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Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Strength in Prayer – Progressing to Breakthrough - Purity 938


 Strength in Prayer –  Progressing to Breakthrough - Purity 938

Purity 938 01/11/2023 Purity 938 Podcast

Purity 938 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a young woman fishing in waters that reflect the glory of heaven above comes from us from, former Emergency Room Nurse, and Emerging Christian Writer, Jennifer Schreiner, who shared this photo of an outing with her daughter on social media back on July 31st of 2022.

I met Jennifer at my local church during a Christian doctrines class and discovered that she not only had a keen eye for capturing scenes that give God glory from his creation, she also has a deep desire to encourage Christian women in following the Lord.  Jennifer’s mission is to support, equip, and encourage Christian women. You can follow her on Facebook with a link to her ministry page (https://www.facebook.com/Official.Jen.Schreiner)  that I am sharing on the blog today, or you can just go to https://jenschreiner.com/ where you will find her blog, a collection of Bible Verses for the  different seasons of life she has compiled, and other free resources such as lessons Jennifer has created and Free Printable Scripture Art Prints.    

Well, it’s Wednesday again and because of my participation in the Pray Together Prayer Event the days are long but the week seems to be flying by! However, paradoxically, I haven’t been worn down by the full days because I believe I am being restored and empowered by the Lord because my days have been filled with prayer!

Last night the event moved to Grace Chapel and the untied body of Christ came together to share communion and to pray for our children, their schools, their teachers and administrators, and ended with prayers for our Christian leaders. 

As much as we are petitioning the Lord with prayer in these specific areas, for others, I feel that the Lord is also using these sessions to cause us all to personal repentance as these sessions bring our faith to the forefront of our attention.  We believe in God. We believe in the power of prayer. And so we are drawing close to Him and to others in the body of Christ through our gathering.

If you are local to the capital district I am sharing the link to this week’s “Pray Together prayer event. ( https://starpoint.church/events/?fbclid=IwAR2Bi4rGW8KfvIZKXwIe8njRlmmYvMb8MRTESB5b2WDLvRdCytqKB9_oQ-g?sapurl=LytlMzE4L2xiL2V2Lyt3MzNoM3ljP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZSZyZWNlbnRSb3V0ZT1hcHAud2ViLWFwcC5saWJyYXJ5LmNhbGVuZGFyJnJlY2VudFJvdXRlU2x1Zz0lMkI5emdrZ3I1) Consider it my invitation to you to “Come and See” what the Lord may do in this event.   Tonight, we will be praying at Faith Church in Rexford and it is my prayer that even more Christians will come out in unity to pray.

Personally, I am being blessed by this event and by my decision to go  through the “30 Days to Resilient” Program on the One Minute Pause App as these concentrated effort to be in prayer and meditation seems to be renewing my convictions, building up my spirit,  and preparing me for the new prayer ministry training I will begin next week and the next round of the Freedom in Christ course I will begin facilitating at the end of the month.  

Sometimes we can begin the new year overwhelmed by the idea that “it is starting all over again” or by the unfinished business that wasn’t resolved, but when we draw close to the Lord in prayer and repentance, we can draw on His strength and wisdom to assist us in another’s year’s journey.

2023 seems to be full of potential thus far as I am excited by the new opportunities to grow and to serve the Lord and am hopeful to progress to breakthrough status with a few areas that have carried over from the past.    

Because it is “hump” day, and because I have been up and down the mountain of yo-yo dieting for most of my life, I am seeking to break the chains and shift the paradigms regarding food once and for all.  

My pattern seems to be of literal gains and losses with the ebb and flow of discipline and compromise. History reveals that I keep fighting over the same ground, as complacency and passivity leads to surrendering the progress that was so hard fought for.  I seem to get to a certain place and just stop.  I have success but than I hit a wall. I make progress but I don’t “break through”

As someone who has overcome other addictions and had genuine success with my health at times, it is frustrating to be in a Romans 7 situation with this “body of death”, this flesh.  

