Showing posts with label Fasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fasting. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Living with a New Name – Walking into Repentance - Purity 619


Living with a New Name – Walking into Repentance - Purity 619

Purity 619 01/04/2022   Purity 619 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink, blue, and golden sunset sky over the Hudson River somewhere along River Rd in Easton NY comes to us from the love of my life as she captured it on our return trip from a day of errands as man and wife that included TammyLyn Seguin legally declaring her new identity as TammyLyn Clark.  This beautiful sky gave us great joy as we knew I would be sharing one of the several shots TammyLyn captured on our first Monday as husband and wife and that it would be the first photo highlighting God’s creation in 2022 that was taken in 2022.  

Well it’s Tuesday and as the old Soul II Soul song says it’s “Back to life, Back to Reality” as both me and the Mrs. will bid adieu to what was the period of our lives that was a whirlwind romance, engagement, and wedding and now have to go back work pretty much like we were before this weekend but fundamentally changed in very significant ways as we reenter the working world as married people, one of us with a new name.  

Sometimes in life we form relationships that change who we are forever.  In the Bible, there are several scenes where God’s interactions result in people receiving a new name. Abram to Abraham, Jakob to Israel, Simon to Peter, and Saul to Paul are some examples of people who were called by God who got a new name.  But would the name fit? 

When I developed the blog and tried to think of a name for it, I thought that “Empty for Christ” would be a good way to express how we have to “empty” ourselves to be filled with the life that God has for us.  But then I thought of my name, Marc Thomas, and how my initials M.T. sort of sounded like “Empty”, and because the blog was going to be about my testimony and my decision to try to live a Christian life, I decided to make the name MT4Christ because it adequately expressed not only the idea of the need to surrender to the Lord in general but it also served as a proclamation of sorts that I, M.T., was indeed for Christ as I sought to surrender myself to His will for my life for the rest of my days.  

But just like the patriarchs of our faith and the Apostles, it took me sometime to grow into the new name.  Even though I started back in 2015, I personally didn’t really decide to “go by” my initials until 2020 when I completed my master’s Thesis in Christian Counseling and decided to get trained for and to begin a Community Freedom Ministry. Although I boldly started the work in 2015, I didn’t have the boldness to adopt the “new name” until relatively recently.  A lot has changed.

It might surprise some that I never really spoke in public or shared writings publicly before coming to Christ.  All of this, my writings, my serving in the church, my teaching and ministry work, and now my podcast were all products of the transformation of Marc – “the fun loving but secretly troubled worldly dude” to M.T. – “encourager and promoter of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

And guess what, just like the Apostle Peter would show his faithfulness one minute and put his foot in his mouth and show more “Simon” like characteristics the next, I haven’t arrived yet.  I am still a work in progress.  

Even though I made great strides in 2021 towards my goal of optimal health, perhaps because of stress or due to the surrounding seasonal celebrations of Autumn that begin with Halloween and lead to Christmas and New Year’s, somewhere along the line M.T.’s resolve to stay the course got engulfed in behaviors that were more like “Marc’s”.  And just like a Mr. Hyde induced hangover, Dr. Jekyll is left feeling the pain, so I M.T. am left to pick up the pieces and start again.   

So with the new year upon us, I am officially renewing my goal to reach and maintain a body weight and state of health that distances me from the classification of “obese” and brings me closer to normal, or healthy, according to the BMI scale and my personal standards.   

Also I am in the midst of doing a spiritual check up as I lead a new Online discipleship class Thursday and want to be able to encourage others to pursue their freedom in Christ and provide them with an example of someone who has had a measure of success but who is still human but who is committed to the path of Christian Discipleship because I know that our relationship with Christ and living according to God’s word reflects the Lord’s perfect will for our lives.   

So as is my habit, and my local church’s tradition, I have begun a period of fasting and prayer to both crucify the flesh and renew the mind as I surrender the time spent in eating and meal preparation to focus on God and my walk of faith.   

With one day fasting under my belt, I already feel the deep relief that comes from surrendering to the Lord and from giving my body a break from the season of feasting that I have been in.   

When we give ourselves to the Lord, I have learned that you never regret it.  So as we try to adjust our lives to be less like our old selves and to better fit into God’s mold and into our “new names”, let’s remember to keep going. Let’s keep walking and talking to God.

And now that we have 2021 behind us, let’s open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts, and open minds and listen to what the Lord wants us to hear. Let’s pray and ask Him for His love, guidance, and strength as we seek His repentance to turn from our old ways and seek to represent Him and give Him glory on the earth. 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 6:23 (NLT2)
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today’s verse puts things pretty clearly.  Sin leads to death. Christ is the free gift from God that leads to eternal life.  

As the Bible and most of society will gleefully point out: nobody’s perfect, everybody sins.  But before we relax and rest in our sinful lives, and unknowingly just keep on trucking on the Highway to Hell, let’s remind ourselves and world at large that the wages of sin is death.   All sin and all die.

But these statements that seem so true, “all sin, all die, nobody’s perfect, and nothing lasts forever” are contradicted by the reality of an everlasting God and the person of Jesus Christ.  

Christ is perfect. Christ never sinned. And although, Christ did die, He was resurrected and lives forever.   And Faith in Him, gives us the answer to those wages of sin. Faith in Christ results in the forgiveness of all your sins and in eternal life with Him.     

Today’s verse, and Jesus’ said that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. 

In John 11:25-26 – Jesus said
....., "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

This is THE CRITICAL QUESTION: Do you believe this? 

For those who do and put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, they receive a new and eternal life. 

For those who don’t, they receive their wages for sin: death.   

So don’t let people make those statements like “all sin, everybody dies, nobody’s perfect, and “nothing last forever” without challenging them and letting them know, quite frankly, that they are wrong.   

Christ is exception that gives us hope. He didn’t sin. He didn’t stay dead. And makes a way for us to live with Him forever.   

Sometimes these “common knowledge statements” that are so ingrained in our cultures and society are evidence of the lies of the enemy ruling the world when they are compared to the Truth of Jesus Christ.  So seek the Truth, seek Christ’s salvation, and Live. 


As always, I invite all to go to 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 3.   


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.


Jesus described Satan as the father of lies. “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”61 He cannot speak from truth because there is no truth in him. He can distort the truth, and he will even quote Scripture as he did when he tempted Jesus.

Satan keeps people in bondage by deceiving them and by blinding the minds of the unbelieving.62 The power of Satan is in the lie, and the battle is for the mind. If he is able to deceive Christians into believing a lie, they will be spiritually impotent. He can’t do anything about our identity and position in Christ, but if he can get us to believe it is not true, we will live as though it isn’t. When the lies are exposed, Satan’s power over the believer is broken.

Asking the Lord to reveal the deception and declaring the truth in the Doctrinal Affirmation at the conclusion of this Step is a powerful experience for many who have been deceived for years. Some will become increasingly confident as they verbalize the truth. You may struggle just trying to read through the Doctrinal Affirmation, but when you have completed the Steps, come back and read it again, and you will see the difference.

Most Christians honestly desire to live righteous lives but have distorted concepts of God and are ignorant of their position and identity in Christ. As you make this 49

public declaration of faith, you are choosing God’s truth about His nature, character and redemptive plan for your life.


The battle is for the mind, and Satan will twist Scripture or tell half-truths in order to deceive us. So we must trust God to expose the deceit, remembering that the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. In this Step, we use truth to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”63

During this Step a lady suddenly said, “Do you know what I’m hearing now? It’s just a thought! That’s all it is! I don’t have to believe that trash anymore.” She understood what the battle was, and it no longer had a hold over her. Another lady printed up a bunch of cards and was handing them out to anyone who wanted one. Each card contained the following questions, “Where did that thought come from? A loving God?”

If the voices, noises or laughter in your mind seems too overwhelming, stop and pray as you did at the beginning of these Steps on Page 33. You maintain control by exposing the lies and the battle for the mind, and by ignoring the distractions and continuing on with The Steps. Freedom doesn’t come from swatting flies (demons), it comes from taking out the garbage (sin). The way we overcome the father of lies is by choosing the truth. We are not called to dispel the darkness; we are called to turn on the light. The freedom progressively comes by resolving the conflicts. The noise in your head is just an attempt by the enemy to get you off the path that leads to freedom. If you seemingly can’t go on, then pray out loud: “I renounce this attack on me, and announce that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I choose to continue to seek my freedom.”

Marcy was a sincere Christian who was being mentally “beaten up” with lies and accusations. She had been deceived into thinking that God was not a good God, that she couldn’t trust Him, that she would never be free from her past. This fragile lady was slowly and gently guided through The Steps, renouncing all the lies as they surfaced. A few days later, she wrote:

God is different from what my concept of Him has been, and I choose to trust how God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. I am His child, and I choose to believe that He will relate to me as a good Father would. I am a new person. This day is new, and I eagerly await to experience it as a new creation, free from my past.

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


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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Not so Fast: A fine line between Spiritual Renewal and Condemnation.

Well for anyone who actually reads my blog regularly (I guess that would mean anyone having read it more than once lol! ); I apologize for the 2 week hiatus.   My last entry was a memorial to my friend, Jim McEathron and it took a lot out of me emotionally.  

On the heels of my last entry there was another significant loss to the body of Christ.  On January 3rd, Pastor Vaughan Jarrold died unexpectedly.   I only had the pleasure to hear Vaugh preach and teach on a few occasions but was deeply impressed with this mighty man of faith.  I was so impressed with Pastor Vaughn that when he invited people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit a couple of years ago at Rock Solid Church, I eagerly stepped forward to receive it.  I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect but when Vaughn spoke over me I was filled with the Spirit and did speak in tongues.  It freaked me out at the time and I know people don’t understand it but I credit the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues for giving me direct experiences with the Holy Spirit and for being the catalyst for my spiritual growth and my ongoing victory over alcoholism.   Although I only had limited exposure to Vaughn, I am forever indebted to him for the impartation of the Holy Spirit’s baptism and the gifts and victory that have followed it.   I didn’t know Vaughn’s wife and family but my thoughts and prayers were directed towards them in the wake of his passing.

After New Year’s Day, Rock Solid Church observes a period of fasting and prayer to encourage spiritual renewal for the upcoming year.   The fasting and prayer are completely voluntary and you set your own guidelines.  After the stress of my job changes, the holiday season, and possible symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (where is the sun!), I was really looking forward to placing my focus on the Lord and doing a Bible study I had been intending to do.   

The fasting period was from January 4th to the 6th and with my busy schedule of morning exercise, prayer, commute, and work I discovered it was relatively easy to not eat during the day.    At night I stayed out of the kitchen and retired to my basement retreat to get into the Bible Study.   My general attitude and demeanor during this time was that of an Augustinian monk, complete with pullover hoody to keep me warm in the chill of the basement.  I think next year I will read by candlelight and do some Gregorian chants to up the ante. 

The Bible study was about Spiritual Warfare focusing on Ephesians 6:10-20 where the Apostle Paul encourages us to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  It is a powerful study about Christians preparing themselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, prayer, the word of God, and the assurance of their own salvation to with stand temptations and overcome the challenges the face as Christians.   
 I wish I could say I made great progress with my study but the truth is that I didn’t get too far.  Distractions popped up and I was so tired that I only managed to study for a little over an hour the first two nights of the fast.  However, although my study was incomplete, the insights I had were eye opening.  

According to the study, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age…” but having fasted I felt the struggle was “against flesh and blood”, mainly my own! I had cravings to eat but then I realized that the cravings were not particularly physical in nature.  I stayed hydrated and my body wasn’t screaming for food.  All the demands for food seemed to be coming from my mind, out of habit, or just a compulsion to act or fill a moment with activity.  After the first day I realized I could live without eating constantly and I didn’t have to be a slave to answering mental cravings and compulsions.  

Going into day two of the fast I felt such relief and reflected that this could be what Jesus was referring to when he said in Matt 11:28 “I will give you rest.”  When we put aside the demands of the world and our own flesh and press into our faith, we can experience a clarity and peace that is only possible when we are directing ourselves to follow the Lord.  I was deeply impressed by how trivial my normal concerns and interests were when put in comparison with the things of the Lord.  I felt that there was nothing nobler than to seek and follow the will of the Lord for my life.  
With this perspective I examined my thought life, internal dialogue, personal narrative, or whatever you want to call it and I was deeply convicted of how mundanely selfish and sinful I am.  My introspection revealed what I considered to be a somewhat base reptilian instinct to serve myself and my selfish desires with little or no thought to consequences for myself or others.  Worse yet my reflections on my thought life revealed a historical tendency to indulgences in irrational and potentially damaging fantasy.  Mostly theses fantasies would stem from mental musings of “What would you do if”, “If you could do anything…”, and “If I wasn’t …” I realize these are probably normal mental diversions but I realized that they were a waste of time that encouraged irrational thought and discontentment.  So I would end up hoping for things that can’t happen or if pursued had the potential to destroy life I have come to know.  The major problem with this form of mental diversion is that the truth of who I am and what I have is lost.  I have realized that a lot of the crazy things I have done in my life have been the result of long periods of mental musings where desires over ruled common sense.  The great thing about realizing all this was that I now had the insight to break these trains of thought as they arise by focusing of who I am in Christ.  At the end of day two, I felt like I was really making progress. 

So on day three of the fast, the last day, I figured I had it made in the shade.  I had my busy day of work ahead of me to be followed by Wednesday night worship at the church and then straight to bed. Bam! Next morning = big breakfast of a spiritual champion!  So I was feeling great. I had a major insight into my thought processes and I saw myself overcoming all distractions to serve the Lord but then I told one of the guys at work that I was fasting and immediately I thought of Jesus’ comments regarding the Pharisees and fasting in Matthew 6:16-18, which basically says to keep your fasting to yourself; don’t make a public display of it.   By telling my co-worker I was fasting, I felt like I had been overcome with pride and whatever spiritual progress I had made was lost!  The condemnation came fast and quick after that.  After going home, I figured I blew so I ate.  After I ate I felt that I was a hypocrite and I couldn’t go to church which would be a prayer fest of faithful fasters!  I was a total failure!

The fast has been over for 10 days and I am happy to report that I got over my “failure” and I had a revelation that Jesus isn’t looking for perfection.  The gift of salvation is through faith in Jesus and what He did, not me.  It was a free gift and I can’t pay it back with my “good” behavior.  

I realize now that the spirit of condemnation that overcame me was not a spirit from God.  It is the works of Satan that tempts and that would have Christians condemn themselves.  I was focused on pressing into my faith in Christ.  Who would want to stop that? Ironically, I was doing a study on Spiritual Warfare only to end up a causality of it.  However, I am thankful for the insights I had during the fast and will try to use this experience to take up the whole armor of God in my defense in the future. 

I hope all who read this are well and I would encourage you to embrace your faith in Christ by getting into the word of God and attending a Bible believing Spirit filled church. I invite anyone in the Columbia County area to attend services at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY, at 8:30 and 11 am Sundays, and 7 pm Wednesdays.      

I would also recommend listening to the Bible for free through the website or download the Daily Audio Bible App for your smart phone or tablet.  I started using it on the first of the year and it is a great way to get the Word in your life. 

Until next time…. God Bless You!