Labels

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

“Thanksgiving Eve” - May The Light of The Lord Shine Upon You - Purity 896


“Thanksgiving Eve” - May The Light of The Lord Shine Upon You - Purity 896     

Purity 896 11/23/2022 Purity 896 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of light of the sun reflecting off the windows of a house on to the waters of the Champlain Canal comes to us from my beloved wife, TammyLyn Clark, who captured the beauty of this reflection while out for an impromptu stroll at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville back on November 11th.   

Well, it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so “Happy Friday” to the vast majority of us that will have the day off tomorrow to gather with family and friends to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, watch football, feast on mass quantities of food, and, oh yeah, to GIVE THANKS….

I point this out because sometimes in the preparation for the holiday we forget what its original purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday is.  Anyone referring to tomorrow as “Turkey Day”, I’m talking to you!

And since we are pointing things out, I would also point out that our “Thanks”, just like our “Faith” has to have an object.  And whether you have “Great Faith” or “little faith” in the Lord, you should recognize that ultimately whatever “Thanks” we would like to give tomorrow should eventually be humbly left before the throne of grace.  

I know, you may be truly thankful for the food, for your family, for you job, for your friends, for the day off, for your health, for football, for the universe, and for the host that put together your holiday feast but above and beyond all these things is the Lord God Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth and the author of all life, and the sovereign King who shapes its history.   So ultimately, while we should express our appreciation for all of these other things that the Lord made possible, we should only give our “Thanks” to God.  

So really Thanksgiving, in essence should be one of worshiping the Lord, a true holiday, in the sense of a “holy-day”.  But you know what’s great about “worshiping the Lord”. It doesn’t have to be weird.  We don’t have to put on special out fits or go to a designated site with holy relics or trappings to worship God.  We can give thanks to the Lord, praise His Holy Name, and worship Him in the most mundane trappings and the humblest clothes.  That includes your living room Lazy Boy with your feet up as you enjoy the company of many or just by yourself.  Our “Thanks”, our worship, to the Lord only requires our hearts and minds set on Him. You can meditate upon, worship, or give thanks to the Lord for hours or just a few moments but He is to be the object of them all.   

I like to point out the obvious in this day and age because our holidays have increasingly become secular celebrations of general good tidings and well wishes that increasing fail to honor the Lord.   This is even more expressed in the anticipation of tomorrows holiday and how it will play out this evening.  

As solemn or relaxed as our Thanksgiving gathering may be tomorrow, for many the “true celebration” of Thanksgiving will be tonight as scores of people will be returning home and will be gathering with friends to catch up over mass quantities of alcohol or drugs before having to suffer through another forced family event.   The restrictive duty of honoring  father and mother or gathering with family close and not so close can cause us to really want to kick loose and the night before Thanksgiving can be one of the wildest nights of partying of the year.   Or at least it used to be in my pre Christ, pre-recovery experience.

Add to the contemplation of another repressive family gathering, the fact that many will be taking to the skies, the highways and byways to travel a considerable distance to arrive at their Thanksgiving destination,  and its no wonder people may want to blow off some steam tonight. 

So it is my prayer that the Lord protect all of us and that we allow Him to guide us in His ways and peace tonight. There is nothing wrong with meeting with friends this evening, but the emphasis should be placed on the joy of the gathering and the safety of ourselves and those we love; And let’s keep it real, in not doing anything that will cause us guilt, shame, pain, or regrets.   I wish I could say that hangovers were the only pain I experienced from Thanksgiving Eve’s of old so I speak from experience and what may seem like a good idea tonight may not look so good in the light of day on Thanksgiving morning.  Road rage, drunk drivers, shameful liaisons, and old vendettas reignited into verbal and physical altercations are all possible scenarios tonight, so let’s be careful out there.  

I am thankful to God for keeping me safe thus far and for leading me into a life that is guided by His light rather than my darkness.   So let me encourage you to either start or to continue to keep walking and talking with God. His way is the best way to live and placing your faith in Jesus Christ really is the only way to live, so put your trust in Him and follow Him to where He wants to take you.   When you walk in His light, it shines in your life.

The light reflected off of that house in today’s photo is shining as bright as the sun itself.  I had to look twice to realize that this wasn’t just a sunset photo. My wife captured a scene highlighting a reflection of the sun on the waters of Chaplain Canal off of a reflection of the sun on the windows of a house.  The sun is not even in this photo, just its reflection.  So just like today’s photo, let’s allow the Lord’s light in us shine for all the world to see this Thanksgiving by expressing wisdom, peace, and love.  

All these shining reflections, made me think of the Old Testament Prayer of Blessing in

Numbers 6:22-26 (NKJV) where
22  … the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
23  "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24  "The LORD bless you and keep you;
25  The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26  The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." '

 

And so it is my prayer that all who read or hear this message, have the Lord shine His face upon you and your families this Thanksgiving, and that you receive His grace and peace.  God bless you and keep you, Amen.

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verses is:

Colossians 1:20-22 (NLT2)
20  and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21  This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
22  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Today’s verses teach us that Christ reconciles us to God, no matter how far away we once were from God. We who because of our evil thoughts and actions were once His enemies, have been brought into His presence and have been made holy and blameless because of Jesus.    

I would say a parallel to these verses or a nice conclusion would be my life verse:

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) which says: 
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus because we have been reconciled to the Father, because all our sins have been forgiven, and we have been made holy and blameless. We can walk in the Spirit because when we put our faith in Christ we were reconciled to God, and He gave us anew life and the indwelling Holy Spirit to keep us forever in His presence.  

That’s good news. And even though the holiday is tomorrow, we should be “Thanksgiving” to the Lord every single day, from here to eternity, for what He has done for us through Jesus Christ.  

This is life changing spectacular news that never gets old.  So if you get a few minutes of quiet time with a family member or friend who doesn’t know the Truth of Jesus or hasn’t fully realized who they are in Christ, take the time to tell them and to encourage them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior or to claim the wonders of their new life by making the decision to follow Him,  in Spirit and in truth.

___________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Conclusion

“ ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’

¶ “Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt. 7:24–29).

We have heard the Sermon on the Mount; perhaps we have understood it. But who has heard it correctly? Jesus answers this question last. Jesus does not permit his listeners to simply walk away, making whatever they like of his discourse, extracting what seems to them to be useful in their lives, testing how this teaching compares to “reality.” Jesus does not deliver his word up to his listeners, so that it is misused in their rummaging hands. Instead, he gives it to them in a way that it alone retains power over them. From the human point of view there are countless possibilities of understanding and interpreting the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knows only one possibility: simply go and obey. Do not interpret or apply, but do it and obey. That is the only way Jesus’ word is really heard. But again, doing something is not to be understood as an ideal possibility; instead, we are simply to begin acting.

This word, which I accept as valid for myself; this word, which arises from “I have known you,” which immediately draws me into acting, into obedience, is the rock on which I can build a house. This word of Jesus coming from eternity can only be answered by simply doing it. Jesus has spoken; the word is his; our part is to obey. The word of Jesus keeps its honor, its strength, and power among us only by our acting on it. Then a storm can sweep over the house, but it cannot tear apart the unity with Jesus created by his word.

The only thing which exists besides action is inaction. There is no such thing as intending to act and not doing it. Those who treat the word of Jesus any other way except by acting on it assert that Jesus is wrong; they say no to the Sermon on the Mount; they do not do his word. All our questions, complications, and interpretations are inaction. The rich young man and the scribe in Luke 10 are examples. I can insist on my faith and my fundamental recognition of this word as much as I want; Jesus calls it inaction. The word that I do not want to do is no rock for me on which I can build a house. I have no unity with Jesus. He has never known me. Hence, when the storm comes, I will lose the word quickly and I will learn that in truth I never really had faith. I did not have the word of Christ. Instead, I had a word I wrested away from him and made my own by reflecting on it, but not doing it. Then my house falls down with a great fall, because it does not rest on the word of Christ.

“And the crowds were astonished …” What had happened? The Son of God had spoken. He took the judgment of the world into his hands. And his disciples stood beside him.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@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 Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 181–182.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Skillfully Dealing with “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” of Thanksgiving- Purity 895


 Skillfully Dealing with “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” of Thanksgiving- Purity 895   

Purity 895 11/22/2022 Purity 895 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing cotton candy sunset sky over my favorite portion of I-787 South, highlighting the glass domed peak of the building at 625 Broadway in downtown Albany, comes to us from yours truly as I tried my best to capture some of the beauty of this spectacular November sky from my securely mounted iPhone as I drove home from work yesterday.  The beauty of God’s creation is all around us at all times and as much as we may enjoy the warmer temperatures of Summer, yesterdays sunset reminded me that we don’t get sunsets quite like this during those warmer months. Even though they don’t happen every day in late Autumn or throughout the winter, the history of my blog will testify to the truth that some truly magical celestial moments happen during these colder days of the year.  

Well, it’s Tuesday and for nearly all of us, today is “Hump Day” because Thanksgiving is only 48 hours away, making this first part of the week a 3 day work week.  

As I write these words, I am excited at the prospect of all of us coming together with family and friends to reunite in a celebration of Thanksgiving.  I myself will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law’s place, who I see quite regularly as we go to the same church and I attend the “growth group” he leads for our church. So while I will not be reuniting with people I haven’t seen in a while, I am filled with joy at just contemplating all the people who will be.  Over the next couple of days, people will be travelling from near and far to enjoy the company of their friends and family and I just have great joy contemplating the way God has knit us all together in relationships of love.   It makes me think of Peter’s words on the Mount of Transfiguration.  When Peter witnessed Christ in unveiled glory miraculously joined by Moses and Elijah, he:

Matthew 17:4 (NKJV)
4  … said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Peter certainly didn’t understand what was happening but he knew it was good to be together and he wanted this magical moment to last.   

And that’s how I feel right now just thinking about people coming together in the next 48 hours to talk, to laugh, to hug one another, to be together, and to love one another in peace and thanksgiving.   I know my visions may seem Pollyanna-ish and may be distorted Hallmark movie fantasies but even though all our interactions over the next few days aren’t guaranteed to be perfectly harmonious, the love that lies at the foundation of them all will still be there even if we won’t be able to express it perfectly. 

Let’s face it people, even family people, can drive you nuts. But usually there is more good than bad in our familial dealings, otherwise we wouldn’t get together, right? I hope that’s the case, anyway. Otherwise, maybe next year we should investigate establishing boundaries to limit or keep the dysfunction at bay.

So as we gear up for the good, the bad, and, oh My – help us Jesus, the ugly that we may encounter over the next few days, let’s promise one another that we will try to be the light that God wants us to be. Let’s agree that we will be the one’s that try to establish peace, whenever possible, with our family and friends, where necessary, as ambassadors for God’s kingdom.   

Remember some basics, presented from God’s word, on how to deal skillfully with “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Thanksgiving.”

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
1  A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

James 1:19 (NLT2)
19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
2  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 (NLT2)
14  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15  See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16  Always be joyful.
17  Never stop praying.
18  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

And finally,

Luke 23:34 (NLT2)
34  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” …

While I hope you have some mountain top moments of joy over the next few days that will make you want the moments to last forever, we have to remember that those we encounter over the next few days may not know the “peace that goes beyond all understanding” and may be bitter, angry, or hurting”.  So let’s do our best to minister to them, but also remember not to be dragged into contentions or squabbles. Let’s walk that line with skill and let’s not forget that while Christ also commanded us to love our enemies, we are not Jesus.  So know your limitations, speak an encouraging word, but if necessary, don’t forget to call on the Lord to show you the way of escape.   

If we remember who we are in Christ, we will be grounded in peace no matter what we face, but wisdom may demand we extract ourselves from difficult situations or endure them with patience.  There are no pat answers on how to deal with difficult situations but if we are diligent to forgive others and show love, we just may have something to be thankful for after this latest holiday passes.  

Keep walking and talking with God, and He will see you through.

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 2:13 (NLT2)
13  You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

Today’s verse reminds us that before Christ we were dead! But because we put our faith in Jesus, God has made us alive with Christ and has forgiven all our sins.   

To be forgiven is huge gift from the Lord but our salvation is not just a “pardon” from the penalty that we would have rightly had to suffer.  In Christian teachings there are many illustrations about going to court and having Jesus show up to pay our fine so we could be set free. While that is a useful way to explain the atonement, that picture is somewhat  incomplete in expressing the new life we have in Christ.  

Today’s verse indicates that our sinful nature has been cut away and that God gives us new life with Christ. What we receive when we put our faith is more than just a pardon, it is a new existence with new capabilities that we didn’t have before. But to experience the new existence, the new life in Christ and to realize the power of our new capabilities, we have to believe that this verse is true, that this verse and all the other one’s about the new life in Christ, is true about us.   

When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who makes us spiritually alive, and powerful.  After we become Christians, we are guaranteed eternal life with God forever and we have the power to say no to sin, for good.   But we have to believe it and act on it.  Sometimes transformation comes quickly, sometimes it comes in time, but it always comes from faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.  

So believe and receive what the Lord has done for you. Keep walking and talking with God, and obey the call He puts on your life.  We can trust the Lord because we were once dead but He has made us alive and He wants us to thrive. Go with God.

 

___________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Great Separation concludes

Verse 22. Confessors and doers are separated from each other. Now the separation is driven in as far as it can go. Here, finally, those speak up who have survived the test up to now. They belong to the doers, but now they make demands based upon their deeds instead of upon their confession. They have done deeds in the name of Jesus. They know that confession does not justify; hence, they went out to make the name of Jesus great among the people by their deeds. Now they come before Jesus and refer to those deeds.

Jesus reveals to his disciples here the possibility of a demonic faith, point that they are indistinguishable from the deeds of true disciples of Jesus. They do works of love, miracles, perhaps even sanctify themselves, and yet deny Jesus and discipleship. It is just as Paul says in chapter 13 of the First Letter to the Corinthians about the possibility of preaching, prophesying, having all knowledge, even all faith to remove mountains—but without love, that is, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Yes, even more than this: Paul must even consider the possibility that the works of Christian love themselves, giving away one’s goods, even so far as martyrdom, can be done—without love, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Without love—that means that in all those actions the deed of discipleship does not take place, that deed, whose doer is finally none other than the one who calls us, Jesus Christ himself. That is the deepest, least comprehensible possibility of the satanic within the congregation, the ultimate separation, which, of course, does not take place until the last judgment. But it will be a final one. Those following Jesus must ask what is the ultimate standard of measure of who will be accepted by Jesus and who will not. Who remains and who does not? Jesus’ answer to those who are rejected at the end says it all: “I never knew you.” That is the final secret, which has been kept from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount up until its end. That alone is the question, whether we were known by Jesus or not. To what should we hold fast, if we hear how the word of Jesus draws the separation between the community and the world, and then within the community until the last judgment? If nothing is left to us, neither our confession nor obedience? Then the only thing left is his word: I have known you. This is his everlasting word, his everlasting call. The end of the Sermon on the Mount connects here with its beginning. His word at the last judgment—it is issued to us in his call to discipleship. But from the beginning to the end, it remains his word, his call. Those who in discipleship hold fast to nothing except this word and let everything else go will be carried by this word through the last judgment. His word is his grace.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@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 Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 179–181.    

Thursday, October 13, 2022

I Still Remember… - Purity 861

 

 I Still Remember… - Purity 861

Purity 861 10/12/2022    Purity 861 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a winter’s highway that descends into the unseen realm of a cloud touching the earth comes from yours truly as I decided play photo archive roulette and found this scene that I originally captured back on December 27th 2019 while at work somewhere near Esperance NY.

Well it’s Thursday and all I was looking for this morning was a picture of a pathway to share to encourage others to keep walking and talking with God on the path of Christian Discipleship and I didn’t realize my quick spinning back into my phone would not only send me to a different month or year but if we think about what has transpired since the time that this photo was taken my search has taken us to a different world.   

I apologize if I have shared this or a similar view of this winter’s road before, it is very likely, because I had about 10 to 20 photos of the day that “heaven seemed to touch earth” but mercilessly have deleted a lot of them because I had taken so many and there was little or no difference in many of them.  

Our direction on the path of Christian disciples is always forward looking but on occasion it is wise to take a look back on our journey to see how far we have come. And since 2 days after Christmas of 2019, we have travelled into a new existence that we could have never imagined on that foggy day.  

I’m pretty sure I shared one of these photos back then commenting on the uncertain future before me and all of us as we approached a new year in 2020.  I had finally received my final divorce agreement from the courts on Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, after having pushed and pulled and then was compelled to sign what some could describe as a “raw deal” to avoid going to trial, and although I was relieved finally be have the matter settled, I was still cohabitating with my ex and was at a point where I had only the vaguest hopes and plans of getting out and finding a place for my kids and I to live. 

Also in the historical context, I recall scores of news reports and anecdotal complaints from my contemporaries lamenting how bad a year 2019 was and how everyone was looking forward to a “clear vision” in 2020. I don’t recall why 2019 was considered a bad year but in hindsight I pretty sure that the vast majority of people would gladly go back to know those times again as the events since the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed, oh so much, of what we knew life to be.

But you know what? This isn’t a complaining post today. Far from it.      

Yesterday I saw this meme that a friend shared that says. “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” And I am sharing it here today.


I didn’t think of it until after I had decided to use this old photo and I am reminded of how much God has done for me since the day I took it. I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now and when I do I rejoice and am compelled to tell everyone to put their faith in Jesus, to follow the Lord, and to keep seeking His will for your life.

Since 2019, the Lord has led to a new home, a new ministry, a new church, and a new wife. And not to sound like a prosperity gospel preacher, or a game show host, but I have a “brand new car”, too! Okay, certified preowned, but its new to me.

But the One thing that hasn’t changed in all the time since 2019, is the One who has watched over me and walked with me through the fires of adversity to bring me to this day: The Lord God Almighty, who I know through the Father, through the Son, and through the Holy Spirit. He never left me and even though life in this world broken by sin will never be perfect, and my wife is suffering pain today, I will continue to trust in Him.

If you want all things to become new, you have to follow the only One who can make you new. It’s starts with faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and it continues with your decision to follow Him with the way you live your life.   When you surrender everything to follow Him, you might lose a lot of what you had but that only makes it possible for the Lord to give you something new.

God will open your eyes to the truth and tear your world apart but He’s the maker of the world and He can show you that a new world of peace, joy, love, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, patience, and self-control are waiting to be discovered somewhere along that path before you that lies somewhere ahead in the unseen realm of the future.  

So don’t be afraid that you can’t see the end from the beginning, He can. The Lord invites us all to “come and see” and when we “go there” we enter into a journey where we will be challenged and tested but that somehow leads to good.  

So take a look back and see what the Lord has moved you through, remember it, but keep moving forward and trust the Lord to bring you through the trials of today just as He was faithful in the past.     

 

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse are:

Colossians 1:21-22 (NLT2)
21  This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
22  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that we once were far away from God but now, because of Him, we are reconciled to Him and find ourselves continually in His presence where we are holy and without fault.   

We once were lost, oh so lost, but now we are found brothers and sisters! Through our faith in Christ, we are reconciled, redeemed, and given the power to overcome our evil thoughts and actions of the past when we stay in His presence and live out the new life we have in Christ.   

We are new creations, and if you are still walking around with that “sinner saved by grace mentality” that leaves you powerless to overcome your “evil thoughts and actions”, you have to check yourself and repent. You have to know who you are in Christ, and believe it, and live it. 

This “I got a golden ticket to heaven but I am still a no good bum” narrative that you have going on is rejecting what God says about you.  These negative thoughts are born from sin: the sin of disbelief, i.e. “I wish I could believe it was true. Or  I wish I had faith”  or the blatant sin that you continue in that you haven’t repented of, i.e. “I can’t change”.  

You right, you can’t change! But all things are possible with God.  So let’s get with God! Let’s stop wishing for the power to believe or to be “blessed with faith” and let’s instead stop playing games, and make the DECISION to believe and obey the Lord.  Commit yourself to believing that the Bible is true and commit yourself to turn from your old patterns of thinking and behaving and start living according to the Lord’s wisdom and ways.  

Faith is believing in the unseen.  I believe the word of God is true! I believe that Christ saved me and gave me new life! I believe I can change, because Christ has already changed me, I just have to believe it and live it!

That’s faith.

And notice it is all based on a decision to stop focusing on yourself and to start focusing on God and who He has made you to be.  So rejoice you have been reconciled and enjoy access to The Lord’s presence, love, and power. 

When we stay in communion with Him and follow Him, we come to discover the holy life that He has given us.  So believe it, receive it, and live it.

___________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

                                                                      Chapter Six

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Beatitudes – Continues

““Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” These people without possessions, these strangers, these powerless, these sinners, these followers of Jesus live with him now also in the renunciation of their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own need and lack were not enough, they share in other people’s need, debasement, and guilt. They have an irresistible love for the lowly, the sick, for those who are in misery, for those who are demeaned and abused, for those who suffer injustice and are rejected, for everyone in pain and anxiety. They seek out all those who have fallen into sin and guilt. No need is too great, no sin is too dreadful for mercy to reach. The merciful give their own honor to those who have fallen into shame and take that shame unto themselves. They may be found in the company of tax collectors and sinners and willingly bear the shame of their fellowship. Disciples give away anyone’s greatest possession, their own dignity and honor, and show mercy. They know only one dignity and honor, the mercy of their Lord, which is their only source of life. He was not ashamed of his disciples. He became a brother to the people; he bore their shame all the way to death on the cross.[32] This is the mercy of Jesus, from which those who follow him wish to live, the mercy of the crucified one. This mercy lets them all forget their own honor and dignity and seek only the company of sinners. If shame now falls on them, they still are blessed. For they shall receive mercy. Some day God will bend down low to them and take on their sin and shame. God will give them God’s own honor and take away their dishonor. It will be God’s honor to bear the shame of the sinners and to clothe them with God’s honor. Blessed are the merciful, for they have the merciful one as their Lord.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 106–107.


Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Path to Resolve Unfinished Business - Purity 825


 The Path to Resolve Unfinished Business - Purity 825

Purity 825 09/01/2022  Purity 825 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a water pathway between seemingly ending walls of rock comes to us from one of my family members who captured this scene during a visit to “The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks” in Ausable Chasm NY.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the trip and so many of my family share photos from this trip that I am not sure which one shared this scene so I saved and shared it as “Ausable Chasm Pathway” – August 22, 2022 – Some Seguin or Clark”.  Even though I wasn’t able to go because of work I can get a small sense of what it must have been like at the bottom of that chasm from photos like this one.  

Well it’s Thursday again and even though I won’t be leading any discipleship groups on Zoom this evening, I share today’s photo as an encouragement to all who may feel that they are at the bottom of a chasm of problems or surrounded by problems on the right and the left to keep walking and talking with God on the pathway of Christian Discipleship.   When we decide to live out our faith by following the Lord with the way we live some how we can not only make it out of that chasm of personal and spiritual conflicts, we can have peace and joy while we walk through it because of the Lord’s presence with us. 

Today is also the first day of a new month so let’s choose to make a brand new start of it and take our first steps into September with the confidence that knows that God will be with us today and every day this month as we will transition from Summer to Fall and all the new experiences and responsibilities that come with the changing of the season.  

I don’t know about you but right now it sort of feels like I am at the bottom of a chasm because of the uncertainty of my wife’s current employment situation and because “back to school” season starts next week as I will be leading a new group into the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course this Tuesday and will be leading some former graduates of the course through a course of my own making as we will examine Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship” on Thursdays. 

Also the Lord has put it on my heart to try to resolve some unfinished business of my past regarding my former home and I am admittedly a little nervous about it because it will involve lawyers and confrontation. But recently, I felt very convicted about this issue as I wish to walk into my future unhindered by the things of the past and even though I have taken care of so many things to put my past in the past. The issue of my old house has been something I have left on the back burner of my life and had resolved to ignore it and just hope that it would take care of itself in time.  

But the Lord apparently had different ideas. The other morning I was driving at work when suddenly I had thoughts of my own mortality and the simple fact that I am 50 I can’t really assume that I will be around forever. I started to think of my wife and kids and what would happen if I would suddenly die. 

My life insurance would be a blessing I guess but then I thought about my old house and how my ex has refused to sell it, as we agreed in our divorce and how she is “squatting” there and according to my son, has recently rented out a room someone to help her with the costs of living.  And I thought about how, if I should die suddenly, my wife or my kids would have to deal with my ex and probably fight her in court or surrender the value of the home that was legally mine.  

And that’s when my spirit, or The Spirit, hit me.  I had to take care of this.  I like to think of myself as a nice guy and I don’t like confrontation and I don’t want to necessarily cause my ex any trouble, but I got the sense that “right was right” – she should honor our divorce agreement – and that as a Christian, I was supposed to be responsible and take care of the things I have been entrusted to and do the things I have agreed to do . My ex and I both agreed to sell the house and by leaving things alone I was  not only shirking my responsibilities but was possibly endangering the inheritance that my family would receive.  

So, here we go into September and into the future ahead.  There is uncertainty. There is the excitement of new opportunities for ministry and encouraging more Christians to experience their freedom in Christ,  And there is the unpleasant business of settling unfinished business of the past, when part of me would just as much like to ignore things but even though I have some, okay anxiousness, about what will happen, I somehow have an enduring peace because I know that the Lord will be with me through it all and that I am doing the right thing.  

The Lord wants us to trust Him in uncertain times. He wants to walk with us into the excitement of new seasons. And the Lord wants us to resolve the issues of our pasts that we would rather just ignore, because He wants us to experience the abundant life of freedom that we can know when we resolve our problems and take all the obstacles out of our way that keep us from the joy of walking in peace with our heavenly Father knowing that we have resolved or forsaken all the trappings and turmoil from our old life to experience the new life we have in Him.

 

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 1:22 (NLT2)
22  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Today’s verse reminds us that through Christ’s death and our faith in Him, we have been reconciled to God, brought into His presence and are now holy, and blameless without a single fault as we stand before Him.  

The joy our faith comes from Jesus! He paid the cost for our new lives with the Father s and when we put our faith in Him we are not only declared “Not Guilty” because our debt has been paid, but we are also blameless, without a single fault, in the presence of the Lord.  

We don’t have to feel guilty anymore. We have been reconciled to God. We have peace with Him.

We are also holy.  We are “set apart” as His children and for His purposes. 

And as I wrote about above, the Lord will cause us to resolve the things in our lives that make us doubt these facts of who we are.  

The Holy Spirit convicts us to live a holy life, to walk away from the ways of darkness that we used to live in and to resolve the things in our past that would condemn or accuse us of “not really being a Christian”.  

The way of righteousness and truth may not sit well with the world and may cause people to hate us but when we follow the Lord with the way we live our lives we can have the assurance that we are living according to God’s will because we will have peace in HIs presence and we will be able to honestly confess that we have done our best to resolve our past problems, make peace with others, and do what is right.

So don’t doubt who you are in Christ. The word of God is true. If we feel less than “holy”, we have to accept the forgiveness that we have received, live a righteous life now, and resolve those things in our past that have been left undone.  

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Recent Work of Frank Peretti

In his recent best-seller This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti unveils the strategy and networking of those hostile opponents who come from the realm of spirits, demons and powers. He depicts these forces of darkness mobilizing to gain control of a typical small town in America. They try to accomplish this takeover through a variety of means, but primarily through a plot to draw people away from Christ via an organized expression of the New Age movement.

Peretti moves the drama back and forth between the human and the spiritual plane. He discloses the demonic activity behind human struggles and difficulties. His conceptual framework is much the same as that of Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. Demons exert a direct influence on individuals. For instance, after portraying the evil activities of one of his human characters, Peretti gives his readers further spiritual insight into this person: “a deep and seductive voice spoke thoughts to her mind.” This character later turns out to be a university professor who is disseminating occultism through her teaching. Through similar demonic influence on key people throughout the university, the institution itself becomes perverted and is a major staging ground for this new philosophy.

While C. S. Lewis gave the Christian community a thought-provoking assessment of how an evil spirit may exert influence over a person in day-to-day life, Peretti builds upon this insight to help us imagine how the powers might work in concert to attain a much larger diabolical goal. He describes the individual workings of demonic powers, but he also shows their unified collective purpose. Assuming a well-defined hierarchy with a chain of command, Peretti depicts various ranks of powers carrying out their orders as part of a large-scale plan to usher in an occultic philosophy first to one strategic city, and from that base of operations, to the entire country.

As with any fictional representation of the unseen world, a few parts of his work are hard to swallow and perhaps do not seem to match biblical emphases. For instance, why is there so much said about the countermanding work of God’s angels and so little about the work of the Holy Spirit? Overall, however, Peretti gives us an account that is not only captivating but also imaginatively represents how the powers of darkness might actually work.

Those who appreciate Peretti’s novels will need to remember that the powers of darkness work through a multitude of ways to draw believers into sin and hinder the mission of the church. Satan may very well find his best line of attack against a church through something other than an organized conspiracy like the New Age movement. In fact, is it not more often the case that sexual impropriety, ethical misconduct, deeply entrenched feuds between church members and matters such as these do more to dim the light of the church’s testimony in its community than the inroads of occultism or Satanism? This is certainly not to minimize the danger of aberrant (or satanic) teaching, but it does emphasize Satan’s use of a wide variety of schemes (methodeia Eph 6:11).

The general impact that Peretti’s book has had on the life of the church has been quite positive in two respects: First, the book has effectively challenged people to factor the existence of the hostile demonic realm into their world view; and second, the comment I hear almost invariably from people who had read the book is, “It has prompted me to pray.” The soaring sales of his book and its sequel, Piercing the Darkness, indicate that much of evangelicalism was ready for this challenge.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 205–207.