I joined the “swipe up to see my video” – V shred program and although I feel stronger from the work outs, my diet over the holidays was way too festive, and mindless, and now I have to go back to the drawing board, again in terms of being mindful and intentional and disciplined of what I eat.   And thus I am confessing it all here.  I want this year to be the year that I have the breakthrough.  I want to have the same success over food that I have with my former addictions.

So things might get a little crazy, things may get a little extreme. But that really is a matter of opinion. The “indulgent” society of mediocrity and comfort foods discourages what works. It speaks of moderation and balance but in truth it opens a door to complacency, passivity, and failure.  Hard truth.  

Moderation doesn’t work for the addict. Ask me how I know. 

I know this from experience but because of the pressures of an indulgent society and the personal weakness to want to indulge the flesh I have ignored the wisdom of it.  

There are some “extreme” things an addict needs to do to be set free and to stay free.  We are not like the rest, and actually – the vast majority of people live in bondage or ignorance – so we don’t want to be like the rest.

Addicts need to eliminate, not moderate, the things that trip them up.  They need to make the “wise choice” to say an emphatic and eternal “No” to the things they have discovered that cause them to fail.   

Me, I am currently do the “smoke the whole carton” thing at my place down by the River - when it comes to food.  I bought a bunch of food items that I shouldn’t have for my adult children to enjoy in my absence during my recent holiday break.  But they didn’t eat them.  Granted they didn’t ask for them… but this stronghold of “not wanting to waste food or money” kicked in which caused me to eat what I shouldn’t have as sort of a punishment for both wasting the money and buying the food.  

SO this morning I am happy, shamed, and embarrassed to report that all the holiday food is gone.   Sometimes you have to hit “rock bottom” to start your way back up.  So I am drawing on the strength that the Lord is giving me with my increased emphasis on prayer and am going to pour it into being disciplined in this battle of the flesh.  I

t is my intention to resist the world, the flesh, and the devil and take this year and use it to overcome and to get to a place that I have been before, to accomplish a healthy lifestyle that will result in the elimination of my sleep apnea machine.  This was my goal over the last two years and it is my intention to try to “get ‘er done” and break on through to the other side like I have never done before.  

So, rather than surrender to failure, I am going to keep walking and talking with God in prayer to draw on His strength, guidance, and wisdom to overcome and to not fall into those old familiar traps that would cause me to slip and fall again.   

I believe in prayer. I believe that God can help us. So if you are facing new or old struggles this year, let me encourage you to lean on the Lord and to help you progress beyond progress and find the breakthrough and victory that He has for you.

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 3:16 (NLT2)
16  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Today’s verse really kicks off the “new intention” quite nicely.  God has UNLIMITED resources to empower us with inner strength through His Spirit.  

If we need strength, we get it from God. And today’s verse tells us how: prayer!  

So let’s pray to God, abide in Him, and keep praying the inner strength that He has for us that will cause us to do the “impossible” in our lives.

 

___________________________________________

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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER THREE

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN ADMINISTRATION continues

2. God governs irrational creatures

What a striking illustration of God’s government over the animal kingdom is found in Genesis 2:19! “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air: and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” Should it be said that this occurred in Eden, and took place before the fall of Adam and the consequent curse which was inflicted on every creature, then our next reference fully meets the objection: God’s control of the beasts was again openly displayed at the Flood. Mark how God caused to “come unto” Noah every specie of living creature “of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, of every creeping thing after his kind: two of every sort shall come unto thee” (Gen. 6:19, 20)—all were beneath God’s sovereign control. The lion of the jungle, the elephant of the forest, the bear of the polar regions; the ferocious panther, the untameable wolf, the fierce tiger; the high-soaring eagle and the creeping crocodile—see them all in their native fierceness, and yet, quietly submitting to the will of their Creator, and coming two by two into the ark!

We referred to the plagues sent upon Egypt as illustrating God’s control of inanimate matter, let us now turn to them again to see how they demonstrate His perfect rulership over irrational creatures. At His Word the river brought forth frogs abundantly, and these frogs entered the palace of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and, contrary to their natural instincts, they entered the beds, the ovens and the kneadingtroughs (Ex. 8:13). Swarms of flies invaded the land of Egypt, but there were no flies in the land of Goshen! (Ex. 8:22). Next, the cattle were stricken, and we read, “Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one” (Ex. 9:3–6). In like manner God sent clouds of locusts to plague Pharaoh and his land, appointing the time of their visitation, determining the course and assigning the limits of their depredations.

Angels are not the only ones who do God’s bidding. The brute beasts equally perform His pleasure. The sacred ark, the ark of the covenant, is in the country of the Philistines. How is it to be brought back to its home land? Mark the servants of God’s choice, and how completely they were beneath His control: “And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. And they said.… Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return Him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof, and send it away that it may go. And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then He hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.” And what happened? How striking the sequel! “And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (1 Sam. 6). Equally striking is the case of Elijah: “And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to fee thee there” (1 Kings 17:2–4). The natural instinct of these birds of prey was held in subjection, and instead of consuming the food themselves, they carried it to Jehovah’s servant in his solitary retreat.

Is further proof required? then it is ready at hand. God makes a dumb ass to rebuke the prophet’s madness. He sends forth two she-bears from the woods to devour forty and two of Elijah’s tormentors. In fulfillment of His word, He causes the dogs to lick up the blood of the wicked Jezebel. He seals the mouths of Babylon’s lions when Daniel is cast into the den, though, later, He causes them to devour the prophet’s accusers. He prepares a great fish to swallow the disobedient Jonah and then, when His ordained hour struck, compelled it to vomit him forth on dry land. At His bidding a fish carries a coin to Peter for tribute money, and in order to fulfil His word He makes the cock crow twice after Peter’s denial. Thus we see that God reigns over irrational creatures: beasts of the field, birds of the air, fishes of the sea, all perform His sovereign bidding.[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/@MT4Christ247

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 45–47.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak - Purity 909


Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak -  Purity 909    

Purity 909 12/08/2022 Purity 909 Podcast

Purity 909 on YouTube:  


 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pathway leading to the shores of Lake Ontario and to the Webster Pier, just off camera, to the right, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at Webster Park while on my meandering journey to Buffalo back on November 10th. 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share photos of pathways on Thursdays, originally because that was the night I used to teach at Celebrate Freedom and encourage people to come and “get set free” from whatever “hurts, habits, and hang ups”, but although that recovery ministry is now disbanded, I still encourage people to get on, or to stay on, the path of Christian Discipleship because I have learned that the Lord calls us to allow Him into all the areas of our lives and doesn’t call us to recover, He calls us to be healed and set free from all the things that would keep us in bondage, especially the lies of the enemy and the world system that propagates them.   

I encourage people to stay the course of Christian discipleship, because frankly, I need to hear these encouragements myself!  While I have been set free from many of the things that used to tie me in knots in the past, to the point where I am utterly amazed at the extent of what the Lord has done in my life, I have come to recognize that I am still a work in progress and could easily be a Romans 7 Christian and lament:

Romans 7:19 (NLT2)
19  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

My eating habits and spending habits are still areas of my life in which I could say I want to do what is good but don’t!   At Parties or Special occasions I will release the restraints and sabotage my health goals by overeating or choosing to eat foods that I know are laden with sugar or carbohydrates, the elements that help our bodies store fat! (https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_7frg4jjd) 

Last night, I went to my church’s Christmas holiday party for men, Starpoint Church’s “Men’s Sock Exchange” for the second year in a row and while I brought an appetizer that consisted of only of meat and cheese, pizza and cookies also happened to be on the buffet line and against my better judgement I threw caution to the wind and had some of each, and even took two slices of pizza home to eat before bed!

So back to the drawing board today.  The good news is that other than Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, I don’t have any more holiday parties on the schedule and with this latest failure I am motivated to “correct the course” as I realized that in truth I have been a little mindless in my eating as I have been enjoying mQuest bars, which are nutritionally okay, two and three at a time, and the other night I decided to get in the “holiday spirit” by eating some Planter’s “Brittle Nut Medley” that I had bought for someone as a gift!  DOH! So yeah, we have to be careful to stay aware of what we are doing because our flesh will cause us to slip up and excuse these “little indulgences” until the point where we are living in denial and sabotaging ourselves.  

I confess all of this, because that’s what I do, and with the hopes that I will now repent. I have already brought it to the Lord in prayer and will lean on His strength to try to right the ship.   Because man, I can be disciplined at times, but boy can I be weak at other times.  

But I am not beating myself up about it, I just plan on doing what is right today, and will endeavor to do what is right tomorrow. That’s all we can do, one day at a time, one moment at a time.  And the best way to stay on course is to keep walking and talking with God as we go.  I noticed I didn’t really consult with the Lord in all these instances of failure… how about that.   In all seriousness, I plan on seriously repenting and to start journalling my food intake to try to keep self-aware.  I planned on doing that but the app I used in the past to do that changed and made it “hard”.  I know “lame excuse” but I see the root of my failure, a lack of self-awareness.

Anyway last night, the men’s sock exchange was a fun event. It gives Christian men an opportunity to fellowship, to eat, and to have some fun with the “white elephant gift exchange” game, where the men can choose to keep the gift they receive or “steal” someone else’s gift.  So when you get a gift you don’t know if you are going to keep it, unless it’s a lame gift, in that case you are pretty guaranteed that it’s yours, but you never know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

The order of the game is determined by a random draw of numbers, and goes sequentially from 1 to whatever, I think there was 30 people there last night.   A few additional rules for the game include that number 1, the first person to select a gift has the option to steal a gift at the end of the game, because they didn’t have a choice being first,  also in our version it was determined that you could only steal one particular gift 3 times. If something was stolen twice, the third thief would get to keep it as that item was considered “frozen” or “gone”.   Also the person who was “victimized the most, who had been stolen from more times than anyone would also get a “special prize” – which turned out to be gift card to Starbucks.   

Last year, I went home with a pair of Rudoph socks after having stolen a “good pair” of work sock from someone else, getting my just deserts right near the end of the game. So I was a little weary of what to expect and was trying to let go of any expectations of getting anything good and just have fun watching things take place.  

I was even more weary after I saw my number, 11!  I figured there was no way to “win” with 11 because if I got anything good there would be almost 20 thieves who could take it from me!  

Sometimes, these games can be pretty sedate as you can have a crowd who wants to “play fair” but I have noticed that after the first person steals a gift, the stealing increases.  The first few guys just picked presents but number 7 decided to steal a gift, a nice set of hiking socks, from one of the guys that went before him so the “game was a Foot”.  The next couple of guys just picked gifts, but number 10 decided to steal from number 7, the thief had lost his ill gotten gains.   

So it’s my turn, and I can see the opportunity before me.  I could pick a gift and hope for the best, or I could take control of the situation and be assured of my final outcome right here, right now! 

So, I stand up and walk over to number 10 and say: “I’m not getting “zonked” again this year!” and steal the Eddie Bauer, 6 pack of Moisture wicking, odor control, arch support, men’s hiking socks, for myself.  Game recognizes game, and all the men given me a hearty round of applause, for real!  

This is what we call a “power move”. It’s like a prison inmate going up and hitting the biggest baddest dude in the yard on his first day in the penitentiary.  You establish your reputation for being strong or wise by some act that demonstrates “your power”. 

So even though, I was feeling pretty weak with number 11, I seized the day and felt pretty “powerful doing it”! I may not be able to wear these hiking socks until the spring but when I do I can remember this moment and laugh and take a little pride in how I “beat them” at their own game.   

This is a silly example of course, and I know that I am quite weak in many ways, but this little anecdote from last night’s party demonstrates a basica principle of life and Christian discipleship.  The Lord has put us where we are in life, in this time and season, and as we go we will be presented with opportunities and choices of what to do.   And its up to us to:

1.    Be aware – if I wasn’t paying attention to the rules or what was going on I could have missed this opportunity to “get something good”

2.    Remember our pasts and learn from them -  The sting of last year’s “zonk” was at the forefront of my mind and I was trying to avoid a similar outcome

3.    Hope -  Although, with my disappointing number draw,  I was hopeful that “some how and in some way” I’d get something good

4.    Act – although the circumstances fell in my favor, we call that being “blessed” in Christian circles, - I still had to be “bold and courageous” and act.  

And these are  our walking instructions on the path of Christian discipleship. 

Be Aware

Remember Our Pasts, and what we have learned from  the word of God in our pasts, – and learn from It 

Hope – and Pray

Act – DO SOMETHING – When the time is right, Get ‘er done. 

So although we can be weak at times, even us weaklings can pull off a power move on occasion, but I have to remind you just how weak we are and that the best way and the most power we can draw from is found when we follow the Lord. 

So keep walking and talking with God, He will help you in your weakness and when you walk in His ways you can know His awesome power that launches you into a new life of freedom and  victory

 

Unfortunately, I am weak and short on time so I will have to share a Bible verse from the NLT Promise book for men tomorrow..


___________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Ten

The Body of Christ, continues

 

The earthly body of Jesus is crucified and dies. In his death the new humanity is also crucified and dies with him. Since Christ had not taken on an individual human being, but rather human ‘form’, sinful flesh, human ‘nature’, all that he bore, therefore, suffers and dies with him. All our infirmities and all our sin he bears to the cross. It is we who are crucified with him and who die with him. True, Christ’s earthly body dies, but only to rise again from death as an incorruptible, transfigured body. It is the same body—the tomb was, indeed, empty!—and yet it is a new body. Jesus thus brings humanity not only into death with him, but also into the resurrection. Thus even in his glorified body he still bears the humanity which he had taken on during his days on earth.

How then do we come to participate in this body of Christ who did all this for us? For this much is certain: there is no community with Jesus Christ other than the community with his body! It is in this body alone that we are accepted and able to find salvation! The way we do gain a share in the community of the body of Christ is through the two sacraments of his body, that is, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In a very transparent allusion, John the Evangelist reports that from the crucified body of Jesus Christ there issued water and blood, the elements of both sacraments (John 19:34, 35). This testimony is confirmed by Paul when he ties membership in the body of Christ strictly to these two sacraments. The sacraments have their origin and goal in the body of Christ. Sacraments exist only because there is a body of Christ. There they begin and end. The word of proclamation alone is not sufficient to bring us into community with the body of Jesus Christ; the sacrament is necessary too. Baptism incorporates us as members into the unity of the body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper keeps us in this community (κοινωνία) with Christ’s body. Baptism makes us members of the body of Christ. We are “baptized into” Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3); we are “brought into one body by baptism” (1 Cor. 12:13). In our death in baptism, the Holy Spirit thus appropriates to us personally what Christ in his body has gained for the whole of humanity. We receive the community of the body of Christ in the same way the disciples and followers of Jesus received it in the early days, and this means that we are now “with Christ” and “in Christ,” and that “Christ is in us.” Once the body of Christ is properly understood, the meaning of these expressions becomes perfectly clear.

It is true that all human beings as such are “with Christ” as a consequence of the incarnation, since Jesus bears the whole of human nature. His life, death, and resurrection are thus real events which involve all human beings (Rom. 5:18ff.; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14). Nevertheless, Christians are “with Christ” in a special sense. What for the rest of humanity becomes a cause of death is for Christians a gift of grace. In baptism they are assured that they have “died with Christ” (Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20), are “crucified with him” (Rom. 6:6), “buried with him” (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12), and “planted together [with him] in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5), and that they will therefore also live with him (Rom. 6:8; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:11; 2 Cor. 7:3). The reason that “we are with Christ” is that Christ is Immanuel, “God with us.” Only if we come to know Christ in this way does our “being with Christ” become a gift of grace. We are then “baptized into Christ” (είς), into the community of his suffering. We become ourselves members of this body, and the community of those who are baptized becomes a body which is none other than Christ’s own body. They are thus “in Christ” (έν), and “Christ is in them.” They are no longer “under the law” (Rom. 2:12; 3:19), no longer “in the flesh” (Rom. 7:5; 8:3, 8, 9; 2 Cor. 10:3), no longer “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22). With their entire existence and throughout all expressions of their life they are henceforth “in Christ.”

Paul can describe the miracle of Christ’s incarnation in an almost infinite variety of perspectives. Everything we have said thus far may be summed up in the phrase: Christ is “for us,” not only in his word and his attitude toward us, but in his bodily life. Christ stands bodily before God in the place that should be ours. He has stepped into our place. He suffers and dies for us, and is able to do so because he bears our flesh (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:10, etc.). The body of Jesus Christ is “for us” in the strictest sense of the word—on the cross, in the word, in baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. All bodily community with Jesus Christ rests on this fact.[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/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her 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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 215–217.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Putting the Toys Away - Purity 800


Putting the Toys Away - Purity 800

Purity 800 08/03/2022 Purity 800 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a white Horse underneath a blazing sun on a hillside somewhere in Kosovo comes to us from a friend who is currently taking a year to be a part of a traveling Christian mission trip. They shared this pic among many others back on July 7th documenting their groups recent adventure, commenting:

“We Biked Across Kosovo!!! It was an experience for sure, several sore bottoms and close to 100 miles biked! We made it to the Village of Brod, the place God pointed us towards.

During this time I learned so much about the Provision of God. Whenever we wonder if we would have a place to spend the night after all day of biking (pushing our bikes😵💫), we would stop and ask God, and He always had something for us. God showed up over and over again throughout our day in that village.

Sometimes we just need to stop and recognize all the details we missed through the mundaneness of life. He’s in every single moment. Let’s stop for a moment and ponder all of the wonderful things He has gifted us with…” 

I couldn’t agree more with my friend and part of our purpose for  doing this blog and podcast is to serve as an encouraging word for others to recognize the presence of God in their lives and to seek to know His will for our lives and to follow where He leads us.    

Well, It’s Wednesday and I thought my friend’s “Typical horse sighting” served as an adequate visual representation of “hump day” and their words were a good encouragement to lead us through the midpoint of the first work week of August.  

I for one am loving the decision I made to make a fresh new start with the eighth month of the year  by deciding to focus on my physical and spiritual health by watching what I put in my body in terms of food and what I put in my mind and soul in terms of what I put before my eyes.  

Over the last three days, I have remained “on plan” with my food choices and exercise regiment and have avoided seeking entertainment from secular sources and instead have been focusing on preparing for my weekly discipleship’s group presentation tomorrow and viewing only material that would edify my spirit, Christian material that I was interested in but had left unattended as I was under the false impression that I wasn’t “really relaxing” if I was only watching Christian material.  

The advice to be careful about what we put before our eyes is a pretty basic tenant of Christian Discipleship but I really think I might be in the midst of a break through here because even though I “knew that” it was better to only view or put my focus upon things that would build me up, particularly Christian material, than it was to watch “junk” from the secular world, I am realizing that “knowledge” was sort of hypothetical. This knowledge “that it was better to watch or focus on Christian material”  was a mental construct that didn’t penetrate to my heart but I think that it is now.  

I think It's time to get rid of the “shoulds” and just do what is best, for my body, for my mind, and for my soul and for my spirit.  

When we come into this Christian walk of faith, there is an encouragement from the world and from ourselves to draw back, to “not be so extreme”, and to go back to the things we have always liked to find comfort, solace, and relaxation. 

And believe me, I think for those new in Christ, it is wise to go slow in this walk at first because we need the time to renew our mind by word of God and to let the truth of who we are in Christ to be accepted and applied to our life. 

But in truth, here is one of those startling realizations of our faith, we are not who we used to be any more. We are new creations in Christ and as much as we enjoyed certain hobbies and forms of entertainment in the past, they may not be best for us anymore.  As we walk out our faith, we are maturing and we may discover that not only are we “growing out” of our former childish ways that we learned from world system, we may discover that they are increasing becoming “alien” to us as we realize the things we are into really have no part in our new life.  

Just as a young adult may have some grief over having to leave their toys behind as they are called to grow up and take on new responsibilities but know that their “growing up” is right and to remain in their childish ways would be dysfunctional, Christians may have to mourn the loss of seemingly harmless things that subtly deny or oppose the truth of God’s word, knowing that the Lord has “better things” for us to see and do.   

Just like that young adult may go back to their toys only to discover that “the thrill is gone” or don’t find the same enjoyment in them because “they are too old”, the Christian may increasingly discover that the Holy Spirit is making them more sensitive or discerning and the secular things they enjoyed in the past some how no longer seem worth while or may even seem “wrong” in some way.   

Who we are is not what we do.  Our character defines who we are and it drives what we will do.  

For the Christian, we have a new life given to us by God and the Holy Spirit is calling us to increasingly have the character of Christ.  So as we walk out our faith, the Christian needn’t fear that they are “losing their identity” when they begin to walk away from the things they always watched or did. 

Those shows, programs, or hobbies that we did before coming to Christ did not make us who we are. God made us. And by His grace, He has called us to life everlasting and to be the people we always wanted to be but who never dared to dream we could be.  

When we go back to those old childish ways of seeking entertainment, it’s like we are choosing to be children again, and not only that it is a subtle way of turning away from God. In essence, when we turn to the world for our comfort, relaxation, or entertainment it is subtly saying that who we were before coming to Christ was “just fine” and we don’t want to “grow up.”

The same goes for food.  I have studied and learned some hard truths about the things I used to eat and have made some considerable progress with my health because I have eliminated certain foods from my diet completely.  But Oh there are some foods that I know are not healthy for me and my health goals, that I have gone back to “feel good” and surprise most of those are sweet things I enjoyed as a child. 

So instead of doing what I “know” is good, I choose to go back to things from my childhood that seem harmless but that are actually sabotaging my progress and are opposed to my health goals.  

Secular entertainment contradicts the word of God and who I want to be in terms of my character.  And “junk foods” contradict the order that God created in that if I indulge in junk, my body will suffer. 

This might seem radical but all truth is God’s truth. So although there might not be a book on nutrition in the Bible, our scientific studies and observations of God’s created order can reveal to us “God’s truth on nutrition”. 

I won’t list anything here but health experts will tell you to avoid certain foods or avoid exceeding certain levels of nutrition.  Because these principles are based on observations from God’s created order, when we ignore and violate the principles for proper nutrition, one could say that we are denying “God’s truth on nutrition” and we suffer the negative consequences for our nutritional “sins”.  

The breakthrough that I am talking about here is a paradigm shift where we no longer turn a blind eye to how what we are doing opposes the principles of God’s truth and instead align our behaviors to stay within God’s wisdom. 

The idea of only doing what is healthy and spiritual edifying is incredibly simple but I think it is something that we find just as easy to dismiss as the world, the flesh, the devil, and our pasts have taught us and actively encourage us to compromise “what its best” for “what we have always known” of for “what we have always done”.  

The problem with those last two things is that as Christians, we are no longer the people that we have always been.  We are new creations. 

So let’s keep walking and talking with God and let’s renew our minds with God’s word but let’s also challenge the things we do and question whether we are living like a child of God, or like the unredeemed children of wrath we once were who simply didn’t know any better, or did but was powerless to change.

As Christians, we don’t so much have to change. We are new creations. We just have to be who we are now.  So the next time we feel like doing “what we always have done” decide if that lines up with who you are now in Christ and instead of mentally agreeing that your old ways aren’t the best, know in your heart that they really don’t have a place in your new life.   Say goodbye to your childish ways and put the toys away. 

Those things belong to some one who is dead and gone, and instead of living like a ghost of your former self who was always depressed, guilty, angry, anxious, or sad, leave those things behind and walk into the new life God has given you.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT2)
10  For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Today’s verse speaks about the Lord’s provision for the Christian.  

As my missionary friend marveled over how the Lord provided for their team in Kosovo, today’s verse reminds us that God will provide but the text indicates that although the Lord may provide for our material needs that real harvest and increase in resources will be in us.  

As we walk out our faith, growth happens in our character.  When we realize that the Lord will provide for our material needs and we recognize all that He has done for us we become generous.

So show and share the love God in you, by giving what you have received to others.

 

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

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Christ Alone Is Sufficient

Paul applied his teaching on the sole supremacy of Christ to their situation. He wanted nothing more than to see them conducting their lives with Christ as the focus. He writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col 2:6–7). Paul assured them that they have all the resources they need in Christ. Just as God bestowed on Christ all his divine fullness, so Christ imparts to believers the enabling power, love and divine grace for resisting the influence of evil and living according to God’s desires. Paul plainly says, “and you have been given fullness in Christ” (Col 2:10). It is no mistake that the very next statement that Paul makes is the description of Christ as the one “who is the head over every power and authority” (Col 2:10). The clear implication of this passage is that part of the divine resources that Christ bestows on believers is his authority over the evil powers.

Christ can impart his fullness to them because of their unique relationship to him, symbolized in the rite of baptism. They have been made alive with Christ by being identified with him in his death and resurrection (Col 2:12–13). Their death with Christ has effectively rendered them dead to the powerful influence of the elemental spirits (Col 2:20). He alone is sufficient to protect them from evil spirits. No phylacteries, amulets or talismans are necessary. Neither is mystery initiation essential for additional spiritual enlightenment since Christ is “the mystery of God” and in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (gnōsis)” (Col 2:2–3).

The hope and strength of these believers is wrapped up in the fact that Christ actually indwells their lives (Col 1:27). This fact is not to be understood in the sense of a mystical absorption into deity. Christ personally indwells their lives and infuses them with his power, filling them with his love and giving them a blessed hope for the future. This is the essence of the Christian “mystery.”

The epitomizing trait of Christianity is relationship with Christ. Given his all-encompassing lordship and his all-sufficiency, the Colossians are left with no legitimate reason to syncretize their faith. Christ is all they need!

Appropriating the Resources in Christ

Having the right concept of Christ is not enough. Giving assent to a creed or a statement of faith does not guarantee victorious living. In practice, theology can easily become severed from ethics, and what one believes about Christ may not necessarily affect the way a person lives. Christology has life-changing implications. It demands a total response and commitment.

The Colossians needed to have their concept of Christ purified, and they needed to be admonished to draw on the resources he provides for day-to-day life. Paul chided them for “not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with the growth which is from God” (Col 2:19 NASB). It is the “head” of the body that provides what they need, but they have to seek and be willing to receive the nourishment he offers. They also need to endeavor earnestly to live in a way that is consonant with the character of their new heavenly life. They are citizens of two kingdoms. The temptation will be for them to fix their attention on the limitations and problems of life in the present evil age. Paul contended strongly that their focus of attention must be placed on the character of their new life and all the spiritual blessings, security and divine endowments that it brings. For Paul this focus is the secret for overcoming life’s obstacles in the here and now; it is the basis for Christian ethics. New Testament scholars refer to it as Paul’s “eschatological tension” between the “already” and the “not-yet,” which is at the heart of his theology.

Appropriating the benefits of this new life requires that the Colossians set their hearts and minds “on things above” (Col 3:1–2). “Above” is where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. It is also where the lives of the Colossians are “now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3) because of their identification with Christ’s death. Part of seeking the heavenly life is through deeply immersing themselves in Christ’s teachings. Paul encouraged them to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16). It also involves prayer, an expression of faith in God but also the channel to communicate with God and convey one’s needs to him. Paul therefore enjoined them to “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col 4:2). Aware of his own need for divine strength and enablement, Paul requested prayer for himself (Col 4:3–4).

At Colossae the syncretistic impulse facing Christians was strong, especially since a lifetime pattern of worshiping many gods had reinforced it. The pressure from outside the church must have been equally intense. People in Colossian society would not have understood Christ’s exclusivistic claims. The false teaching at Colossae was undoubtedly packaged and presented in an alluring way. But for the apostle Paul it was wrong. It was wrong because evil spirits inspired it, and because it detracted from the supreme and sufficient lordship of Jesus Christ.[1]

 

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 145–147.