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Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Send Me A Saint - Merry Christmas! in the Glory Cloud – Purity 611





Send Me A Saint  - Merry Christmas! in the Glory Cloud – Purity 611

Purity 611 12/25/2021   Purity 611 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Marvin Clark, my daughter Haley’s cat,  amongst wrapping paper of opened gifts comes to us from the ghost of Christmas past as this photo was captured by yours truly at the inaugural Christmas celebration at the domicile that is now known as River House.  

In the wake of another epic year of walking in the Spirit and in the afterglow of last night’s Christmas Eve bliss, I was at an absolute loss this Christmas morning in terms of what photo I should share for today. So I was inspired to look back to a year ago to see if there was anything in the archives to share. In addition to Marvin’s photo, that will be the “featured photo” on FB, I am also sharing a few other photos of last year’s Christmas Day Sunset from friends in what is presumably various locations in Columbia County or other areas in upstate NY on mt4christ dot org as a Christmas gift of sorts, or in case the photo of my feline friend doesn’t fill your need for a view of a scene of God’s magnificent handiwork in His creation.   





Yesterday, I shared my testimony of what I believe was an angelic visitation on Christmas Day of 2018, in a basement in Craryville NY of all places no less, and although I have not had a repeat encounter with the unseen messenger who delivered the message that I was not alone, I was not forgotten, and that I was loved, I am in the company of another messenger who was sent from God to share the same message, that I am not alone, that I am not forgotten, and that I am loved,  to me this year in a less supernatural but no less spectacular way.  

A year ago if you told me I wouldn’t be at my beloved humble house “down by The River” for Christmas 2021, I would have suspected that you were insane or that something terrible would have had to happen to prevent me from waking up on Christmas Day in the morning at my hard earned and providentially delivered home. 

God didn’t send me an angel this year, but He did send me a saint, a holy one, a follower of Jesus Christ to pour out His love for me in a very tangible way as 2021 was the year that He sent TammyLyn Seguin into my life as an answer to my prayers for a Christian wife and it is only because of my love for her that I find myself away from my home in Stuyvesant . Instead I am at her place “down near the farm: in Easton NY where we will be spending our first Christmas Day together as a couple and our last Christmas Day together as “special friends” who are betrothed to one another, as we will be married on New Years Day, a week from today if the Lord wills it.  

I pray and have to believe that God will allow TammyLyn and I to be married because He providentially brought her into my life, and I know He works all things together for good and gives good gifts to His children. And although TammyLyn’s and my journey to find one another has not been without a fair amount of turmoil, the pain, heartache, and losses of our pasts are fading memories and pale in comparison to the joy that we have in each other today.   

So, it is my prayer that all of my friends reading this know that God loves you and that He wants you to know that He is with you, and He wants you to know Him more and that He has a better way for you to live your life.  

So have a very merry Christmas, thank the Lord for all that He has given you in life, and be faithful to seek His presence, guidance, wisdom, and strength.

Begin a deeper experience with the Lord today by seeking Him for the first time or just keep walking and talking with God. 

God bless you all and Merry Christmas!  

 

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

#Christian #christianity #encouragement #freedominchrist #christiancounseling #jesuschrist #mt4christ #discipleship #Tozer #advent #mt4christ247podcast 

In my haste in packing for my Christmas weekend with my beloved fiancĂ©, I failed to pack the  “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  So instead I have “randomly drawn from one of my many devotionals for today’s meditation verse.  

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from Dr. Frank Ray’s devotional “365 Days in the Presence of God”

This morning’s meditation verse is:

 

Luke 9:32 (NLT2)
32  Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him.

 

Today’s verse “ironically speaks about the topic of last week’s Bible Study with the Cincotti’s – the glory of the Lord, specifically the glory of the Lord Jesus.   

 

The scene is the mount of transfiguration. Peter, James, and John had accompanied Jesus on another private camping trip up a mountain for prayer, and perhaps for some ministerial planning and some impromptu teaching. But this prayer session proved to be like no other.  

 

Upon awakening Peter and the others saw “Jesus’s glory” as His “face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white.  Oh and the two men that miraculously and suddenly appeared, were Moses and Elijah! Yes THE Moses and THE Elijah!   

 

In a prophetic shadow of the return of Christ, the dearly departed giver of the Old Testament Law and the “raptured” Old Testament prophet and victor over the 400 prophets of Baal, had passed from the heavenly realm and were now back on earth in the glory cloud on the mount of transfigurations as witnesses to God’s message to the inner circle of the Apostles that proclaimed, if there were still any doubts,  that Jesus was indeed God’s son and that the Apostles, and every born again believer after them, are to listen to Him.  

 

This supernatural event clearly shows us that Jesus was more than just some wise teacher and that He was God’s anointed Son and the Messiah.  

 

But as amazing and staggering as this experience in the glory cloud was, negative circumstances still caused all the Apostles to flee from Jesus when He was arrested and crucified. 

 

So spectacular moments in the glory cloud of God’s presence aren’t necessarily enough to keep us on the path of Christian Discipleship.  So we should exercise caution if we discover that we are preoccupied with having special “anointed” experiences of feeling the “glory cloud” that sometimes comes in the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.  

 

This experience wasn’t enough to keep the Apostles steadfast in the face of persecution,  and likewise, believers who are seeking good feelings of being “slain in the Spirit” may falter when their journey of faith walks them through a dry patch, or they have to suffer loss or persecution.    

 

It was after the Resurrection of Jesus, that the Apostles received the Holy Spirit and the boldness to go to their deaths preaching the gospel. 

 

Oh and as good as those special moments with God are, their gospel message didn’t highlight their speaking in tongues or being enveloped in a cloud of God’s glory in the presence of Old Testament Saints.  

 

The gospel message doesn’t center on our good feelings. It centers on Christ’s death and resurrection.  And it is when we are crucified and die with Christ, that we can know who we are in Christ and continue to follow Him no matter how dry or desperate our walk of faith may become.   

 

So rejoice if the Lord reveals His manifest presence in your life and you experience moments in His glory but remember that not every day in our life of faith will be filled with joy, like at Christmas, and it is only because of Christ’s death and resurrection that we have been set free.

 

When we take part in His suffering and resurrection by placing our faith in Jesus, we become children of God and are given the potential to go through the darkest valley of the shadow of death and somehow come through, still faithful.  

 

 

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 begin a new resource from Dr. Neil Anderson. As our Christmas gift that will bring us into the new year, we begin to share from  Neil Anderson’s “Restored”, a condensed teaching that includes elements from Victory Over the Darkness, The Bondage Breaker, and the Steps to Freedom in Christ.   Today, we only share Restored’s rather short introduction.    

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

Introduction

“If Christ had been too proud to die, he could not have

helped us whose basic sin is pride. So Paul and others

argue that by giving Himself up without pride, Christ

makes up for Adam’s sin of arrogance. If all this is true

it comprises certainly the most momentous fact of

human existence. Christ the free therapist for humanity,

bringing salvation as a gift of grace-that indeed is a

daring postulate.”  – Rollo May

 

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God

is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”1 – Jesus

You have just made the greatest decision of your life, or maybe you are still considering what becoming a Christian really means. The moment you decide to trust in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ, you become a new creation in Him,2 and you will be spiritually transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God, 3 and enter into eternal life. Although you may not immediately feel like any great change has taken place, your life and destiny have changed forever.

Countless millions of people before you have made the same decision and have become a part of God’s unfolding plan to restore a fallen humanity. God has known you and loved you before you were even born. He has prepared a place for you in His kingdom, and He has a plan just for you.4 If you receive Him as your Lord and Savior, you will discover the eternal purpose and meaning of life.

Salvation is so much more than knowing why we are here. If you are willing to repent and believe the Gospel you will discover that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor and the Great Physician. He came to set captives free and bind up the broken hearted. Jesus is the “free therapist for humanity”, and the purpose of this book is to establish you alive and free in Christ through genuine repentance and faith in God. Jesus loves you and wants you to fulfill your destiny as a liberated child of God.

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

 

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, Spotify, iHeartradio, 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

 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Send Me an Angel –We Wish You a Cr***y Christmas! - Purity 610


 Send Me an Angel –We Wish You a Cr***y Christmas! - Purity 610

Purity 610 12/24/2021  Purity 610 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a most mystical twilight over the Port Wilunga Old Jetty in South Adelaide Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography. Little did Dave know that when he decided to brave the cold and wind, in shorts no less, on December 9th in his first time ever shooting at Port Wilunga, that he would capture what I think is the perfect picture to reflect the wonder of Christmas Eve, the wonder that goes far beyond twinkling lights on a Christmas tree and the festive decorations at a holiday gift exchange.   The beauty of the light in the darkness that Dave captured here points to God’s beauty, wonder, and grace.

The wonder of Christmas Eve is the incarnation, God coming to earth in the humble setting of a manger in Bethlehem to begin the ministry work that would result in all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ finding peace with God and a new and everlasting life of hope in His kingdom as adopted sons and daughters.  

But unfortunately so much of the wonder and true meaning of Christmas, which is finding peace with God through Christ, is lost because of the hardness of our hearts and the deception that enemy perpetuates.

For those who are spiritually blind, the Christmas story is quaint but boring. Those whose hearts are cold to the Christian aspects of Christmas but who delight in the pageantry of holiday celebrations are in grave danger. It is not always the Ebeneezer Scrooges that we should worry about. Without faith in Christ, the most kind, dear, merry, bright, alive, and joyous in our midst will find that they worshiped the wrong god: themselves and their own “goodness”.  

As someone who “just didn’t get it” for years and years of my life, I have the utmost sympathy for those who don’t like church, hate religion, and think that being “good” is “good enough”.    

I was raised in a denominational liturgical tradition and struggled mightily with the Christian message and what I viewed as a disingenuous, superstitious, sentimental, and unrealistic faith that I saw people pay lip service to but not actually live out.  On the opposite side of the coin, the devout of our congregation seemed to be positively insane and odd as they either seemed to believe just for believing’s sake and or didn’t know why they believed what they believed or couldn’t adequately express what the Christian faith was to a young man who frankly didn’t want to hear it.

So although my family religiously went to church every Christmas Eve, our hearts were filled with joy when we were released from the service and walked briskly towards the exit and literally went running into the night towards the Christmas party and the opening of presents that awaited us at my grandparent’s house.  

Santa, the decorations, and the gift giving and receiving was what played the big part of Christmas for my family, and it still does as my parents have become the grand parents and now host the Clark Family Christmas Eve extravaganza.

However, amongst all the years of holiday hoopla and looking forward to receiving items on our Christmas wish lists, we will all eventually experience  that first “crappy” Christmas where our innocence is lost, our disappointments are depressing, or our losses are devastating. 

For me, my first disillusionment over Christmas was in my 12th or 13th year of life.  Although as a child I was positively insane in my belief over Santa Claus and would dance around the house with the Album Cover of a Gene Autry’s Christmas Album that displayed a picture of Santa Claus Riding in a single reindeer sleigh with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer sort of just standing out front, my heart wasn’t too broken at the discovery that Santa wasn’t real.  My older brothers simultaneously debunked the Santa myth and filled my childhood heart with delight at the same time one year as they revealed our parent’s hidden stash of “Santa presents” that were locked away in my dad’s room in the attic.

So I wasn’t heart broken at 12 or 13 because I discovered Santa wasn’t real.  And before you start guessing about some death in the family or other trauma, let me assure that wasn’t the cause of my pain on the Christmas Eve of my preteens.  

No the cause of my “worst Christmas” as a youth was for far less sympathetic reasons.  As I said Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Clark’s house was a joyous affair because of the gifts I received but on that 12th or 13th year I was very disappointed because my regular stash of presents was less than what I was used to! I had fallen victim to the biggest menace of any secular Christmas – the pain that comes from having high expectations and basing your happiness on positive circumstances.

In hindsight, I think my grandparent’s resources were split or less than previous years, so I understand but honestly that year, although I believe I was successful in hiding my disappointment, I was thinking “is this it?” “Is this all I get?”  And unfortunately, that year the disappointment was the perfect storm of dashed expectations, as not only the quanity of the presents was significantly diminished but the quality of the presents was so low that it made me question if my grandparents were mad at me, even knew who I was, or even cared. I recall thinking that I didn’t receive one gift that was worthwhile or showed any fore thought or care.  The lesson learned that year was that you should temper your expectations and that you should know that those even nearest and dearest to you can let you down.       

After that year, I learned to not get my hopes up in terms of presents but they still played the biggest part of my enjoyment of Christmas for the rest of my childhood and for most of my adult life.  So I carried on tempering my expectations and each year and sought to create a Merry Christmas by spending abundant amounts of money to ensure that I and my family would be blessed with happiness that didn’t depend on Santa or anybody else.  I was Santa.  

Only after I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, did Christmas become more about Him than about me creating the circumstances of a joyous holiday.  As my children aged, the Santa myth was debunked once again, and my faith in Christ grew, I saw less and less need to buy a happy holiday. After 2010, I surrendered more and more of myself to God each year  and was filled with joy at Christmas not because of the presents I received but because of who I was in Christ and because of God’s presence in my life.   

Of course, when you come to faith in Christ and decide to actually live as a Christian, things change significantly and sometimes what you gain in Christ is matched by the losses of your former life.   

In 2018 my marriage dissolved in part because of my decision to live as a Christian and that year I was faced with the prospect of facing the worst Christmas ever as my ex took the kids to celebrate Christmas Day at her sister’s house, leaving me home alone.  

I was in deep pain over the negative circumstances of my life and no amount of circumstantial manipulation on my part was going to give me a Merry Christmas on that day in 2018.  Although I was appreciative of the gifts I received that year they were cold comfort compared to the pain of being forced to live in a house with someone who summarily rejected me and seemed to take delight in my misery.

However, what could have been the worst Christmas of my life didn’t turn out to be that. Instead it became another part of my ongoing testimony of the reality of God’s presence in our lives and of His goodness.

The thing I encourage people to do is to develop a daily spiritual practice of connecting with the Lord through prayer, scripture reading, or just talking with God.  Before 2018, the Lord had given me victory over addiction and the negative mind states that accompany a life of condemnation, so I knew that when the going got tough it was best for the tough to get going to God.  

So after my ex and kids left me alone on Christmas Day of 2018, I pressed into my faith and started praying and reading a book on Angels that described people’s encounters with God’s heavenly messengers.  

I had been baptized by the Holy Spirit in 2015 and had and continue to have moments of experiencing His manifest presence in my life and not surprisingly it has been both a cause and confirmation of my faith and the reason why I encourage people to seek the Lord and to live a life of Christian discipleship and walking in the Spirit.  So I knew that God is alive and well and can be experienced on the terra firma as well as someday in heaven.  

As I read the book on angels, I reached out in prayer to the Lord and pleaded for His comfort and presence and made a request to send me an angel like the people in the   book had experienced.

While I can’t testify to a visible manifestation of one of God’s heavenly hosts, shortly after I prayed for a messenger of God I was overcome by a feeling to get out of my chair and to get on my hands and knees.  As I prostrated myself on the floor, I was overcome by the feeling that I wasn’t alone anymore and that there some one there with me.  It similar to my experiences of the manifest presence with the Holy Spirit but slightly different.  I closed my eyes but saw a brightness through my closed eyes and I was overcome by feeling of joy, peace, and love as I received the nonverbal message that I was not alone and that I was loved by God.  I open my eyes and there was no one there but I cried and praised the Lord all the same and felt that even though I couldn’t see anything I wasn’t alone. The unseen entity, the angel, was still there and I bowed again and just stayed in the peace that I had found thanking the Lord for His goodness.  I was overcome and after a time I received assurance that I had “received the message” and the presence departed.  

My spirits were transformed. What was a very dark and depressive morning was changed in the wake of what I consider as my angelic visitation.

When I reflect on it, I struggle to articulate how this visitation was similar to but different from my experiences of the manifest presence of Holy Spirit. All I can say is that they were both powerful expressions of God’s love for me and evidence of His presence, but they were a little different from one another.  If pressed for details I can’t really give you anything to convince you that this experience on Christmas of 2018 was indeed an angel, but I will stand on the fact that a message of God’s presence and love was the best gift that I received that year or any other Christmas before or since.

So yeah, I know – cuckoo! But I have to be honest and tell you that this really happened to me, and I am sure that if you put your faith in Christ, surrender to the Lord’s will for your life and seek the Lord’s presence continually, similar manifestations of the Lord’s presence will happen in your life.  The word tells us that if you seek the Lord and you find Him, and I can assure you that the word of God is true.

So for those in Christ, I encourage you to press into your faith and share the love of God with those in your life who don’t know Him. 

And for those outside of the faith, or who find more joy in presents at Christmas than in going to church, worshipping the Lord, or being in God’s presence, I wish you a very very crappy Christmas.  

Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, or just the fact that you won’t receive the gifts you wanted this year, if you don’t know the Lord, I hope that your Christmas sucks so bad that you lose hope in all the things that aren’t meant to satisfy you and you hit “rock bottom” in seeking your happiness in creating the circumstances for a happy holiday.   

Its through great disillusionment of the world system and our own efforts that we can be humbled enough to seek the Lord, and as I have already stated when you seek the Lord you will find Him.  

I would rather you suffer a crappy holiday than to go on to be enslaved to a circumstantial secular xmas and find that you never knew God and are subject to His wrath one day.  

The promise of Christmas Eve is the coming of the King. Jesus came as a baby in a manger, but He is coming back to judge the world and to reclaim it.  

So to all the “Me’s” down in “Me-ville”,  whether they be sad, bad or glad” 

It its my prayer that this Christmas, you make Jesus your Lord and Savior

Because when he comes back to earth, He’s coming back to reign and rule, and

because of all the evil in this world, He’s coming back mad.”  

 

Now don’t get me wrong, as someone who has suffered some major losses and traumas in my life, I know how hard it can be to be suffering when everyone else is having holiday fun. So I would encourage those who are hurting to seek the company of family and friends to share your burden but to also seek the comfort of the Lord for He will never leave you or forsake you.  

Forgive my zealous silliness and know that all I say comes from a heart of care and compassion that knows that the only peace that lasts comes from knowing the Lord through faith in Jesus.  

God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas Eve.  Or a crappy one,,, you know what I mean.

      

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 10:25 (NLT2)
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Today’s verse is the go to verse to encourage people to come to the corporate gathering of believers commonly referred to as “going to church.”    

I find it just another evidence of God’s presence in our lives that this verse would come up on Christmas Eve.  Not only is Christmas Eve one of the highest, if not the highest, attended church services but it is also an occasion where the Lord’s coming is proclaimed.  

Today’s verse encourages Christians to gather together and to encourage one another and it reminds us of the promise that Jesus will return someday.     

Although I encourage an individual daily spiritual practice for every follower of Christ, I also encourage those who would call themselves to be Christian disciples to join and serve at a local church.

I credit my local church, Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY, and its leadership in providing me with teaching, guidance, and a church home where I could grow in my faith.  

Practicing what you preach will not be tested adequately if you are living in solitude. Our abilities to encourage, serve, and ministers to others are developed in community.  The corporate gathering can also teach us a great deal about forgiveness and patience as well.  The church is the ideal place to practice Christ’s second commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves as we are all part of the same body and have the common goal of being more like Christ.  

So get yourself to a church tonight and if you are not a member of a church already, find one where the Bible is held as the inspired word of God  and where you can worship, serve, and grow.   

 

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 28 as this current resource series has brought us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 28

PREPARING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 JOHN 3:3

Why is it that such a small proportion of Christian ministers ever feel the necessity to preach a sermon on the truth of His second coming? Why should pastors depend in this matter upon those who travel around the country with their colored charts and their object lessons and their curious interpretations of Bible prophecy?

Should we not dare to believe what the apostle John wrote, that “we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is”?

Beloved, we are the sons of God now, for our faith is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ! We believe in Him and we rest upon Him, and yet it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, when He shall be disclosed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!

Then, John says bluntly and clearly: “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” Everybody! Everyone, he says! He singularizes it. Everyone that hath this hope in him purifies himself as He is pure!

Those who are expecting the Lord Jesus Christ to come and who look for that coming moment by moment and who long for that coming will be busy purifying themselves. They will not be indulging in curious speculations—they will be in preparation, purifying themselves!

It may be helpful to use an illustration here.

A wedding is about to take place and the bride is getting dressed. Her mother is nervous, and there are other relatives and helpers who are trying to make sure that the bride is dressed just right!

Why all this helpful interest and concern?

Well, the bride and those around her know that she is about to go out to meet the groom, and everything must be perfectly in order. She even walks cautiously so that nothing gets out of place in dress and veil. She is preparing, for she awaits in loving anticipation and expectation the meeting with this man at the altar.

Now John says, through the Holy Ghost, that he that hath this hope in Him purifies and prepares himself. How? Even as He is pure!

The bride wants to be dressed worthy of the bridegroom, and so it is with the groom, as well!

Should not the church of Jesus Christ be dressed worthy of her bridegroom, even as He is dressed? Pure—even as He is pure?

We are assured that the appearing of Jesus Christ will take place. It will take place in His time. There are many who believe that it can take place soon—that there is not anything that must yet be done in this earth to make possible His coming.

It will be the greatest event in the history of the world, barring His first coming and the events of His death and resurrection.

We may well say that the next greatest event in the history of the world will be “the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!”

The world will not know it, but he that hath this hope in him will know it for he has purified himself even as Christ is pure!

 

 

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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, Spotify, iHeartradio, 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

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Matrix Resurrections – Didn’t He Already Save Us? - Purity 609


 Matrix Resurrections – Didn’t He Already Save Us? - Purity 609

Purity 609 12/23/2021  Purity 609 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a simply spectacular sunset sky over Albany NY was captured by yours truly as I was leaving work on Monday.  Isn’t incredible that God has made the universe in such a way that instead of having things stay relatively the same all the time that we can have phenomenon like this sunset happen to grab our attention?

Of course the changing phenomenon of our atmospheric conditions can also cause gray skies and devasting storms that can literally kill us.  So are we to curse God and impose our wishes for a stagnant and steady pain free existence or should we make peace with God by placing our faith in Christ to allow us to have peace regardless of the color of the sky or no matter how the wind blows?

I know the answer for me!  And with Christmas less than 48 hours away, it is my Christmas wish that more people will decide to have the peace on earth and good will toward men that is possible when your sins are forgiven, and you become spiritually alive through faith in Christ.    

Christ’s Resurrection proves that He is God and that those who put their faith in Him will likewise appear to lose their lives but will live forever: first in heaven and then on the new earth when Christ returns.

Speaking of Resurrections, The Matrix Resurrections movie is available for viewing in theatres and on HBO Max.   As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, movies played a big part of my childhood, and my thinking often draws a lot on my cinematic experiences and now as a Christian I tend to make analogies or draw parallels from some of Hollywood’s stories to point to “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – the story of Jesus Christ. By the way – that 1965 movie starring Max Von Sydow as Jesus is also available to stream for free on Prime Video and other streaming services.

Anyway, the analogies that one can draw from the Matrix movies to talk about the spiritual realities that are inherent in our lives and fully revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ are simply staggering.  

Occasionally, I will get an idea or an inspiration for a daily message where I can make analogies and I quickly realize that there is a lot to say and I get overwhelmed by the possibilities and say “It’s too much Lord. It’s just too much!”   I could do a “Matrix series” of messages on all the different aspects surrounding the film that have analogous parallels to the gospel of Christ but will try to not go down too many rabbit trails today but I think I need to list them all, or some of them, just to say “Do you see that!” 

In the Matrix films , humanity has been enslaved by machines that use humans as organic batteries to power their electronic lives.  Most of humanity exist in stasis encased in something like amnionic fluid but to keep the humans alive and healthy their consciousnesses has been plugged into an electronic simulation of reality – called The Matrix. Although the Matrix is a clever deception, some humans have discovered the truth and escaped from the Matrix and are dedicated their lives to destroy their electronic overlords and free their fellow humans.  And of course, there is a prophecy of a savior – Neo – who will one day come and have incredible powers to win a final victory over mechanized evil and to give everyone their freedom.   

The movie series is very imaginative and is filled with great action sequences and special effects but honestly although I own all three of the previous Matrix movies – I can’t recall anything about parts 2 & 3, The Matrix Reload and Matrix Revolutions, but apparently the Matrix savior, Neo, hasn’t freed everyone or been killed by the electronic villains because the franchise has been “resurrected” after an 18 year hiatus, causing me to ask: Didn’t he already save everybody?   

Okay, with that query, we can really go into a Matrix like battle sequence where a multitude of shots can be dodged and fired in regards to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a small list of some of the parallels between the Matrix and our Christian faith Christ.  

·       Our world system could be said to be a Matrix, as Satan, who Christ called the ruler of this world, deceives the whole world into doing anything but putting their faith in to Christ in his war against God.  

·       The Matrix or the Matrix “Bad Guys- the Agents” are thus a type of Satan – who seeks to enslave humanity to steal their freedom and to serve him rather than God. 

·       The Two realities of the Matrix, in the films the real world is a post apocalyptic nightmare whereas the Matrix is nice and ordered pre-apocalyptic society. – which points to the inherent persecution that comes when one stands for Christ versus the relative peace that comes from remaining silent on matters of faith and being “tolerant” and denying the exclusivity of Christ to save.

·       Neo is an obvious type of Messiah, so the Matrix unwittingly points to the Savior of the World - Jesus Christ.

·       Morpheus, and other Matrix Seers, that reveal “more truth” to Neo in his journey – are types of the Apostles or Old Testament Prophets – people who support the cause of Jesus Christ and share the prophecies of the Messiah

·       Cypher – one of the original Matrix cast freedom fighters who chooses to betray Neo and the freedom fighters and side with the Matrix for a “favored position” in the Matrix-  is a type of Judas who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. No spoilers but, Cypher and Judas share similar fates.

·       The original Matrix movie highlights a moment of decision between the blue pill or the red pill – where one must decide to side with the truth (the freedom fighters) or the lie (the Matrix) – which points to the gospel fact that we must all decide “Yes or No” on Jesus Christ as our Savior.  

·       There is also a sequence where Neo can “download” various Matrix abilities – like Kung Fu and Flying a helicopter, if I recall correctly -  This could point the Jesus’ abilities to perform miracles.

·       That Matrix Download – is a type of The Holy Spirit who indwells and fills Christians and gives every follower of Jesus Christ the ability to “do all things” through Christ who strengthens us and who also will “lead us into all truth”. 

·       Matrix “freedom fighters” who enjoy similar Neo like powers and fight for the freedom of the enslaved  are a type of the Church – or the Body of Christ – who seek to fight the good fight of faith, personally through sanctification, and corporately by supporting other Christians and by sharing the gospel to save those enslaved by Satan and the world system. 

·       I would also like to point out that Christians who walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, like a Matrix download,  can claim their freedom and victory in an instant – by faith – for real guys.  We don’t have to try hard – we have to believe hard and then walk out our newly “downloaded” freedom and abilities.   The more we “go” the more we grow in the fruit of the Spirit.  

That’s enough for now, I’m sure I could think of more analogies, believe me I have left other shots unfired, between the Matrix and our Christian faith but my intention here is not to entertain or amuse. My intention is to inform and encourage. 

Unlike the Matrix,  the world system, Satan, Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, are not a movie.   The gospel isn’t a fictional story. The gospel is the truth of existence itself and while skeptics could ask “Didn’t Jesus save the world already?” and point to the suffering in the world and the compromise of some who would identify as Christians to deny the truth of the gospel and the power that God gives Christ’s followers;  the gospel is still true.  Those enslaved to their sin and who have rejected Christ just can’t see it or choose the delights of the world rather than the less than glamourous life that results from being a disciple of Jesus Christ.     

So as we are surrounded by the Matrix like holiday confusion that involves Grinches, Reindeer, extravagant light displays, and Gift Giving Flying Saints, let’s try to draw back from the hoopla and remember the Truth, the reason for season and for our hope: Jesus Christ.   

Also I encourage you to not only remember the “Christmas story” but to take a step of faith out of whatever matrix of lies or compromise that may enslave you and realize that you really can do “all things through Christ strengthens you”  and give the gift of hope and life eternal to others this Christmas, and everyday after, by choosing the "red pill” of deciding to be covered by the blood of Jesus and to  walk in the Spirit and live by faith to grow personally in the fruit of the Spirit and to play your part in setting the captives free.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Romans 12:4-5 (NLT2)
4  Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
5  so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

Today’s verses remind us that we all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.  

Someone once said hat Christianity is not a spectator sport. One of the biggest traps that the enemy sets up to take away the effectiveness of the body of Christ is to reinforce the false belief that there is a division withing the church of the “anointed” Christians that serve and the ”unanointed” regular Christians who “just believe”.

If you didn’t know by now I encourage people to reap the benefits of their Christian faith in the here and now by living a surrendered life of a Christian disciple.  The Bible tells us that all believers are part of a royal priesthood – all of us.  So we are all to “minister” and find and perform our purpose for the kingdom.  Although we all have different talents and abilities, we all have a special function for the body of Christ and we all belong to each other in our mutual service to God’s kingdom.  

I often say that there is a paradox in our Christian faith between us “being Christians” because of our faith and “doing the work of a Christian” that points to our “being a Christian”.  

The Bible says that demons believe in God and tremble. So believing in God and placing your faith in Christ can be two different things and the way that the Word of God says that we can tell the difference between a disciple of Christ and someone else is by their “fruit” – the way they behave, the things they do, and the love they have for others.     

So as a Christian, we really shouldn’t be sitting idly by while others in the body of Christ do the “work of  ministry” for Christ’s great commission told all believers to make disciples.   

As Christians, we really shouldn’t be keeping our faith a secret, or a “private matter” as  one of the stars of the Matrix movies prefers to do, shots fire. Instead we should be seeking out and preforming our function for God’s kingdom and seeking to represent ourselves as followers of Christ.  

So don’t be a spectator and have people, or yourself, wonder if you really are a Christian.  Believe in the gospel but also seek to renew your mind and become more like Jesus and walk into the good works that the Lord has prepared for you.  We all have a special function in the Body of Christ so seek it out to perform it and to become the person that God made you to be,

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 27 as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 27

GOD’S BEST GIFT

… Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God …

EPHESIANS 5:2

God’s gifts are many; His best gift is one. It is the gift of Himself. Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy God. “For Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee” (from The Confessions of St. Augustine).

When God told Aaron, “Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel” (Numbers 18:20), He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in. To possess God—this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme.

There is a sense in which God never gives any gift except He gives Himself with it. The love of God, what is it but God giving Himself in love?

The mercy of God is but giving Himself in mercy, and so with all other blessings and benefits so freely showered upon the children of atonement. Deep within all divine blessing is the Divine One Himself dwelling as in a sanctuary.

Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and saw not the king’s face, though the king was his own father. Are there not many in the kingdom of God who have no awareness of God, who seem not to know that they have the right to sit at the King’s table and commune with the King? This is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is a hard and grievous burden.

To know God, this is eternal life; this is the purpose for which we are and were created. The destruction of our God-awareness was the master blow struck by Satan in the dark day of our transgression.

To give God back to us was the chief work of Christ in redemption. To impart Himself to us in personal experience is the first purpose of God in salvation. To bring acute God-awareness is the best help the Spirit brings in sanctification. All other steps in grace lead up to this.

Were we allowed but one request, we might gain at a stroke all things else by praying one all-embracing prayer:

Thyself, Lord! Give me Thyself and I can want no more.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship