Labels

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

Monday, December 13, 2021

Fully Engaged Life of Presence – Walking in the Spirit = Purity 600

Fully Engaged Life of Presence – Walking in the Spirit =  Purity 600

Purity 600 12/13/2021 Purity 600 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a roadside shot of Old Glory on the outskirts of the village of Castleton-on- the Hudson NY comes to us from yours truly as the Spirit led me to pull over and to grab a quick pic of what was a stunning sunset view on the way home Friday.  What isn’t clear in this picture is the fact that NY State Thruway Bridge that goes over the Hudson was perfectly silhouetted in the distance and is barely discernable on the horizon here.  

Sometimes in life you just have to be there and no matter how we try to convey to others the beauty or the significance of our experiences, our best efforts to share them pale in comparison what they were.   

As someone who attempts to encourage others to seek the Lord and to live in the mystery of His presence on a continual basis, I often try to convince others of the subtle but significant difference that a life of faith and walking in the Spirit can make.  

Ironically, even though I try to live my life in the Lord’s presence and make a habit of “walking and talking with God” on a daily basis, I sometimes forget just how magnificent life can be as I approach situations with an open heart and an open mind and just go where the Spirit leads me.  

When you are walking in the Spirit you will just stop and look around to see where the Lord has brought you, you will stop on a roadside to appreciate the beauty of the moment, and you will surrender to the moment to enjoy the company of friends or family where you will discuss the things of God or just to express your care, concern, or appreciation for their presence in your life.  

This idea and realization of the “fully engaged life” of presence really was highlighted yesterday as I went from one interaction to another just enjoying being alive, appreciating the Lord for who He is, and loving the people in my life.   

I start the days early, like insanely early, but I don’t drag myself out of bed because my risings are full of purpose as I use the first part of each day to thank the Lord for my life and all I have and then to reflect on and share my experience with others via the blog and podcast.  

This rich and dynamic life in the Spirit never fails to provide me with something to say about the goodness of God or to point to how our Christian faith can be utilized to help us to connect with the Lord and guide us through life.

Yesterday, on Sundays, I don’t blog and just found myself listening to some pop music via Amazon Music and was struck by a few things.  I look for the good in things and was able to find a few pop songs whose lyrics weren’t profane or self-aggrandizing which spoke about love and how people need each other.  But I also found a disturbing amount of songs that lamented that the difficulties of human relationships caused the artists to come to the conclusion that they were better off alone.  

The range from desperately needing someone’s love to deciding one was better off alone painted a picture of a before and after experience of trying to meet all our needs for happiness in other people. 

While God provides us with others to love and live with, we were never intended to find our fulfillment in our human relationships.  Life is a journey from birth to death and beyond and if we consider eternity we can realize that if we are only focusing on what will make us happy from birth to death, we are missing something.  We must consider what happens after death and seek to find a fulfillment that will carry us into the days and eons beyond this life.  The only way we can do that is to come into a relationship with the Creator of all things. 

So our search for fulfillment requires that we seek meaning and purpose for our entire experience: our mental, physical, relational, and spiritual lives that go beyond the here and now.  

God has provided us a way to have peace with Him now: faith in Jesus Christ.  Our reconciliation with God through faith in Christ provides us with the forgiveness of our sins and the reception of a new spiritual life that will never perish.  When we receive the gift of a new life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we can live free of fear and share the love that the Lord has poured into us.  We can appreciate God’s creation and everything He provides us with: the people, places, and things He has put in our lives.  

So it was within that context that  I went from one experience to the next yesterday enjoying the conversations, the travel, the worship, the food (yes the cookies), and the relationships.  I spoke to my fiancĂ© about how awesome it was just to be in her presence and to go where ever the day led us, knowing that the Lord has brought us together and we can now take the love we have for Him and one another and just “keep going” wherever He leads us.    

I was “present” with my friends, family, and Lord yesterday and it made the day simply wonderful. 

So, I know its Monday and the stress of a new work week and a quickly approaching Christmas may be upon you, but I would like to encourage you to take a moment to draw close to your Lord in prayer today and to ask Him to help you keep Him and His wisdom, guidance, and strength at the forefront of your mind as you go about your day.   When you consider the things of God and apply His wisdom to your walk, you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to experience His presence and peace moment to moment. 

Peace on earth can begin with you drawing close to the Lord in gratitude and humility.  When your eyes are opened to all He has done and is doing in the world, you can find peace and be motivated to love your life and everyone in your path.  

So either start or keeping walking and talking with God. The word refers to Jesus Christ as our Emmanuel, God with us.  When you walk and talk with Him, you can know and experience just how true that is. God is with us.  So enjoy His presence and keep going with Him.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 16:31 (NLT2)

31  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”


Today’s verse reminds us of the means of our salvation and the impact that our lives can have on those around us.   

Now while this verse is often used to give people assurance that God can save your entire family, and frankly is sometimes preached that God WILL save your entire family,  I feel compelled to point to the whole counsel of scripture that is replete with the concept that each individual must place their faith in Christ to be saved.  

We are not saved by familial faith associations.  I’m not saved because my grandmother believed in Jesus. I am saved because I personally believed in Jesus, meaning I put my faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ to be sufficient for the forgiveness of my sins, to make peace with God and to be brought into His kingdom as His adopted child.  

We have to remember to consider the context of scripture when we seek to stand on the word to receive the promises of God.   This verse is from the Book of Acts which is a retelling of the history of the early church. This verse is drawn from the account of the Apostle Paul being miraculously set free from prison through divine intervention as the Lord sent a massive earthquake to shake the prison’s foundations causing the prison doors to be opened and all the prisoners’ chains to fall off.

Upon seeing all the prisoners escaping, the jailer was on the verge of committing suicide, when Paul intervened to explain what had happened and to offer salvation and eternal life to the jailer, and all his family, provided that they would “believe in the Lord Jesus”.  Oh by the way, making Jesus Lord means you agree to follow Him. 

The verses that follow today’s verse tell us that Paul and Silas share a gospel message and that the jailer and all that were in his household all believed in Jesus and proved it by their care for the Apostles and through their decision to get immediately baptized.  

So yes, in this instance, the jailer and his entire family were saved because the jailer and each person in his family, heard the word of God and each decided to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. 

So if you believe and want your entire family to be saved, these scriptures should not be taken as a guarantee or some magical spell that all your family will be saved but should encourage you to provide them with the opportunity to hear the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make the decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives.  

We can pray for our family’s salvation with this verse. We can preach to them or have them listen to or read a gospel presentation. We can encourage them to seek the Lord and see that He is good.  But our entire families must individually believe in Jesus, place their faith in Him, and make Him the Lord of their lives.  

God can save our entire families, but they are not saved though our faith.  We can hope, pray, and preach but they must decide to choose the everlasting life that comes when they make Christ the Lord of their lives.  

 

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 17, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

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

DAY 17

WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

JOHN 1:16

The Bible teaches so clearly and so consistently what John proclaims in the first chapter of his gospel: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).

Out of His fullness we have received. There is no way that it can mean that any of us have received all of His fullness. It means that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, is the only medium through which God dispenses His benefits to His creation.

Because Jesus Christ is the eternal Son, because He is of the eternal generation and equal with the Father as pertaining to His substance, His eternity, His love, His power, His grace, His goodness, and all of the attributes of deity, He is the channel through which God dispenses all His blessing.

If you could ask the deer that goes quietly down to the edge of the lake for a refreshing drink, “Have you received of the fullness of the lake?” the answer would be: “Yes and no. I am full from the lake but I have not received from the fullness of the lake. I did not drink the lake. I only drank what I could hold of the lake.”

And so, of His fullness, out of the fullness of God, He has given us grace upon grace according to our need, and it is all through Jesus Christ, our Lord. When He speaks, when He provides, while He sustains, it is because it can be said that He upholds all things by the word of His power and in Him all things consist.

Now, here is a thought I had one day: it could have been very easy for God to have loved us and never told us. God could have been merciful toward us and never revealed it. We know that among humans it is possible for us to feel deeply and still tell no one. It is possible to have fine intentions and never make them known to anyone.

The Scriptures say that “no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

The eternal Son came to tell us what the silence never told us.

He came to tell us what not even Moses could tell us.

He came to tell us and to show us that God loves us and that He constantly cares for us.

He came to tell us that God has a gracious plan and that He is carrying out that plan.

Before it is all finished and consummated, there will be a multitude that no man can number, redeemed, out of every tongue and tribe and nation.

That is what He has told us about the Father God. He has set Him forth. He has revealed Him—His being, His love, His mercy, His grace, His redemptive intention, His saving intention.

He has declared it all. He has given us grace upon grace. Now we have only to turn and believe and accept and take and follow. All is ours if we will receive because the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us!

 

 

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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

 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Looks Like We Made It.. to Monday - Amazing Grace - Purity 558


Looks Like We Made It.. to Monday  - Amazing Grace -  Purity 558

Purity 558 10/25/2021 Purity 558 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend who put their feet up to sit back and relax and to take in this stunning view from their ascension of North Point this past Saturday. Although it is Monday and the work week has only just begun, let’s just take a moment this morning to remind ourselves of all the things we have accomplished and all the things the Lord has brought us through up to this moment in our lives.  

The fact that you are listening to this message or reading this post or blog means that you are a survivor and that the Lord has more for you to experience before He calls you home. So be proud of what you have done, thank the Lord for providing all that you have received along the way, and look to Him for strength, love, and guidance as you walk into the last week of October 2021.      

I received this poem from a brother in Christ half a world away, Philip Hand who lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom, and thought I would share it to remind us of all of what Christ did for us.  I also share the Bible verses, from the King James version, from which Philip was inspired to compose it.  

Amazing grace

Not in building’s made by hand

or artistic masterpieces bold and grand.

A bittersweet love song of sacrifice and love.

Leaving His throne in heaven above.

The Holy Lamb who came to save

the foolish from the mess that they made.

A crown of thorns placed on our sin

shining the power of His beauty deep within.

The hearts of the lost who cry in distress.

Lord save even me give this grieving soul rest.

Set our hearts on fire and fill this holy place

and let me truly know Your amazing grace.”

-Philip Hand

Acts 17:24 (KJV)
24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Also,                                                          

John 3:16 (KJV)
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Psalm 34:6 (KJV)
6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV)
33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (KJV)
20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

Today’s Bible verses are drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 Peter 2:21-23 (NLT2)
21  For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22  He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23  He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

Today’s verses remind us to trust the Lord implicitly and to be conformed to the image of Christ in how we conduct ourselves and respond to the negative circumstances in the world.

 

Ever since I read Luke 5 where Peter told Christ  to “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”, I have had a special affinity for the Apostle who rose above all his mistakes, including denying Christ, to go on to lead the early church.   

Here Peter, as if speaking from experience, acknowledges that although we will suffer for our faith, we are to do good and follow in the example of Christ by:

·       Abstaining from sin,

·       Speaking the Truth, for Christ never deceived anyone,

·       Not retaliating to insults,

·       Not seeking revenge for ourselves when we are harmed

·       Trusting in the Lord

If there was any Apostle who could relate to the difficulties of the Christian life, it was Peter. Instead of giving “greasy grace” that would sympathize with our human frailties, Peter tells us to “walk the walk” of authentic Christians with moral living and by facing any suffering and persecution just as Christ did, with a complete trust and dependence on God the Father.   

Just like Peter, we won’t be perfect in our Christian walk, but we are to keep walking. We are to live our lives as Christ, and Peter’s, example taught us.  While Peter wasn’t perfect, his story gives us hope to be redeemed of our sins and to progress in our maturity in the Christian faith. 

Like Christ, Peter went to His own cross but when he did, tradition tells us, that he requested to be crucified upside down because even after he had turned from his mistakes of the past and faithfully led the church, he didn’t count himself worthy of dying in the same manner as His Lord and Savior.  Even in his martyr’s death, Peter teaches us he hadn’t attained a state of Christlike perfection. 

This teaches us that we will never be perfect like Christ in this life, but it also teaches us that we can use every moment of our lives to give Him glory as we seek to be like Him, and we should never stop living out our faith.  

So keep walking and talking with God, none of us are perfect but when we come to faith in Jesus Christ we come into relationship with the One who is, and we should be motivated to share His perfect wisdom and love with the world that desperately needs it.  

 

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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

D. What Are the Myths and Truths About Dating?

Her profile says she's 25, stands 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, and is a natural blonde. After a few dates, she admits she's really 28 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall, and highlights her hair. He already had guessed the 120 pounds was a fond memory or the result of a faulty scale.

He, too, stretches the truth. He plays up his job title, downplays why his last relationship ended, and tries to impress by flashing cash and dropping names.

Of course, both would be better served by being honest with each other...and themselves. For the biblical book of wisdom reveals the intimacy found in honesty....

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." (Proverbs 24:26)

• Myth

"I need a 'lure' to catch a date."

  • The bait technique....................claiming the other person's interests as your own
    "I'm really interested in cameras."
  • The blunder technique.............claiming to have an "accident" to get help
    "I'm so sorry I dropped all these coins."
  • The buying technique...............claiming the "need" for assistance
    "Could you help me pick out a good coffee?"

Truth

Deceptive techniques are not honoring to God and will not be blessed by Him.

"Keep me from deceitful ways." (Psalm 119:29)

• Myth

"I feel guilty going to church or Bible study with the hope of meeting someone to date."

Truth

You are experiencing false guilt. Certainly, finding a date should not be the main reason you attend church. However, God desires that you meet and fellowship with other Christians, and what better place to find eligible people to date than at a church or Bible study?

"Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another." (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

• Myth

"As a Christian, if I date someone who is not a Christian, God will use me to change my date."

Truth

You have no such guarantee. The Bible never endorses "missionary dating" or "missionary marriages"—dating or marrying a man in order to make him your mission field. Let's assume you become yoked to an unbeliever in marriage. If he is headed toward darkness, where will you be pulled? Toward darkness! If he is headed away from God, where will you be pulled? Away from God! If this non-Christian is to be saved—wait until he is saved and changed by God. Then you may be led to date and possibly marry him.

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?... Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

• Myth

"It doesn't matter if I date a non-Christian as long as I plan to marry a Christian."

Truth

The same factors that draw you into a dating relationship may very well later draw you into a marriage relationship. Dating a non-Christian places you in danger of becoming emotionally involved and, later, becoming unequally yoked in marriage. The more prudent course of action would be to not date anyone you could not or would not consider as a potential marriage partner.

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." (Proverbs 22:3)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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

 

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

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