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Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts

Friday, February 4, 2022

When Healing Doesn’t Come – A Friend to Sinners – Purity 646


 When Healing Doesn’t Come – A Friend to Sinners –  Purity 646

Purity 646 02/04/2022  Purity 646 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a winter’s sunset on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography. Today’s photo displays the simple truth that the winter season has a beauty of its own that the other seasons don’t have.  I think a part of it is the silent stillness that the cold brings over the earth that can either cause us to rest in its peace or make us feel all alone.  

The difference between those two extremes can lie in how we think about God.  For those who deny His existence the coldness of the world at wintertime, and in all seasons, can drag us into deep despair as we think that life is devoid of meaning and our lifeforce will simply run out and be consumed back into the nothingness that we came out of.  But if we know that even in that silent coldness of winter that God is with us, we can rest in the stillness with peace knowing that He loves us and is with us even in the most forbidding and barren winter landscape.  

I got some sorrow in my heart today as I learned yesterday that a saint I know has entered into the kingdom of heaven on Wednesday,  leaving behind friends and family that deeply loved her.  So part of me is rejoicing over the fact that her medical issues, pain, and suffering are over but my heart aches for her family and friends because she had such an impact on their lives as a faithful woman of God. 

This person wasn’t old. At 54, she was my older brother’s age, and unlike my older brother, she had a faith in God that couldn’t be questioned.  She had served as a secretary to a our church for a part of her life and had been a vocal and faithful witness for Jesus Christ.  

While she wasn’t a perfect person that had her share of personal and family issues that didn’t always reflect the ideal Christian walk, she always found her way back to the Lord and in the end stood victorious over her problems with addiction because of her faith and even when she was given the news of her impending death she was at peace knowing she was “blessed, highly favored, and the daughter of the King!”  

Months ago after an upswing in her medical condition, our church allowed her to testify one Sunday, and she encouraged the congregation at Rock Solid Church about the goodness of God and the importance of our faith.   This winter season and my failure to recall exactly what she said has me thinking of the Counting Crows song, a Long December which says:

“I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast…”  

And the fact that my friend has passed in February reminds me of the lines from American Pie that says:

“…February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died…”

Well my friend’s song on this earth may have come to an end but the joy of our faith in Jesus Christ assures me that she is lifting her voice in joyous adoration now that she has seen her God face to face.    

And even though my friend’s song has ended, it is a tune that is still playing in the hearts and minds of those whose live she had touched.  The most telling thing about my friend’s faith has been the initial witnesses to her life’s legacy.  My friend was a “church friend” right?  And there’s no condemnation okay, and social media may not be the forum to grieve our losses, but the messages that informed me of my friend’s passing didn’t come from anyone that I was familiar with from the church. 

The heartfelt messages of love that I see being poured out are from my friend’s “family” and friends that didn’t attend our church.  The ones expressing their loss and deep affection and that are testifying to my friend’s faithfulness are people that she had poured her love and faith into that aren’t regular church attendees, some of whom I suspect are people that she walked out of the darkness of addiction with hand and hand, with her undoubtedly pointing to the light of Jesus Christ.

You know, I encourage people to walk and talk with God and to be grateful for the good things in their lives and I often counsel people who are just sort of bored, who aren’t really suffering in any significant way but who have lost or are struggling to have any peace or joy in their lives.   

I advise people like this that they have lost the joy their salvation and that they are looking for circumstances to make them happy and aren’t happy because they have taken the good things in their lives for granted and don’t appreciate what they have or what God has done for them.    

And then I remember people like this dear departed saint who had personal and family dysfunctions to struggle through and physical pain and suffering but because of their faith in Christ continued to overcome and have peace and joy in the fleeting moments of their lives.  

While they prayed for healing and received a measure of it at times only to receive the bad news that their lives were coming to an end, they accepted their lot in life and knew that they were loved by the Lord and had much to be thankful for and to had peace and joy regardless of their negative circumstances.  

So as we move into what proves to be in Upstate New York another, cold February weekend, I want to encourage all who hear or read this message that God is good and the answers to life and death, and peace and joy, lie in the hands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   

Although the times go by so fast and we may need to remind ourselves of the goodness of our lives, the love of our family and friends, and how in Christ we lack nothing,  there is no “bad news on the doorstep”,  In Christ we live forever and are called to an abundant life here and now. 

If you are bored or dissatisfied with life, I suggest you seek the Lord, receive His love, and share it with others like my friend’s life testimony speaks of. Don’t take the things you have for granted. Thank God for all you have and for knowing Him and share the peace and joy of the Lord with others in your life like my friend did.   

Her impact went far beyond the four walls of the church and the love and hope she had was transmitted to people who desperately needed it and now she is recognized as a real life “saint” by them. Like Christ, she was a faithful witness for the goodness of God and a friend to sinners.    

So seek the Lord, know that He is good, and be a witness of His glory and a friend to the world that desperately needs Him.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 11:25 (NLT2)
25  Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

Today’s verse comes from one of the most dramatic moments in the Bible and is simply the promise that we should hold most dear to our hearts.   

As I have said in the past, I don’t plan or arrange for the Bible verse of the day.  I previously have used index cards drawn at random and now I am just walking through a Bible verse devotional that my wife gifted to me.  I just go to the next verse in the book and don’t look ahead to see what’s coming next.  But invariably, the verses that just happen to come up usually are related to the message I deliver each day.    

This can indicate or tells us a couple things about God:  

1.    He is sovereign.  It looks like God is in control and what seems random may actually be according to His will.  The reason why the verse line up with the message is because He wants it to. He’s got something to say through these messages and He is faithfully supplying us with appropriate Bible verses at the right time.  

2.    God’s word is applicable to all situations at all times.  If we doubt that God is placing these verses before us than we can at least rest assured that the word of God is mighty in that we can continually draw wisdom and hope from it because it is the truth.  So yeah, I don’t have to twist the word too much to get something out of it.  God gave it to us to learn from and to motivate our lives as disciples of Christ. We can always get something from scripture if we humbly ask the Lord what He wants us to know from it.  

3.    He knows us, loves us, and is with us.  He knows all things and cares about us and wants us to know it too.  When we get these “coincidental” revelations of appropriate wisdom, it is a “heads up” from God that He is with us. We are “tracking in the Spirit” as some would say.  

So why is today’s verse so appropriate, oh I don’t know, I was speaking about my friend’s life and death and today’s verse tells us that anyone who believes in Christ  “will live, even after dying”.

That’s the truth that we can stand on from here to eternity. That’s the truth that gives us hope in all situations. That’s the truth that conquers the  fear of death.  

Christ’s follow up question of this verse was:

John 11:26 (NKJV)
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

When we believe this, we have the peace that goes beyond all understanding and that overcomes all circumstances, even our impending deaths.   

So bask in the joy of your salvation and the promise of eternal life that lies on the other side of death.  There is no “bad news” in Christ. In Him, we live, even after dying! 

 

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 7.   

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.

BREAKING SEXUAL BONDING

For complete repentance, ask the Lord to reveal every sexual use of your body as an instrument of unrighteousness. As the Lord brings each one to mind, renounce every sexual use of your body as an instrument of unrighteousness and ask God to break the bond with that person. Then conclude by presenting your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice. We are urged by the mercies of God to do that.147 Start by asking the Lord to guide you as follows:

Lord Jesus, I have allowed sin to reign in my mortal body. I ask You to bring to my mind every sexual use of my body as an instrument of unrighteousness so that I can renounce these sexual sins and break those sinful bondages. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

As the Lord brings to your mind every immoral sexual use of your body, whether it was done to you (rape, incest, sexual molestation) or willingly by you (pornography, masturbation, sexual immorality), renounce every experience as follows:

Lord Jesus, I renounce (name the sexual experience) with (name). I ask You to break that sinful bond with (name) spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Amen.

After you are finished, commit your body to the Lord by praying:

Lord Jesus, I renounce all these uses of my body as an instrument of unrighteousness, and I admit to any willful participation. I choose to present my physical body to You as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to You. I choose to reserve the sexual use of my body for marriage only. I reject the devil’s lie that my body is not clean or that it is dirty or in any way unacceptable to You as a result of my past sexual experiences. Lord, thank You that You have cleansed and forgiven me and that You love and accept me just the way I am. Therefore, I

choose now to accept myself and my body as clean in Your eyes. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 ---------------------------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

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Celebrating and Claiming Continuous Victory in Christ– Purity 643


 Celebrating and Claiming Continuous Victory in Christ–  Purity 643

Purity 643 02/01/2022 Purity 643 POdcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the last sunset of January of 2022 over the mostly frozen Hudson River near Castleton NY comes to us from yours truly as I seized the moment yesterday and decided to capture a picture of that blazing sun that I knew would be just below the horizon when I got back to my home in fifteen minutes or so.  And I was right, the sun sets quick in January in my neck of the woods and when you have extended periods of overcast skies you have to be intentional in enjoying the sun when it is out on display.     When the temperatures in the morning are either below or just above zero, you can either lament over the cold or rejoice when the sun does come out and raises the temperatures to the relatively balmy mid-twenties or the sweltering heat of those above that magic number of 32 degrees when the ice and snow melts and recedes a little bit.  

I’m not fooling myself of course today is February 1st and I know that our winter seasons are often defined by what happens in the next 28 days, but I have lived long enough to know that everyday we go through in the next two months is another day closer to the return of spring and although I can appreciate winter for what it is, I consider every passing day in the days ahead as a victory of sorts.    

Through the many years of my life, I have walked through many trials and tribulations and thankfully I have had a close relationship with the Lord to help me walk through most of the hardest ones in the past 11, going on 12 years.   Our walk with the Lord is progressive walk through time and space and will ultimately culminate in our being in His presence and His kingdom as He will eventually reclaim all of existence for His purposes and glory.      

So just like our slow walk through the season of winter, every day behind us is another day closer to the return of the Lord and thus our progressing lives should not be viewed with fear or trepidation as we contemplate seeing the end times unfold before us or as we see ourselves age.  Instead we should have immense hope and joy over the fact that we are moving closer to the days where we will see our Lord face to face.  We should view every day as a mini-victory because we are moving closer to Him and because we are being faithful to follow Him through all the “mini-dramas” of our lives.    

I know that focusing on the return of the Lord and the coming of His kingdom may be a tall order for our imaginations and may seem to be as cold a comfort as the winter’s crisp temperatures outside, but our Christian walk also focuses on the here and now and the hope we have for today can be increased by our reflection on the Lord’s interactions in our lives and from the testimonies of others.   

The word of God is filled with statements that tell us that because of our faith in Christ we already have “the victory” that we seek.  

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)
57  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ we are victorious, over sin and death. So yes, we can celebrate our “future homecoming” in heaven!  In,

John 14:2-3 (NKJV), Christ told his disciples
2  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Christ was talking about the life after death in heaven. Hey, the assurance that we need not fear death is something that should liberate you from fear!  So meditate on that!  Or the other option is that we will be living on the earth when Christ comes to take us home while we still live! 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV) says:
16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

I’m just trying to be obedient and comfort you with these words.   Talk about good news! 

But beyond these awesome pictures, of heaven or the rapture of the saints,  we can enjoy the progressive victory of being faithful to the call of Christ on our lives by living everyday in His presence and enjoying the peace that comes from walking in the Spirit.   

Our daily lives as Christian disciples are lives that are filled with the worship of the Lord and the contemplation of  who we are in Christ and the abundant joy that comes from progressive growth and maturity that we experience the more that we walk with the Lord.      

So keep walking and talking with God and experience your life as a victorious celebration of your Christian faith, that recognizes the things you have gone through, the things you are doing now, and looks forward to what the Lord will be doing next on this journey called life where the God who created the universe has personally called your name and asked you to be with Him for all eternity and who wants you to see the  fruit of the Spirit manifest in your life when you draw close to Him and follow where He leads.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 116:15 (NLT2)
15  The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die.

Today’s verse speaks of the Lord’s great care for our lives and of our passing.   

The Lord loves all of His creation. So in a way all those living are His loved ones.  However, His redemptive plan, the reason Jesus lived and died for the atonement of our sins, offers mankind the choice to accept or reject His love.  

The Lord loves us so much that He wants us to be free to choose to love Him in return.  The word tells us that God doesn’t anyone to perish and that He wishes that all would come to have faith in Jesus, but He doesn’t force us to.    

So He deeply cares about when His loved ones die because some of those loved ones will choose to reject Him and face His wrath rather than accept His love.   

But this verse also can refer to those who accept His love and are given eternal life because of their faith in Jesus.  

You might think that God wouldn’t care about the deaths of those who will be in His eternal kingdom and who will be victorious over death, but He does care.  

The shortest verse in the Bible:  

John 11:35 (NKJV)
35  Jesus wept.

Refers to Jesus’ response to the death of Lazarus.  Even though Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead He still cried.   Why? Because death, for the believer or the unbeliever is wrong.  Death is the result of sin as scripture tells us the wages of sin is death. God warned Adam of the consequences of sin, but he ignored it and every descendant of Adam therefore sins and dies.   

However, God made a way for us to live, and Revelation tells us that in the coming kingdom of the Lord that there will be no more death. 

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)
4  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

God doesn’t want any of us to die. He cares deeply when His loved ones die, and He has made a way through Jesus Christ where we can overcome death and He will one day close the books on death and sin as He establishes the new heaven and new earth where He will reign forever.     

So it’s okay to grieve the dead, God cares when His loved ones die so we should care too, and we should be very vocal when our friends and family suffer a loss to speak the truth in love and to let them know that God calls us to life through faith in Jesus Christ and that some day death will be not more for those who answer His call. 

 

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 begin sharing from Chapter 7.   

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.

CHAPTER SEVEN -  OVERCOMING HABITUAL SIN

Suppose you could see the reality of the spiritual world as God does and knew what people were thinking. You observed a dark brooding angelic figure lurking outside the door of a young Christian named Danny.

Disguised as an angel of light, this demon subtly suggests that Danny open the door to sin: Why don’t you take a peek at that pornography? You know you want to. You will get away with it. Who would know? Everybody else does it.

The Holy Spirit within Danny brings immediate conviction and offers a way of escape. Danny also has a physical appetite for food and sex, as well as old flesh patterns that operate independently of God. The old nature wants to be satisfied and argues against the Spirit of God: What’s wrong with looking at pornography anyway? After all, who created me to have all these desires? Wasn’t it God? How could He create me a certain way and then condemn me for it?

The battle in the mind is intense, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.”136 God offered Danny a way of escape, but he failed to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.137 At first the pictures are a delight to the eyes, and the body responds with a euphoric explosion of feelings. But the pleasure is only for a moment, because “each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”138

CONSEQUENCES TO WRONG CHOICES

The brooding figure takes advantage of the open door, because Danny acted independently of God by choosing to sin. Satan’s role as the tempter changes immediately to the role of the accuser: “You will never get away with this. How can you call yourself a Christian and do what you do? You’re pathetic!”

Overcome by guilt, Danny cries out to God, “Lord, forgive me; I’ll never do it again.” Two days later, Danny sins again, which precipitates another cry for forgiveness. As the downward spiral of sin, confess, sin, confess, and sin again continues, another event takes place. Danny is caught in his sin by another “Christian,” who knows nothing of compassion.

Instead of responding as a minister of grace and reconciliation, he joins with the brooding figure in a “ministry” of condemnation.

“You’re a pathetic example of what a real Christian is supposed to be!” he says to Danny. “How can you do that and call yourself a Christian? You’re an embarrassment to the Church. You better confess it and beg God’s forgiveness.” Legalistic controlling “Christians” are in league with the accuser of the brethren, and they don’t even know it.

This “Christian” accuser doesn’t seem to know that Danny is already forgiven by God and that he has probably confessed his sin a hundred times before. His merciless and insensitive response will only drive Danny to greater depths of despair. Adding guilt and shame does not enhance mental health. The world, the flesh, and the devil have brought another saint to his knees. How does one break this cycle of defeat? Is confession enough?

To confess means to agree with God or to walk in the light as He is in the light.139 It is the critical first step in repentance, but it is not complete repentance and won’t be until there is a demonstrated change. We must agree with God and face the truth, but that alone will not deal with sin’s entrapment. You have submitted to God, if the confession was genuine and accompanied by a commitment to do His will, but you haven’t yet resisted the devil.140

Complete repentance means to submit to God, resist the devil, and close the door to future temptations. That means getting rid of the pornography in your home, and on your computer. It means staying away from bars, drug dealers, and inappropriate relationships. It means that you “abstain from every form of evil.”141 It may mean that you change your phone number, so drug dealers and other undesirables can’t contact you. The door will be completely closed when all the bondages have been broken and all the mental strongholds have been torn down. The latter includes renouncing the lies you have believed that contributed to the sinful behavior, and then choosing the truth. This Step is intended to break the bondages and tear down the mental strongholds. You will be transformed when you renew your mind to the truth of God’s Word.142

 ---------------------------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