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

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Getting Deep – Objective and Subjective Reality - Purity 710


 

Getting Deep – Objective and Subjective Reality  - Purity 710                                        

Purity 710  04/20/2022 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a cumulus cloud filled blue sky over the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark in Winslow Arizona comes to us from my sister-in-law Katt as her and my big brother “Mega” spent their Spring Break travelling to a variety of sightseeing attractions throughout the Southwest. 

Well, it’s Wednesday and I share this photo of this massive crater, which is sort of the opposite of a “hump”, because although it is the midpoint in the typical work week, it isn’t “hump day” for me.

When is “hump day” not hump day? 

Before you come up with some crude joke as a response, let me help you.  “Hump day” isn’t “Hump day” when you don’t work. “Hump day” isn’t “Hump day” when you don’t have a “hump” to get over.  

Now I know, there are undoubtedly some “Hump day” purists out there that will demand that Wednesday be recognized as “Hump day” regardless of one’s personal schedule and will argue that “Hump Day” isn’t subject to individual circumstances or preferences. For some, Wednesday is Hump Day and nothing and no one is going to change that!

But honestly, while I don’t mean to cause a fight, I really think that the thing that makes “hump day” “hump day” is not just the passage of time past that odd numbered day in the middle of our week but is the fact that we reached the middle of and surmounted the odd numbered middle day of a series of work filled days.  The “hump” is meaningful because we are past the middle of our work obligations, right?

Maybe. Heck I know some retired friends who are on “permanent vacation” and who live a “life of Saturdays”.  Anyway, back to me.  

Because I have to work this Saturday, I have today, Wednesday, off.  So for me yesterday, Tuesday, was a “Friday” of sorts, and today is the “Saturday” on what will be the first of my two one-day weekends, this week, as my second one-day weekend will be Sunday, as Saturday, because I have to work, will be warped into my “second Friday”.   Do you know what I am saying? 

Now while this discourse on the way I am viewing this weird work week may be highly annoying to some of you, this morning, as I write this I have discovered that there is a point to it all.  

The balance between objective reality, “the facts of how things actually are”  and subjective reality, “the way we choose to view things” can make a significant difference in our lives.

 In our Post Christian society, some non-believing people would argue that there is no God or any spiritual entities, angels and demons, at all. To these atheistic materialists, God and His created spiritual beings don’t exist. To them they are not a part of what they would consider “objective reality”. 

But guess what, they are wrong. 

While we can all argue over what is real and what is not and all come up with our “own truths” based on our individual circumstances and perspectives, if our world view does not include the “facts” of objective reality we will still be subject to those facts and will suffer from our failure to live in the “real world”.  

Now I could go on a lengthy discourse about how the names of the days of the week themselves, and the institutions and systems our society itself, like “the government” and “law and order”,  are subjective “concepts” that man has created and are thus illusory but as much as I realize that most of our lives are “smoke and mirrors”, I prefer to point to the ultimate reality that will determine our eternal destiny and the One who created the stage on which we play out our lives, God.   

My jailhouse ministry – or maybe “death row”, it sound cooler - apologetics presents creation itself – the universe- and our inherent moral consciences, God’s law written on our hearts, as the evidence for God.  “Somebody up there” created all this and made us to understand right and wrong.  

That’s pretty basic and could lead us to have all types of different views of this Creator God and have different views about what is right or wrong, so let’s get specific.  

The person of Jesus Christ takes all of the above and makes life a “pass-fail” test.

Now while, we can all subjectively choose what we like in terms of what we think about Christ, we will all be subject to the objective reality about who He actually is.   

Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, how He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, how His Life has changed the course of human history, and the lives of countless individuals who have put their faith in Him, adequately demonstrate the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son.  

Whether you believe in God or not, you are subject to the natural laws, like gravity, that He instituted with the creation of the universe. You deal with those every day. 

Likewise, you are subject to the “spiritual laws” of sin and death that God instituted. All men sin, and all men die.

But the Lord, out of His mercy and grace, made a way for us to be set free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2 (NKJV)
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Faith in Jesus Christ is the means by which we can be forgiven of our sins and be given eternal life.  The “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”  frees us from death, we will live forever when we put our faith in Jesus, and it frees us from sin, when we place our faith in Christ the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit gives us a power we never had before. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to say no to our besetting sin and live a life of freedom and victory over them.  

But God gives us freedom to choose our own way. So we can choose to deny the truth of who Christ is and decide no to take Him up on His gracious offer to save us and either make up our own, or choose someone else’s, view of spiritual reality, which would include worldly philosophies, other religions, or a complete denial of any spiritual aspect to our lives.   

But just like me deciding it “isn’t really Wednesday today” only to be called a liar or a fool by my Google Calendar and the rest of the working or non-working world that abides by the “days of the week” worldview,  just because we decide to disbelieve in God’s plan of redemption, believe in something else or choose to only focus on the things of this world, one day we will have to face the fact that we denied the Truth that the Creator wanted us to know and tried to warn us about.  

Christ’s earthly ministry was focused on encouraging people to consider the things of God and to change their lives to follow the Lord in everything they did.  In

John 17:17 (NKJV) Christ, referring of His disciples, prayed to the Father to:
17  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Christ in this prayer, lets us all know that the word of God is the truth, thus indicating that it can be trusted and that we should live by it. God’s word, the Holy Bible, tells us the truth of life and death and can guide us in our lives to be grounded in the objective reality that the universe was based on and will be subject to. 

A scientific view of the universe predicts the eventual death of all things as the universe’s processes will eventual run out of energy, go cold, and fade to black.

But the word of God tells us of a spiritual kingdom that created the physical universe and that will determine its future. Scientists can predict the “death of the universe” but the Lord who made literally everything “out of nothing” has revealed to us that His plan calls for the reclaiming of the world by Christ’s rule and reign and of the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.  

God has revealed to us the future of His creation and His way to peace with Him and eternal life.  So instead of being clever in our own sight and developing our own world view and making up our own “truth for me”, we would be wise to agree with the objective truth of ultimate reality that is revealed in God’s word and decide to live according to it. 

When we stop ignoring the ultimate “facts of life” and choose to come in line God’s truth, we can finally stop hurting ourselves by living according to a system that just isn’t true and will one day be exposed for the rebellious deception that it is.  When we are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ and  decide to shape our lives according to His truth, we can have peace.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Read His word to be grounded in the truth.  God wants us to know His truth and to be at peace by accepting it and living by it. 

When we live in “the context of God” by reminding ourselves of His continual presence, we live in the truth of ultimate reality and are set free from the pains that come from investing ourselves in things that will fail to satisfy and that will eventually be exposed as false.

When we live in a fantasy world based on our own subjective ideas and preferences, we will suffer when the truth of reality comes storming in. But when we live according to the Truth, the Way and the Life, we are not hiding in the shadows or stumbling in the darkness of the ways we wished life could be. Instead we benefit from living in the light of how things actually are: where our path is clear and where we can confidently take one step at a time, and be at peace, all the way  from here to eternity.    

 _____________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV)
38  Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

 

Today’s Bible verses clearly present the truth of the need for our repentance and the fact that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when are baptized in the name of Jesus.

If the Lord of God calls us by revealing the truth of who Jesus Christ is, we have to answer the call! How do we do that? 

Well, we repent and become baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Romans 5:1 (NKJV) tells us
1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Here we see we are justified by faith and have peace with God through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul’s explanation of our faith, what it means and doesn’t mean, continues into Romans 6 where it says:

Romans 6:3 (NKJV)
3  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  

And guess what, there was no mention of water immersion between Romans 5:1 and Romans 6:3, To be “baptized into Christ Jesus” is to put our faith in Him.  So all who put their faith in Jesus are spiritually “baptized in the name of Jesus”. 

 

Although the thief on the cross didn’t have the luxury of getting dunked into water by an ordained minister or even just splashed by an ordinary Christian brother or sister, when He asked Jesus to remember him when Christ went into His kingdom, and Christ said “"Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.", the thief was “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.

While every Christian, who can, should perform the sacrament of water baptism, which is an outward expression of an inner spiritual change, if possible, all those who place their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior are “baptized in the name of Jesus.”  

As for that word “repent”.  As Christians we are disciples of Jesus Christ, and a disciple is a student and an adherent of their teacher. That means we know what our Teacher teaches and endeavor to apply His teaching our lives. Christ told us to pick up our cross and to follow Him. 

The cross was a means of execution back then, so Christ was in effect telling us to “die” to our ways and to follow His ways for living.  

So when we do these two things, repent and become “baptized in the name of Jesus”, we are given the seal of our salvation: the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  

To enjoy the “promise” of God, and to live out the abundant life that Christ calls us to, we must repent and believe. We must change the ways we act and the ways we think by agreeing with the truth of God’s word and by leaning on and following the Spirit of God that we receive as our constant companion the moment that our proclamation of faith “baptizes us in the name of Jesus”.    


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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Youir fe” .  

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

All Things Were Made for Him

This Jesus was and is a real historical man in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Since he is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,” as the old Nicene Creed says, and since his death and resurrection are the central act of God in history, it is not surprising to hear the Bible say, “All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). For him! That means for his glory. Which also means that everything we have said so far about God creating us for his glory also means that he created us for the glory of his Son.

In his prayer in John 17 the first thing Jesus asks is, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). Ever since the incarnate, redeeming work of Jesus, God is gladly glorified by sinners only through the glorification of the risen God-Man, Jesus Christ. His bloody death is the blazing center of the glory of God. There is no way to the glory of the Father but through the Son. All the promises of joy in God’s presence, and pleasures at his right hand, come to us only through faith in Jesus Christ.

If We Reject Him, We Reject God

Jesus is the litmus test of reality for all persons and all religions. He said it clearly: “The one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). People and religions who reject Christ reject God. Do other religions know the true God? Here is the test: Do they reject Jesus as the only Savior for sinners who was crucified and raised by God from the dead? If they do, they do not know God in a saving way.

That is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Or when he said, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23). Or when he said to the Pharisees, “If God were your Father, you would love me” (John 8:42).

It’s what the apostle John meant when he said, “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Or when he said, “Everyone who … does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God” (2 John 9).

There is no point in romanticizing other religions that reject the deity and saving work of Christ. They do not know God. And those who follow them tragically waste their lives.

If we would see and savor the glory of God, we must see and savor Christ. For Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). To put it another way, if we would embrace the glory of God, we must embrace the Gospel of Christ. The reason for this is not only because we are sinners and need a Savior to die for us, but also because this Savior is himself the fullest and most beautiful manifestation of the glory of God. He purchases our undeserved and everlasting pleasure, and he becomes for us our all-deserving, everlasting Treasure.

The Gospel Is the Good News of the Glory of Christ

This is how the Gospel is defined. When we are converted through faith in Christ, what we see with the eyes of our hearts is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Gospel is the good news of all-conquering beauty. Or to say it the way Paul does, it is the good news of “the glory of Christ.” When we embrace Christ, we embrace God. We see and savor God’s glory. There is no savoring of God’s glory if we do not see it in Christ. This is the only window through which a sinner may see the face of God and not be incinerated.

The Bible says that when God illuminates our heart at conversion, he gives “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Either we see the glory of God “in the face of Jesus Christ,” or we don’t see it at all. And the “face of Jesus Christ” is the beauty of Christ reaching its climax in the cross. The bloody face of Christ crucified (and triumphant!) is the countenance of the glory of God. What was once foolishness to us becomes our wisdom and our power and our boast (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24).

Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. That is what the next chapter is about.

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, April 4, 2022

Spring into Action – Setting Intentions and Making Goals – Purity 696

To see today’s photo go to mt4christ.org of follow me, MT Clark, on Facebook or Twitter.

Spring into Action – Setting Intentions and Making Goals – Purity 696

Purity 696 04/04/2022     Purity 696 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of Lake Paran under blue skies and through trees still waiting to spring to life comes to us from yours truly as the wife and I decided to take a hike on a path that was only travelled by a handful of others this past Saturday as we ventured out to experience the Paran-Frost Trail near the Robert Frost Museum in North Bennington Vermont this weekend.  

This view was the first sighting we had of Lake Paran as we went up and down wooded hills, traversed a footbridge over an unnamed stream, and hiked for a couple of miles before we reached this clearing to reach this elevated location to finally see the lake that the trailhead promised would be there.

The temperatures were a little brisk when we began our journey but we trusted that the weather would be in our favor and even though I started the trip with a hood over my head and gloves on my hands when we finally returned to our car the gloves were stored in my hoody’s pockets which was tied around my waist. What I needed in the beginning of my journey was put aside but not abandoned as they could be utilized for later use.    

Well, It’s Monday again and Its April 4th and It’s less than two weeks before we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   I say all of that as a reminder of who I am in Christ and to re-orient myself to be properly prepared for the immediate days ahead and the final journey through the season of Lent.  

I don’t know about you but to be honest the “winter’s woods” that we seem to finally be emerging from sure can take a toll on one’s mind, body, and spirit.  In the past stretch of days, from the celebration of Christmas and New Years through the first three months of the year and the season of winter, I have a tendency to go into “survival mode” where I seem to keep walking and talking with God on the daily but seem to slowly veer off course in some areas of my walk as I begin to compromise some of my convictions and tend to let somethings go with the intention of “getting back on track” in brighter days.  

This “slippage” is a really trap and impediment to our progress but it can really show us that we are not perfect and that we desperately need to rely on the Lord to help, guide, and strengthen us.  Left to our own devices, we give ourselves “grace upon grace” and begin comforting ourselves with the things of the world because the world of winter is just “so hard”.  If we are not careful that final and first season of the year can become the winter of our discontent and can result in a loss of peace and a regaining of some fleshly habits that we thought we had conquered.  

The good news is that God is always with us and as we stumble through the woods of winter and go all “Jerimiah Johnson” and do whatever we have to survive through those cold and foreboding days of winter, the Holy Spirit is with us to prevent us from going native and becoming feral and continually calls us back to the light.  If we listen to His voice we won’t go too far off track, but even if we do, as the days get brighter He invariably will call us to do some “spring cleaning” and call us to repentance.  

I believe that the founders of church tradition understood this tendency of us all to go astray and developed the season of Lent to mark the days and to give us an opportunity to be refilled with the Holy Spirit,  reach out to the Lord in repentance to renew our strength and resolve and to be the people God created us to be.   

Sometimes we stumble into Lent and are still living in survival mode but as we draw closer to Easter and the days get lighter, warmer, and brighter, we can decide to right the ship and to go with God into His will for our lives where we can drop the sinful or fleshly habits we may have employed for our survival and answer His upward call to get out of the muck and mire and stand on the solid ground of the Rock once again.   

Nothing and no one can prevent us from being the people God created us to be, except for ourselves.  But we can overcome that “man in the mirror” through the power of the Holy Spirit in us and making the decision to turn to God and His ways for living.  

The journey out of the “woods” starts with the decision to go toward the light.  So we set our intention to go with God each morning and forsake the worldly things that we have been seeking comfort from but we also have to set goals that the Lord can help us to accomplish that will give us a purpose for the future.   

The proper walk with God requires us to lay things down that are weighing us down but it also requires us to decide on a direction to go and a destination that we want to arrive at.  Instead of looking at the end of the map, we should decide where we can get to today and where we would like to be at the end of the week.   Our final destination of some of our goals could be months or even years away but if we keep going in their direction and commit ourselves to continual progress we can one day accomplish what now seems so far away and may seem impossible from where we are standing now.  

But with God, we can accomplish “impossible” things but we need to decide to stop surviving and to start thriving by entering into the path that He wants us to walk.  

So look up and see His light, listen for His voice, and decide to follow where He wants you to go.    Set your intention to go His way and make some goals that you can easily accomplish in the weeks ahead and after you “get there” you can see that you “made it” to where you wanted to be and that you are closer to where He wants you to be.   

When you “get there” you can celebrate, and then you can make some more goals that will lead you ever closer to the Lord and the goodness and peaceful life that He has waiting for you.             

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Acts 13:38 (NKJV)
38  Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that it is “through this Man”, Jesus Christ, that we are forgiven of our sins and that we need to “preach” this to others to enlarge His kingdom and we need to “preach” this to ourselves to remind us of who we are in Christ and to have peace as we walk through this world. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gamechanger for life.  It teaches us that we can do nothing without God to be approved.  It teaches us our need for Him. It teaches us to rely on Him. It teaches us that we are made right with God because of Jesus Christ Alone and that we can finally rest and have peace because we “made it”, we are members of the kingdom of God because of Jesus.   

The word preach gets a bad wrap because often people profess but don’t do what they say. We have to practice what we preach. 

SO in terms of ourselves, if we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and believe that we have been saved, forgiven of our sins and brought into God’s kingdom, we should live like it first and foremost by expressing our joy at our salvation, our gratitude for the gift we have been given, and our peace that we have that comes from knowing we will never die and we are loved and accepted by the One who made all things.  

Living like a Christian should be defined by someone who is filled with joy, love, goodness, gentleness, and peace.  I mean honestly – we have eternal life and peace with God, maybe we should be happy about it and rejoice.    

I know that is easier said then done so we need to continually “preach” to ourselves by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ.   When we stand in our identity as children of God, we can live according to the Spirit and experience the fruit of the Spirit.  

When we know our freedom in Christ, we can then “preach” to others how they can find peace with God through Jesus Christ and how they can know what it really means to be free and have an abundant life.   

So remember, you are forgiven! So preach that good news to yourself and preach that good news to others and be a “real Christian” by practicing what you preach by living a life of peace, joy, and love.    

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 June Hunt’s Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation.  

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 his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

F. How to Find the Healthiest Foods

The current “evil” word in the world of weight loss is carbs, something seemingly to be avoided like the plague. Carbohydrates have been blamed for the obesity epidemic and have been targeted as the source of increased health risks and disease. But not all carbs are bad.

According to many health experts, it is vital to incorporate unprocessed, high-fiber carbohydrates into a well-balanced diet of whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.

God has certainly blessed us with an abundance to choose from.…

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

(Genesis 1:29)

The most nutritious foods to eat fall under six categories: fruits, vegetables, nuts, protein, dairy, and grains. Notice the absence of candy, cookies, and cakes! But healthy food can be prepared in an unhealthy way. Likewise, some vegetables are healthier than other vegetables.

•     Eat fresh and/or frozen fruit.

—   Avoid canned fruit that contains high fructose corn syrup.

•     Eat darker vegetables, which have more vitamins than lighter vegetables.

—   Avoid iceberg lettuce, which has no nutritional value.

•     Eat vitamin-rich sweet potatoes.

—   Avoid white potatoes.

•     Eat the “skins” of food.

—   Avoid peeling the skin of potatoes. The skins contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, beta carotene, and iron. If preparing mashed potatoes, cook with the skin on to add vitamins and fiber.

•     Eat food with natural sweetness (fruit, sweet potatoes).

—   Avoid sugar, fructose, and sucrose.

•     Eat nuts in their natural form.

—   Avoid nuts that are honey roasted or prepared with saturated fat.

•     Eat broiled or baked meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables.

—   Avoid fried foods, which are high in fat.

•     Eat whole wheat bread and English muffins.

—   Avoid white bread and items with bleached white flour that remove the beneficial vitamins. (Croissant rolls are very high in fat.)

The Lord created you to need food, to have hunger, and to eat. Your responsibility is to be wise with the proper foods eaten at the proper time.…

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

(Psalm 145:15–16)[1]

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

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 34–35.

 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Live it! - The Appropriate Response of Faith – - Purity 639


Live it! - The Appropriate Response of Faith – - Purity 639

Purity 639 01/27/2022   Purity 639 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a dirt road running through a forest of tall pines comes to us from August of 2021 as a friend shared this view while out in God’s magnificent creation.   I suspected that this photo comes to us from a friend in California but the more I look at it I suspect that this scene was captured by a friend visiting somewhere in the Adirondacks or some other area of upstate NY.  I offer my apologies for not recalling the particular place or person who captured this scene and offer that anonymous friend the opportunity to enlighten us or to remain silent.    The choice is yours.

Well. It’s Thursday and I shared this particular photo of a pathway through a forest as my thematic encouragement to start or to continue following the pathway of Christian Discipleship, to walk in the Spirit, or to live out your Christian faith every day.

Life is all about the choices we make, and I recommend that anyone hearing or reading this message make the choice to not only place their faith in Jesus Christ for the benefits of the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life that is promised to those who put their faith in Him but to also take your faith to the next logical conclusion: to live your life according to God’s wisdom and ways.  

The word of God says that Christians will be known by their fruit and by the love they have for one another that implies that we will not be just known for “what we believe”.  Faith in Jesus Christ is not just the holding of certain doctrinal beliefs that we will mentally assent to.  Our faith in Christ and who He has made us to be will be reflected in the way we behave and live our lives. 

If there is no “fruit”, no evidence of our “firmly held beliefs” in our lives, others, and we ourselves may question whether or not we really are a Christian.  

Christianity isn’t a political party.  It’s a kingdom and we are members of its royal family through adoption.  The question is: have we in turned adopted the ways of the King?  Are we serving and representing the kingdom as we should?    

When Christ called the Apostles, they immediately stopped what they were doing and chose to follow Him without conditions or pondering the truth of His ministry or call on their lives.  They knew Jesus was the Messiah and they did the only appropriate thing to do when God calls you: they chose to follow.  

So how does one follow the Lord?

I know when I came to faith in Christ I was extremely weary of where I chose to go to church and whose leadership I would decide to trust. 

The unseen God is certainly working in and through some people on the earth but because of the fallibility of men and the existence of Christian counterfeits, false converts, and the agents of darkness I had to decide to be discerning in who or what I listened to.  

The good news is that the Lord gave us a source for His truth that we could judge the true vs the counterfeit: the Holy Bible.  The obligation however is that we know what it says and what it means in order to know if someone is corrupting its wisdom for their own purposes.

Also if someone is putting up another source of truth in addition to the Bible, we have to realize that their additional sources of truth are attempting to say that the word of God isn’t sufficient and whatever they are trying to teach is a deception, whether they are aware of it or not.   

So we really have to be diligent in terms of knowing what Christ would have us do and then seek to do His will to represent Him.  

One of the best ways of learning what we are to do is by learning what the word of God says about who we are in Christ and then living according to that biblical truth.  So instead of putting our allegiance in some church organization or some charismatic “anointed” pastor, we should seek the truth of God’s word about us and seek to live our lives according to that truth.  

While we should connect to a local church, to learn, serve, and worship in a community of Bible believing Christians, we must not rely on others to walk out our faith for us. We can’t be spiritually lazy.  We are the seek the Lord for ourselves and find the purpose that He has for our lives.    

The call of God is as compelling on our lives today as it was for the Apostles in the early church and just like it was then we are to answer God’s call on our lives and follow Him where He will lead us.   

Generally, God will lead us to repent of our sin and call us to conform to the image of Christ by renewing our minds with the wisdom of the word of God and then apply what we learn to our lives as we seek to do the good works that the Lord would have us do.  

That means transformation and purpose. That means seeking God continually and learning more about Him and His purpose for us on the earth.  That means that there is a relationship between you and the Lord who created all things and that means you have a part to play in His grand design.  

So instead of debating whether or not you “really believe”, demonstrate your faith by choosing to believe the Lord’s call on your life is “for real” by  living according to your faith.  

If you know you are a part of God’s kingdom because of your faith in Jesus Christ, shouldn’t you seek to live according to the purpose for your life?  If you think about it, our obedience to God’s call on our life is the only appropriate response of our faith.  

So do the appropriate thing and seek to follow the Lord’s direction for your life. His ways are higher than our ways, but He invites us to know them and to walk with Him. So answer the call today and everyday to draw a little closer to God than you were yesterday.  If you do that God will reveal Himself to you in amazing ways and you will discover that He will bless you with a life that leaves the darkness of this world behind as He increasingly welcomes into the light of a new and everlasting life where the fruit of the Spirit will grow and and your love for God and others will define the rest of your life.  

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 1:8 (NLT2)
8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Today’s verse are the words of the Resurrected Christ, who speaks of the power that the Holy Spirit will bring to the lives of those who follow Him to go and share the gospel throughout the earth.  

The Holy Spirit had not yet come into the world and Christ was pointing to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would enter into all those who put their faith in Christ to empower them for ministry and righteous living for evermore.   

How can a Christian change from who they used to be? How can they leave sin behind?  How can they have the boldness to tell others about Jesus? 

All of these things can be done through faith in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit!  When we believe and put our faith and trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and to give us the power to overcome.  

When we receive Christ, we receive the Helper, and the Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us to live the Christian life.  

This power isn’t for selfish gain. No matter how we individually may benefit from the transformation that the Holy Spirit gives us, it is done for God, His glory and His purposes and today’s verse points to the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit and His power: to make Jesus Christ known throughout the earth.  

The power to change us is for a purpose to give glory to God. Our testimony of victory is a testimony for God. We become the evidence and the witnesses for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

So choose to follow where the Holy Spirit seeks to change your life and where He calls you to go.  The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has the power to do mighty things in our lives but the most powerful thing we can do for the kingdom of God is to take the power we receive and use it to share the love of God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

So feel the power and use the power of the Holy Spirit to help you but also utilize it to boldly proclaim the goodness of God and the truth of Jesus Christ to the world that desperately needs the power and love of God too.


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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we  continue sharing from Chapter 6.   

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

SELF-SUFFICIENCY HAS A PRICE

After Jesus fed the 5,000, He sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee while He went up to the mountain to pray. In the middle of the sea, the disciples encountered a storm: “And seeing them straining at the oars...He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.”119 The Lord intends to pass by the self-sufficient. Go ahead and row against the storms of life. He will let you until your arms fall off, but those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

The only answer the world has for those who are caught in the storms of life is “Row harder, or give in to the pressure and learn to live at sea!” The devil says, “You can do it by yourself, but if you need a little extra power, I can arrange that for a small price.” Pride says, “I think I can get out of this by myself. All it requires is a lot of hard work, human ingenuity, and maybe a little luck.” God says, “I won’t interfere with your plans. If you want to try to save yourself, solve your own problems or meet your own needs, you have My permission. But you won’t be able to, because in the final analysis, you absolutely need Me, and you necessarily need each other.” Fallen humanity is on a sinking ship that is going nowhere without God.

Pride can sneak up on the best of us. King Uzziah was a godly man who reigned for 52 years,120 and “he did right in the sight of the Lord.” His accomplishments were exceptional. He built a strong army and fortified the city. “Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong. But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God.”

The more we are able to accomplish, the more susceptible we are to pride. More than one Christian leader has fallen when he started receiving glowing accolades for his work. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”121

FALSE AND TRUE HUMILITY

What is humility? Is it groveling around in poverty, proclaiming our worthless state? No, that is counterfeit humility that leads only to defeat. Paul says, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in selfabasement.”122

Humility is not saying God is everything and we are nothing. That is a form of false humility. Christ didn’t die on the cross for nothing. He was crucified to redeem a fallen humanity. Throughout the New Testament, we are admonished to build up one another, and we are strongly warned against any attempt to tear down one another, including ourselves.

Paul tells us, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”123 That is not a call for self-abasement; it is a call for sound judgment. Paul says of himself, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”124

We are what we are by the grace of God! To deny that would be to discredit the work that Christ accomplished on the cross. To believe that we are more than we are, or to believe that we are products of our own doing, is to join the ranks of the deceived millions who have fallen victim to pride.

Humility is confidence properly placed. So Paul says, “Put no confidence in the flesh.”125 But we ought to have all the confidence that our faith can muster in God and in what He can do through us. We should all want ourselves and all the children of God to reach their highest potential in Christ. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”126 Pride says, “I did it.” True humility says, “I did it by the grace of God.”

Cowering in some corner in unbelief or groveling around in mock humility in utter defeat brings no glory to God. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”127

The glory of God is a manifestation of His presence. When we glorify God in our bodies, we manifest His presence in the world. The only way we can glorify God in our bodies is to live victorious lives and bear much fruit. And the only way we can live victorious lives and bear much fruit is to abide in Christ.128 That is why we must come to terms with our pride—so we can be established in Christ, “in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”129

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship