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Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Running with the Devil: Purity 447


Purity 446 06/16/2021   Purity 447 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of blue skies and a winding wooden pathway comes to us from our friend who is traveling out West. This scene is presumably somewhere in Yellowstone National Park but could be anywhere in between Yellow Stone or Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and destinations unknown in Montana as our friend isn’t staying in one place.        

I share it because it’s Thursday and I use photos of pathways to remind people to join me on the pathway of Christian discipleship by either attending tonight’s discipleship class, or by listening to the classes via the mt4christ247 podcast, or by just deciding to continue, or to begin anew, the journey of walking and talking with God.  

Just like our friend who isn’t staying in one place on their trip out west, we shouldn’t stay in one place in terms of our faith. Life is a journey that moves on regardless of what we do and if we are not progressing in our relationship with God through the way we live, we are not enjoying the abundant life the Christ died to bring us.  

Our life in Christ is a dynamic journey of self-discovery and kingdom purpose as we go to God to transform us and to impact the world around us by finding our purpose for God and by sharing His truth and love with others.

While we look to provide for ourselves and our families and seek to do good works for the glory of God, it doesn’t mean that we stop developing ourselves.   Part of God’s purpose for us is to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and the good news is that there is always room for each of us to grow in these areas.  

For example, just because I am teaching a class on discipleship doesn’t mean I have stopped learning. And just because I have had victory over certain struggles in my life doesn’t mean that the work is done.   

Today, I begin a food plan that involves monitoring what I eat, developing a healthier and more intentional mindset in terms of what I consume, and that has a community aspect that will provide accountability and support.   

You see, two years ago, I read Sweet Surrender, a Christian book on Food Addiction, and recognized that I had an unhealthy relationship with food.  I had the intention of following the food plan detailed in the book and even announced on FB that I was finally going to overcome my food addiction, but I failed to follow through. 

I have several great excuses why I failed to do so. I mean really great ones like I was getting divorced; I was working on my master’s degree, I was working two jobs, I had to find a place to live, and oh yeah, during all this stuff, there was a global pandemic.  So excuse me for losing my focus about diet and exercise!   - See I told you, great excuses.  

Well all those excuses are gone now, and although I have been good in terms of working out 6 days a week since last November, my efforts were being sabotaged by some insidious evil: me!  By eating mindlessly, I was my own worst enemy.

This isn’t my first rodeo with weight loss, before coming to Christ, in my 30’s I had a season where I got disciplined, started running and was working out twice a day.  I was also taking diet pills to boost my metabolism.  I went from my worst, at over 300 pounds all the way down to my fittest, at 215 pounds. 

I managed to accomplish that feat as a means of overcoming the depression and grief caused from the death of my infant son, Holden in 2002.  Crawling out of the shadows of that depression caused me to be at my worst and it took years to see daylight. 

My weight loss most have been in the 2005-2007 window somewhere as I adopted a view of life that told me there was no God, life was suffering, and happiness all depended upon my efforts. 

My weight loss journey at that time was fueled by self-loathing and a desire to achieve some personal state of bliss where there was no God. There was no reason in it either because as much as I worked out I didn’t change the way I thought about food in my heart and I was drinking, smoking weed, and taking any psychedelic drugs I could get my hands on in some attempt to escape and find a higher state of consciousness. Back then it would be accurate to say I was literally “running with the Devil”.

But in 2010 God called me to faith in Jesus Christ and since then has pulled me completely out of the darkness of depression and addiction and has made me realize that anything is possible with Him. 

But that doesn’t mean, we don’t need help. I tried to do the food thing on my own but I feel I need  “the program” I signed up for to provide a system to follow and the support of others to help me to avoid “going blank” and losing my focus only to discover another bought of binge eating has occurred, a binge that I just opened the door to and felt powerless to stop and justified in doing but that was counter productive to what I really want. 

That’s the spiritual warfare aspect of what we face.  Our flesh or the enemy gives us thoughts and impulses that go against what we want for ourselves.   The enemy tells us that our goals are impossible and usually we agree and just give up.  

But with God personal goals, like good health, are possible.  We just have to believe we are free in Christ, humble ourselves before God, and others, by asking for help, continue to stay connected to God through prayer and His word, and to resist and challenge any thoughts that oppose our goals and God’s will for our lives.         

So don’t stay in one place, God has called us to life, and He wants you to know a life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit, but it may mean that you have to leave the chains and comforts of the past behind to find it.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Luke 2:12 (NKJV)
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

Today’s verse is a message from an Angel as the context of this verse is the Christmas account of the shepherds of the field being invited to go and see that the Messiah has been born.  If the appearance of the angelic hosts of heaven weren’t enough for the shepherds, the babe lying in the manger would be the evidence that the course of human history was forever changed as God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.   

We can usually take great comfort and joy when we hear verses like Luke 2:12 in the month of December as we are drawn together in the fellowship of our yearly Christmas celebrations but if we aren’t seeking the Lord continually verses like this may seem to be out of place in the month of June.   

But they shouldn’t, the joy of our salvation should carry us every day of the year. While I understand that we didn’t get to see angels or the Christ child lying in the manger, our life of faith does have “signs” from God that are just for us and prove that He is with us.

One of the things that will keep us in the faith is the continuing signs of God in our lives. As Christians, we should remember the moment that God welcomed us into His kingdom and all the moments where His presence has impacted our lives ever since. 

The gathering of believers at church, the fellowship of the saints, is one place where we can continually see the signs of Christ’s appearing as each person there has been drawn there by God and each one has their own testimony of God’s goodness.    As we walk in faith, we see God in our interactions as He guides our path. 

There is a signpost up ahead and it is telling you that God is with you. 

So keep the faith by keeping your eyes, hearts, and minds open to the things of God. The signs of God’s presence are all around us.  So if you see something, say something because the people around you might not know how good God is and we may be the hand that points them to the sign that leads them right into His kingdom and to life forever more.

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 3.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support His work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

The Fallout from God's Grace

The following list supplements the "Who Am I?" list in chapter 2. These statements further describe your identity in Christ. Read this list aloud to yourself repeatedly until it becomes a part of you. Pray through the list occasionally, asking God to cement these truths in your heart:

Since I am in Christ, by the grace of God . . .

I have been justified—completely forgiven and made righteous (Romans 5:1).

I died with Christ and died to the power of sin's rule over my life (Romans 6:1-6).

I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1).

I have been placed into Christ by God's doing (1 Cor. 1:30).

I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God (1 Cor. 2:12).

I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).

I have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing our inheritance to come (2 Cor. 1:21; Ephes. 1:13, 14).

Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

I have been made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ's life (Galatians 2:20).

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephes. 1:3).

I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and am without blame before Him (Ephes. 1:4).

I was predestined—determined by God—to be adopted as God's son (Ephes. 1:5).

I have been redeemed and forgiven, and I am a recipient of His lavish grace (Ephes. 1:17).

I have been made alive together with Christ (Ephes. 2:5).

I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven (Ephes. 2:6).

I have direct access to God through the Spirit (Ephes. 2:18).

I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence (Ephes. 3:12).

I have been rescued from the domain of Satan's rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Col. 1:14).

Christ Himself is in me (Col. 1:27).

I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built in Him (Col. 2:7).

I have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).

I have been spiritually circumcised (Col. 2:11).

I have been buried, raised and made alive with Christ (Col. 2:12, 13).

I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is now my life (Col. 3:1-4).

I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).

I have been saved and set apart according to God's doing (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).

Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother (Hebrews 2:11).

I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Recently, a pastor who was attending one of my conferences on resolving spiritual conflicts pulled me aside after a session. His comments to me reaffirmed my conviction that understanding our spiritual inheritance is the key to resolving our daily conflicts.

"A lady in our church dropped by for counseling this week," he began. "She has been struggling in her relationship with her alcoholic husband. She was at her wit's end, feeling terribly defeated. She came to tell me she was calling it quits on their marriage.

"I pulled out the list of statements you shared with us declaring who we are in Christ. I said, 'Here, read this aloud.' She read about halfway through the list and began to cry. She said, 'I never realized all this was true of me. I feel that maybe there is hope for me after all.'"

Isn't that incredible? The truth about who you are in Christ makes such a big difference in your success at handling the challenges and conflicts of life. It is imperative to your growth and maturity that you believe God's truth about who you are.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Change - 06/06/2021

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 06/06/2021

Listen to our discussion at:  Listen to Today’s Bible Study Discussion Podcast

Change

 

Most often we associate the subject of change with repentance, and in at least one Hebrew translation of the word repentance is the same; change of mind, change of direction.

 

This morning I’d like to consider change from a different perspective

The inevitability of change

                  The determination to change in a positive manner.

                     And the dynamic, or timing of change.

 

We know that God does not change; Mal. 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I do not change”; and Heb. 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”   The word is immutable Heb. 6:18

 

This is a comforting and powerful anchor to hang on to in an ever changing world.

 

In contrast, the skeptic says, as in II Pet. 3:4, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Even the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun” Ecc. 1:9

 

The paradox of change is that, as much as things change, yet they          remain the same.

 

Though things may seem to remain the same, we know that change  is inevitable. Days, months, years, etc.

Rev. 21:5, “And He that sat upon the throne said,’Behold, I make all things new.”’           Now that’s change!

 

 

The kind of change that we are considering here is in Job 14:14, “...I will wait till my change comes”  H2487  halipa

 

Our desire is that our lives would change in a positive manner, as in, a departure from sin and it’s consequences, a break through into a more glorious place of fruit bearing, a fulfillment of dreams and things hoped for.

Change could be from good to bad, or bad to worse. Jer. 2:11

 

Ps. 126:1 says, “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream”

 

The LORD’s promise is to change us into the image of His Son

II Cor. 3:18

 

In the context of salvation we sometimes say, we were saved, we   are being saved, and we will be saved.

Similarly, we were changed, given a new heart; we are being changed, II Cor. 3:18; and we shall be changed I Cor. 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet”

 

Waiting upon God, and trusting Him in this sometimes long and tedious process is an essential aspect of our faith walk.

 

Rom. 9:28 says, “For He will finish the work, and  cut it short in righteousness because a short work will the LORD make upon the earth.”

 

This is a principle with God, see II Cor 1:8-10

         When we have exhausted our efforts, and our schemes, and our attempts to make something happen, God swoops in and accomplishes it in order to reveal Himself

 

He created us, and He alone can recreate us in holiness.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Purity 256



Purity 256 11/05/2020

Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend who is on work assignment in the Adirondacks near Dolgeville NY.
This peaceful snow scene can either fill you with peace and wonder, abject fear and loathing, or gratitude that the snow hasn’t made its way to you yet!
Seasons change and so do we. In my walk, I have found that if we don’t watch where we are going we can end up in a place we didn’t intend and feel cold, alone, fearful, depressed, or angry about where we are.
A friend’s recent testimony about a two-year slow decline into a devastating depression was a sobering reminder that we have to be diligent in maintaining our health in the mental, spiritual, and physical.
I have been so focused on finishing my studies that I neglected my physical health for that project. I knew I was slipping but felt powerless to stop the decline and promised myself to deal with it when my academic work was done. And now it’s time to pay the piper!
After a celebratory weekend, and two work outs later, I discovered two things.
1. Sore muscles.
2. The fact that when you let things slide you usually let other things slide and the combined mess is harder to clean up the longer you leave it unattended.
So yeah, I had forsaken my regular workouts for academics, but I also let my healthy eating habits slide too.
The lethargy and the increased calories added up to lifting more weights (in terms of my body mass) than I would have needed to if I hadn’t let both things go.
But, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, so I won’t beat myself up but I will be committed to get back to where I was and thank God for His grace every step of the way.
God bless you all!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Purity 251


Purity 251
 
Good morning,

Today’s photo was taken during my travels out in Esperance NY last week.
I snapped it at the time because I was taken by the beauty of that blue sky and the contrast of the foliage which displays some trees still showing changing colors and others that had “fallen already” as they were stripped bare of their leaves.
I share it as a reminder of the continual change in life and the fact that we are all in various stages of maturity. I also love the dirt/gravel road that stretches ahead to an uncertain future.
With a national election next week and Covid numbers on the rise, we face an uncertain future.
I have had the Covid crisis affect my family this week as my brother Tommy’s fiancĂ© was diagnosed with the coronavirus (and no I haven’t been exposed). I am asking for prayers for healing and strength for Dana as she reports mild symptoms and the hope for a quick recovery. While troubled by the diagnosis, Dana is looking forward to the future and is trusting that the Lord will bring healing.
So even in a season where the signs of life and death are on display in the trees around us, and our nation’s governmental future is uncertain, as Christians we look forward, down that long and dusty road into the future, knowing that God has been with us so far and that He will be with us every step of the way until we get to the other side of this election, this virus, and this life.
In Christ, we have the ultimate security knowing that through faith in Him that nothing can separate us from the love of God and He will bring us through.
I invite all who see this to come to the Celebrate Freedom meeting tonight at Rock Solid Church at 6:30pm to find the hope and healing that come through a deepening of our relationship with God.
God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Purity 250


Purity 250 
 
Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent hike at Letchworth State Park in Castile NY “way out west in Upstate NY”.
I share this photo of Letchworth State Park’s middle falls because it displays another example of God’s creative beauty and it represents a middle point for our week as we hopefully make the plunge into the second part of the last week of October.
I am close to completion of my thesis and am overjoyed at the prospect of the joy of accomplishment and freedom that awaits.
You know, a victorious life in Christ is defined by keep Him continually in our presence while we stretch ourselves to be more like Him and to discover the unbelievable possibilities He has for our lives.
So if you’re in a rut, it’s time to look at what you’re doing and change it with a spirit of adventure and exploration. Go out there and enjoy your life. Expand your mind by learning something new. If you are distant, draw closer to God.
I’m here to tell you that a victorious life is found in the context of our relationship with God, enjoying Him and challenging ourselves to grow.
The TV and the couch have taught you all they have to offer.
Look up the Wonderful Counselor and follow where He leads you: to life and life more abundantly.
I mean, check out these falls! Who even knew they were out there? There are places to see and things to do with this life and they are so much better when you bring God along for the ride!
God bless you all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Purity 249


Purity 249

 Good morning,

Today’s spectacular photo of a sunrise on Lake George comes from our friend at SK photography and design.
After yesterday’s somewhat gray day, I just had to share this bright image to remind us that God is always here for us and it’s okay to appreciate the really pleasant days as long as they don’t affect our overall outlook to where we need sunshine to have a good day.
Although gray, yesterday I rejoiced in praising the Lord as I am drawing near to completion of my thesis and am already making plans for the “next thing”. Right now I have vague ideas about what comes next but I look forward to getting there.
Unlike the world who sees possible changes as catastrophic, Christians should know that regardless of what comes we never lose our hope, for we know God is always available and will be with us come what may.
It’s imperative to remember this and stay in His presence because life and the things of this world are always presenting challenges, pain, and changes that threaten to take away our peace.
We don’t deny the reality of pain, loss, or struggle in our lives, we just remember all we have been given and the One who will continue to provide in the future. When we do this, we can endure anything and can find peace and joy through His presence even in the darkest of days.
Keep walking with and talking to God.
God bless you all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Purity 221


Purity 221 09/23/2020

Good morning!
Today’s photo comes from a friend who was out fishing this weekend and caught this picture of a trees who is bearing the evidence that Autumn, both meteorologically and astronomically now, is here!
Autumn reminds me of back to school and the fact that sometimes we have to relearn what we already “know” from what we learned last year!
As I advance in years, sometimes it seems that “all things are new” because I am relearning, reminding myself, or gaining deeper levels of understanding. Beyond that sometimes I am just learning things because I just plain forgot!
Also in this confusing thing called life, we are sometimes forced to learn something we were supposed to learn but actually never did and just faked our way through it!
When we do this we feel like we get away with something and sometimes we do. We go through the rest of our lives never having to know what we were supposed to learn because it never comes up. We are never tested so it doesn’t matter.
But sometimes we are!!!
The real life example of this for me was a concept in math that I didn’t quite grasp completely... that of factoring equations - that process of reducing things or changing them to a form that allows you to solve an equation, making all sides equal.
I might not be a math whiz but I could do it, but when the test started throwing fractions and parentheses and powers and negative signs and fractions on top of fractions in parentheses and etc.... I would just sort of fudge it and hope for the best...
This strategy got me C’s in precalculus in highschool but I figured I was not going to do any more math really and managed to graduate college with never having to open a calculus book or even do algebra again. I won. Sorry math, you’re not needed here! Hahaha!
But then....
As fate would have it, after years of doing things my way and avoiding challenges, I was faced with a dilemma.
I was on a path that was going to most likely lead to my being fired from my job... when you do things your way sometimes it rubs people the wrong way and what is acceptable or tolerated when you are performing above average is deemed highly unacceptable when your performance slips. And sure enough as soon as my performance slipped, my faults seemed to take center stage and I was under the gun.
I had two options - change or get out.
Well back in 2009 - when this went down - I was completely incapable of change! I was fully immersed in my double life of family man and worker by day and alcoholic/addict by night. I just went through life reacting to everything. I couldn’t slow down or concentrate consistently and would just let things slip in order to get to the next thing, leaving things left unsaid or undone. When you’re under scrutiny it’s suddenly about perfection and consistency, neither of which were strong suits for me.
But luckily there was a program at work to become an outside tech. But a requirement of the program was to go back to college and get an associates degree in telecommunications.
And guess what?
To get in the college I had to take an entrance exam and specifically pass the math portion of the test!
One test. One chance. Passing equals escape and a possibility of a future.
Failing most likely leads to a road to unemployment.
How would you like to stake your entire career’s future on a math test?
Well, I did. And luckily it wasn’t too difficult because my score was good enough to get in!
Later, I would actually have to do algebra and precalculus again in order to graduate! And I now I actually have a much better grasp on factoring equations but am not volunteering to do any equations any time soon.
So my point is, life is much easier when we learn what we are supposed to learn the first time.
In Christ, we have to learn we have been forgiven and set free.
When we don’t accept our forgiveness , we feel condemned - always guilty, always beating ourselves up. So learn it! You are forgiven. Those things are gone, let’s leave them behind!
We also have to know we have been set free from sin and death.
We have eternal life in Christ, when we learn this we don’t fear death or anything else...
We have been given the power to say no to sin. When we learn this we say no to the things that drag us down and make us feel guilty. So learn it and walk in it!
It’s amazing the joy we have when we don’t have anything to hide or feel guilty for.
So let’s learn what we were supposed to learn a long time ago.
It’s okay, sometimes we need to learn again. Sometimes we need to understand more. Sometimes we just need to remember what we forgot.
When we follow Christ, we can do all of the above with the assurance of His forgiveness and love.
God bless you all!