Jesus’ Revolutionary Way of Living - Discovering New Levels of Freedom - Purity 1182
Purity 1182 10/26/2023 Purity 1182 Podcast
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship