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Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2022

Braving the Storm - Representing the Kingdom by Showing Up - Purity 624


Braving the Storm -  Representing the Kingdom by Showing Up -  Purity 624

Purity 624 01/10/2022   Purity 624 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the ice covered shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY underneath a light blue and pink sky of morning comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as Rocco Saya is once again out and about and braving the chilly weather to capture scenes of God’s creation.    

It’s Monday again and the local forecast in my neck of the woods calls for below freezing temperatures for the next few days which may leave some of us with the desire to just stay inside and not go out there.  But as providers for ourselves and our families we will brave the cold and get out to do the work that provides for our needs and wants.    

Yesterday, in Easton NY, we awoke to a glazing coating of ice covering everything and sleety rain that made me question whether or not I should go to church or just catch our service online. But as someone who had on average a 45 minute commute 5 days a week for nearly 25 years I have experience in driving in northeast winters and know what to do: go slow and be careful.  So my wife, stepdaughter, and I headed out and quickly discovered the way we were headed hadn’t been properly salted yet as an oncoming driver warned us that just down the hill from where we were headed there was a car off the road whose driver was warning them to not come that way as the road was a sheet of ice.  

I have been reading through Proverbs lately and that wisdom and my experiences has taught me to heed a warning. So we turned around and went to the main highways to get to church and found the way to be less icy and made it to church in time to catch the last song of worship before the pastor’s message.   

The crowd was a little smaller than usual, but I was impressed by the number of people that “braved the storm” and brought themselves to the in-person service even though our church provides online viewing of services.  This fact demonstrated to me how we, as Christians, value community and how we wish to honor the Lord by showing up to his corporate gathering no matter what the weather is like.  

The Pastor reported that the first service had four new attendees and it reminded me of the importance of being faithful and showing up.  My wife reported that after our service she witness a child who must have been a new attendee to the 10:30 service, tell their parents that they “liked this church!” and wanted to come back again.  If the church was closed due to the weather those 4 new attendees from the first service and this child who delighted over what they found at our church would have left and may never have come back again.

The church was open because that’s just what Christians do: they are faithful to worship the Lord and show up to work for His glory.  

It all reminds me of Charles Spurgeon’s testimony of his salvation. Spurgeon got saved because of a snowstorm and the grace of God, of course.  As a 15 year old Spurgeon grew up in a Congregational church but believed he was lost to the fires of hell because of his sinful nature. One winter day his path to church was diverted by a snowstorm and seeking shelter from the storm he ended up attending a Methodist service where the regular pastor had been prevented from attending.  An unknown substitute lay preacher stepped into the pulpit and read his text—Isaiah 45:22—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.”

“Spurgeon’s Autobiography records his reaction:

“He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed—by me, at any rate except his text. Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, ‘That young man there looks very miserable’ … and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Look! Look, young man! Look now!’ … Then I had this vision—not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was.… Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment.”” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-29/spurgeons-conversion.html)

Spurgeon walked out of that service and back into the snow a Christian and he would go on, with the Holy Spirit’s anointing, to win countless souls for Christ and became known as “the Prince of Preacher’s”   And the Lord used a snowstorm and a substitute lay preacher to bring the word of salvation that made it all happen.  

Spurgeon knew he wasn’t right with God, but he hoped for heaven, so he went through the motions of going to his regular church where he was deaf to the gospel, but God knew his fear and used a snowstorm and a church that preached the message of salvation through faith in Christ alone to save him and many others.   

So brave the storm and keep seeking the Lord and keep showing up to represent His kingdom and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You never know when the Lord will direct your path in a way you didn’t expect or if He will ask you to step in to serve in someone’s place to be used by the Him to do a work that will bring someone out of the fires of hell or that will give God glory.

So bundle up if it’s cold out there and remember that wherever you go God is with you and wants you to get to know Him more and seek His purpose for your life.  So keep walking and talking with God because he can change things from “just going to the motions” to something wonderful when you least expect it.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 8:33 (NLT2)
33  Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

Today’s verse reminds us that God gives us right standing with Himself by Himself, meaning through grace and the work of Jesus Christ.  

That means we didn’t earn our salvation and we can’t earn our salvation. Our right standing with God only comes through our placing our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.     

That is great news because that means no one can accuse us of “not doing it right” or that we have failed to do something to be a Christian.  While there will be many things that we can and will do on the path of Christian Discipleship that will show ourselves and others that “I really am a Christian!” those Christian disciplines don’t make us a Christian, our faith in Jesus Christ does.  

“Does that mean I don’t have to do anything?!”  Yes, it does. 

But if you have been forgiven of all your sins and have been granted eternal life in God’s kingdom, you shouldn’t want to “do nothing”.  

If your heart towards the Lord would lead you to just keep on living your life for yourself without pursuing the faith that gave you salvation, you should question who it is you believe in.  Do you believe in Jesus, or do you believe in yourself? 

Christ never asked anyone to believe in Him. He called people to follow Him.  So if we are not following the Lord’s call on our lives to know His word and His will for our life we should wonder if we really are “in this thing” called Christianity.   

If you don’t produce any fruit, the enemy and the world will accuse you of not being a Christian.  

Now if you have put your faith in Christ, those accusations don’t change your standing with God but instead of making you fear your salvation they should motivate you to follow the Lord so that you can have the assurance of your salvation and find your purpose in His kingdom.  

Accusations are one of the enemy’s weapons to make us unfruitful Christians and to torment us. Our best defense against the accusations of the enemy is to endeavor to represent the Kingdom of God by learning what God’s word says and by applying it to our lives.  The more we walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and live a Christian Disciple’s life the more we will see how the enemy’s accusations are meaningless because we are covered by Christ’s atonement on the cross and we are actively following Him.   

So if someone accuses you of “not doing it right” or says your sinful ways prove you are not a Christian, tell them that it is only by Christ that you are saved and that although you may not be perfect you are a child of God because of your faith in Jesus and you are in the process of leaving the darkness of this world behind and are following Jesus to be more and more like Him. 

Our walk isn’t about perfection, it’ about progress, and its about putting your faith in and following the one who is perfect: Jesus Christ. 

 

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

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

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

BEGINNING STEP THREE

 

Let me encourage you to ask God who it is that you need to forgive and then I will explain what forgiveness is and how you can do it. In the following prayer, all you are asking for are the names of the people you need to forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the riches of Your kindness, forbearance, and patience, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance (Romans 2:4). I confess that I have not extended that same patience and kindness toward those who have hurt or offended me. Instead I have held on to my anger, bitterness, and resentment toward them. Please bring to my mind all the people I need to forgive in order that I may do so. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

MAKING THE LIST

When you have finished praying, write down on a piece of paper every name that comes to your mind. About ninety percent of the time, mother and father are mentioned first. The first few names that come to your mind are usually the people who contributed to your greatest source of pain. Some may be tempted to think, “There isn’t anybody I need to forgive.”

That is highly unlikely since we have all suffered at the hands of someone else. Write down the names that are coming to your mind right now. The Lord wants you to live a liberated life in Him, but you can’t if you are bound to the past in bitterness. He has commanded you to forgive for your sake, so He will bring to mind both the people and the events that you are chained to in unforgiveness. When you forgive, you set the captive free, only to realize that you were the captive. Who are the relatives you need to forgive? Teachers? Employers? Friends? Co-workers? Church leaders?

DEALING WITH SELF AND GOD

The two most overlooked names are “yourself” and “God.” In many cases, anger toward self or God is greater than anger toward any other person. The devil capitalizes on our ignorance of God and His ways and on our irresponsibility by pummeling us with thoughts such as God isn’t going to help you. He doesn’t love you. How can you be a Christian and do the things you do? Look how weak and helpless you are. People who struggle with such thoughts are angry at themselves and/or God, and are disillusioned by the Christian life.

The concept of “letting go” of anger, guilt, and condemnation toward self is something many have never considered. Those feelings are rooted in our failure to understand God’s cleansing and forgiveness. Only God can forgive our sins, which separate us from Him, and He has. But we need to forgive ourselves for our failures, for letting God down, and for hurting others. Otherwise we believe the subtle deception that we must atone for our own sins.

Believers paralyzed by condemnation are being victimized by the accuser of the brethren (Satan), or by their own faulty consciences, rather than the truth of God’s grace. The latter is psychological guilt based on years of performance-based living and legalistic religious beliefs. These kinds of people live as though Christ’s death was not sufficient to cover their sins. You can hang on the cross if you want to, but it won’t do you any good. The Apostle Paul warned us when he said, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in selfabasement.”67

You are not being presumptuous by forgiving yourselves, because you are not accomplishing forgiveness from God. Only God can forgive our sins through His Son. Forgiving ourselves is actually receiving forgiveness from God. Forgiving ourselves is saying in effect, “Lord, I believe that You have forgiven me and cleansed me of my sins. Because of Your great love and grace—not because I deserve it—I choose to no longer condemn myself when You have forgiven me. I receive Your forgiveness and cleansing.”69

 ---------------------------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

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Did Jesus Ride in on Dominick the Donkey? - The Lord has Need of It - Purity 590

 


Did Jesus Ride in on Dominick the Donkey? - The Lord has Need of It - Purity 590

Purity 590 12/01/2021   Purity 590 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a snowy roadside forest comes today from yours truly as I was somewhat shocked to discover that winter is not only coming, it has already arrived for some as my work took me to Petersburgh NY where the residents have already had to shovel and plow a few inches of the white stuff off of their driveways and sidewalks.  

Yup, it’s December and even though winter doesn’t officially arrive until the 21st and I am blessed to be on the upper regions of New York’s Hudson Valley and have had no accumulation of snow thus far, I don’t care when the snow comes, for me when there is snow on the ground it’s winter.   

But not for me, not yet. Oh I hope I didn’t just jinx myself! Oh by the way, what I did just there, thinking that what I say will result in negative or positive affects on the created universe walks the fine line of superstition, faith, and magical thinking.   

Jinxes are one way that man tries to make sense of his created universe and the narratives we create can seem to make sense. I said x and y happened, but we have a tendency to only notice when those outcomes come or tend to craft the narrative with the benefit of hindsight.

 “Oh this thing happened? Why? Oh before x, I (the mighty and all powerful I) did or said y, thus causing x?”  

But that’s not really a causal relationship. ME causing things to happen is not necessarily true.  

So even if snow should fall on my beloved River House today, it is most likely not because God chose to humble me because of my words. Although, because God is sovereign, it could.  It’s all part of the mystery of our lives and trying to determine what is and is not God’s will, and what He is making happen and what He isn’t.     

Just because we can make up a compelling narrative about something doesn’t make it true. 

For instance, it’s December so Christmas music is being played and will be played on the airwaves, over the internet, and piped into stores from now until the 25th.  One of the “Christmas” songs that is beloved by some and hated by others is “Dominick the Donkey.”  

Now if you don’t know the lyrics of the song or the contents of the Bible, I might be able to convince you that Dominick was the name of the donkey that Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on the day that is celebrated as Palm Sunday.  

Right? It makes sense.  But wait that’s Easter…

Or I could say that Dominick was the Donkey that was original resident of the manger before Joseph and Mary’s arrival in Bethlehem forced him out of his stall but blessed him to be one of the animal witnesses of the birth of Jesus.  

No, No, No, or even better, I could say that  Dominick the Donkey was Joseph’s donkey from the start who carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem!  He then witnessed the Birth of Christ, AND then helped Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, escape from Herod’s men to Egypt! Dominick the Donkey helped Biblical prophecy’s come to pass!  

While my narrative is pretty cool and rather epic…. And I think could be the latest Christmas special, if it is not already, none of it holds up to the word of God.

According to Blueletterbible.com, the name Dominick appears 0 times in the Bible. 

And the names of Jesus, Christ, Mary, and Joseph appear nowhere in Lou Monte’s original lyrics for “Dominick the Donkey”. 

What I could suppose, almost logically, and sounds good doesn’t reflect reality.  So as much as we sometimes would like to “name it and claim it”, we need to be careful what stories we are telling ourselves and others when it comes to the interplay of our faith and the things that happen.  

The best way to do that is to align what we say and do with the truth that is found in the word of God. 

While God has done miraculous things for His people in scripture and is capable of doing anything, we have to be wise and discerning and realize that even in the time of the Apostles and the early church when miracles were happening to confirm the truth that Jesus is Lord, there was a good deal of suffering going on and the Apostles were not anointed supermen and very few people were raised from the dead. 

So as we call for revival and for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us, we should realize that our prayers will be answered, and the gifts of the Spirit will be given according to the Lord’s will.  God calls the shots and even if we craft our prayers to be spoken in scripture language and have met all the “right conditions”, He decides what will come to pass and He decides what gifts of the Sprit or otherwise will be given. 

As we walk into the Christmas season, let’s endeavor to know what the word of God says and to correct others, and ourselves about the things we might just be “supposing” are true.   Let’s try to not push our own narratives and instead decide to just proclaim the gospel.  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  That’s what people need to hear.

Let’s make sure the season is full of joy but maybe a little less “magic” as we seek to speak the truth in love that will usher the curious away from Santa, the Grinch, and HE HAW HEE HAW, even the Italian Christmas Donkey and instead give them the hope that never dies and the life of peace and purpose that never ends:  a life lived to give glory to God that is saved through faith in Jesus Christ.  

So just as Christ sent His Apostles to “borrow” a donkey for His purposes, use whatever trappings of the holiday season to remind yourself and others for the reason of the season. And as we represent the kingdom of the God, try to believe in miracles but accept that even if our prayers for mighty moves of God are not met to our expectations, remember that Christ is enough, our created universe and our salvation through faith in Him are the miracles that we can know, enjoy, and experience on a continual basis.  

So keep walking and talking with God, believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and share it as much as you can as we step into December and take another step closer to Christmas Day and seeing our Lord face to face. 

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:


Mark 13:31 (NLT2)
31  Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

 

Today’s verse comes from the words of Jesus and assures us that His words will never disappear.

One of our biggest fears is death and an understanding of science tells us that even the universe will eventually run out of energy and die.  Our own observations and understanding of how things are paint a bleak picture of what lies ahead.  Everything seems like it is slowly disappearing before our eyes.  But Christ tells us a different story.

Today’s verse really challenges anyone claiming that Jesus was just some wise teacher. 

This “wise teacher” claimed to be the Son of God and God the Son. That’s quite a lesson.     

Here Jesus indicates that the current created universe will “disappear”, but His words will never disappear.  

So Christ came to the earth to assure us that there was more to life than what we could see.  He came to give us peace with God and to give us something that we could stand on: His word.  

Jesus assures us that He and His word transcend the created universe and that His wisdom and truth will endure forever.

Revelation proclaims that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and that God will share it with those who have put their faith in Jesus and receive everlasting life.  

We receive a new life when we place our faith in Christ, but in order to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit of peace, we have to trust in His word. 

It’s His word that tells us all we know about God and salvation, if we can’t trust His word to be true, we can’t have a true relationship with Him. 

When we come to faith in Christ, we essential say I” believe in what you say, Jesus”.

So take peace from today’s verse and remember that when you put your trust in Jesus that you can continually trust in His word and use it to ground you in His peace even as you walk through a world that seems to be falling apart.  

 

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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

G. How to Accept the Sovereignty of God

The word sovereignty means "supreme power" and "freedom from external control." These definitions describe God perfectly because no higher power exists, and He is certainly free from other controlling influences. The Bible says ...

"He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." (Daniel 2:21)

SOVEREIGNTY

S—Seek God in prayer for discernment in your circumstances.

"Lord God, how I need Your wisdom, Your discernment, Your understanding."

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray." (James 5:13)

O—Open your heart to God with complete honesty about your feelings.

"I am so confused—my emotions go up one minute, down the next."

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22)

V—Verify your belief in God's love for you.

"Thank You that You love me, no matter what."

"Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:32)

E—Expect God to change your life through the truth He reveals to you.

"Thank You that through this trial, You will teach me and change me."

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." (Psalm 119:71)

R—Realize that God is all-powerful and sovereign over your circumstances.

"I realize that all power is in Your hands."

Pilate said ...

"Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" (John 19:10)

Jesus answered ...

"You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." (John 19:11)

E—Expect God to work through all things to prove your faith and to bring Him praise, glory, and honor.

"I realize that You will use all situations, even bad ones, to strengthen my faith and to glorify Yourself."

"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10)

I—Invest time in studying Scripture and in prayer.

"I want to immerse myself in Your Word and in Your truths."

"I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." (Psalm 119:15-16)

G—Gain an eternal perspective of God's purposes for your present pain.

"I want to see beyond this situation to Your purpose for it."

"'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:3) (Also read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.)

N—Never allow bitterness to grow in your heart.

"I refuse to be resentful, but choose to rejoice in my relationship with You."

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce not food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

T—Turn to the indwelling Christ, who provides you with His power for victory.

"Thank You that I can rely on Christ within me to live His life through me."

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Y—Yield to God's sovereignty. You may never understand or have any answers for your suffering.

"I don't have to have all the answers, but I can know the God who does. I yield myself to Your sovereign control."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

No heartache is wasted when put in the Master's hand.
When we enter our home in heaven,
we will see how our sorrows gave us sympathy ...
how our tears gave us tenderness ...
and how our crises gave us compassion.

June Hunt


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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


Monday, October 18, 2021

No “Fusterclucks” here! - Faith Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated - Purity 552

No “Fusterclucks” here! - Faith Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated - Purity 552 

Purity 552 10/18/2021 Purity 552 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a sunset at Clearwater Beach in Florida comes to us from a friend who is an IT professional and has to deal with the unique problems that develop between human beings and the technology they utilize to do business in the modern age.  The interactions between man and machine will always be a source of trouble at times and our friend confesses that “Sometimes in IT, you have to make up your own words…” like “Fustercluck”.  Now I am not up on the latest innovations in tech circles but that doesn’t sound good to me and as the sun has set on another weekend it might be a term that some of my friends may choose to utilize as it is Monday, and we enter another work week.  

I however have chosen to answer the call of the Lord and will be “working” for the “Big Boss” for the next three days as I will be a member on the prayer team for Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Fall Practicum, a training seminar for Community Freedom Ministry Associates (CFMA’s), that will be held at Grace Fellowship Church in Latham NY.

 Over the next three days the participants will complete their training and be certified in leading “inquirers” through the Steps to Freedom in Christ and prayerfully go on to establish and lead a Community Freedom Ministry at their local church or for their local community.  I myself was certified as a CFMA in the spring in San Antonio and am honored to be able to have a part in the Fall Practicum through praying for the success of the proceedings, encouraging the candidates, and assisting the leadership.  

While I didn’t get away this year for a “vacation mission trip” to an international location, I am considering my service to the Practicum a “mini-mission” as I hope to encourage the new CFMA’s to fulfill their calling which could lead to multitudes to discover their freedom in Christ and mature in their faith.     

Freedom in Christ Ministries mission isn’t necessarily that of evangelism. Although the message of freedom in Christ could certainly lead people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, Freedom in Christ ministries’ work, which is based the work of Dr. Neil Anderson and drawn from the wisdom contained in the Bible, is considered “Discipleship Counseling”.

Discipleship counseling is “the process where two or more people meet together in the presence of Christ, learn how the truth of God's Word can set them free and thus are able to conform to the image of God as they walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, it is the process of applying the wisdom of the God’s word to your life in a very real and powerful way. 

The Christian faith isn’t just something to be “believed”. As disciples of Christ, Christians should seek to know what Jesus taught, live according to the wisdom of His teachings, and seek to share the knowledge and the practical application of the Christian faith to other people’s lives so they can know the Lord and experience their freedom in Christ.  

My relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ has transformed my life and the things I have learned through Freedom in Christ Ministries has assisted in that transformation. So I consider it my purpose in life to share what I have learned about the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the Christian faith is the dynamic answer to all of life’s problems and my service over the next three days is an expression of that purpose.  

While my secular job provides for the needs of my family and assists in meeting my company’s customer’s telecommunication needs, the service I do over the next three days may not seem to have many immediate tangible results, but I know that any service to the Lord’s kingdom is a worthy endeavor because it could be used by the Lord to bring people closer to Him and will give glory to God.  

But you don’t necessarily have to be at an official ministry event to serve His kingdom. One of my co-workers at my secular job shyly confessed to me that they considered themselves to be more of a “Christian” than a “Catholic”.

They explained that although they were “born and raised” Roman Catholic, they had difficulties worshiping at the church of their tradition but found great encouragement by watching various Christian teachers on television that taught her about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, how to read the Bible, and how to pray by just talking with God.  She described how she would talk to God all day at work and be led to do nice things for the people she encountered through out her day. 

I explained to her that what she was doing could be considered “walking in the Spirit” or living out her faith and I encouraged her that was what we as “Christians” were supposed to do and that her efforts were giving “glory to God”.  She was shocked but encouraged as I explained that our faith didn’t have to be complicated and that her relationship with God was what Christianity was all about.  

So keep walking and talking with God. And no matter if you are working or volunteering for an “official ministry” or just doing the good works that He prepares for you in the normal course of your day, all that we do in His name will be pleasing to God and give Him glory.  

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 1:1 (NLT2)
1  Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

Today’s verse teaches us that we are “blessed” when we choose to not join in the ways of the world.   The NKJV has this verse in Psalm 1 as:

Psalm 1:1 (NKJV)
1  Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

 

Now while most of us may hesitate in calling anyone “wicked” as the NLT does, we may readily admit to the fact that most people in our society are somewhat “ungodly”. 

I recently saw a few moments of a new television drama in which the main character was lecturing at Harvard as an expert on historical symbolism and was basically lambasting all faith traditions as ignorant, superstitious, or inherently evil.  I was somewhat shocked by the blatant attack on faith in general but realized that this character’s opinions are becoming more mainstream as immorality and atheism is being embraced as a valid lifestyle choice.  Not only do people without faith in Christ claim their disbelief, but they also often mock Christianity. 

So those people who claim themselves as “not religious” or openly disparage the Christian faith could rightly be called “ungodly” or “wicked” because of their self-professed lack of faith in Christ and their natural condition of sin. 

The word of God teaches us that we will be blessed, or find joy, by not following their advice or heeding their counsel.  We are not to debate with the ungodly. We are to pray for them and speak the truth in love. 

No amount of arguing is going to save the ungodly, only the Lord can open their eyes to the truth. While we are to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ wherever we go, the word tells us that we are to not forsake the fellowship of the saints and that we will be blessed by not standing around with sinners or joining with mockers.  

So speak the truth and love and, as far as it is up to you, be at peace with all men but spend your time with the saints, your brothers, and sisters in Christ, who will encourage your faith. You will find joy by not “following  the advice of the wicked, or standing around with sinners, or joining in with mockers.” Instead follow the wisdom of the Word of God and the advice of godly men and you will be “blessed”.

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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

D. What Do Men Want?

Men who are interested in relationships and who have a good sense of who they are and what they want in life, usually know the type of woman they want to date. These men look for companionship with women whom they find interesting and attractive. They avoid complicated, high-maintenance, drama-filled relationships at all costs. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, observed...

"I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare. (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

A man generally prefers to date a woman who is...

  • Affirming—complements and encourages, lifts up and supports, inspires, and instills confidence
  • Appreciative—grateful and thankful, notices and acknowledges kindnesses
  • Capable—responsible and dependable, reliable, and competent
  • Caring—warm and sensitive, attentive, and responsive
  • Communicative—expresses thoughts, feelings, and desires, doesn't play guessing or mind games
  • Energetic—lively and productive, busy, and involved in meaningful activities
  • Enjoyable—happy disposition, pleasant and joyful, spreads smiles and laughter
  • Expressive—verbally and emotionally open and responsive, candid, and forthcoming
  • Friendly—open and inviting, hospitable, quick to acknowledge others, receptive and easy to talk to
  • Good-natured—easygoing and playful, laughs easily and often
  • Homey—knows how to create a comfortable, warm, and inviting home atmosphere
  • Interesting—well-rounded and informed, offers stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
  • Mature—emotionally, socially, and spiritually—sound and steady, self-assured, and secure
  • Nonjudgmental—nonaccusatory and noncondemning, sympathetic toward the struggles and weaknesses of others
  • Principled—strong convictions regarding God and His Word, honest and committed to right living, makes decisions based on personal, ethical standards
  • Real—unpretentious, says what she means and is the same in the dark as in the light
  • Relational—attentive to others, values people and invests time in them, genuinely cares about the concerns of others
  • Sensible—insightful and practical, applies knowledge logically and productively, makes sound decisions
  • Unselfish—considers his needs just as important as hers, makes adjustments in the little things

Proverbs 31:10-31 beautifully describes a woman of noble character who is rightly in relationship with God....

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.... Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." (Proverbs 31:10, 30-31)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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

 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spiritual Progress - By Faith Alone



( Photo Credit: http://gospelgrowth.net/faith-alone/)   


One thing that I have learned in my journey of faith is that our spiritual progress is not based on our belief, our need, or our deeds.  Our spiritual progress is according to God's grace and is based on our faith.  

To believe is one thing, to have faith is to have trust in what you believe and to exercise that trust with the way we live.  

You can believe a chair can hold your weight but having faith in that belief is proven by your willingness to sit in it. When you do, your faith is rewarded. You gain the benefit of being able to rest in the chair.  

In the Christian life we test our faith through reading His word, through prayer, and through our service and obedience.  If we are faithful in these disciplines, we are rewarded with the fruit of the Spirit.  Try it and you'll begin a journey into faith that never ends.

I was moved to share this little message by a devotional by Derek Prince Ministries which I have included here:


"Faith in God’s Goodness

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.     NIV


     If I were to ask you what’s the most important thing – what’s the thing that’s essential if you are to lead a life that’s pleasing to God, I wonder how you’d answer.

     Would you perhaps say: being religious, going to church, giving money to charity, keeping the Golden Rule, abstaining from sins, from immorality, from drunkenness, from things like that? All those things may be good, but none of them is the one essential thing for pleasing God. The one thing that God requires in all of us, the one thing without which we cannot please Him, is faith. And that faith is expressed in two ways.

     First of all, we must believe that God exists. Most of us, I suppose, in our hearts, really are aware of that. But beyond that, we have to believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. You see, faith is, ultimately, faith in the goodness of God – in His reliability, in His dependability – and without that faith in God’s goodness we cannot please Him. It begins with believing in God and in His goodness. That is the root and the source of all true success and the life that pleases God."


Have Faith in the promises of God! Read His word and apply It to your life. 

God, 

bless all who read these words of encouragement.

Amen