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Showing posts with label Confess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Confess. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Wherever You Go – Exposing the Enemy Along for the Ride - Purity 637


Wherever You Go  – Exposing the Enemy Along for the Ride - Purity 637

Purity 637 01/25/2022   Purity 637 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the escaping wake of a boat speeding away from an illuminated bridge and the fading light of daylight comes to us from a friend’s 12 day Florida holiday get away where they left 2021 behind as they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time. 

As I prepare myself for a short Florida vacation less than a month away I look forward to seeing sights like this one but am reminded of the old adage of “wherever you go, there you are.” 

Ironically, as “Zen” or “New Age” spiritual as that saying may seem to be, my limited research this morning indicates that one source of this saying has a Christian origin. “A non-humorous precursor appeared in the devotional book “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis published in Latin in the 1400s. An 1881 translation into English by Reverend W. H. Hutchings contained the following passage about human suffering:[2]

“No one is so touched with a heartfelt sense of the Passion of Christ, as the man whose lot it has been to suffer like things. The cross, then, is always at hand, and everywhere awaits you.

You cannot escape it, run where you will; for wherever you go, you take yourself with you, and you will always find yourself.”   (https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/11/22/where-you-go/#:~:text=Wherever%20you%20go%2C%20there%20you,you%20will%20always%20find%20yourself.)

This reminds me of the verse I shared from Psalm 139 yesterday where David mused about God’s omnipresence which said:

Psalm 139:8 (NKJV) 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

The Lord is everywhere and as far as our perspective is concerning ourselves, so are we.  We cannot escape from the Lord’s presence or knowledge and even though we can “take it on the road” and see new sites, wherever we go we will find ourselves there with the question of “who we are?” left to answer.    

I have just finished a 21 day fast and was thrilled with the results of weight loss and the exercise of self-control that I was able to exhibit for those few weeks but since I began eating again I realize that I didn’t escape from “my dark passenger”, to borrow a euphemism from the Showtime Series “Dexter”.  

The “food addict” with his compulsive eating habits, secretive ways, and rebellious, self-deceiving, and sabotaging modus operandi is still there waiting to bust loose.  On the first day after fasting I overindulged in some holiday peanuts that had survived untouched and yesterday I ate a sleeve of girl scout cookies “that just needed” to be gotten rid of.   

These treats are not the end of the world, but they are antithetical to my intention to avoid high sugar and high carbohydrate foods but what I really didn’t like was the semi-mindless way I consumed them and the fact that I knowingly ate them in secret which echoes behavior patterns that go back as far as early childhood when I first started to sneak food.

I don’t want to be that scared child sneaking food for comfort and pleasure and I don’t want to be a person that has secrets that I feel I must hide to be acceptable to others.  I also don’t want to be someone who sabotages my own intentions for healthy living.     

In the 90’s remake of Cape Fear, the villain played by Robert DeNiro, chains himself to the underside of  Nick Nolte’s family’s automobile and although they believe they are traveling to safety to the family houseboat, they are unwittingly taking their own worst enemy along for the ride.  This analogy shows us that we have to be diligent in making sure we are not dragging our old tendencies and patterns of behavior into new situations.  

So, before writing this, I ratted myself out to my wife, confessing my snacking indiscretions and my intentions to live honestly with her with the hopes that my confessions and the trust we build in our relationship will help me to expose this “dark passenger” and leave him with no where left to hide.  

If I shine the light of truth on his presence and use it to expose the lies that he likes to perpetuate, I believe that God will help me to leave “him” and his dysfunctional patterns of behavior in the past.   

Through our faith in Christ, we become members of the kingdom of light and truth and when we walk into the new person of who we are in Christ, we can have freedom and victory over even the most persistent patterns of dysfunctional behaviors. Luckily our walk isn’t about perfection, its about progress and every time we confess our failures we give the enemy less room to operate.    

So, keep walking and talking with God. When you see yourself starting to act in ways that go against what you want to do, rat yourself out and restate your intention to follow the Lord into the person you want to be.  

While it is true that wherever we go, there we are, if we keep walking with God we will be amazed to discover that the “you” we will find at our next destination is not the one that we left behind and that “dark passenger” is no longer along for the ride.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 138:3 (NLT2)
3  As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.

Today’s verse speaks of the immediate strength we can receive from the Lord when we reach out to Him in prayer.  

The best illustration of the truth of this Bible verse for me was the testimony of a man that I heard at the one and only meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that I ever attended.  

If you are unfamiliar, I attended and eventually led a Christian Recovery Program that used John Baker’s Celebrate Recovery lessons for most of the teaching material. Baker’s program is unapologetically Christian and names God the Father, Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit – the Triune God, as the One and only Higher Power.  

AA on the other hand is far less specific and demanding on making that claim and allows its participants to choose whatever “higher power” they wish, which can range from the traditional triune God of Christianity to the absurdness of anything from the pop star, Tina Turner,  to the flying Spaghetti Monster.  

As open as AA tries to be, the Christian roots of the movement are somewhat inescapable and the AA meeting’s forms and traditions are akin to a liturgical church service.     If Celebrate Recovery meetings are akin to a Bible believing – Spirit Filled encounter, the AA meeting is analogous to a Catholic mass or other liturgical service.     

But regardless to the “liturgical” forms that are apparent at the AA meeting, the one I attended had some hostile elements who openly wished to silence any talk of faith and instead stood on the merits of community and “the program”.    

However, at that one meeting I attended in spite the opposition, one man gave a testimony for what he believed to be the reason for his years of successful sobriety: prayer.  

He openly confessed that He didn’t know much about the Bible or church history but stated that in the early days of his struggles to be sober his sponsor advised him to go to the Lord in prayer every time he felt the need to drink to ask for God’s help and strength to overcome.  

This man testified that every time He prayed to God for strength, he received it and he had repeated that simple formula and was enjoying over 20 years of sobriety because of the strength he received from the Lord.  

Although, this man didn’t claim to know God, his continual testimony at AA speaks of the truth of God’s love and power to help those who ask.    

So if you need strength, go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him for it.  The Lord loves us, and He wants to help us.

God the Father sent Jesus to save us and to lead us into a new life. So make Jesus your Lord and Savior to make sure you will be in His kingdom when He returns or when you are called into eternity, and in the meantime receive the strength that only God can give by going to Him in prayer.   

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we conclude sharing from Chapter 5.   

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

STEP FOUR: DEALING WITH REBELLION

The Apostle James wrote, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”117 Submitting to God enables us to resist the devil. The prayer that begins this Step is a commitment to forsake rebellion and choose a submissive spirit, as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You have said in the Bible that rebellion is the same thing as witchcraft and as bad as idolatry (see 1 Samuel 15:23). I know I have not always been submissive, but instead I have rebelled in my heart against You and against those You have placed in authority over me. I pray that You would show me all the ways I have been rebellious. I choose to adopt a submissive spirit and a servant’s heart. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

AREAS OF REBELLION

As the Lord leads you, prayerfully consider the ways you have been rebellious toward the following lines of authority:

·       Civil government including traffic laws, tax laws, attitude toward government officials (See Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17.)

·       Parents, stepparents, or legal guardians (See Ephesians 6:1-3.)

·       Teachers, coaches, school officials (See Romans 13:1-4.)

·       Employers (past and present) (See 1 Peter 2:18-23.)

·       Husband (See 1 Peter 3:1-4.) or Wife (See Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:7.) {Note to husbands: Take a moment and ask the Lord if your lack of love for your wife could be fostering a rebellious spirit within her. If so, confess that now as a violation of Ephesians 5:22, 23.}

·       Church leaders (See Hebrews 13:17.)

·       God (See Daniel 9:5, 9.)

 

The following prayer is an opportunity for you to confess your rebellion:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have been rebellious toward _____________ (name or position), by (specially confess what you did or did not do). Thank You for Your forgiveness. I choose to be submissive and obedient to Your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE:

OVERCOMING REBELLION


88. Matthew 6:24

89. Genesis 3:5

90. Galatians 5:23

91. 1 Samuel 15:23

92. Romans 13:1, 2

93. Acts 5:29

94. Daniel 1:9

95. Matthew 6:9-13

96. Hebrews 13:17

97. Numbers 14:11-19

98. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2  

99. 1 Peter 2:18-20

100. Matthew 6:11

101. Matthew 6:12

102. Acts 8:23

103. Matthew 6:13

104. 1 Peter 2:14

105. Daniel 6:7

106. James 1:27

107. Ephesians 5:21

108. Ephesians 5:21-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6


 

 ---------------------------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. 

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

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Following the Obscured Path that Leads to Good - Purity 627

Following the Obscured Path that Leads to Good -  Purity 627

Purity 627 01/13/2022  Purity 627 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a stream disappearing into a snow covered forest comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene when I was out working in Poestenkill NY back on November 30th of last year.  If time permits I will also share a couple of videos on the blog of that stream flowing to perhaps provide you with a moment of peace.  (Video didn't process!, Maybe Later)   

I know if you are in the colder parts of our country and are negatively affected by the weather probably the last thing you want to see is a picture of snow! But I share it today for two reasons.  The first reason is, no matter how much may dislike to feel and deal with snowy weather, you have to admit that it is pretty to look at.  


The second reason I share it is because this stream is a pathway of sorts and on Thursdays I generally share photos of pathways to encourage people to step on to, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship which means that you decide to live your life according to God’s way and continually seek His presence, wisdom, guidance, and strength through prayer, Bible study and simply “walking and talking with God”.  

I encourage this choice on Thursday’s specifically because that is the night that I have taught or led a ministry to help other Christians realize their freedom in Christ for the past 6 years. I had done this in the past at my local church but now I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead a Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course for Men via Zoom for Freedom in Christ Ministries.  To express your interest in joining a Freedom in Christ course use the “get help” link that I am providing on the blog today. (https://www.ficm.org/get-help/).   


I chose todays photo to reflect that the pathway of Christian Discipleship is not always  hospitable. The snow here could represent the cold reception that you will get when you let your family and friends know that you have decided to follow Jesus with the way you live your life going forward. 

The fact that those snow covered trees seem to block and obscure where this stream pathway goes could represent the fact that the world, the flesh, and the devil doesn’t want you to go to where that stream ends and it could also represent the fact that in this Christian walk of faith we don’t always have the assurance of where this is path is leading us.

It also represents the need for us to trust and have faith that God has put us on this path and, no matter what we may experience along the way, we can trust that God will lead us to a good place and be with us every step of the way.  

That paradox of our having uncertainty because of what we can not see and having to be certain that God will see us through is what the path of Christian Discipleship is all about: faith in God over and above our present circumstances and feelings.  

To have that assurance of God’s presence in our lives we have to be walking with Him rather than going our own way. We have to be seeking His wisdom and ways rather than relying on the ways of the world or the ways we have always done things before. 

When we put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior our relationship with God is established. We are forgiven of our sins and given eternal life. We become new creations that are free from sin and death.  

We receive spiritual life and many blessings and promises through Christ but in order to experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives here and now, we have to trust God, turn from our old ways, and follow Him.  The pathway may not always be easy but it leads to peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience and self-control.  

Just like when you are hiking on a path obscured by a dense forest and you have to trust that the ones who have gone before you will take you to somewhere worthwhile, we  have to trust that God called us to follow Him and that He won’t lead us astray.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 1:9 (NLT2)
9  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Today’s verse tells us that God continually forgives confessed sin and that He will cleanse us from all wickedness.   

Today’s verse subtly speaks of the spiritual reality of God’s enduring love for us and how it demonstrated by the fact that He is faithful to forgive us and move us out of the darkness of our besetting sins.  

But I like to point out that this verse describes a relationship. The verse doesn’t just tell us that God will forgive us and cleanse us. Before those awesome promises of God there is a condition. The verse tells us that “when we confess our sins to Him” is the condition that leads to that forgiveness and cleansing.   

The Greek word that is translated as “confess” in this verse is homologeō and the first definition for that word in Strong’s Lexicon is “to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent.  

So when we are to “confess” our sins. We are not to just list our transgressions. 

“This is what I did Lord. Forgive me.”

No, we are to agree with God. We are to say the same thing as He would about our sins which is that our behaviors are missing the mark of how a child of God would behave and that we will turn from them and forsake them to follow the Lord’s way.  

Now don’t get me wrong here, your forgiveness of your sins and your right standing with God was established and is irrevocable when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.  

This verse is not saying that if we don’t confess our sins we won’t be accepted into God’s kingdom.  This verse is speaking about your relationship with God and the fact that we are “saints who will sin”.  

God knows that our Christian life will not be sinless perfection but He doesn’t want us to live in condemnation when we fail. Instead He wants us to come to Him to reestablish the harmony of our relationship with Him that our sin gets in the way of.  He wants us to re-experience the peace of our forgiven status by confessing to Him when we fail.  

This could lead to a cycle of sin-confess sin confess if we don’t understand that we are to agree with God and repent and to:

John 8:11 (NLT2)
11  … Go and sin no more.”   

The agreeing with God, our repentance, is what will lead to us to being cleanse from all wickedness.  God doesn’t want you on the merry go round of sin and empty confession. He wants you to know not only the peace of your continual forgiveness but He wants you to experience the joy of being cleansed of your wickedness and the close relationship you can have when you confess and agree with God.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Your sins don’t need to trip you up but to get over them you need to draw close to God and agree with Him in the way you should go.  

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

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

JUSTICE, MERCY, AND GRACE

Consider these simple definitions of justice, mercy and grace as they apply to relationships: Justice is giving people what they deserve. If God were perfectly just in dealing with us, we would all go to hell. God is a just God, and “The wages of sin is death.”78

Mercy is not giving people what they deserve. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.”79 Justice had to be served, so Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God.

Grace is giving us what we don’t deserve. “For by grace you have been saved through faith.”80 Forgiveness and eternal life are free gifts from God.

So the Lord instructs us to, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”81 We are not to give people what they deserve (be merciful); we are to give them what they don’t deserve (be gracious). We are called to love people, not because they are lovable or deserve to be loved, but because we have become “partakers of the divine nature.”82 God loves us because it is His nature to love us. “God is love.”83 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”84 This ability to love one another is possible only by the grace of God, as is the ability to forgive as we have been forgiven.

The most common Greek word in the New Testament translated to forgive basically means to send away or to let go. In forgiving, we send away the devil so he can’t torment us, and we let go of the past so it can no longer have a hold on us. The pain and anger is released as we forgive from our hearts.

WHAT TO AVOID

Two major errors are to be avoided when addressing the issue of forgiveness. The first is more common among counselors. Influenced by secular resources, some counselors teach that forgiveness is a process and tell many that they are not ready to forgive. They tell people they have to go through all the painful memories first and then they will be able to forgive. The problem is they will never get there. Rehearsing the painful memories week after week only deepens the wounds and reinforces the abuse. The implication is that one has to heal in order to forgive, but in actuality, it is the other way around. We forgive in order to heal.

The other error is more common in the Church. The extreme version would sound like this: “You shouldn’t feel that way; you just need to forgive.” They just bypassed forgiveness. We have to forgive from the heart. Forgiveness is a hard choice, which includes: (1) allowing God to surface the names of every offending person and painful memory; (2) agreeing to live with the consequences of the other person’s sin without seeking revenge; and (3) letting God deal with the offending person in His way and in His time.

All forgiveness is efficacious or substitutionary. Christ paid the price for our sins, and we pay the price for those who sinned against us. In a practical sense, forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sins. “But that isn’t fair,” some protest. Of course it isn’t, but we will have to do so anyway. Everybody is living with the consequences of somebody else’s sin. We are all living with the consequences of Adam’s sin. We have the choice to live in the bondage of bitterness or in the freedom of forgiveness.

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship