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Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Monday, August 15, 2022

Can’t Hardly Wait – Coming of Age, Coming to Freedom - Purity 810


Can’t Hardly Wait – Coming of Age, Coming to Freedom  - Purity 810

Purity 810 08/15/2022  Purity 810 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining above a stand of sunflowers comes to us from TammyLyn Clark as she captured this scene back on July 15th in. literally, her back yard.   My wife has an eye for seeing the simple good things in life that God has provided and shares photos and art work that gives glory to God on her Facebook Group: Art4Him (https://www.facebook.com/groups/5261251240632105) .  

She “created this group as a platform to share "original" works of art to give God glory”. I sent out invites this morning to virtually all my friends to join her group where she invites others to “share their own...original art for the glory of the Lord” in whatever art form you use, including “photography, painting, drawing, written word, poetry, songs, dance and more”.

And she also asks that “If you would like to share something from this group...reach out the artist FIRST AND (if sharing is approved) credit the artist in your post.” 

My wife had started this group awhile ago and I have failed to utilize the wonderful photos she has shared for use on my blog, but no more.  Sometimes I am at a loss for which photo to share each day and worry about whether or not the “artist” will approve of me using their work.  I have had relationships broken over assuming my friends would want me to share their work! But I have given TammyLyn credit this morning and I know she supports my work fully, as I do hers.   So I invite you all to join Art4Him and encourage you to share your original artwork to help lift someone’s spirit and to give God glory.  

Well, it’s Monday again, and although I am sure most of us could have waited for another work week to begin, I “can’t hardly wait” for the next round of Freedom in Christ Discipleship Courses to begin.   I know “back to school” may be  a taboo phrase to drop around the youth and teachers who are enjoying their summer vacations but, friends in different parts of the country are already living in it and I look forward to the first session of the Men’s Freedom in Christ Course that I will facilitate that will meet the first Tuesday after Labor Day, in 3 weeks!

This morning I received an e-mail from Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Eastern Regional Course Coordinator, Sue Huber, where she anonymously shared some of the comments of the participants who have registered for the course of why they want to take the course I will lead, in order that I could begin praying for them before we begin.

Whether their reasons are to deepen their faith, to get encouragement for their ministry work, to get help in renewing their mind from negative mind states, or to receive assistance in overcoming personal and spiritual conflicts of the past, I am super excited at the prospect of being able to encourage these men and to help them either experience their freedom, maintain it, or to deepen their walk with God.  

As I thought about the fact that I “can’t hardly wait” for the new session to begin, I remembered that there was a 1998 coming of age, party movie of the same name. I don’t really recall the details of the plot, but basically a bunch of teens graduate high school and go to a party.  The film is an ensemble film and it follows different characters as they struggle with personal dilemmas, relationship issues, and the fears that surround facing the prospect of facing the future and finding love and purpose as they leave adolescence for adult hood.  

This movie came out when my college days were over, but before I had kids with my ex, and although I still drank and did drugs like a college co-ed in my privacy of my home, in many ways the “party was over”.  That youthful exuberance sort of goes by the way side no matter how much you drink or think you are “cool” when the classes stop and the school seasons are less meaningful because you have entered the working work and are full time “adulting”.  

There are lots of coming of age party films that highlight the misadventures of youth, like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Animal House, Losing It, The Last American Virgin, Porky’s, and Dazed and Confused. which unfortunately encourage youth to think that the right of passage into adulthood goes through experiencing wild times with alcohol, drugs, and sex. 

Ironically the effects of these things that we think will make us “real men and women” can actually do the opposite. Instead of freedom, they can lead to bondage.  Instead of liberation that can result in situations where you are stuck dealing with the negative consequences of momentary decisions for years.  Instead of growing up, scientific studies and brain science indicate that addicts get “locked” in the stage of maturity they are at when they first start using. 

Ever wonder why some full grown adults are as immature as they were in high school?   Not only is it possible that they never learned anything from school, according to those studies they can be emotionally and mentally stuck in a mindset where they are grown up adolescents!

Oh that’s not good, if science says that I guess there is no hope for some people! 

Well, that’s what the world would say I guess.  They would tell you that once “an addict always an addict”, or “you can’t teach a old dog new tricks” or that “there are somethings that you will just have to live with as you will always struggle with them”.

But God’s word says something else.  Jesus said in

John 15:5 (NKJV)
5  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  

If you have been trying to live without Christ, is it surprising that not much has changed since high school in your mind, in your emotions, or in your, soul?  Without Him you can’t do much. He’ says without Him you can do nothing.  

The Cast of “Can’t Hardly Wait” were in their 20’s movie when that movie came out. And even though we could watch that movie today to see them go through their wild misadventures of their youth, the party has long been over and now they are they in their 40’s!  I didn’t do the research but you have to wonder, did any of them “grow up”.   I did a couple of quick google searches of some of the cast members with the word “rehab” with wasn’t surprised that life imitated art in some cases as fortune and fame in youth comes with many worldly temptations. 

So even if you are famous you can struggle but I got good news for the famous or the virtually unknow among us that struggle with the transition of “adulting” and dealing with the lies we believed in our youth that told us what it meant to be “free” or what it meant to be a “real” man or woman.   I have good news to those you falsely believe that they will always suffer or those that believe they can never change.   Although it may seem like you will never change and that some things are just impossible to get past or to overcome, Christ said that

Luke 18:27 (NKJV)
27  But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

The Lord can set you free. God word declares:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

John 8:36 (NKJV)
36  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

So I can’t hardly wait for the prospect of encouraging some men who were bold enough to ask for God for help to discover the person that God created them to be.   There are freedom in Christ courses available for anyone seeking help. Register now at: https://www.ficm.org/.../freedom-in-christ-course-fall-2022/.

But I understand that not everyone will be able to get this help. The class sizes are limited and the times might not work for you.  But hey, I podcasted the classes I taught in 2021, so you don’t have much of an excuse in my book.  

I didn’t have an online class to go to.  All I had was the word of God, a desire to follow the Lord to freedom His word speaks of, and faithful men and women at a local church to encouraged me to keep coming to church and to keep “walking and talking with God.” 

So it’s Monday, and we might have a lot of work to do in the days ahead of us. some of which may seem impossible.  But with God we have hope and power to persevere and to accomplish all that He has for us, if we simply abide in Christ and follow where He leads.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Lamentations 3:25-26 (NLT2)
25  The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
26  So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.

Today’s verse speaks the truth that the Lord is good to those who depend on Him, who search for Him, and who wait on Him.

Talk about discipleship instructions!  Enough said?

Depend on the Lord – Pray to Him for help.  Listen for His still quiet voice to guide you.

Search for the Lord – Read His word, Apply it, seek to do the good works He has prepared for you.  

Wait on the Lord – Abide in Him to give you peace and strength to endure as you wait for Him to work in and through you.  

Pressed for time today, but today’s verses are “keepers” to encourage you to keep going where God calls you to.

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

PART III Interpreting the Powers for Today

We face two looming obstacles in interpreting the relevance of Paul’s teaching on the powers for the church today. First, there is the problem of the perception of myth. As pointed out in the introduction, Western society does not give credence to the notion of spirits, be they good or evil. To introduce the idea of evil spirits would be regarded by many as a reversion to primitive myth. We therefore need to grapple seriously with how to draw out the contemporary relevance of the biblical testimony on this theme.

The second major obstacle we face is the wide variety of interpretations of the powers. Traditional Christian interpretation has stressed the influence of the powers on individuals. The bulk of popular charismatic books on this topic have dealt primarily with ministering to people who are demonized. Both of these views, of course, assume that evil spirits really do exist.

More recent interpretations of the powers, in contrast, have stressed the influence of the powers on a broad scale; that is, the powers work primarily through the structures of our existence. Such things as economic and political structures are most often cited (capitalism, socialism, nationalism), but also other factors enter in, such as social patterns, cultural norms, group habits (like the development of a mob spirit in a soccer match). These “structures of existence” are then viewed as the objects of our spiritual struggle and may be regarded as demonic. Many who hold to this view would regard the biblical references to the powers as symbols of nonpersonal realities.

For most Christians, however, the issue of the pervasive influence of the powers has not been a matter of careful reflection. The following section will address the problem of how to interpret the powers for the twentieth-century setting and lead us into thinking more deeply about the influence of the powers on individuals and on a much broader scale. The remarks are limited to the implications we can draw from the apostle Paul’s teaching on the principalities and powers. Much more can be gained by a careful study of the life of our Lord, the book of Acts, the rest of the New Testament epistles and the book of Revelation.[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] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 167–168.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Immersive Experience - Purity 793


The Immersive Experience - Purity 793

Purity 793 07/26/2022  Purity 793 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “At Eternity’s Gate” projected on a wall just above an exit sign comes to us from yours truly as my wife and I decided to spontaneously immerse ourselves in the spectacular art exhibit: Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience yesterday and this dark piece, and the irony of it’s positioning, caught my attention and compelled me to capture and share it.  

Well it may be “two for Tuesday” for some, but I can think of at least three reasons that I decided to share this particular image out of all of the works of Van Gogh that were on display at the exhibit that literally puts the participant into the paintings of Van Gogh.  

The first reason I share it is promotional. I really enjoy the work of Van Gogh, and art in general, and wish to encourage others to take a part of their time this summer to go a museum or gallery to appreciate the work of artists who purposely or unwittingly give God glory as their artistic talents point to the God that has blessed them with their talents to paint, sculpt, or produce other creative works.

The world may not be a perfect place but as Van Gogh said: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere” and as much as I use my blog’s “photo of the day” to highlight the beauty that is inherent in various scenes of nature, I can also admit that we can find beauty in the work of man’s hands and that God gave people these abilities to use them and to help us to appreciate their work and the lives He has given us.  

If you are anywhere near the Capital District area of upstate NY, I highly recommend “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” and I am sharing a link to the site where you can get your tickets for it on the blog today: (https://vangoghexpo.com/albany/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=sc&utm_campaign=111819_alb&gclid=Cj0KCQjwof6WBhD4ARIsAOi65ajFN_Pkcdiak1CihLFjGjF4c-6AaOaiO3cKve8MyoQJi8dMguQZ7CwaAnBCEALw_wcB) I am also sharing a link that shares the lists of other cities where this exhibit is on (https://vangoghexpo.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=sc&utm_campaign=111819_alb&gclid=cj0kcqjwof6wbhd4arisaoi65ajfn_pkcdiak1cihl) where it is currently on display, or where it was. Just like life, this exhibit doesn’t last forever, so if this interests you, you should sign up and get ‘er done before you miss your chance.

Of course, there are other places and events where you can see art and I guess this is a general encouragement to support the arts, in all its forms, places, times, and seasons, as they highlight the beauty of life.   

Another reason I share today’s photo, is to encourage my friends to be spontaneous.  Out of the love I had for my wife, I decided to keep experiencing her presence, for one more day, and took an unscheduled day off just to be with her. I didn’t have any plans for the day and because the weather was hit and miss with thunderstorms, I encouraged her to think of something we could do indoors, specifically mentioning museums or art galleries as an option that I would be open to.

Luckily, we both have friends that have been to the Van Gogh Immersive experience who shared their experience with it on social media and my wife remembered it and subtly presented this option to me by putting it on my phone while my attention was turned elsewhere. So she silently suggested it, and me being a “let’s go, let’s go NOW” kind of guy jumped at the opportunity presented to me and before you know it the tickets were purchased and we were on our way to immerse ourselves in Van Gogh’s work.  

So my encouragement here is to be open to new experiences, love your loved ones, and enjoy the life God has given you by going our there and doing something! In truth, it didn’t matter where we went or what we did yesterday, I had taken the day off to be with my wife and to enjoy her company and we merely put that mutual desire to love one another in this context.

We love art, we love nature, we love God, and we love each other and we just happened to bring all of that to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience where all of the elements came together like a piece of art!  Another quote attributed to Van Gogh says: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” and yesterday we brought all of our small things together to make a great day.  

But I would be remiss if I didn’t address the rather large existential elephant that I brought into the middle in the room by highlighting Van Gogh’s “At Eternity’s Gate”.  Did I share it because I shared Van Gogh’s depressive view of life which is expressed by another of his “quotes”, reportedly the last words that he spoke before leaving this mortal coil, that says: “The sadness will last forever”?  

Not at all! I share it to plead with anyone who will listen, that the sadness doesn’t have to last forever, in this life or the next, and that the One who can give us joy here on earth and the hope of eternal peace and purpose in heaven, is the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Van Gogh’s apparent suicide- although some doubt it, and mental health struggles are well documented and “At Eternity’s Gate” really highlights the mental anguish that Van Gogh was familiar with.  The title is very specific for the cause of the subjects anguish. Whether you theorize it is because of the pain of dying, the loss of the beauty of life, or the fear of an unknown eternal destination the message of “At Eternity’s Gate” and Van Gogh’s last words is clear – “I have no hope”.  But is that true?

For those who don’t know, Van Gogh was the son of a pastor, trained to be a pastor, and had been a missionary to a small mining community in Belgium before being fired for being “overzealous, for his ineloquent speech and for his scruffy appearance. Returning home, Vincent suffered a nervous breakdown, and his struggle with mental health and depression would pervade throughout his life.” (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the-profound-christian-faith-of-vincent-van-gogh/106440.htm

Van Gogh was frequently misunderstood by others throughout his life, and I fear that despite his exposure to the gospel of Jesus Christ in his background, I fear that near the end he misunderstood the hope he could have, in Christ. 

Another quote from Van Gogh says:

'Christ alone, of all the philosophers, magicians, etc., has affirmed eternal life as the most important certainty, the infinity of time, the futility of death, the necessity and purpose of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as an artist greater than all other artists, scorning marble and clay and paint, working in the living flesh.

While this quote affirms the importance of eternal life, spiritual practices, and using our love to impact and shape the lives of others, I fear that it also reveals Van Gogh’s doubts of who Christ is.

Christ is not a philosopher or magician. Christ is the Son of God, and God the Son. It is through faith in Him alone that one can have a new and eternal life. However, due to his failure at serving God’s kingdom in his youth, the rejection of man throughout his life, and his personal sins and mental struggles, Van Gogh’s view at the end appears to be bleak.  

I don’t know the outcome of Van Gogh’s eternal destiny. But I do know that God is good and merciful and that if Van Gogh ever put his faith and trust in Christ as his Lord and Savior, Van Gogh’s mourning would be instantly turned to gladness the moment he died because if his name was written in the Lamb’s book of Life, there would be nothing that could separate him from His Father’s love.  If Van Gogh put his faith in Christ, his sins were forgiven and even if Van Gogh had believed Satan’s lie that “the sadness will last forever”, the artist would have known the joy of his salvation the moment he was absent from his body and was present with the Lord.  

But I also don’t want to paint a picture that ignores, Van Gogh’s pain and anguish over his contemplation of eternity. Van Gogh knew the word and he knew his life. He knew his sin and he knew what the word said about people who lived in the flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) says
9  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)
8  But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

For the unrepentant sinner, who never trusts in Christ alone and turns from their former life of sin, the sadness will last forever.  If you reject Christ by choosing your self, your sin, and you way over Him and His way, all hope will be lost when your life expires.  

But where there is life, there is hope. As long as we live, we can choose to immerse ourselves in life everlasting, by putting our faith in Christ.  As bad as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 paints a picture of the consequences of our sins, Paul was writing to give hope to the church as the next line says: 

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NKJV)
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Such were some of you! If you are justified by faith in Christ, you are washed cleaned and accepted. We need not fear death and we have the power to turn from the sin that would cause us to doubt such a great salvation and lead us to despair.  

So which was it for Van Gogh? Eternal sadness in hell or a life of peace and joy in heaven? Only the Lord knows for sure, but we can be sure that God will do what’s right according to each of us and our faith.   

So keep walking and talking with God, place your faith in Christ, and enjoy the beauty that is all around us. Give the world the hope of heaven and the assurance of a beautiful life that comes through Christ, by sharing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

If you see people lost in sin and dragging through life in confusion and despair, assure them that God loves them and that if they would simply turn to Him they can leave the darkness and sadness behind for a life of peace, purpose, and beauty that will shine a light from here to eternity’s gate.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Matthew 5:19 (NLT2)
19  So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus, and surprise, He is teaching us that to be called great in the kingdom of Heaven, we are to obey the commandments of God and to teach them to others. 

There is a little consolation for the “carnal Christian” here, and all of us really, Christ doesn’t condemn all who ignore “the least commandment” and who teach others to do the same to hell. He indicates that your status will not be ‘great” but at least He doesn’t say “you are out!”  This points to the fact that we do not have to be perfect to be in God’s kingdom, we merely have to be His by our faith in Jesus Christ.  

But this verse does indicate that we shouldn’t ignore God’s commandments and just rest on His grace.  We should instead rejoice over God’s grace and seek to please Him out of our love for Him by applying the wisdom of His word to our lives.   

Here Christ encourages us to choose that which is best, by seeking to be called “great in the kingdom of God” by obeying the Lord’s commandments. 

So humbly seek the greatness that God has for you, by drawing close to Him through studying His word and by living out your faith in everything you do.

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Giving a Foothold to the Devil

Paul never used the language of “demonization” (often described as “demon possession”) in his letters, which is so common in the Gospels. The closest he came to “possession” language is his concept of giving a “foothold to the devil” as found in Ephesians 4:27. He warned the Christians in Ephesus, “do not give the devil a foothold.”

Topos is the Greek word that the NIV translates as “foothold.” It could also be translated “opportunity” (NASB, RSV) or “chance” (TEV; NEB translates it “loop-hole”). Thus this verse can be expressed, “Do not give the devil a chance to exert his influence.”5 In Romans 12:19, Paul used topos in a similar way, when he says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but ‘leave room’ [literally, ‘give a place’ or ‘give a chance’] for God’s wrath.”

This is the only time Paul made such a statement in any of his letters. He did not go on to explain what kind of “foothold” he believed the devil can gain in the life of a believer or how the devil operates once a believer gives him a “chance.” J. A. Robinson interpreted this passage as referring to an “opportunity for the entry of an evil spirit.” I cannot find clear support for this assertion from Jewish tradition, but there are a number of examples of the idea of God’s people giving the devil (Beliar) an opportunity to take control of their lives. The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, written just before the time of Christ, has much to say about the potential influence of the devil and his spirits over God’s people. One text in particular links unchecked anger with the devil gaining a foothold, just as in the context of Ephesians 4:27. The Testament of Dan 4:7 states, “Anger and falsehood together are a double-edged evil, and work together to perturb the reason. And when the soul is continually perturbed, the Lord withdraws from it and Beliar rules it.” In light of this Jewish tradition it is not surprising then to see Paul regarding excessive anger with relinquishing control of one’s life to the devil.

Paul is clear about how the believer can give the devil a chance to exert control. His warning about giving the devil a foothold is prefaced by the admonition, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Eph 4:26). Paul conceived of excessive anger as one of the means of Satan’s entry into a believer’s life. He probably did not consider this particular vice as the only point of vulnerability for diabolic exploitation. Paul mentioned quite a number of vices in the larger context of the passage, including lying, stealing, dirty talk, bitterness and malice. It is likely that any sinful activity that the believer does not deal with by the power of the Spirit can be exploited by the devil and turned into a means of control over a believer’s life. Therefore, Christians need to resist.

For Paul there is no middle ground. There is no nominal Christianity. Believers either resist the influence of the evil one who works through the flesh and the world, or they relinquish control of their lives to the powers of darkness.

For this reason it is extremely dangerous for believers to harbor bitterness, hold a grudge or pilfer from their place of employment—to name a few examples. Giving in to those temptations does not just confirm the weakness of the flesh, it opens up the lives of believers to the control of the devil and his powers.

Deceived by Servants of Satan (2 Cor 10–13)

Ever since the garden of Eden, Satan has continued to use his diabolical method of deception, causing people to believe a lie. This was particularly true in Paul’s churches with regard to the proliferation of false teaching and the deceitful work of false teachers. In writing to the Galatians, Corinthians and the Colossians, Paul warned these believers about the influence of false teaching. In all three cases he explicitly connects the false teaching with the work of Satan and his powers. Paul also instructed Timothy on how to deal with false teachers at Ephesus, who essentially were pawns in Satan’s hands. All these forms of false teaching characteristically impugn the true nature of the gospel and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ—always leading to the wrong kind of lifestyle and behavior.

The Corinthians were giving credence to a group of polished orators who had described themselves as apostles and missionaries (2 Cor 11:13). They publicly disdained Paul and tried to present themselves as having a higher level of spiritual authority over the Corinthians. While they had apparently claimed to possess authority from Jerusalem, Paul implied that they were teaching a different Jesus and a different gospel than he had proclaimed to them (2 Cor 11:4). Paul then charged them with being “false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” Finally, he unmasked their true identity: They are servants of Satan masquerading as Christians. Paul regarded Satan as the master of masquerade and deceit. Paul said that Satan can even disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). Some strands of Jewish tradition actually believed that Satan did disguise himself as an angel of light when he tempted Eve in the garden of Eden.

Paul was fearful that these emissaries of Satan would cause the Corinthians to believe a perverted gospel. He therefore cautioned them, “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor 11:3). Paul responded to this situation by endeavoring to “demolish strongholds”—that is, he wanted to tear down the wall of hostility that his opponents had erected between himself and his Corinthian converts (2 Cor 10:4). Furthermore, a “stronghold” of false teaching needed to be eradicated from their midst because it was contrary to the truth of the gospel. Ralph Martin comments, “Paul distinguishes the alien intruders at Corinth, whose satanic work (11:13–15) he wants to overthrow and neutralize, from the body of Pauline believers for whom he entertains optimistic hope of their recovery from the snare of deviation and seduction.” Paul therefore wrote to them to expose the satanic character of this new teaching and to call the Corinthians to break this yoke with Belial (see 2 Cor 6:14–7:1). He wanted them to commit themselves afresh to the true gospel that he proclaimed as a legitimate apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ—the gospel of the Christ who suffered and calls his people to manifest divine power in weakness.

Paul exposed other kinds of demonically inspired false teachings that denigrated the gospel of Christ in the church at Colossae and among the churches of the Galatian region. Paul described the new teaching at Colossae as having come to them through human beings, but in reality the “elementary spirits of the world” (Col 2:8) inspired it. It challenged the full sufficiency of Christ for the believers in Colossae.[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] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 128–131.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Stepping out of the Box - Purity 698


Stepping out of the Box -   Purity 698

Purity 698  04/06/2022   Purity 698 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of an “original” piece of art, which features a full moon over a mountain range with it’s light reflected on a lake below, and it’s artist comes to us from yours truly as I boldly crossed apparent gender norms and joined my wife and other female members of my wife’s family this past weekend in a family “paint n’ sip” gathering. 

Well it’s Wednesday, and I figured that the full moon smack dab in between the pair of mountains on my painting was as good a representation for making it to the midpoint of the work week as any, and I thought that this photo could also be used as an example of deciding to step out of the box and to try new things and to overcome things that hold us back from experiencing our freedom in Christ.  

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this one I could really say so much but am limited by time and want to try to hit as many points as possible without going too deep but at the same time I don’t want to miss anything.  

First things first:  “Isn’t a “paint n’ sip” just a reason for a bunch of women to get together and get drunk?  

I would have to admit that it certainly could be.   I know when I used to drink, any and every activity, or day of the week, was as good a reason as any for having a few drinks or getting totally snockered. 

So ladies, or guys, if you are looking forward to the next activity so you can “unwind” or enjoy some “wine time”, you may have a problem.  I really don’t care how much or how often you drink, if you use alcohol to reduce stress or enjoy getting drunk from time to time, I want you to know that you don’t need it. 

The Lord may not completely prohibit the use of alcohol but all the “drunken” verses in the Bible tells us that seeking peace in alcohol is not the plan God has for your life.   If we are seeking to find peace through anything rather than from the Lord, we may be “making idols” out of things we shouldn’t and we may be in bondage to “our little helpers” when we could receive life and life more abundantly by walking in the Spirit.

Number 2: Aren’t those “paint n’ sip” things just for girls?     

Apparently, in my in-laws family they are! Shots fired. Just kidding, there seems to be some gender confusion in my wife’s family or not… we are all free to choose to do what we want.

All the other men in attendance chose not to participate.  I guess they all decided they aren’t “artistic” or perhaps they thought of it as not a “manly” activity.  I don’t know their personal histories include and I don’t know the reasons why they didn’t choose to paint. 

I respect their decision not to paint but, for me, I like to try new things.  Also I know that the spectrum of art is really genderless, anyone can paint.  It is not an activity that is just for any one gender. 

Most hobbies do not have a gender identity. I can sew, cook, craft, paint, draw, or crochet just as any lady can decided to hunt, fish, or do any other traditionally “male” activities.   

While I don’t agree that we get to choose what gender we are, in terms of hobbies, unless perversion is a part of the activity, I believe that we have the freedom to do whatever we enjoy as long as that activity doesn’t take the place of a robust relationship with God. 

I have seen tombstones with deer and fish on them to highlight the departed’s interest in the great outdoors but when I see that I shudder because it indicates that person might have loved the Lord’s creation more than the Lord Himself.  That “great outdoors man” might be burning in hell because he found his peace in the wilderness and never found peace with His Heavenly Father.  

So anyway, most activities with rare exceptions are genderless and we should exercise our freedom from time to time to stretch ourselves and our limited concepts of life by doing somethings “outside of the box”.  

Third, Activities can bring us together.  We should try new things or  create things. God has given us free will. We should try new things. We also can give ourselves and possibly other people joy from the things we create. Creating works of art or building things can bring joy to ourselves and bring us closer to others as we share what we have done or as we join with others in the activity of building things or making works of art.   We should enjoy our lives and seek to show our love for others by including them in our activities or by sharing with them the things we do.   

And finally, don’t be afraid to show people who you are.  I started the audio podcast because I thought I had a “face for radio”.  Many of us have low self esteem and low opinion of our looks.  By sharing a photo that features my appearance today, I am stepping out of the box of my comfort zone a little by exposing my mug to the world.  

God has made us and in His eyes we are all beautiful.  He loves us. He sent Jesus to die for us.  We are very valuable and precious to Him.   There is no condemnation for those in Christ.   

So if you have a negative opinion of how you look, I want you to know that God doesn’t look on the outward appearance. 

1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT2)
7  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

This world will judge you by your looks, or by your performance, but God doesn’t do that. He cares about your character.  He looks at your heart. 

So don’t worry about the what the world thinks about the hobbies you do, the way you perform them, or by how you look.  Instead draw close the Lord by walking and talking with God every day.  He sent Christ to die for you and if you put your faith in Jesus, He welcomes you into His kingdom forever.

We don’t have to do everything right. We don’t have to do what the world expects us to do and we don’t have to measure up to the world’s standards.

 In Christ, we are accepted, secure, and significant and God loves us just as we are, but He does invites us to try something new. 

He invites us to learn from His word and walk in His ways to experience the peace, love, and joy that come from being in a harmonious relationship with Him, where we can escape the chains of convention, and condemnation, and the break the bonds of bitterness that the world system ensnares us in. 

The Lord wants us to step out of the box of the world system and to experience life and life more abundantly by finding our peace and purpose in Him.    

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Colossians 3:13 (NLT2)
13  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the implicit obligation Christians have to forgive.  

I have said that the term “unforgiving Christian” is an oxymoron and should never be spoken or experienced.  

In Christ we are forgiven of all our sins so we should rightfully “pay it forward” by forgiving others for the things they have done against us.   

Forgiving is not forgetting, and forgiving doesn’t mean we stay in relationship with abusers. Forgiving doesn’t mean we don’t establish boundaries in our lives to keep others from stealing our peace.  

Forgiveness is the way of peace. Bitterness is the result of unforgiveness. So not only is forgiving the right thing to do, but it is also the means by which we can experience our freedom in Christ and mature in our faith.  

Except for Jesus, no body is perfect. We are not perfect.  So we should make allowances for the fallibility of other non-perfect people by forgiving them. 

If our interactions with others are less than pleasant, we need to make efforts to communicate our stance to try to make peace and establish a relationship that will be beneficial to both parties.

If we are unable to do that, we should establish boundaries to limit our interactions  or we could decide to end the relationship.  

We forgive but we value ourselves the way God values us.  He wants us to live in peace and even Jesus instructed His disciples to walk away from those who rejected the gospel.  

So we should forgive everyone for everything, but we shouldn’t necessarily be continual suffering servants to those who would abuse us.  Their abuse is wrong, and they have no right to harm us.

We should seek to make peace with others as long as it depends on us, but when others don’t learn to repent of their abusive ways, we should forgive them, leave them, and pray that the Lord will come into their lives to change them.  

We cannot change people.  We must forgive them, but We are not God.  So let go and let God.  By following the Lord’s ways for our lives, we can know the peace that comes from forgiveness and letting the Lord deal with the things that we can not change.  

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.

H. How to Tailor Multiple Treatment Strategies for Binge Eating

No one approach to overcoming well-established patterns of binge eating can effectively address all the issues involved in this complex disorder. The soul (mind, will, emotions), body, and spirit all work together to create and support eating patterns. Therefore all these elements need to be engaged and working together toward the same goal of healthy eating if treatment is to be successful. Seek wise counsel as you consider all of your options.…

“The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.… Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

(Hebrews 4:12–13, 16)

4 Objectives for Restoring Health

     To progress toward emotional, physical, and spiritual healing and wholeness

     To adopt healthy attitudes toward body and self-image

     To initiate sound eating habits that limit the possibility for binge eating

     To reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle

4 Aids on Your Path toward Health

As you take steps toward better health, different options are available to help you on your path to wholeness. Here are several options that you can consider.

     Professional Counseling—Working with a therapist to reveal hidden issues that may have contributed to binge eating or other destructive behavior patterns may help you to make important life changes.

     Medical Intervention—You may need to speak with a doctor and nutritionist about options for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, including diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and medication.

     Individualized Strategy—Evaluate the benefits and weaknesses of beginning a weight loss program, attending a support group, or visiting a health club to determine whether this would help you reach your goals.

     Spiritual Dependence—Whatever options you choose to help you reach your goal of a healthy body, you need to cultivate your relationship with Jesus Christ and depend on His strength to help you in your weakness.

“… ‘My [Jesus’] grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I [Paul] will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Listen and Learn

Question: “What is involved in listening to your body?”

Answer: Listening to your body is somewhat like listening to a friend—you listen for what is meant and what is felt, what is needed and what is wanted. Your body is in constant communication with you regarding its needs and desires, its pains and its pleasures. Your body knows when it needs to be fed and when food needs to be withheld. It knows when it needs fuel and when it is full. Listening means knowing when the desire for food means you need nutrition and when it means you need nurturing.

Three helpful hints to listening to your body include …

     Eat because you are hungry, not because you are bored, stressed, or lonely.

   Eat if your stomach is growling.

   Eat if you have a headache.

   Eat if several hours have passed since you last ate.

     Eat what you want, not what you dislike.

   Eat in moderation.

   Eat colorful, enjoyable foods.

   Eat what your body both needs and desires.

     Eat until you are content, not until you are full or stuffed.

   Eat while sitting down.

   Eat slowly and methodically.

   Eat purposefully, focusing on the tastes, smells, and textures of your foods.

If you listen to your body and love it by responding to what it truly needs, you will find that overeating will become a pattern of the past and healthy eating will become your present pattern.

Remember the words the Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah as you begin treating your body in a new way.…

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43:18–19)[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), 36–38.