For His Glory – Captives Set Free – Purity 674
Purity 674 03/09/2022 Purity 674 Podcast
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 :
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)
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Envy & Jealousy: Taming the Terrible Twins (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 2.