Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, September 20, 2021

In the Zone – Planning, Purpose, and Forgiveness - Purity 528

In the Zone – Planning, Purpose, and Forgiveness - Purity 528

Purity 528 09/20/2021   Purity 528 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a view of the heavens and some pines trees in an undisclosed northern pacific forest area comes to us from a friend who vacationed in Oregon near the end of August.  It must have been an eventful trip to Oregon for a few weeks after this photo was taken the couple who hiked underneath this sky committed themselves to travel the trails of this earth together as husband and wife as they announced their engagement on September 11th.  The beauty of God’s creation can not only draw us closer to Him, but it can also cause us to see what’s important in life and  draw closer to one another. 

It’s Monday again and whether you are missing the weekend already or for some reason are glad to be getting back to work, I share today’s photo as a reminder to not be so “earthly minded” as to be no “heavenly good”.  I love turning that phrase around to remind us that the things of this earth are not as important as we can make them out to be sometimes and that we shouldn’t let the changing and possibly stressful circumstances of the beginnings of another work week fill us with anxiety or dread.

If we keep our eyes on the skies and our minds on the “big picture” by contemplating the things of God and our purposes on earth according to Him, we can skillfully navigate through the cares of another day with a peace and a joy that is based on the Truth that tells us that we are loved and provided for by the One who made all things.  

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t take care of our responsibilities on earth. Over the weekend, I spent time talking with my son about the benefits of using the “in between” times, those spare minutes, or hours in between his classes, to be productive so that his “free time” after classes could be “more free”. I pointed out that while the “in between” times could be used to rest or commune with God in prayer, typically we squander that time looking at our phones or just doing nothing but waiting for our next appointment or activity.

I explained that as his responsibilities increase with age, his “free time” will become less and less and that it is a good idea to stay ahead of his responsibilities, so he doesn’t have to play “catch up” and get things done at the last minute.  I explained that there was only so much time in the day and that we can really benefit by planning how we use it and utilizing the “in between” times with purposeful activity rather than just “sitting around waiting”.  If we are busy anyway between 9 to 5, we might as well make the most of those hours to try to get ahead of the things that are demanded of us.  

Of course, I counseled him to not become a slave to the grind by being balanced in his choices and to consider the consequences for what he decided to do or what he decided not to do in each moment.    

God made us to be stewards of our lives and take care of the things we have been given.  He also wants us to commune with Him. God gave us minds to think and to plan so we should utilize them to be able to benefit from our relationship with God and also meet the obligations set before us.

 So to find the peace and joy of the Lord, we are to stay connected to Him by giving Him some of our time each day to rest in His presence and glean from His wisdom.  When we have established a foundation of peace and joy in the Lord’s presence, we face the challenges of the day with hope and confidence, knowing that what ever we must face we are assured of our total acceptance, significance, and security with the Lord.

This basis of peace and joy in the Lord is supported, maintained, and enhanced when we plan for and overcome the challenges of the day by anticipating problems and preparing for them.  When we successful meet the challenges of the day as they come up we can rejoice in our capabilities and thank the Lord for using the wisdom and skills He has given us.  

Our best days are usually days where we were “in the zone” where we skillfully dealt with all that was before us and never lost our cool.  I would suggest that we can have more of those days when we start with the assurance of God in our lives, and we use the gifts he has given us to meet our responsibilities with “grace” under fire.  

So go out there and “get her done” but when you do be sure to connect with the Spirit, the Father, and the Son.  We were never meant to walk through life alone and when God is with you can enjoy His peace and joy dealing with every day ”in the zone.”  


Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set: 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)
13  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Today’s verse teaches a foundational lesson of the Christian faith: forgiveness.  

Recently, I had someone comment on one of my blog posts asking for specifics on a particular topic in the Bible. The question indicated that the person had some pain in their life, and it also indicated that they might not have the deepest relationship with God.

The question they were asking, “What does God say about X”, could have been put into a search engine instead of into the comments section of my post and reaped a plethora of Bible verses and articles by Christians addressing their subject. But sometimes we are not looking for answers, sometimes when we are in pain and we are looking for a fight.  

In addition to the question, the person shared a comment that was placing the blame on the other party in their broken relationship, indicating that as far as they were concerned the person asking the questions had “done everything right” and it was the other person, and God apparently, that had let them down.    So they had an axe to grind.  They were angry and hurt and in their pain, (or in their ignorance or spiritual immaturity) they had a “beef” with God and were challenging His wisdom or looking to use it to condemn the other party on their relationship as wrong.   

I usually don’t entertain questions that are asked with the “spirit of rebellion” so prominently on display because I know that the person isn’t going to hear what I am going to say anyway.  But for some reason, I tried.  

The particular topic asked about was divorce and what God had to say about people who caused the divorce through their actions while the other spouse tried to honor their responsibilities.

Instead of writing a book to detail the Biblical wisdom that could address this situation, I decided to try some short somewhat pithy observations and a suggestion to be made right with God individually by recognizing one’s own part in the situation and resolving to repent and live a discipled life in Christ. 

My exact comment was this: "Do you want the verses on how God hates divorce or the ones about how we are to forgive those who sin against us? Bottom line - God cares about our situations and advises us to follow Him as a response, to walk through all the pain and suffering this world has to offer. The question is will you follow Him or do things your way… that played a part in where we find ourselves. "

As for God on divorce.

Malachi 2:15-16 (NLT2)
15  Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
16  “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

So God doesn’t want us to divorce. He hates it but Christ’s words and other statements by the Apostles in the New Testament indicate that there are certain situations that permit divorce.  Regardless of if you divorce for Biblical reasons or not, the basic remedy to the broken relationship, whether it is to be restored or not, is forgiveness. 

Basically, I was pointing to the Lord’s command to forgive. And as today’s verse indicates, as this person had a “complaint against another” I was suggesting that “even as Christ forgave” us, so we “also must do.”    The verse doesn’t mince words. As Christians, we “must” forgive.  

Also we must respect the Lord as God Almighty. His ways are higher than our ways, and frankly when we are challenging the Lord’s wisdom we are definitely in the wrong and should seek His forgiveness as well. 

Either we are with God, or we are not. If we decided to live life our way, we should be prepared for the negative consequences in this world and eternal torment in the next. 

If we really want to know what God has to say about something, we must seek His truth by reading His word and then we are obligated to obey it.   Otherwise, we will have not peace in this life and quite possibly no peace beyond this life.  

So if you need Bible verses, do a google search. You’ll get a bunch. But when you do your search, you might discover the simple fact that you need to be forgiven by God and if you are going to receive it you will obligating yourself to follow and obey Him, and part of that is going to require you to forgive those that sin against you.  

If we put our suffering above what Christ suffered on the cross for us, we need to wake up, grow up, and repent.  

No one said that the Christian way of life was easy. Christ said the world would hate us and that we would be persecuted for being His disciples.  But Christ has overcome the world and although we will suffer in this life we can still manage to know the peace and joy that go beyond understanding by being assured of His love and our salvation by placing our faith in Him.

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


Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.


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:

E. What Is God's Ultimate Plan and Purpose for Boundaries?

God is all about relationships, and we are created in His image. Our hearts seek to be bonded, and the one eternal bond is with God, established through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the ultimate yearning of our soul—to be with God. . . .

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

(Romans 8:38-39)

Plan of Salvation

4 Points of God's Plan

#1 God's Purpose for You . . . is Salvation.

  • —What was God's motivation in sending Jesus Christ to earth?
    To express His love for you by saving you! The Bible says...
    "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17).
  • —What was Jesus' purpose in coming to earth?
    To forgive your sins, to empower you to have victory over sin, and to enable you to live a fulfilled life! Jesus said...
    "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV).

#2 Your Problem . . . is Sin.

  • —What exactly is sin?
    Sin is living independently of God's standard—knowing what is right, but choosing what is wrong. The Bible says...
    "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them" (James 4:17).
    —What is the major consequence of sin?
    Spiritual death, eternal separation from God. Scripture states. . .
    "Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God. . . . The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23).

#3 God's Provision for You . . . is the Savior.

  • —Can anything remove the penalty for sin?
    Yes! Jesus died on the cross to personally pay the penalty for your sins. The Bible says...
    "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
    —What is the solution to being separated from God?
    Belief in (entrusting your life to) Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. Jesus says. . .
    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. . . . Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..." (John 14:6; Acts 16:31).

#4 Your Part . . . is Surrender.

  • —Give Christ control of your life, entrusting yourself to Him. . . .
    "Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple, must deny themselves and take up their cross [die to your own self-rule] and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).
  • —Place your faith in (rely on) Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and reject your "good works" as a means of earning God's approval. . . .
    "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The moment you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior—entrusting your life to Him—He comes to live inside you. Then He gives you His power to live the fulfilled life God has planned for you. If you want to be fully forgiven by God and become the person God created you to be, you can tell Him in a simple, heartfelt prayer like this:

Prayer of Salvation

"God, I want a real relationship with You.
I admit that many times I've chosen to go my own way instead of Your way.
Please forgive me for my sins.
Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.
Come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior.
Change me from the inside out and make me the person You created me to be.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen."

What Can You Now Expect?

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, look at what God says about you!

"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

(John 8:36)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

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




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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, August 14, 2021

I’ll Be There - Showing Up – Accepting God’s Invitations - Purity 497

I’ll Be There - Showing Up – Accepting God’s Invitations

Purity 497 08/14/2021 Purity 497 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a simple pine tree under the blue skies of June comes to us from a friend in Cairo NY who was looking for someone to cut down said tree a couple of months ago.  I don’t know if this tree still stands or if it was taken out, but I remember thinking that it didn’t seem like a “bad tree” to me, and that this was a nice photo of early June. 

I share it because I have trees on my mind as I inexplicably have offered my help a friend to cut up a damaged tree on their property as they look to make their land as presentable as possible as they want to sell their home to launch a new life.  Unfortunately, the tree isn’t the only thing damaged in this situation and I can only explain my willingness to help to be a prompting of the Holy Spirit as I don’t like yard work, at all.  

If you would like to question that statement, I would invite you to come view the Hudson River natural terrarium of wild growth that has sprung to life along the fence line of my property “Down by The River”. What the lawn mower couldn’t reach because of the previous owner’s penchant for building a border of buried bricks along the right side of my property has been allowed to grow wild , creating two and a half feet of “river forest” with 5 foot tall weeds and even a couple of trees that don’t realize that their protected habitat will most likely be destroyed in the cooler months of autumn when I finally dig up the jagged brick barrier and lay to waste most of what is thriving there today, or I won’t. 

Any way we have made it to the weekend, and I hope that most of my friends will use it to rest and relax, but I am sure that there are others like me that will be using today and tomorrow to be “stewards of what God has given us” by performing yard work or by helping friends or neighbors with other projects.  The Lord has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves and one of the ways we show that love is by helping our neighbors or friends in need.          

Before coming to Christ, I always had a steadfast belief that I was on my own.  I couldn’t ask anyone for help.  If I ever needed help, I might call my father for some advice but for the most part I would either “do it myself” or I would pay for someone to do it for me.  

But then I met my pastor, Jaron Halsted. One of the things that I learned from Jaron was this. He once told me that all of us would be remembered as one of two things. We would be remembered as someone who “had problems” or as someone who “fixed problems”.   And Jaron has proven that he is a sterling example of the second kind of person as He is a faithful friend and servant leader of His church, doing all types of things to solve the problems of his flock and the community at large.   

When you see faith in action, like you see it in Jaron Halsted, you realize that we really are God’s hands and feet and that we are created for the good works that God has prepared for us to walk into.  

As Christians, the basic good work that we all can easily perform regardless of our personal gifts is “showing up”.  Regular attendance at weekly church services should be a “work” that we perform without question, as our simple presence at church both edifies ourselves and encourages the other believers there. 

“I’ll be there.” is God’s first promise to us as we can stand in the assurance of His presence because He will never leave us or forsake us.  So as Christ followers, we should “be there” for the people that God has put in our lives.  

As we walk in faith, God will lead us into good works by putting people in need in our path. God never forces us to help others but if we are in a relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will invariably give us “intuitions” to do good deeds that go against our selfish natures.  I consider these “intuitions” or “impressions” to be God’s invitations.  

While we can say “Thanks but no thanks” to these leadings, I have discovered that when we step out in faith to help or pray for others we receive more than we give because the Lord will use our service to mature us in our faith.   Not only do we bless the people we choose to help, but the Lord also uses our willingness to bless us.  

I will keep it real by saying that some of the Lord’s invitations to service have been a whole lot of hard work and may have caused a fair share of frustration and annoyance but no matter how tired or bent out of shape I may have been mentally or emotionally during those assignments, I never regretted them because the work was a good thing to do and the motivation behind it was pure.  The work I have been “called” to do wasn’t to please some human agent it was to be faithful to do what God put before me.   

We exercise our faith by “showing up”. While many may say they would like to help, will pray for you, or may even promise to “be there.”, our faith is shown by actually showing up and doing what we are called to do.  Our doing the will of God is the test. 

At various times in life,  I have  entered into periods of testing in groups where others have spoken out with much bravado of their intentions to stay the course and to accomplish the goal. While some will pound their chests and boldly proclaim that they will do it, I tend to remain silent and just make a mental determination to persevere.  

The thing I have noticed over the years in these various periods of testing is that often the ones who boldly speak of how they “will do it” or how they “will definitely be there” are the ones who never show up, disappear before the job is done, or who end up quitting. 

Not me, if I have any power it is tenacity and “suffering through”. I am just either too dumb, loyal, or stubborn to walk away but I am also very hesitant to make any promises that I might not be able to keep. I try not to make any claims that I will do a “great job” or “everything will be perfect”. When I am called by the Lord to do something, I just try to be faithful at “showing up” and doing what I can.    

And that’s the great thing about God. He doesn’t expect you to do “everything right”. He’s got perfect knowledge so He already knows that you can’t.   He is not asking us for perfection. He is just asking us to be faithful to hear His voice, answer when He calls, and to follow where He leads. 

So as we walk through this weekend if you get one of God’s “invitations” don’t worry about the results. God will take care of those.  

Just know that if you answer the call, God will delight over you for “showing up”, and that your efforts will not only bless the ones in need that you are called to assist, but they will also cause you to grow in your faith and in your relationship with the One who works all things together for your good.  

As you put your faith into action, you will discover that some of those things that work together for your good, are the very invitations that the Lord allows you to freely choose to accept.  You never know how the Lord will bless you, but you can be sure that we never benefit from the opportunities that we say no to.  

You may faithfully serve 9 times out of ten with no benefits or revelations and you may wonder why you even have faith. But brother or sister, can I tell you, on that 10th time the floodgates of heaven just may open up and launch you into dimensions of faith and maturity that can carry you through the rest of your life.  

But if you don’t go, if you don’t answer, if you aren’t faithful, you will never know what God has for you.  

So say yes to God, and say yes again, and again.   Let Him know that you appreciate how He is always there for you and that you are willing to humbly walk into the unknown future He has for you without fear. Let Him know that you will show up.  Say to Him with confidence: “Father when you call me… I’ll be there.”   


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)
4  But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

Today’s verse speaks of the tremendous gift that we have been entrusted with and that if we are God’s children our words will glorify and be pleasing to Him.  

Our faith is nothing to sneeze at. If you look at the brokenness of the world and how utterly sad and hopeless the people are that don’t have faith, you should realize how very valuable the gospel is and how we have been amazingly blessed to receive it.  

The gospel of Jesus Christ answers all the questions of life and death.   The gospel provides meaning and purpose. It explains the past and gives hope for the future. The gospel tells the story of a loving Creator who gave those He made in His image the choice to love Him or not and how He provides a way to make peace with Him through Jesus Christ.   

 The gospel shows us that the most important thing in our lives is our relationship with God and puts the rest of our earthly concerns in their proper context.   No matter what may befall us on earth or how we may be abused by our fellow man, we know that our relationship with God is more important. 

 So because we have been given the gift of truth and eternal life through the God given revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, our purpose is to share it by speaking to others about God’s love and His redemptive plan for them.  

 Recently, we have reviewed other verses that have shown us that our priority and purpose in life as Christians is to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and it is only appropriate that we use the breath that God has given us to speak of the wonders of His love.  

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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 11.


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

Twelve Steps to Forgiveness

The victim may say, "I can't forgive these people. You don't know how bad they hurt me." The problem is, they are still hurting you. How do you stop the pain? Forgiveness is what sets us free from the past. What is to be gained in forgiving is freedom. You don't heal in order to forgive. You forgive in order to heal. Forgiveness is to set a captive free and then to realize you were the captive. You don't forgive others for their sake; you do it for your sake. Those you need to forgive may never be aware of your choice to let them off your hook. Forgiveness is the fragrance that is left on the heel that crushed the violet.

Following are 12 steps you can use to walk through the process of forgiving others from your heart. Following these steps will help you unchain yourself from the past and get on with your life:

1. Ask the Lord to reveal to your mind the people you need to forgive. Then write on a sheet of paper the names of those who offended you. Of the hundreds of people who have completed this list in my counseling office, 95 percent put father and mother as numbers one and two. Three out of the first four names on most lists are close relatives. When making a list, the two most overlooked people are God and yourself. Concerning your relationship with God, only He can forgive your sins, and He has never sinned. We haven't always appropriated that forgiveness, and sometimes we are bitter toward God because we hold false expectations of Him. We need to release God from those false expectations and appropriate God's forgiveness.

2. Acknowledge the hurt and the hate. As you work through the list of people you need to forgive, state specifically for what you are forgiving them (e.g., rejection; deprivation of love; injustice; unfairness; physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse; betrayal; neglect and so on). Also state how their offenses made you feel. Remember: It is not a sin to acknowledge the reality of your emotions. God knows exactly how you feel, whether you admit it or not. If you bury your feelings, you will bypass the possibility of forgiveness. You must forgive from your heart.

3. Understand the significance of the Cross. The cross of Christ makes forgiveness legally and morally right. Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of the world—including yours and those of the persons who have offended you—and He died "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). The heart cries, "It isn't fair! Where's the justice?" It is in the Cross.

4. Decide you will bear the burden of each person's sin (see Galatians 6:1, 2). This means you will not retaliate in the future by using the information about their sin against them (see Proverbs 17:9; Luke 6:27-34). All true forgiveness is substitutionary, as was Christ's forgiveness of us. That doesn't mean you tolerate sin or refuse to testify in a court of law. You may have to do that for justice to prevail. Just make sure you have forgiven that person from your heart first.

5. Decide to forgive. Forgiveness is a crisis of the will, a conscious choice to let the other person off the hook and to free yourself from the past. You may not feel like doing it, but it is necessary for your sake. If God tells you to forgive from your heart, be assured He will enable you to do it. The other person may truly be in the wrong and subject to church discipline or legal action. That is not your primary concern. Your first concern is to receive freedom from your past and stop the pain. Make that decision now; your feelings of forgiveness will follow in time.

6. Take your list to God and pray the following: "I forgive (name) for (list all the offenses and how they made you feel)." Stay with each person on the list until every remembered pain has been specifically addressed. That includes every sin of commission as well as omission. If you have felt bitter toward this person for some time, you may want to find a Christian counselor or trusted friend to assist you in the process. Don't say, "I want to forgive so and so," or "Lord, help me to forgive so and so." That is bypassing your responsibility and choice to forgive.

7. Destroy the list. You are now free. Do not tell the offenders what you have done. Your need to forgive others is between you and God only! The person you may need to forgive could be dead. Forgiveness may lead you to be reconciled to others, but whether or not that happens is not totally dependent upon you. Your freedom in Christ cannot be dependent upon others whom you have no right or ability to control.

8. Do not expect that your decision to forgive will result in major changes in the other persons. Instead, pray for them (see Matthew 5:44) so they, too, may find the freedom of forgiveness (see 2 Cor. 2:7).

9. Try to understand the people you have forgiven, but don't rationalize their behavior. It could lead to incomplete forgiveness. For instance, don't say, "I forgive my father because I know he really didn't mean it." That would be excusing him and bypassing your pain and the need to forgive from the heart.

10. Expect positive results of forgiveness in you. In time you will be able to think about the people without triggering primary emotions. That doesn't mean you will like those who are abusive. It means you are free from them. Old feelings may try to recycle themselves. When that happens, stop and thank God for His provision and don't pick up those old offenses again. You dealt with it; now let it go.

11. Thank God for the lessons you have learned and the maturity you have gained as a result of the offenses and your decision to forgive the offenders (see Romans 8:28, 29).

12. Be sure to accept your part of the blame for the offenses you suffered. Confess your failure to God (see 1 John 1:9) and to others (see James 5:16) and realize that if someone has something against you, you must go to that person and be reconciled (see Matthew 5:23-26).

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

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


God bless you all!


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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Is Prime Day Prime Evil? - Purity 451

Is Prime Day Prime Evil?

Purity 451 06/22/2021   Purity 451 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the wake of a boat on the Hudson River beneath the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge between Poughkeepsie and Highland NY comes to us from a friend’s recent family trip up the river.  

I wanted to share it to express the beauty of things in motion. This photo that may have been stunning from the same vantage point in a boat that was anchored but if it were we would have missed the beauty of the waves that were created by the boat’s progress. 

Likewise, our lives of faith are a thing of beauty when we come to know Christ as our Savior and have the assurance of our salvation, but how much more beautiful is it to see the progress of one who was lost in darkness move into the victory of a transformed life.  

Scripture repeatedly encourages to leave the things of the past behind and to continually press on to where the upward call of God is leading us.  But just like today’s unseen boat’s motor must power through the resistance of the water, we may also run into some bumps in the road on the path of Christian discipleship.   

I participate in a bi-weekly zoom prayer call where the members of Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Northeast Region can gather to offer prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, and petition to the Lord for His will to be done in their lives and on the earth.   It is a gathering that honors God and that edifies the participants as they come together with a common cause and with mutual support to be faithful to follow His will.   I usually come out of these sessions feeling being built up in my faith and refreshed. 

However, you actually have to log into the zoom meeting to join the fellowship and prayer of the saints and reap the spiritual benefits. 

Yesterday was hot day at work and as I approached the end of the workday I almost cancelled a meeting I had with a friend who I meet with weekly for fellowship and accountability. I had all but composed the text and was ready to send it when I realized that I was going to be texting a lie.  Sure it was hot, but I wasn’t exhausted, and my conscience stopped me from sending the message and cancelling the meeting. 

So after work, I went and I met with my friend and we talked and prayed for one another and I’m glad I did because our meetings are a nice mix of catching up, confession, prayer, and listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives.  I left our meeting empowered and encouraged and was happy to see that I had plenty of time to get back home and to have some dinner before my zoom prayer call.  

Apparently, I had too much time because after I had my meal I took to my laptop and saw a friend’s meme post on FB jokingly saying that the commercialization of Prime Day was a shame, because we have somehow forgotten that The Transformer’s Robot “Optimus Prime” died for us all.  I had a chuckle at my friend’s meme but then I found myself going to Amazon to check out the Prime Day Deals.  

As an ex-Buddhist, material things don’t have much of a draw on me but as a digital entertainment enthusiast and recovering collector, I still can be vulnerable to some retail therapy when a few conditions are met. The trap Amazon and Apple lay for me is to make their wares:  

  • ·       digital, so it doesn’t fill my physical house with stuff,
  • ·       cheap, because it doesn’t cost much


  • ·       timely, it is Prime Day after all! And time is limited. They even have a count down timer on Amazon to let you know that your opportunities to save are expiring every second!

Add to these conditions, the fact that I was just generously gifted an Amazon gift card for my soon approaching birthday, and I found myself completely drawn into Amazon to “buy something!”.  

I went totally “mindless”, and my actions defied reason.  Even though I didn’t see anything I “had to have” I saw a lot of movies I wasn’t familiar with, so I started watching trailers and if they were vaguely appealing I pulled the trigger and purchased them.  Even though it was cheaper to rent them, I paid the few extra dollars to own them, because if you know me and my schedule, I don’t have time to watch movie! What?  

Anyway I also decided to take advantage of promotional discounts on a couple of the digital streaming channels, they were only 99 cents for two months after all, and you can cancel them any time! 

I know that for a fact because the channels I purchased are ones that I have subscribed to in the past and cancelled them both because I felt I didn’t have the time and they didn’t have the enough content to keep me.

Apparently, in the frenzy of buying movies and signing up for streaming services that I previously had cancelled, I regressed to childhood.   

So if you would like to come over and watch season 1 of “Scooby Doo Where Are You?”, I’m your guy.”  

Yeah, I liked Scooby Doo.. when I was a kid, but what was I thinking?  “But it’s a classic and it’s only $9.99!! for the whole season!”   

I would like to say this is a first-time occurrence but my digital library of books, music, shows, and movies will confirm that if it is digital and it’s cheap there are no limits to the depths of my depravity.   I got Season One of “Kung Fu” from a previous retail binge If you want to take a more enlightened journey back to the 70’s with me, grasshopper…  

Anyway, after the damage was done. I felt tired and didn’t want to go on the zoom call because I felt like I had nothing to say to God in light of my trying to satisfy myself by possessing digital entertainment options.

So instead I watched a show on Paramount Plus.  What was the name of the show?: “Evil” Oh yeah, don’t you know the CBS macabre series has found new life on Paramount Plus. An all-new season two of Evil is being released now!

So this morning, I was highly convicted over the fact that I didn’t go on the zoom prayer call and felt like I failed the Lord and myself.  But as I slugged through my work out and confessed my sin, the Lord assured me in my spirit that He loved me before this episode, and He continue to love me afterward.  

While He calls us to make wise choices and to live a good and holy life, His acceptance of us isn’t conditional. His love is unconditional, and we are saved by grace.   We are not going to be able to live perfect lives and God never expected us to.  

While He wants us to seek His presence and wisdom for our lives, He is not waiting to jump all over us or to condemn us when we step off the path.  

He is ever present and loving and He will always be there for us.  So whether you have been away from Him for a long time or just made some recent steps away from His company, just know that our relationship with God is not about “earning it” or “doing everything right”.  Our relationship with God is not about keeping the rules to be approved. Our relationship is about seeking the One who knows us better than we know ourselves and who loves us anyway.    

The beauty of our walk of faith comes from the fact that we are moving forward with God and seeing the “wake” of our mistakes slowly settle and fade as we rocket down the river of life towards, and for, His glory.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 100:5 (NKJV)
5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Today’s verse shows me that the Lord knew I was going to be writing about progress before I did, as today’s randomly drawn verse is the very next verse in the Bible from yesterday’s verse, Psalm 100, verse 4!  

After my evening of retail relapse and His subsequent mercy and forgiveness, like this verse, I too can proclaim that the “LORD is good” and “His mercy is everlasting”!  Psalm 23 famously tells us that when we walk with the Lord goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.   And if there is anything that my faith journey with God has shown me is that these things are true. The Lord is good, and His Mercy is everlasting!

The history of this world has also shown us that the last part of this verse is true too. “His truth endures to all generation.”  The Bible is a history book that shows the workings of God and mankind. It details His divine plan to bring forth a Messiah who would suffer, die, and be resurrected to reconcile all those who believe in Him to God.  

The story begins and ends in the Bible but the chapters that are not contained in the Bible tell of how the Christian faith has endured through persecution and darkness to still be alive on this earth with the express purpose to proclaim “His truth” to all the generations.    

God is good and merciful, and His plan covers all times and ages.   Rejoice that you are part of His story. Endeavor to bring more characters into the narrative of truth and love that God has prepared for us.  


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


Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 4.


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

We Have Been Grafted In

Concerning our nature, Paul says, "you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord" (Ephes. 5:8). Are we both light and darkness? Paul also said, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Are we partly new creature and partly old creature? Does the Christian have two natures? Perhaps an illustration will help answer that question. In Arizona, city parks and boulevards are decorated with ornamental orange trees that are a much hardier stock than the trees that produce the sweet oranges we eat. Because they can survive colder temperatures, they are used for root stock.

The ornamental orange is allowed to grow to a certain height; then it is cut off, and a new life (such as a navel orange) is grafted into it. Everything that grows above the graft takes on the new nature of the sweet orange. Everything below the graft retains the physical characteristics of the ornamental orange. Only one tree remains when it is fully grown. The physical growth of the tree is still dependent upon the roots that go deep into the soil for water and nutrition. What grows above the graft takes on the nature of what was grafted into it.

People don't look at a grove of navel oranges and say, "That grove is nothing more than a bunch of root stock!" They would call them navel orange trees because they would identify the trees by their fruit. That is how we should be known.

Jesus said, "So then, you will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:20). Paul says, "Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh" (2 Cor. 5:16). In other words, we are not supposed to recognize Christians for who they were in Adam, but for who they now are in Christ. That is why the Bible doesn't identify believers as sinners but instead identifies them as saints.

The natural person is like an ornamental orange tree, who may look good but cannot bear any fruit that isn't bitter. The fruit will only drop to the ground and bring forth more natural stock that will only appear to look good for a season.

Let me present another observation from the tree illustration. How would you define the nature of the tree? Would it have two natures? It depends upon whether you are talking about the whole tree, which does have two natures (root stock and navel), or if you are just talking about the part of the tree that grows above the graft (the new creation), which has just one nature (navel). This is somewhat of a semantic problem. When Paul talks about the new "I," is he talking about who he was before Christ in combination with who he now is in Christ, or is he referring only to the new creation in Christ?

Spiritual growth in the Christian life requires a relationship with God who is the fountain of spiritual life, a relationship that brings a new seed or root of life. As in nature, unless there is some seed or root of life within an organism, no growth can take place. So also unless there is a root of life within the believer (i.e., some core of spiritual life), growth is impossible. There is nothing to grow. That is why Paul's theology is all based on our position in Christ.

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him" (Col. 2:6, 7, emphasis added). To build up believers (progressive sanctification), they must first be firmly rooted in Christ (positional sanctification). To grow and bear fruit, Christians, their marriages and their ministries must all be organically centered in Christ.

A New Heart and a New Spirit

According to Scripture, the center of the person is the heart. It is the "wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). In our natural state, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV). It is deceitful because it has been conditioned from the time of birth by the deceitfulness of a fallen world, rather than by the truth of God's Word.

One of the greatest prophecies concerning our salvation is found in Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV): "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

The new covenant by which every Christian lives says, "I will put my laws in their hearts" (Hebrews 10:16, NIV). In other words, "All the ornamental oranges that will choose to put their trust in God and believe His Word shall be navel oranges." The moment you were grafted into the vine you were sanctified or set apart as a child of God. "You are already clean" (John 15:3), and you shall continue to be sanctified as He prunes you so that you may grow and bear fruit.

The same thought is captured in Paul's testimony: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(Galatians 2:20, NIV). Paul says I died, but I live, obviously a new and different person (see also Col. 3:1-3). In other words, my old ornamental tree has been cut off, I no longer live as an ornamental orange, I now live as a new navel orange.

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

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


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship