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Showing posts with label Charles Stanley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charles Stanley. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Action Plan For Freedom – Wisdom from Dr. Charles Stanley - Purity 1268


Action Plan For Freedom – Wisdom from Dr. Charles Stanley - Purity 1268

Purity 1268 02/07/2024 Purity 1268 Podcast

Purity 1268 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of a blue skies over green mountain majesty that seems to stretch on forever comes to us from Fred Dimmick who spent the last day of January hiking up the Appalachian Trail via Wayah Gap to summit on Wayah Bald in the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin North Carolina.

Well, it’s Wednesday and I share Fred’s photo to visually represent our arrival at another “hump day” and to encourage my friends to “look higher” to pursue the upward call of God on their lives and to take the path of Christian Discipleship into new heights of freedom and victory in their lives.  

I was surprised yesterday to discover that I forgot I had the day off from work. My shifted tour at my day job has me working this Saturday and as I started to head into work at the normal time, my phone buzzed me a reminder that I had the day off! So I turned the car around and went back to River house where I proceeded to use the time off to clean up my PC, send out a bunch of overdue or timely emails, and rest.  I also was blessed with the opportunity to disciple and encourage one of the participants from my Freedom in Christ Course and spent the evening hours giving my testimony and encouraging men in a friend’s online Conqueror Series Support group!  

So it was a day off from the day job, but it was filled with “kingdom work” and it impressed upon me all the more to continue to walk towards formally becoming a Christian life coach, albeit in a part-time capacity for the time being. I’m already doing the work so I might as well begin to proactively offer it to those who need it and are looking for it.

People in the body of Christ need to know who they are in Christ, and they need to learn how to “walk in the Spirit”. While I am far from perfect I have made significant progress along the path, and I feel I owe it to God to help others to know Him more and to show them the way to seek and follow Him into the abundant life of freedom that He has for them.   Not only is freedom possible, but I can also instruct people to follow the way I found it and support them while they find it for themselves.  

As if a sign from God, one of the guys from the Freedom in Christ course reached out and asked for a meeting to ask for “accountability” without fully knowing what he wanted to be accountable to or for.  So in our discussions, I laid out an action plan to transform his life by introducing a holistic plan that would simultaneously minister to his body, mind, and spirit.  This man has been diagnosed manic depressive, so this is an experiment of sorts. He will remain on his medications as he is now, but we are going to introduce him to the “path of Christian Discipleship” and be his guide along the way for 21 days.  His action plan will include prayer, bible study, a healthy diet, exercise, meditation, quieting, appreciation, resting, and checking in daily to report his progress.  His plan will challenge Him to reach out to the Lord for help and to follow Him with the way he lives his life.  And I know that if this man is true to seek the Lord, he will find Him, and if he is true to follow Him, God will lead him into a peace that goes beyond the limitations of a diagnosis and into a peace that goes beyond understanding. 

It's never too late to follow the Lord or to make a resolution and commitment to God to change. When we lean on Him, God will help us.  I am going to share some words of wisdom from the late Dr. Charles Stanley that I received last month in the mail from in touch ministries about making a new start that I found to be encouraging and may cause you to renew your broken New Year’s resolution or to follow the Lord into a new life. 

Stanley’s message states:

What's your outlook on beginning a new year? Some people think making New Year's resolutions is foolish. And it's true that many are quickly forgotten or abandoned, but that doesn't mean the whole practice is a waste of time. It's a way of setting your course in the right direction for the coming months. If you don't make plans for improvement, the only alternative is to drift along doing the same things you've done before, whether or not they're fruitful.

As the old year transitions to the new, take some time to evaluate your life… Try asking yourself the following questions: what did I achieve last year? Have they done anything that will outlive me or have eternal significance? Did I spend my time, energy, and resources accomplishing what I wanted or what God desired? Have I grown in my relationship with Christ? These questions relate to the most important aspect of your life and the key to anything you hope to experience in the future. Let's consider Paul's example in Philippians 3: 7-16.

First, Paul had one desire that superseded all others.

In Philippians 3:7-8 (NASB) Paul wrote:
7  …whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…

That's a challenging standard, isn't it? Are our career, family, financial, material, or social goals more important to you than gaining deeper knowledge of, and intimacy with, your Savior? There's nothing wrong with pursuing other things, but they need to take second place to your relationship with the Lord. That means you have to make time to spend with Him, in His word and prayer.

Second, Paul had a primary goal in life.

In Philippians 3:10 (NASB) Paul writes:
10  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

This wasn't just a superficial familiarity. Paul wanted to know Christ personally and experientially by:

1.   Joyful, daily surrender to his resurrection power,

2.   Suffering for righteousness as he did, and

3.   Being continually conformed to Christ by putting sin to death in his life.

Is knowing God better honestly your primary goal? Most Christians would like to say yes, but the way they invest their time and effort indicates otherwise. The desire may be there, but the action is not, there is no “follow through” . No one ever drifts into fulfilling a goal. Without expending effort, you have a wish, not a goal, and no progress is made without a plan to fulfill it.

Third, Paul wholeheartedly pursued his goal.

In Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB) Paul says
13  …. forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul uses the imagery of a race. To make forward progress, you can't carry baggage from the past. Former accomplishments trip you up with pride, while failures and regret drag you down. Instead, run unencumbered, stretching forward with all your might to reach the finish line.

Did Paul succeed in achieving his goal? Listen to his last recorded words in

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB) where he wrote:
7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8  in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…

Wouldn't you like to finish life like this, setting a goal for eternal value that you pursued with all your heart from year to year? It's possible. And it's never too late to begin. Ask God for a fresh start. Relinquish any old baggage. And let this new year spur you on to know the Lord above all else.”

You have to love Charles Stanley. He had a heart for God and sought to encourage the body of Christ to let go of the past and to press into the future with a determination to follow the Lord with the way we live.  I read this message an hour after crafting an action plan for a man who wants to know freedom and peace and I believe it was given to me to encourage myself to step onto new ground and to encourage you to do the same.  

So it might by seven days into February and in the middle of another work week, but if the Lord is calling you to resolve to follow Him, it’s a wonderful place to start.

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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.

John 8:44 (NIV2011)
44  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

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

9.     All lying is of the devil, the father of all lies.

Today’s verse reminds us of who we are like when we lie – the devil. So if you pride yourself on being a grifter or someone who can pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting or trusting people of this world, take a good look into the mirror of God’s word and see that your lying ways don’t represent the kingdom of God. They are demonically inspired and come from the father of lies, Satan.  

Once again, I consider the first rule of Christian Discipleship to be always to tell the truth, or more simply: stop lying.  Our lies kill our integrity and murder people’s trust when our deception is discovered. So stop working for evil, stop lying, and start telling the truth in all your dealings to represent God’s kingdom.

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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.

EVENING READING: MATTHEW 28

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven
and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18

These are the words of the risen Christ. They are the words of the One who could say, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:18).

       “All authority.” This comprehends every power and principality.

       “Given to Me.” The exalted and ever-living Savior.

       “In heaven and on earth.” The angels and millions of heavenly hosts are not only to see the demonstration of that power, but also the thousands of people upon earth.

Therefore, says the risen Lord, “All authority has been given to Me … Go” (Matt. 28:18-19). In other words, “I have the power, I will impart the power. You, Go.”

Teach me daily how to appropriate this power.
Amen.[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

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

For His Glory – Captives Set Free – Purity 674


 For His Glory – Captives Set Free – Purity 674

Purity 674 03/09/2022   Purity 674 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sky set ablaze by the setting sun comes to us from a friend who captured this sight somewhere near their home in upstate New York on Christmas Day of 2020.  

Well it’s Wednesday and as we seek to successfully transcend the midway point of the work week our thoughts this morning are on the goodness of God who has not only made things like a spectacular sunset possible but who also allows for His light to shine into people’s lives to drive away the darkness of the past.  

I was sort of at a loss of which photo to share today so I played “iPhone photo roulette” and just dialed it back, at first thinking to grab a photo from March a year ago but as nothing grabbed my attention I just kept going until I saw a few photos that highlighted this sunset that I saved to my phone on Christmas Day in 2020 and now my thoughts recall what was happening at that time.  

I know what you are probably thinking: “Oh 2020, here goes a Covid-19 report…” but as much as I could share a story about how Covid-19 impacted our Christmas that year, my thoughts are more on the here and now and how the things that I decided back then have played a part in the present.  

In November of 2020, I finished my master’s degree in Christian Counseling and immediately decided to become a Community Freedom Ministry Associate through Freedom in Christ Ministries’ CFMU, Community Freedom Ministry University. So no sooner did I finish one college program did I sign up to complete another.   

My exposure to Neil Anderson’s work and experiencing new levels of freedom after going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ inspired me to start a CFM at my local church and to hopefully lead others through the Steps. 

So in December of 2020, I was in the midst of completing my studies at CFMU and would eventually graduate, launch a CFM at my local church, and since then I have been called to facilitate a Men’s Freedom in Christ Course for Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Northeast Region online via Zoom.      

And last night I lead another man through the Steps to Freedom in Christ!

Did I know way back in December of 2020 of all the things that God would do in my life in a couple of years’ time? Absolutely not. When I signed up for CFMU, I had no degree of certainty of whether or not my efforts would be fruitful and, in truth, in many ways you could doubt the effectiveness of my ministerial efforts.

But I have discovered that it is not my efforts alone that produce fruit. Now just so I am clear, for personal maturation, our efforts make a huge difference as the Lord will use our efforts to seek Him to increase our faith.  Our maturation is a cooperative effort between us and the Holy Spirit and we must do our part to grow.  But He helps and guides us in the process too. 

However in terms of helping others, the Holy Spirit is the one that will bring the increase. He will use the things we do to bless others, but it is not because of us that transformation comes .  

In last night’s freedom appointment, I may have led my brother through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, but it was his faith and the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit that made the process fruitful.

Only the Holy Spirit grants repentance and because this man decided to humbly come before the throne of grace to renounce the lies that he believed, forgive those who had harmed or offended him, and to confess all of the pride, rebellion, and sin in his life was he able to resolve all of the spiritual and personal conflicts of his past and experience the joy and peace that comes from being set free.  

When we decide to humble ourselves and to follow the Lord, He lifts us up and guides us to experience His forgiveness and love that sets us free.   

Just like I didn’t know all the things that would happen as I was doing my studies at CFMU back in December of 2020, my brother who was set free last night didn’t know what would happen when he stepped out in faith to take an online Freedom in Christ Course.

And that’s the thing about walking in faith, we don’t know what will happen, but we decide to trust in the Lord anyway. We agree to our part to follow Him and trust Him to do the rest. When we do that the Lord rewards our faith with blessings we couldn’t imagine when we made that shaky first step forward on His path.

The road that leads to the victory and freedom that the Lord has for us may not always be easy but it a sure path that is paved with our obedience and faith and is guided with His direction.

So keep walking and talking to God, the places He will call you to can not be fully known before hand but I have discovered that if we just keep saying “Yes” to Him, and if we just keep doing what needs to be done before us moment to moment, we will eventually discover that those shaky first steps of faith, and all the ones we make thereafter, are all a part of a magnificent journey that takes us from faith to faith and that leads us from glory to glory.      

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Romans 5:4 (NLT2)
4  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

Today’s verse encourages us that our endurance in following the Lord will lead to our character to grow stronger which will in turn make us confident of our redeemed status.   

Our deliverance from death to life, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light is instantaneous the moment we put our faith in Christ. However, our salvation is merely the beginning point of our life of faith and the transformation that the Lord calls you to.  

Recently, I have been increasing convinced through my study of Charles Stanley’s book “Relying on the Holy Spirit.” (Search Relying on the Holy Spirit:  Experience the joy-filled walk with God under the anointing of the Holy spirit (In Touch study series)) that the most important fruit that we are called to produce as Christians has to do with our character.  

 


Stanley points out that there are two kinds of fruit in our Christian walk:

·       The fruit that is represented by good works that we do

·       The fruit of a changed character, which is associated with our maturation as Christians  

 

I think that one of the major problems with our Christian walk can be when we focus on our good works more than the changing of our character.  

 

Spiritual materialism is “doing good things for God” and expecting blessings in return. While we should do good works, when we do them expecting something in return we are doing them out of an expectation, or out of a perceived obligation, rather than doing them as an expression of our love for the Lord or out of love for our neighbor. 

 

We could do lots of “good works” with our hearts being divorced from the activity.

 

How can we change our hearts?   

 

We change our hearts by coming to the Lord humbly to learn from Him and to apply His wisdom to the ways we think and feel as well as to the ways we behave.   When we ask the Lord to help us with this interior work , and obey whatever call He has on our lives, we are called into situations where we will be tested and will have to endure.   

 

Whether it’s challenging physical work, dealing with difficult people, or just shifting the paradigms of the ways we think,  the Lord will put us through processes that will stretch us and if we endure through these processes, our characters will be changed to align more with God’s word and subsequently our character will be strengthened and we will grow ever more confident in our salvation and our place in God’s family.   

 

I have described the “virtuous cycle” before and it shows how “good works” gives us confirmation of our status of “actually being a Christian!”  which in turn encourages us and motivates us to do more “good works” which keeps us growing in our faith.  



But I would like to also point out that these “good works” are not just physical activities. The “good works” we do as Christians also includes renewing our minds,  learning the ways of the Lord, growing in our heart understanding of who we are in Christ, and knowing the love of God.   

Those “good works” that contribute to our Christian character should not be neglected as they often do more for our relationship with God and contribute to our experiencing our freedom in Christ more that any “good deeds” that we “just do to do” could ever hope to accomplish. 

So endure through the process of walking in the Spirit because that will lead to the strength of your character which will in turn will contribute to your assurance that you truly are a child of God, that has been redeemed because of your faith in Jesus Christ, and who has been called to do some mighty works for the kingdom of God, that may require the stretching of our souls and spirits as well as the things that may cause our brows to sweat.    


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 Envy & Jealousy: Taming the Terrible Twins.

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.

B.  What Is Jealousy?

     Jealousy is resenting another’s rivalry or unfaithfulness, with a desire to guard or maintain what one possesses.

     Jealousy is possessiveness.

     The Greek word for “jealousy” is zeloo, which means “zealous or burning with jealousy.”

“When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. As they danced, they sang: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

(1 Samuel 18:6–9)

Q   “Why is God called a jealous God?”

Jehovah God initiated a special covenant relationship with the Israelites. Because of His love for Israel, God felt jealous pain when they threatened to destroy the covenant relationship and became disloyal.

“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)

Q   “Is jealousy always wrong?”

No. It is natural and normal for feelings of jealousy to surface when a meaningful covenant relationship is threatened by unfaithfulness.

“This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband, or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.” (Numbers 5:29–31)

”I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But 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 Corinthians 11:2–3)[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 Envy & Jealousy: Taming the Terrible Twins (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 2.