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Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

We Don’t Need No Education - Purity 1316


We Don’t Need No Education - Purity 1316

Purity 1316 04/3/2024 Purity 1316 Podcast

Purity 1316 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a springtime view of the Hudson River and the mountainous or hilly landscape to the west comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this simple but pleasant scene from their visit to, what I believe to be, the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historical Site in Hyde Park, NY on social media on around May 9th 2021.  If this photo, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to give you the photo credit after the fact.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and I shared today’s photo to release it from my phone’s photo gallery because I thought there was enough of a “hump” in the landscape displayed here to visually represent our arrival at the midpoint of another work week – so Happy Hump Day.   

As I continue to seek the Lord’s purpose for my life and am always looking for ways in which I can increase my faith or be better equipped for ministry, I am always looking forward to what’s next on this path of Christian Discipleship.  A couple of months ago I looked forward to this time of the year – when the Freedom in Christ Course I was facilitating would be over and I wondered about what I was being called to do next and when I prayerfully considered the possibilities I seemed to come to a crossroads of decision. 

On one hand, I felt that I was being called to minister to others by stepping out in faith and becoming a Christian Life Coach, because while I have a Master’s Degree in Christian counseling – My Bible College (Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary) is not an “accredited” institution recognized by the state, so I realized that pursuing licensure in NY State as a “Counselor” would probably be an act of futility.    You see:

“Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary is a member of International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries [IABCS] for accountability and accreditation. IABCS is a Non-Governmental Accreditation Institution (NGAI) setting standards for Bible Colleges and Seminaries that do not want to come under secular government control and at the same time maintain a genuine degree program for higher education. IABCS It is the oldest NGAI in the USA, established in 1954.

But because VCBCS doesn’t bow down to secular government control – the government and its licensing agencies reserve the right to not recognize their degrees to meet their requirements of “accredited” educational institutions. 

So for people in my situation who want to serve in a “pastoral counseling capacity” – we need to either get hired through a church as “pastoral counseling staff” or work independently with the title of “Christian Life Coach” publicly declaring that we are “not a licensed counselor” regardless of our education and experience operating in that capacity.   While I knew all this, it doesn’t mean I have to like it, and taking the humbler path of “Christian Life Coach” didn’t sit well with me so I considered pursuing a doctoral degree from Liberty University – which is Christian and accredited, but I wasn’t sure if they would accept my Master’s Degree.  

After much correspondence and, perhaps some denial on my part, Liberty University finally told me that because VCBCS is not accredited they would not accept my Master’s Degree as the requirement for entrance into their doctoral program.  But get this – and this was part of my frustration and confusion – they are still welcoming me to submit “officlal transcripts from an accredited institution”.

Previously, that vague invitation made me think that I “was doing it wrong” – “Oh VCBCS must not be on the same “electronic system” to submit it “officially”. So let me send it to them as “JPEG’s and PDF’s” – oh they still asking for an “official transcript”  - they say I can send them a paper copy – Let me pay VCBCS the $5.00 for an official transcript and mail it to them…. “Okay they have received it and it takes 1-3 business days to process it….” Still nothing?  So I inquire about why I haven’t heard anything, and I get this response -  

Thank you for your email! 

That is a great question! We are waiting on your official transcripts which show a conferral of your Masters degree from an accredited institution at this time.”  

So after having them confirm receiving them, but are still “waiting”, I just wanted to know if I was wasting my time so I asked:

“Are you saying that you do not recognize them? And I would not be accepted in your program? 

This is very frustrating - I have sent electronic copies and paper copies of my transcript.  I would just like to know if a transcript from Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary would be accepted by Liberty and if I individually would be granted admission into the doctoral program for Pastoral Counseling at Liberty University.  

I would appreciate a clear and final answer because I have nothing else to send.”

After MONTHS, they FINALLY said:

We have received your official transcript from Vision Christian Bible College, however we are unable to use transcripts from an unaccredited institution to make an admissions decision. Part of our mission at Liberty University is to maintain an accreditation level that allows our graduates to be viewed in high regard.  For this reason, we have specific guidelines that we are required to maintain for admission into our programs.  Due to these guidelines, we are unable to accept an unaccredited Master's degree for admission into a Doctorate program.

So basically my VCBCS degree isn’t good enough for Liberty and as much as I do care for rejection on any level, I gladly accept it at this point. Unless changes dramatically in my heart and mind, I am DONE with pursuing any more degrees or outside validation from educational institutions because FINALLY, after earning 4 undergraduate degrees (1 Associates and 3 Bachelors degrees) and 1 post-graduate degree (and unaccredited degree – at least by the secular government – and Liberty University’ standards). I have learned my lesson – degrees don’t matter in service of God’s kingdom.   And I think this experience has taught me that I was deceiving myself and believed the lies that – (as the Steps to Freedom in Christ present): 

“I must live up to worldly standards in order to feel good about myself”

Or that “I must gain the approval of certain people (the Government and Liberty University.. I guess) in order to be happy”. 

This pursuit of higher education and “certifications” also fed my pride that told me (also from the Steps to Freedom in Christ) that I was prideful by:

“Being driven to obtain recognition by attaining degrees, titles, and positions”

And that I was guilty of

“Considering myself better than others because of my academic… abilities and accomplishments.” 

So I have been rejected and humbled once again. 

And I understand that I am a little rebellious too – I tried to get into the hallowed halls of a nationally recognized and fully accredited institution – with my unaccredited degree – but the gatekeepers have done their job and I can’t fault them for saying no.   

And I suppose I could humble myself to their standards and apply for ANOTHER Masters degree, in order to get the Doctorate that I coveted, I am deciding to take my ball and go home.  

Getting all those degrees I have has taught me a few things. They don’t satisfy. They don’t necessary mean much – other than you took a bunch of classes and received passing grades – they don’t guarantee you actually “learned anything” – not that I haven’t learned anything but I know that you can go through a program of study and not necessarily retain the information you learned to pass a test or to write a paper – I call that task-based learning.  And the most important thing I have learned from obtaining all the degrees I have is that they don’t teach you how to live and they don’t give you ambition or purpose.  

God is the one from whom wisdom comes and He is the one who approves us and amazingly He doesn’t require you to pass a test, write a paper, or work really hard to be accepted into His kingdom.   

It is by faith in Christ alone that we are given new life, the ability to understand divine wisdom, and the power to live a righteous life. We only need to study one book – The Bible – to know what know in life. It’s the one book that contains God’s word – the Truth – and its wisdom is infinite as is evident by the sea of books written by man that try to explain what God is telling us.   I have quite a few of them on my bookshelves and in my electronic library. 

SO I don’t need “no education”  and I guess I will just follow the Lord to learn from the resources I already have access to and follow the Holy Spirit to pursue my purpose for His kingdom.

   

 

 

 

 

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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 Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT2)
1  Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
2  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
3  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

Today’s verse falls under the twenty-sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

26. Set your affections on the things above, not on things on the earth.

Today’s verses convicted to focus on God’s kingdom – and not man’s approval.

-----------------------------------------------------------

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: JOHN 8

“The truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

It is interesting to note the working powers of the Word of God or Truth as revealed in this Gospel. Here are just a few:

Its Liberating power. “The truth shall make you free.” The Word of God is that which snaps all chains of bondage.

Its Pruning power. “You are already clean [pruned] because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). This is pruning for greater fruitfulness.

Its Sanctifying power. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Herein lies the secret of a sanctified life.

Its Rejoicing power. “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17). The keeping of His commandments has a special reward of happiness for the obedient believer.

Thank You, Lord, for the liberating power of Your Word.
May Your Word have its way in my life.[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

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Soul Music & The Infilling of the Holy Spirit - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 22 - Purity 1295

Soul Music & The Infilling of the Holy Spirit - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 22 - Purity 1295

Purity 1295 03/09/2024 Purity 1295 Podcast

Purity 1295 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a high definition view of the sky reflected in the waters of Lake Hiawassee near sunset comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene from his visit to the Hanging Dog Recreational Area on social media on Thursday, March 7th.  Fred is always sharing stops along the path of his life with his friends on FB, but this one is really special. It's so beautiful it’s almost unreal and it made me wonder if Fred got a new camera! But that’s life, we do the same things day after day and then time, circumstances, and the Lord come together to make otherwise normal days have spectacular moments. 

Well, it’s Saturday and I had one of those spectacular moments after work yesterday during my commute to my countryside home in Easton. I had a long day at work yesterday and when quitting time came I was rejoicing over the fact that another week of work was over, and I decided to worship the Lord in song to thank Him.  Right now I am trying to recall the events that led to that decision because there was something there that triggered that decision, something to do with God and my life right now, but I can’t recall the specifics. Anyway, when I turned on my “Crossroads” Playlist – which is a mix of inspirational secular songs from my past and some “heart songs” of Christian praise and worship the Lord’s presence came storming into the moment bringing to my mind and heart the truth of my relationship with him, the victories of the past, and hope for the future.  God was in the car with me, and I was undone emotionally, rejoicing over His love for me and simultaneously letting the pain of recent difficulties in my life come pouring out to be healed.  God was speaking to me through the music to remind me that I wasn’t alone, He had been with me in the past to deliver me, and I could rely on Him in the future to do the same. These realizations caused me to whoop, holler, sing, raise my hands, cry, and emphatically rejoice over my life of freedom that has been given to me.  The manifest presence of the Lord was in the house crafting time and space to give me this magic moment that I would call the “filling of the Holy Spirit”. Paul talks about this in.

Ephesians 5:18-21 (NKJV) which says:
18  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21  submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Do you see the tie in here of music, thanksgiving, and the Lord?  My baptism in the Holy Spirit happened when I went into recovery and one day sang to, thanked, praised the Lord, and asked Him to “Come Holy Spirit, Come”. Yesterday, I didn’t ask, I didn’t knock but the Lord’s presence came all the same. He knew I needed it as I have been overcome with anxiety and frustration during recent events and He wanted me to know that I wasn’t alone and that I could trust Him to move everything together for good even if I couldn’t see it. I had been trying to “fix things” on my own and He showed up to remind me to remain faithful but to “let go” and let Him do what He has always done.  Even though I had been trying to be encouraging to others, my heart and mind need to be encouraged to surrender all the uncertain outcomes and concerns in my life to Him. As the Lord brought to mind all the blessings of my life I shouted in triumph because I even though I “knew these things”, my heart had forgotten just how glorious this strange journey has been and how wonderful my life is.  

Yesterday, God used “soul music” to bring me back to joy and to pipe in the “filling of the Holy Spirit”.  Although John MacArthur would disagree with my calling my initial experience of the manifest presence of God – the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”  his commentary on Ephesian 5:18 tells us about this infilling: The Macarthur commentary says:

“Paul is not speaking of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (Ro 8:9) or the baptism by Christ with the Holy Spirit (1Co 12:13), because every Christian is indwelt and baptized by the Spirit at the time of salvation. He is rather giving a command for believers to live continually under the influence of the Spirit by letting the Word control them (see note on Col 3:16), pursuing pure lives, confessing all known sin, dying to self, surrendering to God’s will, and depending on His power in all things. Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done. Being filled with the Spirit is the same as walking in the Spirit (see notes on Gal 5:16–23). Christ exemplified this way of life (Lk 4:1).”

(John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Eph 5:18.)

That’s what I try to do live in the conscious presence of the Lord  but I can tell you sometimes our walk with God has special moments where the Lord reaches out to strengthen us and yesterday was one of them for me and I had to write about it because I don’t want to forget it or blow it off. I want to stay in that place where I knew the truth of my relationship with God in the present moment, experientially.  These moments fuel our faithfulness and never know when God will reach through the veil to give them to you but when they happen you know it!

So I’m encouraged to encourage you to keep walking and talking with God and what better time to do that than now -in the season of Lent. And speaking of Lent….

It’s the twenty-second day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 22

I believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the community of saints, forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life. Amen.

To this article, as I have said, I cannot give a better title than “Being Made Holy”. In it are expressed and portrayed the Holy Spirit and his office, which is that he makes us holy. Therefore, we must concentrate on the term “Holy Spirit”, because it is so precise we can find no substitute for it... God's Spirit alone is called a Holy Spirit, that is, the one who has made us holy and still makes us holy. As the Father is called a Creator and the Son is called a Redeemer, so on account of his work the Holy Spirit must be called a Sanctifier, or one who makes us holy. How does such sanctifying take place?

Answer... the Holy Spirit effects our being made holy through the following: the community of saints or Christian church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. That is, he first leads us into his holy community, placing us in the church's lap, where he preaches to us and brings us to Christ.

Biblical Wisdom

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       What do you think Luther means when he says the Holy Spirit is the “one who makes us holy”? What does it mean to be made holy?

To be made holy means to be set apart for God’s purposes, to live to serve His kingdom.  A cursory study of scriptures regarding the Holy spirit reveals that He leads us into all truth and grants us repentance. It is through the Holy Spirit that we see the truth of the gospel and are led to turn from our sins and grow in our faith. This is for real – they don’t call it walking in the Spirit for nothing – we can experience God’s presence, love, and help in our lives when we walk with Him.

·       Luther says the Spirit “effects our being made holy” through “the community of saints or Christian church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting”. Reflect on these four; how do they make us holy?

The community of the saints gives us a place to grow – where the word is preached, studied, reflected on, and practiced with how we live. 

The forgiveness of sins gives us freedom and healing and encourages us to not go back into darkness. 

The Resurrection of the body – gives us proof that Jesus is God and that He blesses us with the gift of the comforter who indwells within our bodies – making us spiritually alive. We were resurrected to life with Christ. 

Everlasting life gives us the freedom over the fear of death and the eternal purpose of serving God’s kingdom. We stop living for ourselves and start living for God’s kingdom.  

·       According to today's reading from Luther, what is the church's primary task? Why?

Luther’s comments indicate that the church’s purpose is to preach the word. Why?  To bring people to Christ, and to make us holy.

Psalm Fragment

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; When you give to them, they gather it up; When you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. Psalm 104:27-30

Journal Reflections

·       Meditate in writing on your understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit guides us into a deeper walk with the Lord by illuminating the scriptures and convicting our hearts to obey God’s word. His presence comforts us and strengthens us.  His intuitions reveal to us things to come and inspires us to good works and sanctification.

·       Have you ever felt as if the Holy Spirit was bringing Christ to you as you studied his word or heard it preached, or participated in the activities of his church? If so, write about the experience and its impact on you.

Yes, all the time. Part of the purpose of my blogging and podcasting is to proclaim the truth of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in the lives of Christians who surrender to God’s will for their lives.  Pick up your cross and follow Jesus and the Comforter will accompany you on the path of Christian Discipleship.

·       Have you experienced yourself “being made holy”? If so, has it changed how you make decisions? How you live in relationships? If not, can you imagine being made holy and its consequences?

Yes. I have repented and been set free from my former besetting sins to experience freedom. It has changed my entire life and my relationships.  My marriage has God at the center of it and my friendships are faith-based because no matter who you are, I will encourage you to seek the Lord – Christian or not. 

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that your relationship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit will become more dear to you and that the gift of faith you have received will flow from you into good deeds for your family, friends, and neighbors.

Lord, I pray that my relationship with You through Jesus and the Holy Spirit will somehow become more dear to me and that the gift of faith that I have received will flow from me into good works for my family, friends, and neighbors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer For Today

Come, Holy Spirit, teach me more about God, and quicken my love for you and my neighbors so that I may serve you as I should by serving them.

Amen!

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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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 Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
5  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Today’s verse falls under the ninth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

9. Put covetousness to death.

Today’s verse tells us to repent of sexual immorality – let’s not miss that – sexual purity is important to God and our lives of faith – but it also speaks of the root of lust- covetousness – wanting what is not rightfully yours.  Why is the command to not covet one of the Ten Commandments? Because it leads us into various sins that stem from covetousness. God has approved means to meet all our needs, but covetousness causes us to disregard those means because “we want what we want” and covetousness causes us to not care how we get it.  

So put to death what is earthly within you, and follow God’s ways to meet your wants, desires, and needs. When we decide to not “want” what is not ours, covetousness is cast out and results in the consideration of sin to be an illogical possibility.

-----------------------------------------------------------

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.

MORNING READING: LUKE 11

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore,
when your eye is good, your whole body also is
full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body
also is full of darkness.” – Luke 11:34

The eye cannot contain light in itself; it reflects light from the source of light. If therefore the body is to be full of light, the eyes must be focused on the true source of light, even the Lord Jesus. Hence, the apostle says, “Looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2).

Fellowship is only maintained as I walk in the light even as my Lord is in the light. How necessary it is then, that my eyes be fixed on Him.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.7[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

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Have Yourself an Imperfect Christmas & “Why You Shouldn’t Be Defensive” – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1218

Have Yourself an Imperfect Christmas & “Why You Shouldn’t Be Defensive” – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1218

Purity 1218 12/09/2023 Purity 1218 Podcast

Purity 1218 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an imperfectly decorated unlit pre-lit Christmas tree topped with a Santa hat comes to us from yours truly as I captured a view from River House’s living room Christmas decorations for 2023.  Yeah, the lights aren’t working so I bought 200 lights and wrapped them around the tree to “get it done”, even if it isn’t perfect. An electronic switch to prayerfully fix the light problem is on the way. But whether it fixes it or not, the tree is up!

An imperfect manger scene featuring only two of three wise men is also on display. Actually the third wise man in on display. He, the one bearing a treasure chest of gold,  is there, he is just in a plastic sandwich bag because somewhere along the line he literally lost his head. It’s in the bag too. So I guess he sort of represents the dangers of carrying cash at Christmas time, but he is still standing in his clear sandwich-body bag, although his head is not on his shoulders, because he has been decapitated, but he still showed up to honor Baby Jesus, despite his sorry state, although he is respectfully staying in the background as he doesn’t want the supernatural miracle of his being raised from the dead, headless, to disturb the awe and wonder of the first Christmas.   But seriously, I think I will get some super glue to try to fix – the Gold giving wise man's head like I did last year or the year before. Some things just don’t stay fixed no matter what you try, I guess. We are not perfect, and the world is not perfect, so join me in giving up any illusions that we would somehow be perfect and give up the bondage of the dream of “the perfect Christmas”.  

Well, It’s Saturday, and I apologize for my silliness and my imperfect Christmas decoration display, but as we draw ever closer to Christmas, I wanted to assure all my friends that you don’t have to be perfect, your Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect,  when we “do something for the Lord” it doesn’t have to be perfect, and perhaps most importantly we don’t have to defend ourselves.

So take off the holiday stress, try to relax a little bit, and try to do the best you can to make merry this Christmas, and leave the rest up to God.  

We as fallible human beings are not perfect but those of us who have put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior have a perfect advocate who has paid for all of our sins, and who gives his righteousness to us.  We don’t have to be perfect in the things we do, earn our salvation, or defend ourselves because Christ has done that for us. 

And since, I imperfectly forgot to set my alarm this morning and am a bit short on time, as I will be headed for the Amazing World Dr. Seuss Museum today, for Grinchmas – of really forgive me, I decided to share this message from Dr. Neil Anderson that I received as a morning devotion earlier this week in my email that I found to be very encouraging as my recent failure to be certified as a Deeper Walk Prayer Minister on time caused all kinds of emotions and the desire to defend myself.   So, please enjoy this wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson, called:

“WHY YOU SHOULDN'T BE DEFENSIVE

While being reviled, He [Jesus] did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23).

There are two reasons why you should not be defensive when there is a critical, negative evaluation of you.

First, if you are in the wrong, you don't have a defense. If you are criticized for saying something which is out of order or doing something which is wrong, and the criticism is valid, any defensiveness on your part would be a rationalization at best and a lie at worst. You must simply respond, "You're right; I was wrong," then take steps to improve your character and behavior.

Second, if you are right, you don't need a defense. Peter encouraged us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who "while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23). If you are in the right, you don't need to defend yourself. The Righteous Judge, who knows who you are and what you have done, will exonerate you.

A dear lady entered my office with a well-thought-out list of 'things for me' and 'things against me'. I suggested that she share the 'things for me' first. That didn't take long! As she was going through the 'things against me', the part of me that is made of earth wanted to respond to every allegation. But I didn't. When she was finished, there was an awkward pause before I said, "It must have taken a lot of courage to come in and share that with me. What do you suggest I do?" She started to cry. Nobody tears another down from a position of strength or judges another without being judged. Judgmental people are people in pain. If you can learn not to be defensive when someone exposes your character defects or attacks your performance, you may have an opportunity to turn the situation around and minister to that person.

Lord, give me the courage not to react defensively. You are the only defense I need, and I entrust myself to You, who judges righteously.

-Neil Anderson”

Amen. When I received my negative evaluation, I tried to explain myself at first but the decision to delay my certification was made and I have not defended myself or tried to talk the instructor into changing his mind since. Instead, I have chosen to receive the ministry development plan they have prepared with thanks and will consider what it indicates about the areas where I need improvement and will consider when, how, and if I will pursue meeting its requirements.  Today’s message reminds me that I don’t have to defend myself and my faith reminds me that I don’t need the approval of men, or a certification in prayer ministry, to be fully accepted, secure, or significant in Christ.  

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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 verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church Discipline.

Colossians 3:16 (NIV2011)
16  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Today’s verse is the second of two verses that fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

1.    Discipline begins with personal admonition.

Today’s verse encourages us to teach and admonish one another with the message of Christ but to also be thankful for receiving it and to allow it to produce joy in our hearts to the point that we make a regular practice out of worshiping the Lord in song.  

Wisdom and knowledge of Christian theology and of what the Bible actually says is a huge key to our walking out our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ, but today’s verse also encourages us to be grateful and to sing with gratitude to God in our hearts.  Our faith is not just head knowledge. Our faith is a love relationship with God, or at least it is supposed to be, and so if the “message of Christ” hasn’t penetrated our hearts to cause us to love the Lord with al of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, we may want to start singing to stir our souls to “feel the love” of God experientially.  

Ironically, singing to the Lord can actually be a means to an end in experiencing gratitude and joy for the Lord in our hearts. While singing to the Lord should certainly be a “fruit” of our transformed life, if we are feeling a little cold or don’t know what the love of God feels like, we can use worship and praise to get us there.  

The knowledge of God going from our heads to our hearts may be just a matter of surrendering and reflecting on the joy of our salvation and celebrating what the Lord has done for us as we sing along with worship. When we reflect on our salvation experience and the things the Lord has provided us with in the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit may move in our spirits to show us what being a Christian is all about – the love of God in us! 

Being a Christian really is something we should be excited about. Now please forgive me, but any love song can be directed toward the Lord and be a means to express our love for God and a means to receive love from God.  

For example, the Pointer Sister’s song – “I’m so Excited” speaks in general terms and the love in it can be directed to God.   The songs lyrics proclaim: 

“I want to love you, feel you.

Wrap myself around you.

I want to squeeze you, please you.

I just can't get enough.

And if you move real slow, I'll let it go.

 

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.

I'm about to lose control and I think I like it.

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.

And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know I want you.” (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pointersisters/imsoexcited.html) 

Lord! , I want you Lord! I do want to love you; feel you and I am excited about it.   

So try to give worship a try – use Christian songs or repurpose some pop favorites with God as the object of your desire and you may experience the exciting life of peace, joy, and love that the Lord has for you. 

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK TWO -  MYSTERY

DAY SEVEN

An Unfathomable Mystery

In an incomprehensible reversal of all righteous and pious thinking, God declares himself guilty to the world and thereby extinguishes the guilt of the world. God himself takes the humiliating path of reconciliation and thereby sets the world free. God wants to be guilty of our guilt and takes upon himself the punishment and suffering that this guilt brought to us. God stands in for godlessness, love stands in for hate, the Holy One for the sinner. Now there is no longer any godlessness, any hate, any sin that God has not taken upon himself, suffered, and atoned for. Now there is no more reality and no more world that is not reconciled with God and in peace. That is what God did in his beloved Son Jesus Christ. Ecce homo—see the incarnate God, the unfathomable mystery of the love of God for the world. God loves human beings. God loves the world—not ideal human beings but people as they are, not an ideal world but the real world.

We prepare to witness a mystery. More to the point, we prepare to witness the Mystery, the God made flesh. While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task, to suppose that we ever know anything about him except what he has made known to us. The prophet Isaiah helps us to remember our limitations when he writes, “To whom then will you compare me …? says the Holy One.…” Think of it like this: he cannot be exhausted by our ideas about him, but he is everywhere suggested. He cannot be comprehended, but he can be touched. His coming in the flesh—this Mystery we prepare to glimpse again—confirms that he is to be touched.

Scott Cairns, in God with Us

To whom then will you liken God,

or what likeness compare with him?…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to live in;

who brings princes to naught,

and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

Isaiah 40:18, 21–23[1]

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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

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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



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 30–31.