Reactive depression is different from lifestyle depression in that it is triggered by some specific event or loss. This can be a real loss, an imagined one or simply a negative thought (lie) that is believed. Recall that Elijah's downward spiral began when he believed a lie and gave the wicked Jezebel more power in his life than God.

We all experience losses. How we handle any crisis will determine how fast we recover from the loss and how well we conform to the image of God. The following steps, adapted from Dr. Archibald Hart, will help you overcome your losses:

1. Identify and understand each loss

Most losses are easy to recognize, but some aren't. Changing jobs or moving to a new location can precipitate a depression. Even though both could be an improvement in social status and potential lifestyle, something was lost in the move. The move could break an attachment to old friends, familiar places or comfortable working conditions. The loss of a job could also include the loss of wages, social status, respect, etc.

People don't react the same to losses, because they have different values and different levels of maturity. To move out of denial and into the grieving process, you must understand what you are losing or have already lost. A person could be depressed because he didn't get the job he hoped for, or the promotion he wanted. Some have planned their lives to go a certain way, and now their dreams for the future have been dashed.

2. Separate the concrete from the abstract

Concrete losses can be seen, touched, measured and clearly defined. Abstract losses refer to personal goals, dreams and ideas. Overcoming concrete losses is usually easier because they are more definable. They vary from losing a card game to losing a leg. Most wouldn't be very depressed about losing a card game, but if you were representing the United States in the world bridge championships and you lost the final game, it could be very depressing.

Abstract losses relate deeply to who we are and why we are here. Many concrete losses, such as the loss of a job, are contaminated with abstract losses. You could probably find a new job next week, but remain depressed because you feel the pain of rejection and think you are a failure. That is why it is so important to understand who we are in Christ, and to find our acceptance, security and significance in Him.

3. Separate real, imagined and threatened losses

You cannot process an imagined or threatened loss in the same way you can a real one. In a real loss you can face the truth, grieve the loss and make the necessary changes that make it possible to go on living in a meaningful way.

4. Convert imagined and threatened losses to real losses

Imagined losses are distortions of reality. They are based on suspicions or lies we have believed, or on presumptions we have made. The mind wants to assume certain things when we don't know the facts and suspect that something may be in the works. Seldom does the mind assume the best.

We don't always act upon our assumptions, but if we do we shall be counted among the fools because "through presumption comes nothing but strife" (Proverbs 13:10). It is more common to ruminate on various possibilities and consequences in our minds until we are depressed. The answer is to verify these assumptions, then follow Peter's advice: "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:7, 8, NIV).

Threatened losses have the potential for being real losses. They include such things as the possibility of a layoff at work, or a spouse who threatens to leave you. Such threats can precipitate a depression, but because there is at the present no finality to the loss, it cannot be processed.

Sometimes it helps to imagine what the worst-case scenario may be, and then ask yourself the question, "Can I live with it?" This is part of preparing yourself for impermanence. We all face potential losses. No other person has the right to determine who you are, and cannot keep you from being the person God created you to be. So when someone threatens you, respond the way Peter advises:

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:13-17, NIV).

These are growth issues, not terminal ones, if you are viewing life from an eternal perspective. What is the worst thing that could happen to you? You could die. But is that intolerable? Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21). Put anything else in the formula, and the result is loss. If "For me to live is my health," then to die would be loss. If "For me to live is my family," then to die would be loss. This is not a license to commit suicide. It is a liberating truth that allows us to live responsible lives. The person who is free from the fear of death is free to live today.

Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.


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


God bless you all!