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Showing posts with label Anger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anger. Show all posts

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Triggered by Doublemindedness & God’s Gift of Peace – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1269

Triggered by Doublemindedness & God’s Gift of Peace – a Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1269

Purity 1269 02/08/2024 Purity 1269 Podcast

Purity 1269 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a boardwalk pathway to Treasure Island’s Sunset Beach comes to us from yours truly as I reached back into my phone's photo archive this morning to share this scene from my honeymoon trip to Tampa back on February 21st, 2022.   

Well, it’s Thursday and I share this as a visual reminder to my friends to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship, as is my fairly regular habit on Thursdays, but I also share it because I have Florida on the mind this morning because I am a week and a wake-up away from getting on a plane to Orlando and Disney World. As excited as I am for the trip I have to admit that I have some anxiety about the trip because some of the details of my reservations have me wondering what exactly is included in my vacation package and just how much I will have to pay in addition to what I have paid already to meet my family’s needs while in the Magic Kingdom. I am a simple guy and I just prefer to pay one cost for everything. The “all-inclusive” option is preferred but upon examining the details of my reservation and Disney dining plan, I am thoroughly confused about whether or not how things will work and that causes me to lament “Why do things have to be so complicated – or why do things have to be this way? 

But I back off on asking that question because it leads to discontentment and complaining – the antithesis to a life in the Spirit – So I plan on being the “annoying guest” and calling later today to unapologetically ask all my questions so I can know what I have signed myself up for in Orlando for 6 nights and 7days.   We perish for a lack of knowledge and at this point, I need to know what the deal is.   I want to know what the deal is and to arrange my plans in a way that will meet my family’s needs or to prepare me for those “extras” that are not included.  Once I know what I am in for, I can deal with it and be content. 

Speaking of knowing what we signed up for and what the deal is and being content, I will try not to come across as too angry in my inquiries because I don’t want to complain. Last night, I got a stark example of what being angry and discontented looks like and I realize that those emotions are grounded in irrationality or selfishness as one of the participants of Celebrate Freedom seemed to be having a bad day and seemed to be back to square one of their recovery journey because they were being double-minded. 

After hearing about how they were angry about the fact that they had to work and support their family and how life got to bedifficult after having children and how they loved booze and how they couldn’t live in alcoholic bliss was troubling and revealed that this person might be coming to a recovery meeting but their heart and mind is torn in two as they are holding onto a life they can’t have anymore.  This person was angry about life in general. 

For those who hate work or don’t like their jobs, let me console you by saying “suck it up buttercup”.  God’s plan for us was always to work.  

Genesis 1:28 (NASB) tells us
28  God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Adam was given a job, before The Fall, okay.  Responsible people work, and benefit from it – so focus on the positive, plan to get a different job if you must, but know this : work no matter what you do will always be a challenge and our peace comes not from what we do but how we perceive it – how we think about it.  IF we focus on the negative aspects of work we will be unhappy, if we are thankful for the pay, benefits, opportunities, and people we encounter at work – we can be content.  So change your mind, because you are going to have to work anyway and we can do it bitter, or we can do it better, by having peace about our lot in life, knowing God approves of us working and it provides for ourselves and our families.

And as for drunkenness, I like the way the NLT puts it.

Ephesians 5:18 (NLT2) where it says
18  Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

Drunkenness will ruin your life and in this person’s life that Biblical truth has come to pass because their drunkenness has caused disharmony in their marriage to the point where they have a choice to sober up or to find themselves divorced and separated from their children. 

This person is still holding on to the lie that drunkenness is okay or a good thing that they are being denied when in fact it is poison that causes pain to themselves and their family.

Our group shows people the pathway to peace, but we can’t make you believe it and we can’t make you walk it out.  Our friend is living a double-minded life and hasn’t committed to changing his relationship to booze. They love it when they should hate it. They want to keep it when they should let it go.  They say they believe what God’s word says but deny it with what they say and do. They believe but don’t follow.

In trying to encourage this person, we were all thoroughly frustrated, not only at what was said, what they were saying was irrational and selfish, but it wasn’t the first time we heard it. We covered this ground before and they cycled back to it – because they obviously dismissed what we have said, and still believe they can have life both ways when they can’t.

In their parting words, they spoke disdainfully regarding whether or not they could have peace in following the Lord which is sad because it betrays their lack of faith and their failure to see that their current actions and attitudes are what are stealing their peace and that staying the same isn’t an option anymore. Things will get better, or things will get worse, but they won’t to stay the same. I know that following the Lord might be tough at first, but I know that God is the one who gives us the gift of peace.  Which brings me to sharing Mindful of Christ’s Lauren Roskilly’s “Word for Wednesday” from this week – which is based on:

John 14:27 (NLT2) which says:
27  “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Lauren’s short message is “God’s gift of peace is for you” and she writes:

“Do you experience an almighty sense of peace whatever trouble you go through?

Do you know that it is possible?

 

Jesus himself, in this verse, says that we can.

It is through Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that you can.

 

Whatever trouble, stressful situations, anxiety, worry or fear you go through, if you turn your attention, focus and thoughts over to Jesus and Gods presence, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, you can know and be filled with this awesome gift of peace.

 

Regularly turn to Jesus and meditate on him and his word and discover for yourself your stress levels drop and this awesome peace increases.”

 

It’s a simple instruction, meditate on Jesus and God’s word and you will discover peace.  So if you are angry and discontented, stop being double-minded and agree with and live by the truth of God’s word and the peace that goes beyond all understanding will be yours.

 

 

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 19:9 (NIV2011)
9  A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.

Today’s verse falls under the tenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

10.     Lying will be punished.

Today’s verse tells us that the liar will perish.   And because I am short on time I will cut to the chase by sharing:

Revelation 21:8 (NLT2) that tells us
8  “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

All liars, whose sins have not been covered by the blood of Jesus are fated to go into the lake of fire with Satan.  

So repent, tell the truth, and make sure you put your faith Jesus, so your lies will be forgiven, and you won’t perish because of them.

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

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

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

MORNING READING: MARK 1

“There comes One after me who is mightier than I,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down
and loose.” – Mark 1:7

The stooping to unloose the strap of a sandal was the meanest job for the lowest servant. Yet John the Baptist says, “I am not worthy even to do that.” He says that he was not worthy even to stoop down. Stooping down was humility itself, but John says that he was not worthy to take such a high place (though humanly speaking it was the lowest place).

Here, surely, was real humility. And because of it, the Lord exalted John the Baptist to the highest place of honor. For He said concerning him that John was the greatest born of women (Matt. 11:11).

Notice also, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12).

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,
and He will lift you up.”
–James 4:10[1]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Anger, Bitterness, and Cults of Personality - Purity 1199

Anger, Bitterness, and Cults of Personality - Purity 1199

Purity 1199 11/16/2023 Purity 1199 Podcast

Purity 1199 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a winding asphalt pathway cutting through a sunbathed late autumn forest comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene that he captured while visiting Caney Creek, near Murphy NC on Monday. 

Well, It’s Thursday and I share Fred’s photo of a highway pathway because of its scenic beauty and as a visual reminder to myself and you to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship because I know how difficult that can be, especially when we forget who we are in Christ and when we let anger and temptation consume us.  

Recently, I have encountered a few fellow travelers on the road to recovery who unfortunately have taken a detour into relapse and the underlying causes seemed to be very similar if not the same: anger! Or the bitterness of unforgiveness.  In one case, the person involved had made the decision to go into recovery because of difficulties in their marriage. Their secret drinking was increasingly a problem and eventually, it led to an ultimatum – stop drinking or get divorced.  This person chose their marriage and family and started on the shaky road to recovery.  They struggled initially but soon they had days, and weeks of success and recently had reached the milestone of a full month of sobriety. But apparently last week, due to a busy schedule they missed checking into their normal meetings, but all seemed well, and they would resume their normal meetings next week.  The good news is that they did go back to their meetings but the bad news is that even though they made it through last weekend and reported that it was a “good weekend” when Monday came calling the stress of the world and the spiritual forces of darkness rushed in to drive them into despair and into relapse and they are currently struggling with the question of do they want their marriage and family or do they want to be “free to drink”.  After a month of success, they are right back to square one – asking the questions that should have been resolved, from day one.

But let’s give them some grace. Recovery is not easy. Changing the way you have lived for so long is not easy.  Having the “rules” changed later in life doesn’t seem fair.  And let’s be honest, this “compelled” or “coerced” entrance into recovery is not the best way to find success.  From day one, I have encouraged this person to choose recovery for themselves, and ideally as an expression of their faith – a natural outflowing of your decision to live for God and follow Jesus, because if we only choose to sober up because of someone else, because of the negative relational consequences our drinking has caused, we will end up resenting the very person we made the decision to go into recovery for.  “I can’t drink anymore because of “THEM”!”  or “Can’t I just have a few drinks?!!? Can’t I be free to do what I want!?”  

No, you can’t. We can choose what we want but we are subject to those choices.  Choose to sin, choose to suffer, as the old adage goes. 

Also, the fact that the past clearly demonstrates that, no, you can’t just have a few drinks, more often than not you get drunk, and you do things that cause problems. 

Also the fact that you continually go back to the bottle shows that you are a slave to it. That’s not “freedom”, That’s bondage.  Real freedom is being able to choose to become the person God created you to be. A person who solves problems and loves others, not a person who causes problems and drives people away.

So standing up for your selfish right to get drunk and making the people you love suffer through it is not the life God wants you to have. He wants you to be free.  

Another relapse that happened recently was driven by unforgiveness and bitterness.   This person was in recovery and had a betrayal befall them – leading them to relapse and to be placed in rehab for a month.  While in rehab, they listened to good counsel and made the decision to forgive the person who had betrayed them and resolved to stay in the relationship.  They went home and everything was good again… for a time.  But then, I saw this person share a social media post whose content highlighted the desire to seek revenge. It was a movie clip from a Ben Affleck movie where he enlists a friend’s help to not ask questions and just to agree to go with him to “go hurt some people”.   I knew that was a bad sign and sure less than a week later they relapsed and have broken relationships with the person they had “forgiven” in an angry outburst that has caused collateral damage to their children.   

With forgiveness, we need to forgive from the heart and take people off of our hook and put them on God’s hook, and not seek revenge. Forgiving from the heart means never bringing up the person’s past offenses and using them against them again. Also forgiving from the heart is a conscious decision that will need to be made and recommitted to as some of sin’s consequences are delayed and we will have to deal with some fall out from the past as we go into the future. So we have to choose to forgive and keep on forgiving in some cases.   This person didn’t continue in forgiveness. Instead, they entertained thoughts about revenge, and it led to relapse.  

In both cases, the magic elixir of alcohol that was supposed to soothe their hurt and calm their souls drove them into hurting themselves and others. Instead of putting out the fires of anger, it was like they threw gasoline on the smoldering anger and bitterness that was just below the surface, despite their outward fa├žade that told the world “everything is just fine”.   

So what do you do? 

Well you go back to God, always.  You ask for forgiveness and resolve to follow Jesus in the pathways of peace. Instead of isolating yourself in your anger, you study His word to renew your mind and you talk to Him in prayer to receive wisdom, strength, and healing. You start walking and talking with God and follow Jesus’ example.   You forgive from the heart, and you embrace the truth that addiction to anything is NOT Freedom and that you believed a whole pack of lies to think that drunkenness, gluttony, or sexual immorality were “good things”.  

God will lead you out of the darkness, but you have to choose to follow Him freely and to adapt his righteous, forgiving, and loving ways more and more each day.  

When you repent and start living as the Christian you claim to be, the Lord blesses your path and even though it may be difficult and frustrating at times the consequences of walking in his ways will lead to good.  

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) says
28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

God has called you to His purpose: to live a simple good righteous life that represents His kingdom – to be more and more like Jesus.  And when we walk toward that purpose, God works all things together for good to who? To those who love God! – So love Him and follow Him out of the darkness of anger and the bitterness of unforgiveness and find peace that comes from living with and for God.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (ESV)
10  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
11  For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.
12  What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
13  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14  I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15  so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.
16  (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
17  For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Today’s verses fall under the fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 4. Keep the unity of believers; don’t follow men, but Christ.

Today’s verses highlight the fact that division can even happen in the “church of Acts” and that we are not to follow men, but we are to follow God.

Christians are supposed to display the fruit of the spirit – peace – but when we put our allegiances into a person or a system that causes division rather than in God and the truth of His word that should result in peace and love, we know we have gone astray.  

As the Lord would have it, Crossexamined.org’s, John Ferrer shares a blog post this week that talks about “Personality Cults” – where even Biblically based Christian gatherings can be subverted to the following of “the head man” – a narcissistic charismatic leader that rules their flock with a “lone wolf” approach to decision making, inflicting vindictive punishments on those who don’t follow their edicts” showing us the dangers of putting a Pastor or Minister as the Lord of your life rather than following Jesus.  I am sharing the link to Ferrer’s article on the blog today if you want to check it out and to examine whether or not you may be in a “Cult of Personality.  

So as today’s passage says – ”there be no divisions among you”  and “seek to be united in the same mind and the same judgment” that makes Jesus the One and Only Lord of your life.

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

Today we are sharing from A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology  - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold. 

The Arthur Pink Anthology – 6

Christian Fools – Part 3 of 8

Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility. They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.

Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfil; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.

Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence. There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system. On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God. I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.

Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty-duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It says, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It says, “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.[1]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Jesus’ Revolutionary Way of Living - Discovering New Levels of Freedom - Purity 1182


 Jesus’ Revolutionary Way of Living - Discovering New Levels of Freedom - Purity 1182

Purity 1182 10/26/2023  Purity 1182 Podcast

Purity 1182 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s painting of an Autumn forest pathway comes to us from Phyllis Seguin who shared a photo of her finished work of art on social media a couple of days ago and generously gave me permission to share it on the blog. Thank You, Phyllis!  

Well, it’s Thursday and it has been my habit to share photos of pathways as a visual encouragement or reminder to get on or to stay on the path of Christian discipleship and I thought sharing Phyllis’ beautiful fall painting of a pathway through the woods could meet that purpose and simultaneously give honor to Phyllis for her artistic talents. 

About a year ago Phyllis led members of her family through a “paint and sip” activity, and I was the only male member of the family to give painting a try.  It was the first time I ever had done anything like that, and I was glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and was pleased with the results as that dark full moon scene painting is currently hanging in my bedroom in my place “down by the River”.

That experience, along with many others I have had since putting my faith in Jesus Christ, demonstrates the great benefits that we can experience when we step out in faith and try something new.    The old adage of “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may have an abundance of evidence to support it but the exceptions prove that saying to be a lie.  I’m not sure about dogs – maybe we don’t have the patience to train them or retrain them properly – shots fired – but I know that people can change, usually for the worse, unless of course they allow the Lord to transform them into the people He created them to be.   

Last night, I led another meeting of the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church, and although we had a lot of no-shows due to illness and other obligations, I was reminded of the value of giving people a place to be able to honestly report on the activities of their lives and to be given an environment in which they can ask God for help and receive support as they choose to make a change with the way they live their lives.   As a leader of a group like this, I reap the benefits of watching people discover that the Lord is alive and well and encouraging them to experience their freedom.

As people report on receiving new insights and new levels of peace, patience, joy, or self-control, I assure them that these things have been found because they decided to trust God and seek to live a good and righteous life. By choosing to trust God to take them out of the darkness, the Holy Spirit turns the lights on – illuminating truth – and filling their lives with the fruit of the Spirit. I point out that what they are experiencing is God working in their lives and I encourage them to keep following the path they have started on because if they “keep on walking and talking with God”, they will progress and grow day by day and eventually realize that they and their lives have been transformed.   

It is a blessing to be able to encourage people to discover their identity and freedom in Christ, but as a leader I also have to realize that my value or worth doesn’t depend on the weekly meeting attendance or the progress of the people in the group.  I can’t fix anyone or make anyone have faith so I have to be content just to speak the truth in love and trust that the Lord will move in the lives of those who choose to follow Him. 

It’s quite simple. If you earnestly follow Him, renew your mind, and seek to do His will with how you live your life, you will be changed. If you hold back or refuse to agree with what God says in some area or set a limit on what you are willing to do in following the Lord, or other or simply decide to stop following Him, you won’t be changed.  And those who think that there is nothing more to change or to grow in often end up going astray and losing the freedom they had.  So seek the Lord, love the Lord with all your heart mind, and strength, and don’t stop surrendering yourself to following His will for your life.

Make no mistake, following Jesus is a revolutionary pathway. Accepting Jesus’ way is accepting a different way of living, the way of truth and love. His light exposes the world’s lies, corruption, and hypocrisy and exposes just how blind we were to it all – and the revelations we receive when we choose to follow Jesus are progressive – we see more and more of the truth about the world, about ourselves, and about God, as we go.  

In my testimony, I progressed from an agnostic/atheistic/eastern mysticism practicing unbelieving addict – to a believer, then to a follower, then to a sober follower, then to a sexually pure sober follower, and no I have taken on my food addiction earnestly in such a way where, unlike in the past where I would Yo-Yo back in my weight and dive back into binge eating and overeating in general – I feel that I have been given a new opportunity to remain free and to progress further into personal physical health then I have ever gone before.

 I see the “sin” of not taking care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit,  and I see the lies of “calling evil what is good” in terms of food.  I see how “comfort food” doesn’t provide comfort.  I see how the foods I thought of as “good” are not good – not just intellectually but on an experiential basis.  Recently, I told my accountability partner that I had “cracked the code” of my food addiction because I have discovered the foods that I can eat on a regular basis that satisfy me and that don’t leave me feeling bloated, guilty, or heavy. I know the “cost” of the foods I choose and the “costs” of not monitoring what I eat. The awareness of what I eat and how much I eat and how it affects me has been somewhat of a breakthrough and even though I could have probably told you how I “knew” these things in the past, this time it feels like I have the option of not “forgetting” and going back into the darkness of a lifestyle that is defined by guilt, shame, and obesity.   I have been walking down a pathway of increasing peace, joy, and physical health, and it looks like I can choose to stay on it,  and that’s what I intended to do.

It seems only fitting that the guy who is leading a small group that encourages change and growth to experience it for himself.  

I have to be honest because of some of the disappointments I encountered with recovery ministry in the past – I had more or less confessed that I was done with “recovery ministry”. And I suppose, with the blend of discipleship/freedom prayer ministry techniques I try to bring to the table at Celebrate Freedom, I guess you could say I am done with “recovery ministry”. But apparently, the Lord knew I wasn’t done with recovery yet. I still had battles to fight. I still had victories to win. He had more freedom for me to experience. And here I am in the best physical shape I have ever been in my life, because I was willing to lead the charge toward freedom only to discover I was also called to take on a new challenge to experience a new level of freedom, peace and joy. 

So don’t believe the world’s lie that you can’t change – while there may be some truth to the adage that people don’t change – the higher truth is that God can transform people when they put their faith in Jesus, receive a new life, choose to follow Him to experience it.   

So don’t follow me, follow Jesus and see just how much freedom, victory, truth, peace, and joy He has waiting for you on the pathway He invites you to take.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)
43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Today’s verses fall under the eleventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

 11. Jesus commands us not to hate our enemies but love them and pray for them.

Today’s verses display the revolutionary ways of thinking that Jesus invites us to consider and to apply to our lives.  Love your enemies. Talk about a paradox! Jesus calls us to follow Him in His pathways of peace and the only way it is possible is through knowing Him.  

Only when we have come to faith in Jesus, can we experience the peace of being forgiven and being reconciled to God.  It is only with this eternal insight can we see the true state of our enemy – as not someone to be hated – but as someone who was much like us in our broken state – and who is to be pitied, prayed for, and shown compassion. 

In Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34  …Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

when he was being crucified! Christ’s compassion shows that he understands that evil is ignorance of reality.  IF we realized the evil of what we do, we would repent and so we are called to love where there is hate, we are to forgive where there is offense, and we are to pray for the ones who seem to have no hope.  

I don’t know about you, but I considered myself to be spiritually hopeless – a sinner on the highway to hell who was unwilling and incapable of change, but the Lord knew that even the likes of me only need to know Him and to see the truth of His love to be changed.   So love your enemies and pray that they too will see the light and one day become a member of our heavenly family and they see the error of their wicked ways and put their faith in Jesus.

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

Today we continue sharing from  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

32 - Honoring the Spirit

It seems fitting that we should close this lengthy discussion upon the Person, office, and operations of the Holy Spirit by dwelling upon what is due Him from those in whom He has wrought so graciously, for it is very evident that some recognition and response must be made Him by us. There is, however, the more need for us to write something thereon, because there are quite a number who belong to a company which refrains from all direct worship of the Third Person in the Godhead, deeming it unscriptural and incongruous to do so. It seems strange that the very ones who claim to give the Spirit a freer and fuller place in their meetings than any branch of Christendom, should, at he same time, demur at prayer being immediately directed to Him. Yet it is so: some of them refuse to sing the Doxology because it ends with “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

From time to time one and another of our readers have written, taking exception to occasional statements made by us, such as “what praise is due the Spirit for His grace and goodness unto us!” challenging us to point to any definite passage wherein we are bidden to worship or pray to the Spirit distinctively. First, let us point out that there are many things clearly implied in Scripture which are not formally and expressly stated, and to assert we must for that reason reject them is absurd—some have refused the canonicity of the book of Esther because the name of God is not found therein, yet His superintending Providence, His overruling power, His faithfulness and goodness, shine forth in each chapter! We build not our faith on any isolated texts, but on the Word of God as a whole, rightly and spiritually interpreted.

We have begun thus not because we are unable to find any definite statements in the Word which obviously warrant the position we have taken, but because we deemed it well to refute an erroneous principle. Even if there were no clear cases recorded of prayer and praise being offered immediately to the Holy Spirit, we should surely require some strong positive proof to show the Spirit is not to be supplicated. But where, we ask, is there anything in Holy Writ which informs us that one Person in the Godhead must be excluded from the praises that we make unto the Lord? Here we are meeting the objector on his own ground: if what we are about to advance fails to convince him, he must at least allow that he knows of no texts which refute or condemn us, no verse which warns us against rendering to the blessed Spirit that recognition and honor to which we consider He is fully entitled.[1]

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).