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Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Practicing Presence – The Essence of Worship - Purity 1325


 Practicing Presence – The Essence of Worship - Purity 1325

Purity 1325 04/13/2024 Purity 1325 Podcast

Purity 1325 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a spectacular nighttime sky over the silhouette of a mountain horizon comes to us from an unknown FB friend with a really good camera, mad photography skills, or both, who shared this scene on social media on or around April 23rd, 2021.  If this beauty is yours and you would like the photo credit you deserve, let me know and I will update the blog after the fact.    

Well, It’s Saturday and I share today’s photo because of the awe it inspires and how it points to the Lord. Our created universe points to a Creator and when you take a moment to look beyond yourself it is natural to come to a conclusion that there is a God and He is good.  

Yesterday, I drove up to my countryside home because in spite of the rain I encountered on the way, I knew that the trip would be worthwhile because of the company I would find there, that of my beloved wife, TammyLyn. Regardless of the weather, I find peace and joy in the presence of the woman I love, and it is only natural to express my affection for her when we are together. When I am with her I express my appreciation for her with compliments, acts of service, and physical touch.  My love for her causes me to do these things naturally and doesn’t much matter what we have planned for our time together, I find peace and joy just being with her. 

Similarly, I can find peace and joy when I go out into nature and take a hike and start to appreciate that the beauty of what I found there was provided for us through God’s handiwork. 

After dinner last night, the rain stopped and in despite the flooding from the downpour that created rushing streams of water running over the countryside, my canine friend, Harley, and I took our walk down “Freedom Road” and as we made our return trek from the clearing at the end of that old wheel rutted dirt and gravel pathway, I stood in awe over the beauty of the overall scene of the surrounding farmlands and how the sky was filled with clouds in motion and how the last lights of day was breaking through them all as they dispersed themselves on the horizon.  As I slowly walked back I marveled over beauty of the scene before me but before I reached the roads end, I started thanking God for the wonder of the world He created, my life, and all that I have been blessed with as I have walked through my life’s journey up to that point. My sense of peace, joy, and gratitude over that present moment was deep and I just had to how I reached out to God to know I appreciated it and Him.

When we get out of our heads and just notice what’s going on around us – the wonder of God’s creation and the miracles of our everyday lives, it is only natural to worship the Lord. 

These experiences all happened yesterday but I encounter similar moments of peace and joy quite often because I “practice presence” with the Lord. I live in the context of my Christian faith by literally “walking and talking with God” – what I think of as the essence of a discipled or surrendered Christian life – but it also could be considered as the “essence of worship” which is only natural when we contemplate or spend time with God.  

Neil Anderson shares similar thoughts from his latest blog this week and I felt to share the good doctor’s thoughts here to emphasize just how natural it should be to worship God.   Neil Anderson writes:

“The Essence of Worship

When I taught at Talbot School of Theology there was a student on campus who was seven feet six inches tall. I felt sorry for him, because people would stare, i.e. until he looked back. They probably didn’t want to, but they could hardly keep themselves from doing so. I found myself sneaking glances at him. Most strangers said nothing to him other than an occasional, “How is the weather up there?” Everyone thought, “That man is really tall!” That is the natural response to attributes that are unusual or outstanding, which is the essence of worship.

Worship is ascribing to God His divine attributes. God doesn’t need us to tell Him who He is. He is completely secure within His own Godhead. Nor do we worship God to appease Him. Some believe that if they keep telling God how good He is, He won’t deal harshly with them, or will grant them favors. That is spiritism, and that is not why we worship. We worship God, because we need to keep fresh in our minds the divine attributes of God. You will never be alone if you know that God is omnipresent. You will never feel powerless if you know that God is omnipotent. You will never feel unloved if you know that God is love.

Suppose you saw the student mentioned above, but he was a mile away. He would appear to be similar to any other mortal, and seeing him from a distance would solicit very little response. If you were standing next to him, you would be in awe. Your natural inclination would be to say or think, “Man, you are really tall!” The dominant thought in your mind would be on that singular attribute.

Such is our relationship with God. If you are not practicing His presence, He would seem to be a distant figure, and not too large. He would be easy to ignore. But if you were ushered into His presence you would be overwhelmed by His attributes. If that happened you wouldn’t say, “Praise You.” You would say, “Holy, beautiful, wonderful, powerful, etc.” Nobody would have to tell you to do that. Angels are not forced to worship God. In God’s presence they naturally proclaim His divine attributes.

When I first saw a giant redwood tree in the Sequoia National Park, I stood at its base and was overwhelmed by how big it was. I wanted to tell everyone, “Look at the size of that tree. It would take more than twenty men to put their arms around it!” I don’t worship trees or people. I am naturally in awe of nature, but it is just showing forth the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). I worship God who created trees, sunsets, and rainbows.

The closer I draw to my Creator, Redeemer, Savior, and Lord, the more natural it is to worship Him, and share Him with others. Should I feel disconnected from Him, I recall to my mind His divine attributes and “therefore I have hope” (See Lam. 3:21-24).  (https://blog.ficm.org/blog/the-essence-of-worship)”

That was from Neil Anderson, and I hope it encourages all my friends to take some time this weekend to draw close to God and to worship Him. When we recall to mind His divine attributes and realize He is with us, we can connect with Him and enjoy His peace, His joy, and His hope.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)
13  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Today’s verses fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

7. Believers who have died are absent from the body, but at home with the Lord.

Today’s verses command us to encourage one another with the fact that Jesus will return one day, causing those who place their faith in Him to rise from the dead and to meet Him in the air before He reclaims the earth to rule and reign with us for 1,000 years.   Death is not the end. And for the Christians who have left this mortal coil, their “eternal rest” in heaven will be interrupted as they follow Jesus into resurrected life.   They may be absent from their bodies currently, but they are present with the Lord and will come with Him at His glorious return.   And whether we pass before Jesus comes back or not, that’s good news.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

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

MORNING READING: JOHN 17

“These are in the world … They are not of the world …
I also have sent them into the world… . That the world
may believe that You sent me.” – John 17:11, 16, 18, 21

“These are in the world” (v. 11). This is the believer's presence in the world. It is the sphere into which every man is born. It is the place in which he has to live. If he is to be kept from evil, he must seek the necessary power through the name of God.

“They are not of the world” (v. 16). This is the believer's position in the world. He is not of it, so must live entirely independently of it.

“I also have sent them into the world” (v. 18). This is the believer's purpose in the world. As Christ was sent with and for a purpose, even so is the believer sent, “That the world may believe …” (v. 21).

I do pray for power and grace to live in relation to the
world as You have taught me here in Your Word. Amen.[1]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, April 12, 2024

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Purity 1324 04/12/2024 Purity 1324 Podcast

Purity 1324 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a Canadian goose on the shores of a tranquil lake at the early hours of sunrise or the late hours of sunset comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this photo on social media on or around May 15th, 2021. If this magic moment was yours, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to photo-credit you after the fact. 

Well, It’s Friday, and as I enter into the last “workday” off on my week’s staycation down by the River, I am thankful for the opportunity to find rest and to be restored after a busy “Freedom in Christ” season.  Last night  I met with Sue Huber, FICM’s national course coordinator and other online course facilitators to debrief and to celebrate another round of discipleship courses that led our students to know who they are in Christ and to experience for the first time, or to increase, their freedom in Christ as our ministry is discipleship (teaching people what we believe, why we believe it, and applying it to their lives), repentance (actually turning from our behaviors and beliefs that are contrary to God’s word and will for our lives) and of reconciliation (where we confess our sins, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive those who have sinned against us).  Sue Huber perhaps said it best last night as one of her concluding statements was “Our ministry is the gospel”.   

All we do as course facilitators is to lead people to understand it, to choose to believe it, and to let it work in their lives by going to the Lord in prayer and resolving all the areas of personal and spiritual conflicts that have been keeping them from living the gospel. Our faith in Christ should change us. It should give us peace and joy and when we get real with God and surrender to His will and ways for our lives, we can experience it. 

Even though this “Freedom Season”, has presented some real challenges to my sense of peace and joy at times and made a week’s “staycation” absolutely necessary, I am rejoicing over the work that has been done and the rest I have enjoyed over the last few days.  Peace and joy are never far from those who know who they are in Christ and who keep on walking and talking with God. 

James 4:8-10 (NKJV) tells us to
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
      

I know, we love to cherry-pick the “good sentiments” from these verses and exclude the ones that chastise us – but in order to be lifted up by the Lord – we must be cleansed, purify our heats, change our double minds, lament, mourn, and weep over our sins – to be woken up from the world’s sinful hilarity and to see we have gone astray. We must repent… and then the Lord can lift us up to new heights of joy and peace that come from being reconciled to the Lord and living in harmony with Him.

In the freedom appointments I have conducted over the last month, I watched men humble themselves and lament over the sins of their pasts but at the end, they reported having a “quiet mind” and a new sense of peace that only comes from the Lord when you draw close to Him and He lifts you up in freedom. 

These men “got real” before the Lord and they walked away with a real sense of freedom – because their reconciliation with God and their healing is real and they can enjoy it for the rest of their lives if they simply agree to choose to believe it, tell others all about it, and keep on walking and talking with God. 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Today’s verse fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

6. Those who die in the Lord are blessed.

Today’s verse tells us the those who die in the Lord really can rest in peace – we may rest from our labors for our “deeds follow them” – meaning that the good work we do for God’s kingdom will not be forgotten or lost at the hour of our deaths- they will follow us into eternity and be rewarded.  

Some Christians hesitate to read Revelation because of the apocalyptic end time scenes that tell us of the great tribulation that is to come but as today’s verse challenges us to understand, we need not fear death for we who are “in the Lord” – in Christ -  are not cursed – but are blessed at the hour of our death.  We don’t need to ask Mary to pray for “us sinners” now or at the hour of our death because we are forgiven and free in life, and blessed when we die physically because we will live spiritually and receive glorified bodies just like Jesus’s resurrected body when we are called into eternity.

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

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

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

EVENING READING: JOHN 16

“Whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
– John 16:2

Here is certainly a sad state of spiritual affairs. There is coming a time, and in fact in some places it has already come, when the departure from truth shall be such that men who will not accept the real Truth will persecute and kill the very servants of God. Of course, this primarily applies to the time when the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel and our Lord, will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem, and the great tribulation shall take place. But even now, it is possible to be so misunderstood by those who profess to bear the truth, as to provoke hatred and persecution.

Enable me to stand for You, whatever the odds.
Amen.[1]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Some Drugs and Alcohol – Modern Recovery’s Ancient Lie - Purity 1323


 Some Drugs and Alcohol – Modern Recovery’s Ancient Lie - Purity 1323

Purity 1323 04/11/2024 Purity 1323 Podcast

Purity 1323 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a rocky pathway cutting through an evergreen forest comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on or around April 25th, 2021.  If this trail photo is yours and you would like to be acknowledged, give me a heads up and I will update the blog after the fact. 

Well, It’s Thursday and I share today’s photo as part of my continuing campaign to clean out my I phone’s photo archive and because I can use it to encourage all my friends to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship which very well lead you to walk free of bondages and addictions.  

Wednesday nights I oversee a Christian Recovery Support Group, Celebrate Freedom, at Starpoint Church and when you try to help people walk away from their hurts habits and hangups you have to walk the thin line between compassion and coddling, and truth and lies, as we seek to encourage others to get out of their denial, see the lies they have been believing, and accepting the new life of freedom that the Lord gives to every Christian. 

The number one lie we have to combat in our ministry I think is that “Christianity ( – or Christian Recovery – or Sobriety –) works for some people but not for me”  It’s the false belief that we – individually – are somehow different, too weak, or just incapable and will never be free.   Just this morning I was reading about this lie in Neil Anderson’s “Who I am in Christ: A Devotional and so I will let the good doctor, tell us how:

“We Are All Children of God

One of Satan’s most common lies is that somehow you and I are different from other people. We may think, God accepts these other people but not me. I have researched more than 1, 725 professing Christian high schoolers. Seventy-four percent believed Christianity works for others, but it doesn’t work for them. Is that true? Of course not. But if they believe that, will it affect the way that they live their lives? Yes, it will. In privacy, I have actually had reasonably functioning adults tell me they think they may be aliens. This may sound bizarre, but Satan has done such a number on their thoughts, many have literally believed they are totally different from other people. But it’s not true. All Christians are children of God, fellow citizens with God’s people.[1]

Our lesson last night at Celebrate Freedom taught us that we have to humble ourselves and ask God to change us.  We are not changed by our own willpower or cunning, when we submit to God we receive His strength and guidance that transforms our hearts and minds to give us a new life of freedom and victory over the sins of the flesh that only He can make possible. 

Modern Recovery philosophy goes against this fundamental principle of faith that is still supposedly a part of the 12-step methodology for overcoming addiction.  Because the original Christian core of the 12 Step model was compromised to include people who didn’t have in Jesus Christ specifically early on and instead decided to be “practical” and allow for a non-specific, nebulous, or personally fabricated concept of a “Higher Power” and because our Western society has increasing become Post Christian it should come as no surprise that concept of Recovery is being compromised to “Harm Reduction”. 

While I understand that the idea of Harm Reduction is intended to save lives and address real-life substance abuse problems practically, they are based on hopelessness surrendering to beliefs that state that:

·       Illicit drug use is part of our world, and it is best to manage it rather than condemn and eliminate it. 

·       Drug use is a “complex, multifaceted phenomenon” rather than a simple and deliberate choice of the will.

·       Some ways of drugs are safer than other ways and thus acceptable.

·       Cessation of all drug use is NOT the criteria for success.  

·       Our community should assist those who use drugs to do it safely,

·       Addicts should have a voice in defining public policy to continue the practices of their addictive lifestyle.

·       Affirm that socioeconomic, class, or race factors affect someone’s capacity to get free. (Racist…?).

(https://harmreduction.org/about-us/principles-of-harm-reduction/#:~:text=Harm%20reduction%20incorporates%20a%20spectrum,along%20with%20the%20use%20itself.)

While I certainly agree with the principle of harm reductions that seek to meet the addict “where they are at” and work toward practical and progressive improvement, the overall philosophy perpetuates the problem.    

And please understand, I know how bad it is out there and I know it is only getting worse. I have lost friends to overdose, and I have seen others walk away from addiction alive and well. The ones that are alive and thriving didn’t seek to “reduce harm” by finding an acceptable or safe place for drugs in their lives, they progressively worked to eliminate it from their lives altogether and they did the impractical thing of putting their trust in God through their faith in Jesus Christ to do so.  

Also please hear me, these harm reduction policies are in effect, and they are doing good work, so I am not looking to eliminate them.  Instead advocating for the best life of those who have successfully “reduced the harm” of their addictions by seeking to encourage them to keep going further into their recoveries and to put their faith in Jesus to be completely free. 

I practice harm reduction strategy by encouraging our support program participants to take on one problem at a time, to use medically prescribed treatments to stabilize, and to focus on progress rather than perfection, and to define their own recoveries but at the same time, I will point to the real possibility – that existed at one time in their lives – of being completely free of the need for drugs or alcohol in their lives.  We are all children of God in that we were made in His image, and it is only in the most deranged and dysfunctional environments were babies or children given alcohol or drugs as a means of coping. 

Most of us managed to get to early or late adolescence before our exposure to alcohol and drugs and I believe that clearly demonstrates that alcohol and drugs DO NOT need to be a part of our lives as adults.  We shouldn’t play nice with the poison we should have never taken and instead should have the “childlike” faith that we can live a simple and pure life like we once did as children and that nothing, including the color of one’s skin, their social economic status, or their class makes them less capable of being free from drugs and alcohol.  

So I might encourage you to establish a course of recovery that will be practical and meet you where you were at, but I would encourage you to trust in the Lord to guide you to a full cessation of drugs and alcohol.

 Eric Clapton got off of heroin by going into seclusion and drinking wine, but the legendary guitarist nicknamed “God” or “Slowhand” by some didn’t stay there. Eventfully, Clapton knew alcohol would kill him and instead of living out life just “reducing the harm” of his addiction, he went into treatment and eliminated it, despite many personal tragedies after he was sober. “Eric Clapton is living proof that addictions can be overcome and that people can go on to succeed in life beyond their wildest dreams, even despite losses, obstacles, and the immense challenges of life.” (https://clearskyibogaine.com/eric-clapton-and-drug-addiction/).

While I don’t know Clapton personally, there is an indication online that His victory followed a “Christian commitment” in rehab. I like to believe that is true and that Eric is my brother in Christ because if he is our stories are similar.

I suffered from alcoholism since I was seventeen years old and I was never going to quit, even after I put my faith in Jesus, because I didn’t think I could – that I was “different” or incapable of it.  But in 2015, Pastor Bob Costello began a Christian Recovery Ministry at my local church, and I answered the Lord's call on my heart to trust Him to help me overcome what I thought was impossible. And after a relapse two weeks in, I knew if I wanted to be free I couldn’t play nice with alcohol and just seek to reduce its harm in my life – I had to stop altogether. To be free, I had to actually be free and by the grace and power pf God, I have walked ever since.  

So when someone in recovery tells me they are smoking weed for their anxiety or that they just had a few drinks (is 13 a few?),  I encourage them to keep walking and talking with God because although that is where they are right now, the Lord will encourage and empower them to not stay there if they choose to follow Him.  

Harm Reduction’s lies are ancient ones. The Lord and the concepts of Recovery and Freedom would rightly say that drugs and alcohol have no part in the ex-addict’s life.  Satan and the hopeless extremes of Harm Reduction policy would say you aren’t capable of freedom and it's best just to live with your personal demons and tell your family and the community at large just to help you to do so,  rather than cast them out.  

Don’t believe the lies that would have you compromise with the sins of the flesh. We might have to be practical in how we deal with lifelong hurts, habits, and hang-ups but we should never surrender to them because who the Son sets free can be free indeed.

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Psalm 116:15 (NIV2011)
15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

5. The death of the Lord’s saints is precious.

Today’s verse is tough one. Death is precious! No, Lord it’s scary and sad! – You might think,  but look higher brothers and sisters. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ have eternal life and Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us in God’s kingdom.  So death has indeed lost its sting.  The death of God’s faithful servants is precious in His sight because it means that we will be with Him.  Don’t be afraid of death.  Jesus overcame death and the grave to show us He is God and that He can be trusted in to save those who believe in Him.

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

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

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

MORNING READING: JOHN 15

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples.” – John 15:8

The fruit in Chapter 15 of John is the fruit of character – namely, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). The production of these fruits, or better this fruit, is firstly, glorifying to God, and secondly, the expression of true discipleship.

These two great things were the supreme objects of Christ's life upon this earth. He lived and died to glorify the Father. He lived and died as the devoted loyal Bondslave of God.

These two objects can never be achieved without an unbroken fellowship and union with Christ (abiding). This is maintained through constant cleansing by the abiding Word and filling of the Spirit.

Cleanse me and fill me, Lord.
Produce in me Your sweet fruit of character. Amen.[2]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Neil T. Anderson, Who I Am in Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001), 79.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Broken Trusts - Purity 1322


Broken Trusts - Purity 1322

Purity 1322 04/10/2024 Purity 1322 Podcast

Purity 1322 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pile of broken rocks in the foreground a sea of light green treetops, with a sun beam shining over a mountain in the distance comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene from an unknown location on social media on or around May 18, 2021.   If this is a scene from your life and would like the photo credit, give me a heads up and I will update the blog with the pertinent information after the fact. 

Well, It’s Wednesday and I share this photo to free it from my phones photo archive and to visually represent our arrival at the midpoint of another “work week”, and although I am enjoying a Stay-cation at my place down by the River, I wouldn’t say I haven’t been “working” as my “off days” thus far have been positively filled with yard maintenance, “data management”, educational training, and “ministry” as I have been raking, mowing, completing a Mental Health Coaching Course from Light University, and have been answering emails and providing advice, feedback, and discipleship and spiritual warfare materials as part of my “ongoing” Community Freedom Ministry.   Just yesterday I provided Bondage Breaker materials to a pastor in South Africa and gave some discipleship and spiritual warfare advice to a couple that has been harassed by a demonic spirit that has been cast twice only to return – pointing out that when there is ongoing sin in one’s life – like sex outside of marriage – the enemy can use that as “legal ground” from which they can claim to have permission to afflict you. And the enemy says: “They give me a foothold and I don’t have to leave. I’m back!”   

Putting your trust in Jesus – to receive a new life and the Lord’s protection – is more than saying a simple prayer and then going about your normal sinful business, or at least it shouldn’t be.  When we trust Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, we are supposed to “pick up our crosses” and follow Him with the way we live.  A covenant is an agreement between two parties and when we fail to be faithful to follow the Lord and live in sin we can suffer the consequences for “breaking that trust” – both by the natural negative consequences of doing the “wrong thing” or failing to do the “right thing” (sin works both ways, remember?) and we can suffer the “supernatural consequences” of attracting what Neil Anderson analogously referred to as “flies” – demons.  Anderson described sin as bags of garbage that we should get rid of but decide to keep in our lives, and just like garbage attracts flies, sin attracts demons.  So the first step of spiritual warfare should be to repent of any known sin. And when we examine our lives for the “trash” we need to clean up we need to make our evaluation based on what the Bible describes as sin, and not what may be acceptable in our postmodern – post-Christian confused and depraved society. While anything “may go” morally in this brave new world we live in these days, we are still accountable to what God says is right and wrong, whether we believe in Him or not, and we are vulnerable to the demonic spiritual forces of darkness, whether we believe in them or not.  

When we break the trust we have put in Jesus with our sin, we need to take corrective action and repent. It may not be easy but it’s what we have to do if we want to be free from fear and the risks we make ourselves vulnerable to by doing nothing.  

I’m glad I was able to present this little message on some basic principles of faith and spiritual warfare this morning because I have been absolutely busy protecting myself from possible negative consequences because of broken trust in my personal life. 

I have recently fallen out of relationship with someone whom I love and have helped financially in the past but now that our relationship currently seems to be on “the outs” – communication has shut down - so I took steps to prevent a possible breach of trust this morning by reporting my credit card as lost – which I let them use once in the past.  While I still consider them to be “trustworthy”, because of the break in our relationship and the conditions in their lives that preceded the break, I don’t want to leave the opportunity open for them, or their creditor, to use my payment method to pay their expenses.  I don’t “believe” this person would use my card without permission, but I don’t trust the company paid previously to not to utilize a working payment method that was used in the past if a balance comes due.. So just like our communications, I cut it off! I’ll never know if they would have violated my trust, or if their creditor would have, but now I know they can’t.   And just like cutting off the enemy by repenting of our sins, when our human relationships fail we have to be proactive to ensure our mutual protection – I am protecting my financial accounts, but I am also protecting them from further damaging our relationship with an unauthorized charge.  I may not be in a good relationship with them currently, but I still care for them and while I am not offering any financial help to them currently, they owe me a few thousand dollars as it is, it doesn’t necessarily I wouldn’t offer help if they asked for it.  And for that to happen, they would have to communicate with me… and possibly re-establish our relationship.

There are consequences for broken trusts.  If God would allow the enemy to utilize the permission I give him through my sin, I can allow a loved one to suffer the consequences of their poor decisions.  In these two scenarios, the lack of protection or help does not indicate a lack of love. I know God loves us, but He does want us to believe in Jesus and do what’s right, and as His child, I feel the same way about the person whom I had to take preventative measures against, I love them and want them to believe in Jesus and do what is right.  And while I can’t make them do either, I can limit the damage they do to our relationship. 

Tough love isn’t easy. Making someone responsible for the pain they caused you isn’t easy. And when we walk in the Spirit, we not only have to repent and stop doing what is wrong, we have to keep our eyes on the road ahead to lovingly prevent ourselves or others from further suffering.   The pathway of Christian Discipleship is a pathway of peace and sometimes, to ensure we stay in that peace, we have to be wise and discerning to maintain it.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Philippians 1:22-26 (ESV)
22  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
23  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
24  But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
25  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,
26  so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Today’s verses fall under the fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

4. Paul wanted both to remain here and to go home to be with the Lord, which is far better.

Today’s verse shows us that the disciple’s life should be spent in service to the Lord and others.    Pail saying that remaining “in the flesh is more necessary on your account” means that he knows that, even though his eternal destiny with God is secured, it is better to live and help those he can materially and spiritually to help them to know God and to put their life in the trust of Jesus.  So even though a “disciple’s vacation” can look a lot like work, we know that spending our time and efforts serving the kingdom of God is the best use of our time,

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

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

EVENING READING: JOHN 14

“If it were not so, I would have told you.” – John 14:2

Personally, this is a very wonderful thought. Christ says, “If all the things about which I have been talking were not so, I would have told you.” Of course, this primary application is in connection with the few preceding words concerning the Father's house. And what a certain seal this was and is to the reality of a home in heaven for those who are His. But I like to apply the above verse to more than just the preceding few words. I like to take the whole revelation of Christ as recorded, and add, “Were this revelation not so, He would have told me.” This precious thought seems to seal home to my own heart the essential truth of all He has said in His Word, for were it not so, He would have told me.

Your Word stands as Truth, Lord. Amen.[1]

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

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

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship