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Showing posts with label Ephesians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ephesians. Show all posts

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Peace, Joy, and Bad Medicine? – A Fine Line Between Healing and Heresy - Purity 725

Peace, Joy, and Bad Medicine? – A Fine Line Between Healing and Heresy - Purity 725

Purity 725 05/06/2022  Purity 725 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a silhouette of children frolicking on the shores of Point Dume Beach under the glory of a California sun comes to us from my sister-in-law Megan who captured this magnificent shot while visiting friends in Malibu.

Well, It’s Saturday and it is my prayer that all my friends find some “fun in the sun” this weekend if the circumstances allow it but I would also like to assure you that no matter what the weather is like where you are, you can find peace and joy when you walk in the Spirit. Peace and joy are two of the fruit of the Spirit and although my assurance may sound rather “Pollyanna-ish” or too good to be true, the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the Bible indicate that when we have faith in Christ, and therefore receive the Holy Spirit, and we make the daily decision to abide in Christ and obediently follow His wisdom for living, we can have peace and joy.  Jesus said in:    

John 14:26-27 (NKJV)
26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Jesus also said in

John 15:9-11 (NKJV)
9  "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

And finally, Jesus assured us in

John 16:33 (NKJV) by saying:
33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Now, those statements of Jesus that indicate we can have peace and joy are conditional statements.  The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives requires the condition of faith in Jesus. God the Father will send Him in Jesus’ name after all.

And the peace we have in Christ is “not as the world gives” peace.  The world’s peace is circumstantial and fleeting but somehow in Christ, even if we suffer and go through tribulation, we can still be of good cheer and have peace because Christ overcame the world.  

Jesus also advised us to abide in His love and to keep His commandments so His joy would remain in us. His joy can remain and fill us with joy but His words indicate that we are to abide in His presence and maintain a harmonious relationship with God by agreeing with Him in the way we behave by keeping His commandments.   

In a recent class I attended on Christian doctrine, the presenter stated that there was a difference between “knowing the truth of our faith” and “practicing our faith.  Just knowing the basic facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the principles of Christian living is one thing but applying that knowledge to our lives personally, in faith, and in practice is quite another and the difference can be experienced. 

I “knew” the basic facts of Christianity for most of my life but it was only after I put my faith in Christ, made Him my Lord and Savior, and decided to follow Him by actually living according to His wisdom and ways that I was able to experience the peace and joy that go beyond all understanding. 

And trust me, I experienced quite a bit of suffering and tribulations in the twelve years since I said the prayer that surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ.  Frankly, I have had a lot to learn, and continue to learn, about living by my Christian faith. But as I have continued to stay true to my commitment to follow the Lord’s call on my life by trying to abide in the Lord’s presence and be obedient to His commandments, I have learned that the peace and joy that come from the Lord can be experienced even during the toughest times of our lives.

The peace and joy of the Lord aren’t affected by the changing circumstances of the world around us but require us to stay with Him and to follow Him.  Our walk doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be continuous, go in the direction the Lord would lead us in, and remain in His presence.  

As I sat down to write this message this morning there was a burden on my heart as I considered some of the differences that can exist in what we believe as Christians across the wide spectrum of Christianity. I originally sat down with the intention to share my two cents about some teaching regarding “receiving your healing” I recently came across that deeply disturbs me.  

But I have decided to “chill-lax”, a bit anyway , I might decide to grind that axe some day but I have decided to lay it down today because I haven’t developed my thoughts on the matter fully and I thought that my words of criticism could cause division in the body of Christ.  

I may disagree with a certain author’s theories on healing, and I mean really disagree, but I know that the Lord, as our sovereign God and Creator is the author of all healing and continues to confound our understanding of why or how things happen in this world and in the area of healing.  The author’s basic intention was to encourage Christians to pray to God for healing and in that I can not disagree.  

While only the Lord’s plan will be done in matters of how prayers are answered, we still have to ask and trust that the Lord will do what is right even if we can’t understand how or why things work out the way we do.  

And while this unnamed author’s use of scripture seemed misguided and out of context, his methodology was questionable, his theories seemed positively inane, and his claims of being able to control the reception of healing was over the top and quite frankly, what I considered to be blasphemous and heretical by subscribing to the “word of Faith” heresy that treats God like a divine slot machine that just needs to be properly manipulated in order to get what you want,  I can’t say that you shouldn’t pray for healing.

I know too many people who have prayed and who have been healed, including myself.  But when we think that we just have to follow a certain prayer recipe to make the Lord to do our will on earth, we cross the line from asking for healing to speaking heresy.  We don’t “pull healing” or “transfer healing” “out of our spirits” through an act of our will as this author stated we did  If we believe that, we will have a hard time having peace or joy when our faith isn’t strong enough to give us our miracle.

No like Christ’s prayer, in

Luke 22:42 (NKJV) where He said:
42  … "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

God’s will is what will come to pass, not ours. We will not get everything we want in life. We don’t know what cup of suffering we may have to drink. And we really don’t know if our healing is the Lord’s will or not.   We should ask for it, we should pray to God for it.   But like Jesus, we must accept the cup that the Father gives us to drink.

In our efforts to push our desires or personal agendas, we may be going against God’s will for our lives and although we can boldly fight against what we don’t want, we may find ourselves being rebuked by the Lord.

John 18:11 (NKJV) says
11  So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"

 

Peter tried to “resist” and “fight the power” and as noble as his cause seemed, it was misguided.  

 

So trust in the Lord, find the peace and the joy that He has for you by abiding in His presence, walking in the Spirit, obeying His commandments, and accepting the cup that He has given you to drink. 

 

If our peace and joy depend on good health, prosperity, and positive earthly circumstances, we will be sorely disappointed in the times of suffering and tribulations. But when we accept who we are in Christ, accept what the Lord has for us,  and keep walking and talking with God, we can find peace in the storm and joy in the morning of after the dark night of the soul.  

 

God is good, all the time. And all the time God is good.  So find peace and joy, regardless of your circumstances, in Him today.

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT2)
20  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Today’s Bible verse gives us great hope because it speaks of the power God has given us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  

As Christians, the power in us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and even though it might not be a miraculous gift of physical healing that will work though us, the Lord blesses us in our walks of faith to accomplish infinitely more that we might have thought possible.  

Through the practice of our faith, the fruits of patience and self-control grow. Through the strength we receive from the Holy Spirit, we can persevere and change how we respond to life’s problems.

The fact that we are progressing in living a righteous life through the application of Biblical wisdom is more than we could ever hope to accomplish before we put our faith in Christ.  

While seeing signs, wonders and miracles might not be in the offering every day, because let’s face it even in scripture they were rare, the fact that we are following the Lord and doing good works to share His love and to share the gospel, is much more than we could think we would do before coming to Christ.  

So as much as we want miracles, let’s remember the miraculous work that the Lord has done in us ny bringing us from death to life and let’s give glory to God by representing Him on the earth by faithfully conforming ourselves to the image of Christ and by accomplishing things that will advance His kingdom cause.

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

All You Need to Do His Will and Be Happy Forever

What, then, does Jesus mean, “All these things—all your food and clothing—will be added to you when you seek the kingdom of God first”? He means the same thing he meant when he said, “Some of you they will put to death.… But not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:16–18). He meant that you will have everything you need to do his will and be eternally and supremely happy in him.

How much food and clothing are necessary? Necessary for what? we must ask. Necessary to be comfortable? No, Jesus did not promise comfort. Necessary to avoid shame? No, Jesus called us to bear shame for his name with joy. Necessary to stay alive? No, he did not promise to spare us death—of any kind. Persecution and plague consume the saints. Christians die on the scaffold, and Christians die of disease. That’s why Paul wrote, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).

What Jesus meant was that our Father in heaven would never let us be tested beyond what we are able (1 Corinthians 10:13). If there is one scrap of bread that you need, as God’s child, in order to keep your faith in the dungeon of starvation, you will have it. God does not promise enough food for comfort or life—he promises enough so that you can trust him and do his will.

I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Even Starve

When Paul promised, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” he had just said, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12–13, 19). “All things” means “I can suffer hunger through him who strengthens me. I can be destitute of food and clothing through him who strengthens me.” That is what Jesus promises. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). If we starve, he will be our everlasting, life-giving bread. If we are shamed with nakedness, he will be our perfect, all-righteous apparel. If we are tortured and made to scream in our dying pain, he will keep us from cursing his name and will restore our beaten body to everlasting beauty.

The Far Side of Every Risk, Triumphant Love

The bottom-line comfort and assurance in all our risk-taking for Christ is that nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ. Paul asks, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). His answer is, NO! In other words, no misery that a true Christian ever experiences is evidence that he has been cut off from the love of Christ. The love of Christ triumphs over all misery. Romans 8:38–39 makes this crystal-clear: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

On the far side of every risk—even if it results in death—the love of God triumphs. This is the faith that frees us to risk for the cause of God. It is not heroism, or lust for adventure, or courageous self-reliance, or efforts to earn God’s favor. It is childlike faith in the triumph of God’s love—that on the other side of all our risks, for the sake of righteousness, God will still be holding us. We will be eternally satisfied in him. Nothing will have been wasted.

How Can It Get Better Than Being Conquerors?

But there is even more to the promise that sustains us in times of risk for Christ’s sake. Paul asks “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The answer he intends us to give is, Nobody. It’s the same as saying, “If God is for us, no one can be against us.” That seems naïve. It’s like saying when your head is cut off, “Not a hair of my head has perished.” These excessive statements, it seems, are meant to say more than we have said so far. They intend to say something more than that dying saints won’t be separated from Christ. 

This “something more” comes out in the words, “more than conquerors.” “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). What does “more than conquerors” mean? How can you be more than a conqueror when you risk for the cause of God and get hurt for it?

If you venture some act of obedience that magnifies the supreme value of Jesus Christ and get attacked by one of the enemies mentioned in verse 35, say, famine or sword, what must happen for you to be called simply “a conqueror”? Answer: You must not be separated from the love of Jesus Christ. The aim of the attacker is to destroy you, and cut you off from Christ, and bring you to final ruin without God. You are a conqueror if you defeat this aim and remain in the love of Christ. God has promised that this will happen. Trusting this, we risk.

But what must happen in this conflict with famine and sword if you are to be called more than a conqueror? One biblical answer is that a conqueror defeats his enemy, but one who is more than a conqueror subjugates his enemy. A conqueror nullifies the purpose of his enemy; one who is more than a conqueror makes the enemy serve his own purposes. A conqueror strikes down his foe; one who is more than a conqueror makes his foe his slave.

Practically what does this mean? Let’s use Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “This slight momentary affliction is preparing [effecting, or working, or bringing about] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Here we could say that “affliction” is one of the attacking enemies. What has happened in Paul’s conflict with it? It has certainly not separated him from the love of Christ. But even more, it has been taken captive, so to speak. It has been enslaved and made to serve Paul’s everlasting joy. “Affliction,” the former enemy, is now working for Paul. It is preparing for Paul “an eternal weight of glory.” His enemy is now his slave. He has not only conquered his enemy. He has more than conquered him.

Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness. Affliction is made the servant of godliness and humility and love. Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight. In that way Paul—and every follower of Christ—is more than a conqueror.

The Only Road That Leads to Lasting Joy

This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor. It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.

Therefore, it is right to risk for the cause of Christ. It is right to engage the enemy and say, “May the Lord do what seems good to him.” It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!” It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world. This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. At the end of every other road—secure and risk-free—we will put our face in our hands and say, “I’ve wasted it!”[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 94–98.

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Our Spontaneous and Unpredictable God - Purity 709


 
Our Spontaneous and Unpredictable God - Purity 709                               

Purity 709  04/19/2022  Purity 709 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a magnificent winter sunset over Lake Ontario comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography who shared this photo on social media back on February 7th stating that they had “been monitoring this area for several weeks waiting for this to happen!! A combination of warmer temperatures and water flowing from Glimmerglass Lagoon, creates a spellbinding winter scene on Lake Ontario! It is moments like this that remind me that the universe is alive!”  

The universe is alive. God spoke it into existence when He said “Let there be light” and the universe has been living and expanding ever since! That’s power. The Lord can literally make something out of nothing and He doesn’t have to ask permission or give us a heads up when He decides to do something with His creation.  God is sovereign over His creation. He started it and He controls and guides where it is going.  As stable as things can be from one day to the next at times God can cause things to change quite suddenly and the changes can catch us by surprise proving that God can do things that are unpredictable. That means God can be spontaneous and if you walk with Him you will see how that unpredictability and spontaneous quality of God will unfold in your walk.  

Our friend at Celestial Blue Photography shared this photo back on February 7th and I somehow missed it because it was saved on my phone on March 23rd. It’s a great photo but I saved it at the time but thought that with spring in “full effect”, right?, that a photo with snow was sort of past it’s time.   But God is unpredictable and this morning there is wet, heavy, somewhat slushy snow on the ground outside of my home this morning, so I figured that today was a great day to share it.  The temperatures are forecasted to be in the upper 40’s today so the snow’s appearance may be short lived but it is a good reminder to us that in life and in our walk of faith that we really don’t know what is going to happen next  and that we will have to deal with unpredictable situations.   

Since my walk of faith with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior began in 2010, I marvel over all the things that have come to pass in my life that I never could have predicted. I teach and encourage people that the life of Christian Discipleship that the Lord prescribes for us, He did say to pick up our cross and follow Him right?, is the perfect will of God for our lives, and that a life lived walking in the Spirit is the abundant life that Christ talked about and is something that must be pursued and committed to, to fully understand what I am talking about.  

Don’t believe me and just nod your head. 

As Psalm 34:8 (NKJV) says
8  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

A life in the Spirit is not just about an intellectual understanding, following rules, or believing certain doctrinal truths. A life in the Spirit includes those things but it goes beyond them by applying them to our lives moment to moment.  

While we won’t live out God’s perfect will for our lives perfectly. God invites us to “come and see” all that He has for us by giving us His word and giving us His Spirit. His word indicates that we are to be wise and discerning to follow His ways and not just to spontaneously go off into the things we “feel” without evaluating whether or not it agrees with principles that we can glean from scripture. There is safety in following God’s word and we shouldn’t run too far ahead of the Lord because when we assume we know what’s coming around the next corner, we are often wrong and end up running into a wall!

Just because we get it in our head that God could do something and that we think we can see where “all of this is going” doesn’t mean we have been blessed with a prophetic vision.  I have to shamefully admit that in the past I had dreams and visions…. maybe more like ideas, hopes, or best guess,  that I thought were going to come to pass only to discover that those things never happened.  

I have seen other believers make bold prophetic statements over people and that have failed to manifest, proving to me that we should be silent unless we are certain we have a word from the Lord, because if our “prophecies” don’t come true they didn’t come from God. Prophecies that don’t come to pass either come from our own hopes or best guesses or from the enemy that would love you to disappoint people with “prophetic promises” that don’t come true.   

So in our walk of life and our walk of faith, we need to be balanced by standing on the solid Rock of God’s word and be careful in not trying to use the Bible like a book of magic spells to conjure up what we want.  

God’s will be done ultimately, not ours.  From our perspective God can unpredictable and spontaneous but we have to remember that He is all knowing and all powerful. He knows what He is doing and He has the power to make His will come to pass. But God is also eternal and self-existent. That means He has always existed and always will so His timetable may not be the same as ours.  Knowing all of this and knowing that God is good, we have to trust Him to do what’s right and to do it in His timing.  

It’s April, God shouldn’t let it snow.  Well, He did and undoubtedly there will be other things that happen in our lives that we will consider both “good” and “bad” that we won’t expect.  But we will have to live with them anyway, and trust the Lord that we can remain faithful and persevere through them.

Instead of getting angry about the things that happen that we didn’t expect, we should use them as reminders to ourselves of how much we need God. As much as “everything changes and nothing stays the same” here on earth, as Christians we know the One who doesn’t change, our Heavenly Father.      

So keep walking and talking with God.  Follow His lead and listen to His voice, but be sure to set your path according to His wisdom and ways rather than just your best guesses of what God “should do”.   God has a plan for the universe and our individual lives specifically and even though we don’t know where all this is going, we can trust that He does and that in somehow and some way He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  So love Him and answer the call for you purpose in Him, and some day you will see “it’s all good.”

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Ephesians 1:14 (NLT2)
14  The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Today’s Bible verses reminds us of that indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we put our faith in Christ is the guarantee of all that God has promised in His word and that we should seek to praise and glorify God in all that we do.  

When you place your faith in Christ, you should notice the Holy Spirit in your life. He was the One who opened your eyes to the truth of the gospel. Have you ever wondered why you suddenly “understood the gospel” or “saw the light”?  That was the Holy Spirit!

Remember the joy of your salvation?  That was the Holy Spirit!

Remember having the assurance that you had been forgiven of your sins?  Yup, you guessed it again, that was the Holy Spirit too!  

And He hasn’t left you since.  Every time you have a “eureka moment” when you see the word of God in a new light or understand a deeper nuance of your faith, the Holy Spirit is revealing it to you.   

Ever have the realization, “Wow, I’m not who I used to be! I really am a Christian. I really am a child of God! “   

Romans 8:16 (NKJV)
16  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

That means He is talking to us. He confirms our faith and seals us as children of God and thus we can be assured that all of the promises of God, that tell us who we are in Christ and where we will go in eternity, will be our inheritance.  

Knowing that we are guaranteed eternal life in the kingdom of God and that we have a power to overcome sin like we never had before our faith in Christ, all comes through the Holy Spirit.  The more we follow the Lord’s will for our lives the more the Holy Spirit leads us and guides us through life to be conformed to the image of Christ and to live in the joy of our salvation continually.  

So as today’s verse tells us praise and glorify God, because He has put His Spirit in you to let you know that you have been purchased to be His and that your place in His kingdom is guaranteed!

 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” .  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’  books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

Is Eternal Life a Heaven Full of Mirrors?

Now think what this means for God’s love. How shall God love us? Mere logic could give us the answer: God loves us best by giving us the best to enjoy forever, namely himself, for he is best. But we are not dependent on logic alone. The Bible makes this clear. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God loves us by giving us eternal life at the cost of his Son, Jesus Christ. But what is eternal life? Is it eternal self-esteem? Is it a heaven full of mirrors? Or snowboards, or golf links, or black-eyed virgins?

No. Jesus tells us exactly what he meant: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). What is eternal life? It is to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ. No thing can satisfy the soul. The soul was made to stand in awe of a Person—the only person worthy of awe. All heroes are shadows of Christ. We love to admire their excellence. How much more will we be satisfied by the one Person who conceived all excellence and embodies all skill, all talent, all strength and brilliance and savvy and goodness. This is what I have been trying to say. God loves us by liberating us from the bondage of self so that we can enjoy knowing and admiring him forever.

Or consider the way the apostle Peter says it. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Why did God send Jesus Christ to die for us? “That he might bring us to God”—to himself. God sent Christ to die so that we could come home to the all-satisfying Father. This is love. God’s love for us is God’s doing what he must do, at great cost to himself, so that we might have the pleasure of seeing and savoring him forever. If it is true, as the Psalmist says to God, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11), then what must love do? It must rescue us from our addiction to self and bring us, changed, into the presence of God.

Are You Being Used?

So here is the question to test whether you have been sucked into this world’s distortion of love: Would you feel more loved by God if he made much of you, or if he liberated you from the bondage of self-regard, at great cost to himself, so that you enjoy making much of him forever?

Suppose you answer, “I want to be free from self and full of joy in God; I want to enjoy making much of God, not me. And I want the fullness of my joy to last forever.” If you respond this way, then you will also have an answer to the fear I mentioned earlier, that you are just being used by God when he creates you for his glory. Now we see that in creating us for his glory, he is creating us for our highest joy. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act. Anyone else who exalts himself distracts us from what we need, namely, God. But if God exalts himself, he calls attention to the very thing we need most for our joy. If great paintings could talk, and they saw you walking through the gallery staring at the floor, they would cry out, “Look! Look at me. I am the reason you are here.” And when you look and exult in the beauty of the paintings with those around you, your joy would be full. You would not complain that the paintings should have kept quiet. They rescued you from wasting your visit. In the same way no child complains, “I am being used” when his father delights to make the child happy with his own presence.

Finally Free to Embrace the Single Passion for Which I Was Made

With these discoveries I now felt free to affirm God’s purpose for my life revealed in the Bible. I didn’t have to be afraid that I must choose between what is right and what is inevitable—between pursuing his glory and pursuing my joy. I was free to experience the single passion for God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. I was rescued from the wasted life. Now life could have ultimate meaning—the same meaning God’s life has: enjoying and displaying his greatness.

I was free to embrace the end of my old quest: the Point, the Purpose, the Focus, and the Essence of it all. It was real. It was objective. It was there. And it was rooted in the very essence of what God is in himself. He is glorious, beautiful, and magnificent in his manifold perfections. They are infinite, eternal, and unchanging. They are Truth and Justice and Goodness and Wisdom and Power and Love. Flowing out from what he is in himself comes the purpose for our existence. God’s passion for his own glory gives birth to ours. That is the single, all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.

God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

Now Enters the Glory of Jesus Christ

Since September 11, 2001, I have seen more clearly than ever how essential it is to exult explicitly in the excellence of Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the dead. Christ must be explicit in all our God-talk. It will not do, in this day of pluralism, to talk about the glory of God in vague ways. God without Christ is no God. And a no-God cannot save or satisfy the soul. Following a no-God—whatever his name or whatever his religion—will be a wasted life. God-in-Christ is the only true God and the only path to joy. Everything I have said so far must now be related to Christ. The old kitchen plaque comes back: “Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

To bring us to this highest and most durable of all pleasures, God made his Son, Jesus Christ, a bloody spectacle of blameless suffering and death. This is what it cost to rescue us from a wasted life. The eternal Son of God “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing.” He took “the form of a servant” and was born “in the likeness of men.… He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6–8).[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 35–38.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

86 the X – Renounce that Man Right out of Your Hair! – Purity 614


86 the X – Renounce that Man Right out of Your Hair! – Purity 614

Purity 614 12/29/2021 Purity 614 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo a palm tree in front of the beaches at what we suspect to be either Sint Maarten or Saint Barthelemy comes to us from a friend’s vacation back in June as I decided to look back six months from today in my phone’s photo archive to see what photos we “borrowed” but never shared.   We are sharing two more beach scenes that are from Saint Barthelemy, for sure,  on the blog today at mt4christ.org if you need some more views of white sands and turquoise waters under blue skies.   

It's Wednesday and it is officially the last Hump Day of 2021, and we are sharing these photos today for 2 purposes.   The first is to highlight some of God’s creation and to marvel over its beauty and to thank Him for providing us with diverse environments to enjoy on the earth.  The second reason I am sharing these photos is to get them off of my phone! 






Yesterday we encouraged our listeners or readers to take care of unfinished business or to leave things that we don’t want to carry with us anymore behind as we soon will begin a new year.  It’s best to travel light through life in general and there may be no better time to clean up our acts or get rid of some unwanted aspects of our lives than at the year’s end.   

I don’t know about you but in my hectic schedule of life and rolling with the changing circumstances that come into my “normal routine”, ha ha, I don’t always organize things the way I should. 

As neat as my phone may appear on the outside, now that my fiancé recently took it out of its case and cleaned it – you might need to do that too – the inside of it is jammed packed with photos that I have snapped, or borrowed, and emails that I hadn’t gotten around to reading or deleting.  So yesterday I spent my lunch hour just deleting old emails from the past year and I didn’t even finish!  

So I encourage you to look at your phone and your life in general and consider what’s been lying around that you can 86, or throw out.  

Apparently the term “86” means to “throw out” as old rotary phones had  a “T” on the 8 key and an “O” on the 6 key, so to throw out (“T” – “O”) something was to 86 it.

Or it may have originally been a bartender's term – as in “86 this bum – He’s drunk and unruly!”  

Also The United States also has a Uniform Code of Military Justice that has an article 86: Absence Without Leave, a.k.a AWOL.  As in where’s Private Jones? He’s 86. He didn’t report back to duty.   (https://www.stlmag.com/dining/Ask-George-Where-Does-the-Term-86d-Come-From/#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20also%20has,originally%20been%20a%20bartender's%20term.) 

So as we get closer to New Year’s Day, travel lighter in 2022 by “86”ing some stuff you don’t need in your life anymore.  

Pain, regret, emotions, longings, and grief that come from broken relationships may be something that we would like to “86” but for some reason we just can’t seem to let that person or the negative feelings we have from dealing with that person go.    

The world would tell you to “forget that bum”, “get someone else” or possibly to do something selfish – like “go shopping” or “take a vacation” as remedies to the pain and “stuckness” of broken relationships but these methods will have varying degrees of success and do not address the spiritual realities of relationship dynamics that just might hold the key to setting you free.  

Based on my experience, and education in Christian Counseling, I would say there are three things, that you have to do to effectively “86” an X.  

1.    Say Goodbye – Whether in person, over the phone, via text, email, or – quite possibly the best option for broken relationships – alone by yourself – verbally saying goodbye to a lost loved one is a necessary part of the grieving process that can help cut the ties that bind and provide closure.  Saying Goodbye – as a prayer, out loud – brings your pain before God and allows Him to give you healing.  Speaking Goodbye also sets your intentions for the future and tells yourself that “It’s over!”    

2.    Forgive from the Heart – Read the following prayers and welcome God into your experience to allow you to help you to forgive those who have hurt you so you can move on without the bitterness and pain that defines a life consumed with unforgiveness.  

“Say, “Lord, I choose to forgive these people and what they did to me.” For every painful memory that God reveals in connection with the people you need to forgive to move on  pray,

    Dear heavenly Father, I choose to forgive [name the person] for [what they did or failed to do], because it made me feel [share the painful feelings—i.e., rejected, dirty, worthless, inferior, etc.].

After you have forgiven every person for every painful memory, then pray as follows:

    Lord Jesus, I choose not to hold on to my resentment. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask You to heal my damaged emotions. Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Anderson, N. T. (2019). The bondage breaker® (p. 231). Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.

3.    Renounce Sexual Past Involvements to Break Soul Ties – The word of God describes those who have sex together as becoming “one flesh”, it’s a spiritual reality that modern psychology doesn’t acknowledge.  

Why can’t we get past old “what’s his name” or “what’s her name” from yesteryear?  Because we are still “bonded” to them because of our sexual and emotional involvements.  To break those invisible ties that keep us bound and to find freedom from sexual bondage, pray the following prayer:

    Dear heavenly Father, 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 these sinful bondages. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

As the Lord brings to your mind every sexually immoral use of your body, whether it was done to you (rape, incest, sexual molestation) or you initiated it (pornography, masturbation, sexual immorality), renounce these using the prayer that follows:

    Dear heavenly Father, I renounce [name the sexual experience] with [name]. I ask You to break that sinful bond with [name] spiritually, physically, and emotionally. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

After you have finished, commit your body to God by praying:

    Dear heavenly Father, I renounce all the 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’s name I pray. Amen.

Anderson, N. T. (2019). The bondage breaker® (pp. 241–242). Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.

God is the Healer in all things and faith in Jesus Chris gives us eternal life and sets us free.  So when we want to “86” negative emotions and the bad relationships in our lives, we need to bring our pain to God and allow Him to take it away and renounce our sins so we can move on in freedom.    

Hey, it’s about to be a new year, why not “wash that man” , or woman” “right out of your hair”,  and out of your heart, mind, and soul by taking it to God and allowing Him to heal you and to break those ties that bind forever.   

Freedom is available through our faith in Christ.  The question is: ”do you want it?”  

If you want it, you can have it by going to your heavenly Father and asking Him to help you to say goodbye, to forgive, and to break the ties that have kept you bound and hurting. 

So 86 the X, 86 the bondage, and 86 the pain. God wants to heal you and free you. Go to Him and experience the freedom that He so desperately wants you to know and walk in.

 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 1:23 (NLT2)
23  And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Today’s verse teaches us that the church is Jesus Christ’s body and that we are made complete in Christ.

A line from the Oscar Winning film – Jerry Maguire – expresses how the characters felt that their romantic interest made them fulfilled: with the pair of lovers confessing at critical moments in the narrative that: “You complete me.”  

As nice as that sentiment is and as true as it may feel for some couples, the word of God indicates that we are made full and complete by Christ alone.   

My life of searching for meaning and purpose led me to the conclusion that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that everything it says is true.  While we may struggle with how it’s true at times, we benefit greatly by seeking God to discover how the word of God is true and by applying its lessons to our lives. 

The church, Jesus’ disciples, are said to be “His body”  - meaning we are God’s hands and feet and are created to walk into the good works that God has created beforehand for each of us to seek out and to walk into.  

As Christians, we are all ministers of reconciliation as we can tell everyone how Christ saved us and how He has filled our lives and made us complete.  

And the beauty of being in a covenant relationship with God through faith in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ,  is that we can be progressively by “filled with Christ” and become “more complete” by becoming more and more like Jesus in our character, thoughts, and actions as the word of God describes Christianity as a lifestyle of progressive sanctification that goes from “faith to faith” and “glory to glory”.  

So even though Christ has made us “complete” when we place our faith in Him and we were given his righteousness, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, our faith journey isn’t “complete” yet as we will all be glorified in God’s presence one day.    

So stop looking at the things of the world to “complete” you. If you have put your faith in Jesus, you are complete!  

However, since we are going to live forever, we still have a mission: to find our purpose in God’s kingdom and to walk into the good works that He has for us to do.  

So rejoice at your completeness in Christ and keep walking and talking with God to see what else He has in store for you. 


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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we conclude sharing from Chapter 1.    

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.

THE DEFEAT OF SATAN

There is a third reason that Jesus came. He came to undo the works of Satan.29 Because Adam and Eve sinned, they forfeited their dominion over this earth, and Satan became the rebel holder of authority. Jesus referred to him as the ruler of this world30 but promised that he would be cast out.31 The Apostle John wrote that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one32 because he deceives the whole world.33 But Jesus disarmed Satan34 when He defeated sin and death at the cross by His own death and resurrection.

Knowing that Satan and his demons are defeated is just as much a part of the gospel as the fact that your sins are forgiven and that you have new life in Christ. People all over the world are terrorized by Satan and his demons. Satan is the father of lies,35 and people are in bondage to those lies. The false religions of this world try to appease him and manipulate the spiritual world through their Satanic worship and the incantations of their shamans. Satan wants to be feared because he wants to be worshiped above God. But only God is worthy of worship because He alone is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere present), and omniscient (all knowing), and every true believer is seated with Christ in the heavenlies,36 which is the spiritual realm.

All authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and upon this earth,37 and on that basis we are commissioned to go into this world and make disciples38 and teach them to believe all that He said. That means that Satan has no authority over any of God’s children. Because of our union with God, we have the authority and the power to do God’s will. Power is the ability to rule, and authority is the right to rule. In Christ we have both. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”39 As children of God, we live by faith in God, in His strength and by His authority. If we try to do His will in our own strength and by our own authority, we will fail miserably. We have no spiritual authority to do our own will independent of our Heavenly Father, but we have the authority to do God’s will, and this authority is over the kingdom of darkness, which includes Satan and all his demons.

A CALL TO REPENTANCE

Paul’s instruction to the church included more than belief in God. He also taught “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.”40 The Apostle Peter said to the early church, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. 41 Circumcision was a sign of the Old Testament Covenant of Law, and baptism is a sign of the New Testament Covenant of Grace, which identifies the believer with the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

We are saved by the grace of God through faith in the finished work of Christ, but if we want to experience our new life and freedom in Christ and grow by the grace of God, we must repent of our sins. The rest of this book will lead you through a repentance process. If you are completely honest with God during the process, you will sense His presence in your life when you are finished: “And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”42

You are also admonished to seek baptism in your local church and publicly declare your faith in Jesus. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”43

 

RESTORED – EXPERIENCE LIFE WITH JESUS

NOTES

INTRODUCTION


1. Mark 1:15

2. 2 Corinthians 5:17

3. Colossians 1:13

4. Ephesians 2:10


CHAPTER ONE: REDEMPTION HISTORY


5. Genesis 1:1

6. Genesis 1:26

7. Ephesians 2:1

8. Romans 8:22

9. Genesis 3:14, 15

10. Galatians 3:24

11. John 8:42; 14:10; 17:7

12. Romans 3:23

13. Hebrews 9:22

14. 2 Corinthians 5:21

15. John 10:10

16. John 6:35

17. John 14:6

18. Acts 4:12

19. John 8:32

20. John 11:25, 26

21. Ephesians 2:8, 9

22. John 1:12

23. 1 John 3:1

24. Matthew 6:9

25. Romans 8:16

26. Philippians 4:19

27. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

28. John 14:17

29. 1 John 3:8

30. John 16:11

31. John 12:31

32. 1 John 5:19

33. Revelation 12:9

34. Colossians 2:15

35. John 8:44

36. Ephesians 2:4-6

37. Matthew 28:18

38. Matthew 28:19, 20

39. Ephesians 6:10

40. Acts 26:20

41. Acts 2:38, 39

42. Philippians 4:7

43. Romans 10:9, 10

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship