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Showing posts with label Acts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acts. Show all posts

Monday, July 19, 2021

Vacation’s Over but the Journey Continues - Purity 474


Vacation’s Over but the Journey Continues 

Purity 474 07/19/2021   Purity 474 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a quaint palm tree patio in San Antonio La Paz, Guatemala comes to us from a friend who just returned from a short-term mission trip there that ministered to a church in the town as well as another outreach location in the mountains near Zacapa, which my photos from two years ago identify as being “in” Jocotan,.  A quick peak at Google maps reveals that, depending on the exact locations, the joint Rock Solid Hudson, - Lighthouse Church- Athens joint missionary expedition covered two areas in Guatemala that were 2 to 3 hours away from one another.  When our churches go on a mission trip, they hit the ground running and often divide into separate teams to seek to do the most good to as many people as possible.

The team of roughly 30 volunteers spent their own money and vacation time to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ in Guatemala all for the glory of God and for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.   While I wasn’t on this year’s trip I can testify to the fact that the work is physically and mentally exhausting at times but the purpose for which we do it, and the fellowship and sense of community that the mission team experiences with the indigenous people and one another, is spiritually and personally rewarding.    

Today is Monday again, and like my friends who are back home from Guatemala, I too will have to readjust to going back to the reality of a regular work week as I spent last week on staycation.  

While I didn’t spend my vacation serving the Lord in Guatemala, I am happy to report that my vacation wasn’t just spent watching TV or doing little projects around the house. While some would have been bothered by last week’s rainy weather it was the perfect weather for my purposes.  I spent the week preparing lessons for a Freedom in Christ class that I plan on teaching in the fall.  I am ecstatic to report that I finished transcribing all the lessons from the course material into notes from which I can teach last night!  While some may lament that I spent all my vacation doing ministry work, I won’t because I was blessed by the material and the sense of accomplishment I felt at finishing the final lesson last evening.  

I have been on the disciple’s path long enough that I experience more joy and happiness from pursing the things of God than I do from the interests and hobbies that I used to have before coming to Christ.   There is just so much more value and enjoyment in pursuing things that will edify my spirit and deepen my relationship with God than there is in the entertainment that the world has to offer.  

But trust me, you want to take your walk with God at your own pace. When you get called by the Lord to follow His lead, you need to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, and you need to walk before you run.  

So have grace on yourself as you seek to turn to the ways of God. You won’t experience the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy if you strive after God in your own strength. Our interactions and understanding with the Lord is a relationship and like all relationships we are going to have to get to know each other and understand how each of us works before we can live in harmony.  

But hey, just because our relationship with God will require some stretching of our limits and require some real soul searching, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth pursuing.  The Lord holds the answers to life and death, and He invites us to explore the mystery of meaning and purpose of who He is and how we are relate to Him.  It’s a never-ending adventure where you can find your self experiencing the wonders of His love halfway around the world or right in the confines of your own home.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  He’ll get you through Monday and every other day of your life. So go at your own pace but set your direction to His way.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 1:11 (NKJV)
11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

 

Today’s verse contains the angelic promise that speaks of the certainty of the return of Jesus Christ to earth.  

As always context is king when we study scripture and today’s verse comes right after Jesus literally “lifted up” to heaven in the event that we call the Ascension.  Can you imagine? Talk about “Beam me up Scotty.”   I’m sure the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” has their own take on this event that involves extra terrestrial beings from distant planets but for those who study the Bible we can surmise the true narrative to be consistent with all of scripture.  

Various passages in the Bible describe a heavenly throne room in a spiritual realm that is beyond earth. I believe I discussed this in Lesson Seven of my recent Bondage Breaker Class so check out the podcast.  But anyway, I briefly discussed what Paul referred to as the “third Heaven” – the place of God’s celestial kingdom. That’s where Jesus went when He ascended and where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. 

This fact is pretty great but what is even greater is that the angels that were present to witness Christ’s Ascension, told the Apostles that Christ would be back.  Any doubts of the angel’s claims that may have developed over time were swept away with some passages in the Apostle’s epistles that confirmed it and when Christ Himself revealed to the Apostle John even more details of His return in the book of Revelation.   

So in this case what went up, will most certainly come down. Christ will return.  And although the imagery in Revelation may confuse if not frighten us as we contemplate “the end times”, we must remember, that for the Christian, the end times are only the beginning of an eternity that will be spent with Jesus in a realm that is described as having no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Rev 21:4).     

So we should take great hope from today’s verse and not worry about Christ’s return. Instead we should rejoice, share the gospel, make disciples, and live a good life knowing that God has a plan, and that Christ could return at any moment.  

The peace of the Lord comes through knowing Him and knowing that He works all things together for good for those who love Him. So stand in the joy of the contemplation of the culmination of His plan and rest in the love that He has poured out on you when He invited you to come into His kingdom forever.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org 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 Chapter 8.

 

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:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

2. Significance. Key Concept: Time

Significance is a time concept. What is forgotten in time is of little significance. What is remembered for eternity is of great significance. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "If any man's work . . . remains, he shall receive a reward" (1 Cor. 3:14). He instructed Timothy: "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness . . . since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:7, 8). If you want to increase your significance, focus your energies on significant activities: those that will remain for eternity.

Stu, the pastor of a small church, attended one of my classes at Talbot School of Theology. He was in his mid-30s and married when he found out he had cancer. The doctors gave him less than two years to live.

One day Stu came to talk to me. "Ten years ago somebody gave a prophecy about me in church," he began. "They said I was going to do a great work for God. I've led a few hundred people to Christ, but I haven't had a great work for God yet. Do you think God is going to heal me so the prophecy can be fulfilled?"

I registered shock by his statement and said, "You've led a few hundred people to Christ and don't think you have accomplished a great work for God? Stu, I know some significant pastors in large churches who can't make that claim. I know some great theologians who have led very few people to Christ. If a few hundred people are believers today because of you, and they have influenced who knows how many other people for Christ, I'd call that a great work for God." Stu is now with the Lord, having completed his significant ministry of reaching hundreds for Christ.

One of the few heroes of my life is Billy Graham. He has been verbally shot at from the right and from the left, but he has remained true to his calling to preach the gospel. One day, several years ago, I happened to see him walking through the lobby of the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. I had never met him before, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I caught up with him and said, "I wanted to meet you, Dr. Graham, even though I'm just a lowly pastor."

He warmly returned my greeting and then brought me up short by saying, "There's no such thing as a lowly pastor."

He was right. There is no such thing as a lowly pastor or a lowly child of God. We are in the significant business of collecting treasures for eternity. What we do and say for Christ in this world, no matter how insignificant it seems, will last forever.


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 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. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, April 2, 2021

Purity 382: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 382 04/02/2021 Purity 382 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of this heavenly sunrise comes from a friend in Easton, New York who has been participating in our discipleship class via the mt4christ247 podcast.  Since taking the class they find themselves waking up early and beginning their day investing in their faith.  This amazing photo is a result of them looking for the peace that can only come from seeking the Lord because before they decided to walk in the Spirit they would have slept in and missed this sight that they called a “Son-rise” as in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  

Today is Good Friday, and although our friend took this photo on 3/16 (YES, as in John 3:16) I purposefully held off sharing it until today because, I felt it was only fitting to share this “Son-rise” on the day when we remember that Christ died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, reconciling to God all those who place their faith in Him.

For those not familiar with John 3:16, I just have to share it:

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

So, now you know. God loves you. He sent Jesus Christ to earth to save us, to give us spiritual life, and to dwell with Him forever.  

While today we remember Christ’s death on the cross, it is even more important to remember that He didn’t stay dead.  Jesus showed He was the Son of God and God the Son by rising from the dead.

His example shows us that we who place our faith in Him will never truly die as we are given spiritual life the moment we believe in Him and we will rise with Him when He returns to reclaim and to renew the earth.  

So although we may be saddened by Christ’s suffering for us, keep your head up because He died so that we could truly live.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

 Today’s verse are the last words that the resurrected Jesus spoke to the Apostles before ascending to heaven.  Prior to this He instructed the Apostles to wait for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to be empowered to be witnesses of Jesus and to share His good news to the ends of the earth.  

 All believers receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit when they place their faith in Jesus.   So we all have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us through our conscience and intuition. We also can have a deep sense of His presence when we commune with God in prayer, worship, or Bible study. 

 The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sins and lead us to repentance. He can also lead us into all truth through revelations from God’s word that give us deeper understanding of our faith and can help us to discern the spiritual aspects in life.  Sometimes He can also reveal to us things that are to come as we receive words of knowledge or intuitions of assurances of outcomes that are later proven to be founded in truth that we can’t fully understand. 

 The Holy Spirit will guide those who seek His presence, wisdom, strength by asking for His Infilling.  But when we are attempting to follow the Holy Spirit we do have to be careful that we are not being deceived by ourselves or the enemy. 

 The Holy Spirit can and will do amazing things in your relationship with Him but there are things He will not do:

 He will never contradict the Word of God or the principles in the Word of God.

 So, if you are getting “a word from the spirit”, that leads you into sin or into confusion you can only conclude that you have been deceived or have deceived yourself. 

 The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to glorify the work of Jesus Christ. That’s why the Apostles had to wait to receive His baptism: to be empowered for ministry.  The evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power in the Apostle’s lives was the incredible growth of the church that followed their receiving the Holy Spirit’s baptism.   

 So as we seek to walk in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit should lead us into a life that glorifies God and the work and wisdom of Jesus Christ specifically.   The Holy Spirit’s power in our lives will be evidenced by our personal progressive sanctification and the good works that we do to build up the body of Christ and to welcome others into God’s kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ.   

 So follow the Holy Spirit’s leadings, ask Him for an infilling of His power when you need it, but be sure to be discerning so that you aren’t led astray by your own ideas or counterfeit thoughts that come from the world or the enemy.   

 We are not perfect, and we may make mistakes along the way but as long as we make sure that the guidance we take lines us with the word of God and its wisdom we can know that we are walking with the Spirit in the direction of God’s plan for our lives.

 I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

E. How to Recover, Using 10 Spiritual Steps

True freedom must first be gained in the spiritual realm before it can be experienced in the physical, emotional, and relational realms. Take to heart the following steps as you walk down the road to recovery, which is the same road Josh Hamilton traveled.

Without a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, Josh believes he never could have become sober and drug free. In Josh's own words: "I went through eight different drug treatment and rehabilitation clinics, but my personal resurrection did not come from a group session or a therapist's couch. I know the twelve steps by heart, but my healing did not come from a strict adherence to those principles. Instead, my life changed from hopeless to hope-filled when I turned to God and asked for His help. I recognized my failings and, most important, my inability to heal myself"

Josh is fully aware of the truth of the following Scripture. ...

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:26)

  1. Decide, the time to begin your recovery is today.

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts ..." (Hebrews 3:15).

  1. Realize, recovery is a lifelong process, not a onetime event.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Philippians 3:12).

  1. Pray daily for victory! It is through prayer that God protects you.

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).

  1. Read your Bible every day in order to get strength from God.

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word" (Psalm 119:28).

  1. Meditate on Scripture to fight against falling into sin.

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).

  1. Attend church every week to worship God and to grow with others.

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together... but encouraging one another ..." (Hebrews 10:24-25).

  1. Share your struggles with caring loved ones.

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16).

  1. Have confidence in God! Prioritize growing in your relationship with Him.

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).

  1. Depend on Christ's strength to stay drug free.

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).

  1. Know that permanent change is possible.

"Jesus looked at them and said, '... with God all things are possible'" (Matthew 19:26).

His Supernatural Power

Question: "I am a recovering addict but I've continued to relapse. Recently, I've become a Christian, and now I feel that God has delivered me. Is that possible?"

Answer: Some Christians do receive a supernatural deliverance from drugs, while others do not. No matter which is true in your case, by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, there is good news for you. When you received authentic salvation, you not only were saved from the penalty of sin, but were also saved from the power of sin. Drugs are no longer your master — Jesus is now your Master. Although this struggle may be a target for spiritual attack or a weakness of past sinful patterns, through the power of Christ living in you, you can rely on His power to overcome temptation by making right decisions after right decisions after right decisions. ...

"We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. ... For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."
(Romans 6:6, 14)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship