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Showing posts with label End Times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label End Times. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Where are you? God knows. - Purity 481


Where are You? – God Knows                   

Purity 481 07/27/2021   Purity 481 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from our friends at Dave Baun Photography as my cycling friends took to the roads of South Australia for a bike ride that turned into a 50-mile journey back on July 1st.  Because Dave shared his Strava bicycling route and because Google Maps is a thing, my best guess is that this photo was taken on the McLaren Flat Rd, possibly on or near the grounds of the Yangarra Estate Vineyard. 

I share it because I just love the grass, the trees, the lake, and the cloud filled skies, but I also share it today as a subtle heads up to alert you that July is fading fast as our friends’ bike ride was almost four weeks ago. I had to go back into the “archives” to find today’s photo.    

Today is “Saturday” for me, in that I have the day off one this Tuesday, yay, because I have to work on Saturday the 31st. That’s right, believe it or not, we are almost done with the seventh month of 2021.  So I encourage my friends to recognize the changing times and to get out and to make some summer memories, and considering the state of my photo archives, to share the photos of your adventures when you do!  I love seeing where my friends go and sometimes having to research and guess the locations of where they were.    

You have to love the technology that we have developed that can bring people together who are half a world away and that allows you to explore and research whatever comes to your mind.  However, what man has developed that allows us to know things pales in comparison of the knowledge that God has of us. 

While I could make my best guess of where our friends took today’s photo.  God knows it perfectly and He knows each one of us perfectly.  God knows everything about each and every one of us. He knows the entire history of life on earth and knows our individual life stories.  He knows what we like, what we don’t like, what we have been through and where we are going.  He cares about our lives and wants each one of us to be in a deep personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. He wants us to know His love and to have a life that abides in His peace.   

So as you go through just another Tuesday, look ahead to the remaining days of July, and decide if there is something you want to do before August comes.  No pressure. Its your life.

I just wanted to remind you, and myself, that the days move forward very quickly at times, but the good news is that no matter what our relationship status is or what plans we make, God will be with us.  He knows us intimately and he has given us the gift of our lives with the hopes that we will enjoy them and that we will appreciate them enough to accept His invitation to get to know Him more and follow Him into the good things He has prepared for us.  


This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NKJV)
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Today’s verses speak of God’s hope for all men and is an encouragement for those who are His to not fear but to draw close and live with Him.

While Paul’s letter is to the church at Thessalonica, and is an encouragement to Christians, it also speaks of the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ for all mankind. 

Verse 9 clearly presents the plan to avoid the wrath of God and obtaining salvation as being through Jesus Christ.  God offers us mercy and grace through Jesus Christ alone, as there are no other options listed to obtain salvation.  The exclusivity of Christ to save is a principle of our faith that world abhors but is the clear teaching of the Bible.    

As good as the promise of eternal salvation is, the context of these verses also gives believers the hope of not being subject to the suffering of the end time’s “Day of the Lord” when Christ will return to judge the world and the wrath of God will be poured out on the earth.  In the previous verses, Paul speaks of the reality of the suddenness with which the Day of the Lord will arrive, but verses 9 & 10 are an extension of God’s assurance that Christians will not suffer with the unbelievers when that day comes. 

There are varying opinions regarding whether Christians will suffer in the tribulation, which is a time that is described in the Bible as being subject to supernatural disasters and the rise and fall of the Antichrist.   While I believe today’s verses indicate that the believers are not appointed to the wrath of the tribulation, I also believe the words of Christ that said that His believers would suffer persecution.  

So while I believe in a pretribulation rapture, I know that I have been wrong about many things in my life and will trust the Lord to guide me to the future He has for me.  I also will not be surprised if I will face persecution and be faithful to will pray for God’s wisdom, guidance, and strength all the days of my life.     

As verse 10, tells us “whether we wake or sleep,” meaning whether we live or die before the Day of the Lord, “we should live together with Him”.

Living together with God points to a future fulfillment of living in God’s eternal kingdom, but it also gives us an instruction for the here and now.  As Christians, we are not to live in fear, but we are to trust the Lord and stand in our identity in Christ that teaches us that we are accepted by God, we are significant because of God, and that we are forever secure with God as well.    

So rejoice in your salvation, do not fear the coming of the Lord, but instead choose to live together with Him right now, and every day, by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 9.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Strongholds of the Mind

The nature of the battle is presented in 2 Cor. 10:3-5:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

The weapons in this passage are different from the defensive armor described in Ephes. 6. The image presented here is similar to an offensive, battering ram that is designed to tear down strongholds. What are these strongholds or fortresses of the mind, and how have they been raised against the knowledge of God?

Environmental Stimulation

Recall that we were all born physically alive but spiritually dead in a fallen world (see Ephes. 2:1-3). We had neither the presence of God in our lives nor the knowledge of His ways, so we learned to live our lives independently of God. Infants have no vocabulary and no attitudes or beliefs about anything. Everything we learned in the early formative years of our lives was assimilated from the environment in which we were raised, in two ways.

First, we learned primarily from prevailing experiences. Attitudes and beliefs were formed from long-term exposure to the homes in which we were raised, the neighborhoods where we played, the schools we attended, the friends we had and the churches we attended or didn't attend. All these childhood experiences shaped our worldviews.

It is important to realize that two children raised in the same environment will interpret their experiences differently. Two children can also have radically different childhood experiences. One could be raised in a friendly environment where the parents protected the children from harmful influences. Another child could be raised in a hostile environment and exposed to the filth of this world. However, both need Christ equally as much.

Second, beliefs and attitudes are also formed in our minds from traumatic experiences such as the death of a parent, a divorce in the home, or mental, physical, or sexual abuse. Unlike prevailing experiences that are assimilated into our minds over time, these traumatic experiences are burned into our minds because of their intensity; and they will leave lasting impressions.

Paul said, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2, NIV). The point is we all were conformed to this world, albeit differently, and we still can be. Even as Christians we can still listen to the wrong music, watch the wrong programs, have the wrong friends, and think the wrong thoughts. We will still be tempted to live our lives independently of God because we are living in a fallen world.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Vacation’s Over but the Journey Continues - Purity 474


Vacation’s Over but the Journey Continues 

Purity 474 07/19/2021   Purity 474 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a quaint palm tree patio in San Antonio La Paz, Guatemala comes to us from a friend who just returned from a short-term mission trip there that ministered to a church in the town as well as another outreach location in the mountains near Zacapa, which my photos from two years ago identify as being “in” Jocotan,.  A quick peak at Google maps reveals that, depending on the exact locations, the joint Rock Solid Hudson, - Lighthouse Church- Athens joint missionary expedition covered two areas in Guatemala that were 2 to 3 hours away from one another.  When our churches go on a mission trip, they hit the ground running and often divide into separate teams to seek to do the most good to as many people as possible.

The team of roughly 30 volunteers spent their own money and vacation time to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ in Guatemala all for the glory of God and for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.   While I wasn’t on this year’s trip I can testify to the fact that the work is physically and mentally exhausting at times but the purpose for which we do it, and the fellowship and sense of community that the mission team experiences with the indigenous people and one another, is spiritually and personally rewarding.    

Today is Monday again, and like my friends who are back home from Guatemala, I too will have to readjust to going back to the reality of a regular work week as I spent last week on staycation.  

While I didn’t spend my vacation serving the Lord in Guatemala, I am happy to report that my vacation wasn’t just spent watching TV or doing little projects around the house. While some would have been bothered by last week’s rainy weather it was the perfect weather for my purposes.  I spent the week preparing lessons for a Freedom in Christ class that I plan on teaching in the fall.  I am ecstatic to report that I finished transcribing all the lessons from the course material into notes from which I can teach last night!  While some may lament that I spent all my vacation doing ministry work, I won’t because I was blessed by the material and the sense of accomplishment I felt at finishing the final lesson last evening.  

I have been on the disciple’s path long enough that I experience more joy and happiness from pursing the things of God than I do from the interests and hobbies that I used to have before coming to Christ.   There is just so much more value and enjoyment in pursuing things that will edify my spirit and deepen my relationship with God than there is in the entertainment that the world has to offer.  

But trust me, you want to take your walk with God at your own pace. When you get called by the Lord to follow His lead, you need to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, and you need to walk before you run.  

So have grace on yourself as you seek to turn to the ways of God. You won’t experience the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy if you strive after God in your own strength. Our interactions and understanding with the Lord is a relationship and like all relationships we are going to have to get to know each other and understand how each of us works before we can live in harmony.  

But hey, just because our relationship with God will require some stretching of our limits and require some real soul searching, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth pursuing.  The Lord holds the answers to life and death, and He invites us to explore the mystery of meaning and purpose of who He is and how we are relate to Him.  It’s a never-ending adventure where you can find your self experiencing the wonders of His love halfway around the world or right in the confines of your own home.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  He’ll get you through Monday and every other day of your life. So go at your own pace but set your direction to His way.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Acts 1:11 (NKJV)
11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

 

Today’s verse contains the angelic promise that speaks of the certainty of the return of Jesus Christ to earth.  

As always context is king when we study scripture and today’s verse comes right after Jesus literally “lifted up” to heaven in the event that we call the Ascension.  Can you imagine? Talk about “Beam me up Scotty.”   I’m sure the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” has their own take on this event that involves extra terrestrial beings from distant planets but for those who study the Bible we can surmise the true narrative to be consistent with all of scripture.  

Various passages in the Bible describe a heavenly throne room in a spiritual realm that is beyond earth. I believe I discussed this in Lesson Seven of my recent Bondage Breaker Class so check out the podcast.  But anyway, I briefly discussed what Paul referred to as the “third Heaven” – the place of God’s celestial kingdom. That’s where Jesus went when He ascended and where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. 

This fact is pretty great but what is even greater is that the angels that were present to witness Christ’s Ascension, told the Apostles that Christ would be back.  Any doubts of the angel’s claims that may have developed over time were swept away with some passages in the Apostle’s epistles that confirmed it and when Christ Himself revealed to the Apostle John even more details of His return in the book of Revelation.   

So in this case what went up, will most certainly come down. Christ will return.  And although the imagery in Revelation may confuse if not frighten us as we contemplate “the end times”, we must remember, that for the Christian, the end times are only the beginning of an eternity that will be spent with Jesus in a realm that is described as having no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Rev 21:4).     

So we should take great hope from today’s verse and not worry about Christ’s return. Instead we should rejoice, share the gospel, make disciples, and live a good life knowing that God has a plan, and that Christ could return at any moment.  

The peace of the Lord comes through knowing Him and knowing that He works all things together for good for those who love Him. So stand in the joy of the contemplation of the culmination of His plan and rest in the love that He has poured out on you when He invited you to come into His kingdom forever.

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 8.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

2. Significance. Key Concept: Time

Significance is a time concept. What is forgotten in time is of little significance. What is remembered for eternity is of great significance. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "If any man's work . . . remains, he shall receive a reward" (1 Cor. 3:14). He instructed Timothy: "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness . . . since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:7, 8). If you want to increase your significance, focus your energies on significant activities: those that will remain for eternity.

Stu, the pastor of a small church, attended one of my classes at Talbot School of Theology. He was in his mid-30s and married when he found out he had cancer. The doctors gave him less than two years to live.

One day Stu came to talk to me. "Ten years ago somebody gave a prophecy about me in church," he began. "They said I was going to do a great work for God. I've led a few hundred people to Christ, but I haven't had a great work for God yet. Do you think God is going to heal me so the prophecy can be fulfilled?"

I registered shock by his statement and said, "You've led a few hundred people to Christ and don't think you have accomplished a great work for God? Stu, I know some significant pastors in large churches who can't make that claim. I know some great theologians who have led very few people to Christ. If a few hundred people are believers today because of you, and they have influenced who knows how many other people for Christ, I'd call that a great work for God." Stu is now with the Lord, having completed his significant ministry of reaching hundreds for Christ.

One of the few heroes of my life is Billy Graham. He has been verbally shot at from the right and from the left, but he has remained true to his calling to preach the gospel. One day, several years ago, I happened to see him walking through the lobby of the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. I had never met him before, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I caught up with him and said, "I wanted to meet you, Dr. Graham, even though I'm just a lowly pastor."

He warmly returned my greeting and then brought me up short by saying, "There's no such thing as a lowly pastor."

He was right. There is no such thing as a lowly pastor or a lowly child of God. We are in the significant business of collecting treasures for eternity. What we do and say for Christ in this world, no matter how insignificant it seems, will last forever.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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