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Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts

Thursday, November 3, 2022

That All You Got? Freedom from Unforgiveness - The Lord Has More for You - Purity 879

 

That All You Got?  Freedom from Unforgiveness - The Lord Has More for You - Purity 879

Purity 879 11/03/2022 Purity 879 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the of the clear still waters of Queechy lake comes to us from a friend or share this photo on social media from what they think may be their last paddle of the season on Saturday October 29th.  however in the comments of the photo’s post a friend playfully challenged our paddling enthusiast, asking the question “That all you got?”

Well is it?  knowing the weather in upstate New York, the challenger may have a point. While we are in November now and can reasonably expect anything from snow to near 70 degree temperatures, like today, we don't know always know what the future will hold and what we will be capable of unless we challenge ourselves to stretch and the see just what it is we can do. Rather than looking at the limitations on our lives we should ask the question can I do this?

well it's Thursday again and I share this photo of a kayak on a lake as another visual example of a pathway of sorts to encourage my friends to get on or keep walking on the path of Christian discipleship because while things may be impossible for man Christ said that all things are possible with God and while we think we might not be able to do something in our own strength, if it is in His will, God will help us to accomplish things we never dreamed of being possible.

Last night I led one of the men the from the Freedom in Christ course through the Steps to Freedom in Christ and while he admitted to having thoughts that denied that the process of going through the steps in repentance would be successful, a funny thing happened. After he forgave all the people in his life for all the offenses they have ever done to him, those condemning and doubting voices were silenced.

I have to admit that for a second there I thought I was going to have to square off against  manifestation of the enemy but together we prayed, stood in the authority that we had in Jesus Christ and after the step on forgiveness the rest of the process was relatively peaceful as this man confessed rebellion, pride, and all the known sins in his life, renounced and broke spiritual soul ties to people in his sexual past, and cancelled any generational sins of his ancestors.   The work of repentance of the Holy Spirit and this man's faith brought to the table was mighty to behold and at the end of the process when I asked him to listen in an extended moment of silence, he reported that things were quiet in his mind, and he had an abiding sense of peace.

Unforgiveness can be a real stronghold that can keep us in bondage to bitterness and to the literal spiritual forces of darkness.

So which was it? Was it demons, the hardness of this man's heart, or the baggage of a past filled with abuse that kept him from knowing peace?

The answer to that question might be only known by the Lord himself but the good news is that when we come before the Lord and forgive those who have offended us, the bondage of bitterness is broken. Something that many people would consider impossible: to forgive.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and to guide us in the way we should go. But the Lord is gracious and allows us to have free will, to freely choose what path will take in life. We can choose to live life like we've always had before coming to Christ, according to the worlds and our own wisdom, or we can listen to the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the word of God to know and experience the abundant life that Christ has for us.

This life of Christian discipleship is counterintuitive to how we've been conditioned to live without God, but it is possible. With God, we can turn from the world's ways, and we can be transformed. We can have peace, joy, love, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. The fruit of the spirit grows in our lives when we walk in the spirit and when we confess our sins and renounce the way we used to live we remove all the limits on what God can do for us.

So as we draw into the 4th day of the work week remember to ask yourself from time to time: that all you got?

The world, the flesh, and the devil will tell you that it's all over, that it's best to just pack it in and not try anything new, to just play it safe and stay safe in the shadows of what you're familiar with.

But Jesus Christ invites us to: “come and see”.

The Holy Spirit invites us to know what faith is and to experience his power to transform us and to give us a life of meaning and purpose that few in this world know of.

God the Father has made you for a purpose and He wants to have peace with you, through faith in Jesus Christ, and for you to be conformed in his image, to be the person that He created you to be.

So let go of the sins of the past, in Christ you're forgiven, and because you've received God's forgiveness, cast off the burden of bitterness that comes from holding on to offences against others by forgiving everyone for everything from the heart, as the Lord commands you.  

God doesn't want us to suffer anymore from the things that people have done against us. The solution to our problem of bitterness is forgiveness: to set the captive free and to realize it was you.

So keep walking and talking with God then follow the word of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, and you will discover that you have a lot more life to live, a lot more things to do, and a lot more hearts to touch then you thought you could.  with the Lord you'll discover they got a lot more of life left in store.

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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:

Romans 12:9 (NLT2)
9  Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

Today's Bible verse encourages us to not be a pretender to really love others, to hate what is wrong, and to hold tightly to what is good.

One of the biggest drawbacks to pursuing a life of faith in Christendom is the perception that the people in the church are a bunch of phonies. Unfortunately, our experience may actually bear out that perception as our past relationships in the hallowed halls of the buildings called churches may have been plagued by hypocrisy and quite possibly abuse.

Some people say they don't want to be a part of a church because of the hypocrites in the church. Unfortunately, the truth is there's hypocrisy in everyone's lives. No one lives perfectly according to the standards that they would like to hold themselves to. No one. The only perfect person was Jesus Christ. And while we are called as Christians to follow Jesus the word of God clearly points out that we will not be able to perfectly live like Jesus did. That's why we need Jesus!

So what do we do with this hypocrisy? We won't be able to be perfect but today's verse I think is calling us to try to be genuine in our faith: to really love others, hate what is evil, and to hold on to what is good.

If you don't like the phonies in the church, don't be one by having the heartfelt intention to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love the Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

___________________________________________

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 Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

Hidden Righteousness continues

What does Jesus say about all that? He says: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before others in order to be seen by them.” The call to be extraordinary is the great, inevitable danger of discipleship. Therefore, beware of this extraordinariness, of the way that discipleship becomes visible. Jesus calls a halt to our thoughtless, unbroken, simple joy in what is visible. He gives a sting to the extraordinary. Jesus calls us to reflection.

The disciples should have this extraordinariness only by way of reflection. They should heed it, watch out for it. The extraordinary is not supposed to happen in order to be seen. This means that the extraordinary deed should not be done for the sake of its being extraordinary. And it should not be seen just for the sake of being seen. The better righteousness of the disciples should not be an end in itself. Of course, what is extraordinary does have to become visible, it does have to happen, but—beware that you do not do it in order for it to become visible. Although the visibility of discipleship does have a necessary reason, which is the call of Jesus Christ, it is never a goal in itself. If it were, then the focus would no longer be on discipleship itself; then a moment of repose would occur, our following would be interrupted, and we would not be able to take it up again at the point where we had stopped to rest. We would immediately be sent back to begin all over again. We would have to take note that we are no longer disciples. So something has to become visible, but—paradoxically: beware that it does not happen for the sake of being seen by people. “Let your light shine before the people …” (5:16), but: pay attention to the hiddenness! Chapters 5 and 6 collide hard against each other. What is visible should be hidden at the same time; at the same time both visible and not to be seen. The reflection we have mentioned, thus, needs to be guided so that we do not stray into reflection about our extraordinariness. Our paying attention to our righteousness is supposed to support our not paying attention to our righteousness. Otherwise extraordinariness is no longer the extraordinariness of discipleship, but the extraordinariness of our own will and desire.

How are we to understand this contradiction? First, we ask: from whom should the visibility of discipleship be hidden? Not from the other people, for they are to see the light of Jesus’ disciples shining. Rather it should be hidden to those doing the visible deed of discipleship. They should keep on following Jesus, and should keep looking forward to him who is going before them, but not at themselves and what they are doing. The righteousness of the disciples is hidden from themselves. Of course, they, too, can see the extraordinariness, but not themselves in it; they remain hidden from themselves. They see the extraordinary only when they look at Jesus, and in him they do not see it as extraordinary, but as something obvious and normal. So what is visible really is hidden from them, in obedience to the word of Jesus. If the extraordinariness were important to them because it is extraordinary, then they would act like enthusiasts, out of their own power, out of the flesh. But because Jesus’ disciples act in simple obedience to their Lord, they view the extraordinary as only the normal act of obedience. According to Jesus’ word, the disciples can do nothing else but be the light that shines. They do not do anything to accomplish this; they are the light while following Christ, looking only to their Lord. Precisely because what is Christian is necessarily extraordinary, that is, in the indicative form [“you are”], it is at the same time normal and hidden. Otherwise it is not Christian, it is not obedience to the will of Jesus Christ.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 148–150.


Friday, August 12, 2022

FRIDAY NIGHT!!! Let’s Go Get IT! Let’s Pray! - Purity 808


FRIDAY NIGHT!!! Let’s Go Get IT! Let’s Pray! - Purity 808

Purity 808 08/12/2022  Purity 808 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of pine trees at twilight time comes to us from a friend who has a much better camera than my I-phone and  who captured this magical scene at Harrier Hill Park in Hudson NY back on July 31st.  

Well it’s Friday again and while I always thank the Lord for the mercies of a new day and the end of the work week, this morning’s photo reminds me of the sense of freedom and exhilaration that I used to experience over the prospect of FRIDAY NIGHT!!!  

Back before I knew the peace and joy of the Lord, freedom was defined as “doing what ever I  want” and happiness was heavily dependent on the circumstances of the moment and because my happiness was subject to the situations I encountered the anticipation of a “good time” on Friday night was often better than the actual experiences on Friday night.  

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the times were “good”, when the elements of my friends, the laughter, the music, the thrill of the hunt for romance, and chemically induced euphoria would all come together and the happiness was such that we never wanted the party to stop and we wished for those wild nights would never end!

But you know what, they did end and for all those “good times” in my youth of high school and college where all seemed right with the world of my friends, booze, drugs, and the connections of ‘free love”, there was also a whole lot of trouble and for every “magical moment” there were plenty of times of loneliness, strife, and conflict that resulted in arrest, fights, anger, and broken relationships. 

Friendships and relationships that were centered around substances and common interests and geography were often exposed as the shallow things they were or were lost when people eventually decided that the trouble of those wild nights wasn;t as much fun as it used to be.

One of the guys I knew back when I did recovery ministry shared an insight about our youth that I thought was revealing. He said that in the beginning of our youth we would get together around some hobby: fishing, motocycles, sports, or whatever, some activity and then we would introduce alcohol or drugs while we did those things and he realized later that eventually that somewhere down the road, it no longer was about the activity anymore and often the activity would stop all together, as it increasingly became more and more about the booze or the drugs.  

That was really true for me. I started going out with my friends at night to parties because I wanted connection. I wanted the acceptance of my peers. I wanted friends.  I wanted romance. I wanted a girlfriend.  

I was a shy introvert and I discovered that alcohol took the edge off. I could relax and talk to people more freely than I ever did sober but ironically just like my friends insight about how it stopped being about the “thing” the activity that people did, for me it eventually stopped being about “making connections” as it became more and more about “feeling good” by getting drunk or high.  The feeling became more important than the people and they just became a means to an end or obstacles that got in the way of a good time.  

What started as a search for love connection turned into a selfish pursuit of satisfying my lusts and using and isolating myself from others.  That was my broken idea of freedom, “do what ever I want” and screw everybody else.    Getting what I want made gave me temporary satisfaction and fed the idea that I was the “captain of my ship” and was truly free.   

But it was a lie, I was in bondage to my selfish desires and all the circumstances, all the hoops I had to jump through, to satisfy them.  

But thankfully, after literally decades of “doing what I want!”, some very bad things happened to me and caused me to search for a meaning to this life that went beyond just satisfying my flesh. 

I wish I could say that all my searching led me to God and my faith in Jesus Christ, but just like my wild days, in my spiritual pursuits, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.   

I think my searching was an important part of my journey but I was saved a “chance” encounter with a gospel radio message that I intended to mock when I stopped to listen to it.  But instead, on FRIDAY! March 19th, 2010, I heard the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and said the prayer that made Him the Savior of my life. 

And since then I increasingly made Him the Lord of my life and He walked with me and pulled me out of the darkness of my former life and through many broken situations and relationships since them to the point that Christ has become not only My Lord and Savior, He has become my life itself.   

In contemplating all the roads we have walked together and all the trials and tribulations we have endured together, I have a deep fierce loyal love for the  Lord. 

What the word of God says is true. All of it. But biggest truth about God that means the most to me is that He will never leave or forsake us.   In those years since saying the prayer that gave me a new life, He has been loyal, true, caring, and present.

So the search for love and connection that started in my youth, has been fulfilled in Christ. I know the love of God and as far as I am concerned I have no choice, it’s the appropriate response, but to praise His name forever and ever and encourage others to trust in Him, put their faith in Him, and to follow Him.

Last night my Zoom Men’s Discipleship group finished the last lesson of “The Grace Course” and the only thing left to do is go through The Steps to Experiencing God’s Grace”, which like the Steps to Freedom in Christ is a process of repentance, a series of prayers, declarations, and renunciations that are designed to give us an encounter with the Lord where we can resolve our personal and spiritual conflicts to gain our Freedom in Christ, or in this case to experience God’s grace.   

So today, I have some of that FRIDAY NIGHT!!! excitement again.

But tonight I won’t be looking to “GO GET IT!”

I guess “IT” was a “good time” and as I have indicated, we didn’t always find “IT”.  

Neither will I be looking to “Rock n’ Roll!” I used to scream from time to time at parties. But the music always stopped.  

No, today, I am looking forward to Friday Night! because I am going to pray through the Steps to Experiencing God’s Grace”. I have never done them before and look forward to being “real” with God and have the joy of anticipation of knowing that the Lord will use the process and my prayers to give me rest, to give me another  experience of His grace as I lay my burdens down and surrender more of my life to Him.

So as you walk through Friday and into the night, keep walking and talking with God. Man’s sense of freedom is usually childish and short sighted but when you come to know the freedom from sin and death that comes from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you will experience a peace and a joy that goes far beyond even the best of times in your youth. Who knew freedom comes from surrender or that I would ever look forward to a prayer session on Friday night!   

But God makes all things new and if you follow where He leads He will give you a whole lot of new experiences to show you what living and freedom are all about. He will give your life the love, the meaning,  and purpose that you always were looking for.

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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:

Revelation 1:8 (NKJV)
8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Today’s verse are the words of Christ, who reminds us that He is God. He has always been and always will be, and He will come again.   

Our Christian faith isn’t a philosophy of life or instructions for living. Our faith is a relationship with the self-existent God of all creation who paradoxically is One but exists in the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

If you let that sink in, you might spend a lot of times saying “WOW” or falling on your knees praising the Lord.  This is BIG guys.  It is almost too much to bear, to understand, just too much, O LORD. 

How can this be? That out of the vast multitudes of people through the world and through out the ages, you would choose me to be apart of your kingdom?

Christ is the beginning and the End and He is coming back.  Everything we know about life and our existence in this universe will be dramatically changed when He comes to reclaim the world that has been broken by sin and He makes a new heaven and a new earth. 

And we get to be in that “number, when the saints come marching in?”

Our simple faith is going somewhere that we can simply not even fathom. But while we struggle to contemplate the ultimate meaning of our lives in Christ, we can rest because we are His and He will work all things together for good as He takes us from here to eternity.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

12 Christ’s Final Defeat of the Powers

Paul gave christians a reason for hope in the future. god is moving history to a climax that will result in the eternal and absolute reign of his glorious son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is “the blessed hope,” which believers await (Tit 2:13).

People living in the first century were gripped with great fear of the hostile supernatural powers that controlled the unfolding of history and their own personal destiny. Hans Dieter Betz gives a clear expression of the prevalent world view:

The common understanding was that man is hopelessly and helplessly engulfed and oppressed by these forces [i.e., powerful demonic entities]. They play capricious games with man from the time of his entering into the world until his departure. While working inside of man, they make up the body, yet they also encounter him from the outside, in that he has terrible and traumatic experiences of whatever “Fate” (Tyche) has in store. Under such conditions life is not life at all but a daily death.

In order to cope with day-to-day life, Betz observes that “in many ancient cults, cultic measures were developed in order to soothe and pacify the demonic forces. These included prayers, rituals, sacrifices, astrology, magic, and theurgy.” In part one of this book much of it has been discussed.

Standing in stark contrast to their non-Christian neighbors, the early Christians had no reason to fear the malignant powers. They were united to the one true Lord, who had defeated all of the hostile forces by his death and resurrection. They realized that their future was wrapped up in the one who is bringing this age, filled with every form of evil, to an end. All of the powers of darkness will be abolished. The early Christians could therefore be a joyous people, full of hope, thankful to God the Father who had chosen them to be his own people before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:3).

Ongoing Hostility and One Final Rebellion

Throughout his letters, Paul strived to prepare his readers for a long period of conflict with Satan and the forces of darkness (especially in Eph 6:10–20). In the midst of all the struggles and battles Paul held out a significant promise: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). Paul here has in mind God’s curse of the serpent given in Genesis 3:15: “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This passage was present in contemporary Jewish Messianic expectation as illustrated by the Testament of Levi 6:5–6: “The Lord God is the mighty one of Israel, appearing on earth as a man and saving Adam through him. Then all the spirits of deceit will be given to be trodden under foot and men will rule over the evil spirits.” For Paul it was the Lord Jesus Christ who would accomplish this task. Satan and all of his powers will be devastated at the Second Coming of Christ.

Paul made it clear that an intensification of satanic activity will precede Christ’s return (2 Thess 2:1–12). He spoke of a widespread rebellion against God, spearheaded by a major evil figure he called “the lawless one.” Satan himself will infuse this person with supernatural power, and he will be capable of performing all kinds of signs and wonders (1 Thess 2:9; see also Rev 13:2). The major thrust of his activity will be deception: He will claim to be superior to the one true God and every deity whom people worship in their various pagan religions. He will seek to have all people worship him, turning their attention from the true God. During this time, God will even permit evil spirits of deception to delude non-Christians and confirm them in their belief in the “lawless one’s” great deceit (2 Thess 2:11). This “antichrist’s” coming on the scene will in many ways intentionally parallel the manner of Christ’s coming, in order to make the deceit more alluring. This final onslaught of rebellion, however, will not occur until God allows the present “restraining force” to be removed.

In Paul’s estimation, this great human emissary of Satan will prove to be no obstacle to Christ when he returns. Paul proclaimed the triumphant note that “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth” (2 Thess 2:8).

Paul’s teaching here underlines the darkness of the days just prior to Christ’s coming. How difficult it will be for those who do not know Christ in those days to turn to him! Believers need to be aware of the character of life in those days so they will not be deceived. This passage also gives further insight into the characteristic features of Satan’s method of operation: He works through people, he imitates the truth, and he seeks above all to deceive people, leading them away from the one true God.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 161–163.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Free to Leave - Purity 804


Free to Leave - Purity 804

Purity 804 08/08/2022 Purity 804 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the public beach at Schroon Lake comes to us from yours truly as I spontaneously found myself further north than I would have ever dreamed Saturday and decided to make the most of it.  

Shortly after reporting Saturday that I didn’t have any “have to’s” to take care of on Saturday, I received word  that the Word of Life Inn & Conference Center in Schroon Lake was sold and the organization were giving away furniture and “other things” away to the public. Imagining Christian resources, books!, wall hangings, and usable furniture for the taking, my curiosity, and the lack of any other plans got the best of me and launched me into action and on a spontaneous journey an hour north of my already northern countryside home.

There was quite a bit of traffic going into and coming out of the Lodge by the time I got there so the pickings were slim but in the spirit of the frenzy I was influenced to “grab something” and ended up grabbing a blue armchair that I will imagined I could use in my bedroom to read, relax or watch t.v. in. 

I tested it out yesterday afternoon and although it takes up more space that I would like, it will meet it’s imagined purpose and it could give my wife a place to sit in my room other than my bed, as I only had a single office chair in the room before.   

Although I got the chair, I was disappointed because there was nothing else like I imagined. The only books they were giving away were Bibles that had been in each room in the inn, and I have plenty of Bibles already.  Yeah my imagination of Christian resources was a false expectation as I discovered that the Lodge was more a less a hotel and the offerings would be what you would expect from any hotel giving away its old furniture: beds, night stands, lamps, arm chairs, low height dressers, but I didn’t know that when I left at a moments notice and went barreling up I-87 to get there.  

So now that I realized that I was at Schroon Lake with nothing else to do, I decided to make the most of my hour and fifteen minute long drive and googled public swimming. I carry a bag in my car with a towel, swim trunks, and other clothes to be prepared for spontaneous fun or unexpected trips or overnight stays so I was ready for some spontaneous swimming fun and discover the public beach would be opening at 11 and was only a short drive a way. 

So I got there at about a quarter of 10 and figured I would read or something until the beach officially opened but shortly after I parked I saw other people setting up their beach chairs and then go into the water! So even though there were no lifeguards and the beach wasn’t officially opened, I headed down the grassy embankment that encloses the small beach and set up shop on the grassy plateau that over looks the beach. I’m not crazy about sand and my elevated position on the grassy plateau gave me a little privacy and distance from the beach below and gave me a nice view of the whole scene. After I set up my camp chair that I also keep in my car at all times for spontaneous fun,  I was soon loving my decision to make the most out of my impromptu trip as I immediately “broke the rules” and was enjoying the cool but not cold waters of Schroon Lake.  I had never been there before and I would definitely recommend it to my friends, but I would encourage you to follow my example and go early because the beach is small and it filled up pretty quickly aftre 11 AM.  

I would also recommend being careful if you decide to follow my example and decide to stay on the grassy hill that surrounds the beach.  There is a reason why not many people joined me on the perfectly level grassy plateau. 

After my maiden swim and an hour of reading and enjoying the sun, I got thirsty so I made the trek back up to my car to get some water I had left behind.  There was a sun bather nearby so I decided to take a different route up the hill and was shocked to discover what appeared to be cat or small dog poop all over the grassy hill side! I was disgusted and wondered what kind of people would be so thoughtless to let their pets relieve themselves in a public park to such an extent that the grassy hillside was a veritable mine field of poop!

So although I did go back to my spot and went swimming a few more times and stayed another hour, the growing crowd, suddenly appearing flying insects, and the fact that I now knew that the entire hill was covered in animal feces all combined to cause me to leave.  

After telling my wife of my misadventures at Schroon Lake, she shared her knowledge of living up north and shared that what I took for pet droppings left by irresponsible owners or strays, was in actuality goose poop! Apparently, unlike most birds that I am familiar with, geese poop is much larger.  

Anyway,  I guess I share all of that to encourage my friends to be spontaneous in life, to make the most of your opportunities to experience something new, but to also be aware of their surroundings!  Apparently there is always something new to learn and sometimes the lessons we get aren’t always pleasant!

And another thing that I would point out from my experience is that we can have good experiences in less than ideal circumstances, but when we discover the unpleasant truth about the place we are in, it doesn’t mean we necessarily have to stay there!  

As the circumstances surrounding my “beach day”, started to go south, I had a decision to make, I could “get over myself” and stay and decide to just “focus on the good” or I could leave! And I did leave!

For me maintaining the peace and joy of my life wasn’t “beach centered”, it’s God centered and the great thing about God is that He goes where I go. The beach had given what I needed to experience and I decided to go when the going was good.  

As someone who encourages others to experience their freedom in Christ, one of the lesson I teach is that we are free to leave negative circumstances, places, and people behind as we follow the Lord.    When we decide to follow Christ, not everyone will be walking with us and the Lord may call us to “go” rather than to endure.  

Yes, a good deal of living as a disciple of Christ involves being good, kind, faithful, gentle, and patient as we endure through bad situations and deal with difficult people but make no mistake, who the Son set free is free indeed and as we walk with Him we will discover that the Lord calls us to leave situations, people, and places behind to answer another call or to maintain our life in the Spirit.  

From the beginning, Abraham was called to leave His family and all he knew to follow the Lord,  Moses lead the nation Israel our of Egypt, and Christ told his disciples to shake of the dust of a town that did not receive His word.   So listen to what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do, but it’s “time to go”, go.   

So as we enter into a new work week, fight the good fight of faith and try to live peacefully where the Lord has brought you as you answer His call on your life to be the best “worker, parent, manager or whatever” that the Lord made you to be.  

But if you discover that the circumstances have gotten to be untenable, remember that the Lord has also given you the freedom to leave.  And if we decide to leave, we necessarily have to scream from the roof tops just how unpleasant things were on the way out the door.  

As much as I may have been tempted to scream “Hey, that hill is covered in poop!”

I didn’t because:

I didn’t want to point out the negative

I didn’t want to take away someone else’s joy

And just like when we share the gospel, often people don’t hear or understand what we say, or don’t listen to us anyway, and somethings we have to experience for ourselves.  

So keep walking and talking with God, and keep pursuing the meaning and purpose He has for your life, that may call you to stay or may call you to exercise your freedom to go.

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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 5:17 (NLT2)
17  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Today’s verse testifies to the spiritual reality of a brand new life that comes to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  

The biggest stumbling block to experiencing our new life in Christ is our failure to pursue the life we have been given.   Instead of being transformed by the renewing our minds with the word of God as the Bible directs us, we continue to stay where we are and do the things we have always done. 

If you are perplexed about why you don’t “feel like a new creation”, it is probably because you have misunderstood the gospel that tells us that there is “nothing to do” but put your faith in Christ to be a child of God and decided that there was “nothing to do” with your new life in Christ and thus have remained doing what you have always done.  

When we are saved, we are saved from God’s wrath.  

But what are we saved “to”?  We are made children of God to represent His kingdom and to give Him glory.  

What exactly in your life before Christ was doing that?  Probably not much.   

So if you saw the need for a Savior for your salvation, why would you assume that the way you were living before you came to Christ was “just fine”?

The call from Christ is the call to everlasting life but it is also the call to repentance.  We are made new the moment we make Christ our Lord but that doesn’t mean that nothing needs to change.  A Christian life is a transformed life.  

So if you don’t feel like you have been transformed, you need to believe that you are and make the transformation a reality in your life by changing the way you think and live to be in line with God’s word.  

So rejoice over your new life in Christ, and seek His wisdom and ways to see it manifest more and more as you make the daily decision to follow Him. 

______________________________________________________________________

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.

Spiritual Warfare As Resistance

Four times in the passage Paul used the word stand/withstand (same root in the Greek: Eph 6:11, 13, 14). In the larger context of Ephesians it is clear Paul did not want believers to “give a place to the devil” with excessive anger, lying, stealing or succumbing to any other temptation to moral impurity (Eph 4:27). Paul described the devil and his powers as working in concert with the flesh and the world (Eph 2:2–3—see above) to promote sin among Christians and hinder the progress of the gospel. For this reason the Christian needs to appropriate God’s enabling power in order to live with moral integrity.

Spiritual warfare is therefore resistance. It is a defensive posture. It involves recognizing the supernatural nature of temptation and being prepared to face it. It also implies appropriating God’s power to progress in eradicating moral vices that already have a place in one’s life.

The first two spiritual weapons Paul named are “truth” and “righteousness.” There appears to be two sides to these weapons. On the one hand, they need to be understood as divine endowments for the task of spiritual warfare. On the other hand, they are to be regarded as virtues that need to be cultivated in the lives of believers. This understanding is quite natural in that the gospel brings with it implications for Christian conduct. Paul saw the gospel as “truth” (Eph 1:13) and as the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). In contrast, the devil is the archadversary who uses many schemes designed to misrepresent, deceive and trick. Believers need to be convinced and assured of the gospel’s truth and what it affirms about them as God’s children. By implication, believers need to conduct their lives in a manner consistent with the truth of the gospel. Lying and deceit can have no place in a believer’s life; they are an affront to the God of truth. Consequently, in Ephesians, Paul told each Christian that he or she “must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Eph 4:25; see also 5:9).

One of the most remarkable parts of the salvation that God provides is the gift of “righteousness.” After informing the Romans that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10), Paul elaborated on the wonderful news that “this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22). This righteousness means that those who believe in Jesus have been acquitted of all guilt before God. They are completely forgiven and reconciled to him as friends, better yet, as sons and daughters. The devil and his malicious powers would certainly like Christians to believe otherwise. The powers strive to convince people that God could not possibly forgive them for some of the horrible things they have done in the past. Such a notion could not be further from the truth. Christians have indeed been pardoned through Christ’s blood, and as such, can live boldly and confidently, not with guilt, fear and timidity.

Possessing God’s righteousness, however, brings responsibility. The apostle admonished his readers to strip off the old self and put on the new self, which is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). The development of personal holiness and integrity is part of the preparation for engaging in victorious spiritual warfare. Conversely, a lack of integrity and personal holiness will certainly hinder a believer’s ability to resist the onslaught of Satan’s minions successfully.

Another very important aspect of a believer’s resistance is “salvation,” which is linked to the helmet as the fifth piece of armor (Eph 6:17). Salvation needs to be understood as Paul explained it in the larger context of the letter. In Ephesians 2:5–10, Paul twice reaffirmed to his readers that “by grace you have been saved,” eloquently describing the concept of salvation. These two occurrences are the only occasions in all of Paul’s letters where he used the Greek perfect tense to refer to salvation. The perfect tense stresses the results of a decisive action in the past Paul wanted his readers to be very secure in their identity in Christ. They are people who are saved and enjoy the benefits of being saved.

Paul clarified what he meant by salvation in that same context with three powerful thoughts: (1) believers have been made alive with Christ, (2) they have been raised up with Christ, and (3) they have been seated with him in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:4–6). For Paul it is vitally important that believers know who they are in Christ in order to resist the influence of Satan and his forces on their lives. Only through their salvation and union with Christ will they be able to resist

Finally, the believer is given a “sword” to fend off the attacks of the evil one. The sword is linked with the Spirit and the Word of God. Just as Jesus used Scripture to resist Satan’s temptations while he was in the wilderness (Mt 4:1–11), Paul called on believers to use God’s Word to resist the devil in their own situations. This is not to be understood as a semimagical use of Scripture, quoting it out loud as a means of thwarting the devil. It involves gaining a thorough familiarity with Scripture and an accurate understanding of its relevance for any given situation. When Jesus was tempted, the devil applied Scripture inappropriately and out of context; Jesus responded to the devil by applying Scripture appropriately and according to its proper intent in conveying the mind of God on specific matters. The thorough, systematic study of Scripture on a regular basis is vital for all believers. It is an integral part of engaging in effective spiritual warfare.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 154–156.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Love and the Path of Freedom – Purity 731


 The Love and the Path of Freedom – Purity 731

Purity 731 05/14/2022  Purity 731 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a memorial tree on the shores of the Hudson River at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park comes to us from a friend who honors the memory of her father, who’s favorite saying was “One Day at a Time”, by planting flowers around its base.  It’s been nine years since my friend started doing this labor of love in remembrance of her departed father. The memorial was established at Riverfront Park because my friend’s father loved the river and the lighthouse there. She includes American flags in the display because her father loved this country and the freedom we all enjoy.   

This year my friend used the occasion of remembering and honoring her father to think of others and their desire for freedom by asking her friends on social media if anyone had miniature Ukrainian flags that she could add to her father’s display to show her family’s support for their struggle. It’s amazing. On the occasion where my friend could have just been thinking of her loss, or the love of her father, she thought about others and how they should be free. 

The true love of freedom goes beyond us. When you are set free, the joy you receive makes you want to share it, by telling others about it and by hoping others experience it too. Like love, when you experience freedom, you want everyone to know it and to keep it.

Well, its Saturday and Jesus said

John 8:36 (NKJV)
36  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Jesus Christ was true to His words because He has set me free and just like my friend desires that the people of the Ukraine be able to enjoy their freedom, it is my sincerest wish that all my friends not only enjoy their personal freedom to enjoy this weekend in whatever ways that would give them the most peace, but it is my wish that they would experience the “freedom indeed” that comes from not only making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior but that is enjoyed all the more when we make the daily decision to live as one of His disciples by “walking in the Spirit”.  

My “Spirit Walk” with Christ has led me through the darkness of addictions, bad relationships, and negative mind states to a place where I not only enjoy the light of freedom in Christ for myself but feel utterly compelled to share the “good news: and continually bear witness of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save, but to also transform the lives of, all who come to Him.   

Today my love of life and freedom in Christ is leading me to try the new experience of white water rafting today as my wife, TammyLyn, and I  will be traveling to Warrensburg to navigate the “17 mile Hudson River Gorge” with friends and a Wild Waters Outdoor Center certified guide. 

I signed us up when a friend offered me the opportunity months ago without fully realizing what I was signing up for.  I imagined a somewhat leisurely trip down the Hudson, but I got a wake up call the other night when the rafting company required my wife and I to sign liability wavers, as in, so we don’t sue them if we should be injured or should die on today’s trip!  In looking at what we signed ourselves up for, my wife informed me that life vests, wetsuits with booties, and helmets are provided.  

Helmets? Life vests? Wet suits?  Okay, so apparently, we are doing the “real deal” today!  

So to be honest, I am excited by the prospect of today’s adventure, but I am also hoping our experienced certified white water rafting guide will bring us safely through without injury, or death! 

But as much as I may trust our guide today, I won’t just trust in them to keep me safe.  I pray everyday for the Lord to lead me through whatever I face and today will be no different.  I know the Lord loves me and that He has protected me in the past and I trust Him to do so in the future but even if some unforeseen mishap should befall me, I know that the Lord will be there to give me strength and peace, come what may.  

So keep walking and talking with God. It’s the weekend so let’s enjoy our freedom to try something new, or to do the familiar activities that enjoy, or to just rest and relax. The Lord wants us to enjoy our lives but He also calls us to be “free indeed” through His Son. And brother and sister, I can tell you as a “Holy Spirit certified guide in walking the path of Christian Discipleship”, the going may not always be easy, and no two trips are the same but the path is true and the destinations along the way may not always be what you expect but the journey is worth taking and somehow always leads to good.

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT2)
21  If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

Today’s Bible verse encourages a life of purity, and it indicates that if our lives are clean we will be prepared for the good works that the Lord would have us walk into.   

A life of purity is about as counter cultural as you can get in the strange new world of our society.  With fornication and living together as a “normal” option for heterosexuals, the legalization of homosexual marriage, and the popularization of every conceivable sexual bent and perversion out there for the offering, the idea of purity is a foreign concept for not only the world at large but also within the professed body of Christ. 

I was “born again” when I was 38 so with outgoing into detail I have to admit that I sowed my “wild sexual oats” outside of the approved area of a committed marriage relationship at times.  It was only well after I was saved, and repented of my addictions to alcohol and drugs, that I was given a revelation of the importance of a pure life.  

After I got “clean and sober”, I realized just how dirty I still was and how what I had always thought of as “sexual liberation” was actually bondage to the flesh and honestly a sex addiction.  What I thought of as my exercising my rights to meet my sexual needs (in whatever way I could think of, or negotiate), was not only a fleshly habit that turned into addiction, it was also a sin!

As I became increasingly free in Christ, my heart was convicted by the truth of God’s word that repeatedly commands us to forsake fornication, adultery, and sexual immorality.  Those three terms basically cover all the outlets for sexual expression other than the sex between a husband and wife in marriage. To be clear, that is one man and one woman in marriage with one another, only, that is the only form of sexual expression or practice that is acceptable, and blessed, by the Lord.  

That’s the principle that is drawn from the Bible and it’s the principle that Christians should live by.  

I know. I used to think that because we are forgiven we can do whatever we like. “

“The blood of Jesus covers our sins, so He will just have to accept my sexual sin and welcome me into His kingdom like it our not!”

That’s not what scripture says. 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT2) says
9  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,
10  or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

I know what you might be thinking. “Wait a minute! I thought I was forgiven of those sins! Past, present, and future, right? 

While we are forgiven for all of our sins, the call on us, as Christians, is to repent and to turn from our sin.  Christ told the woman caught adultery:

John 8:11 (NLT2)
11  “…. Go and sin no more.”

In response to the question of whether, as Christians, we should just go on sinning so grace could abound all the more, The Apostle Paul emphatically says:

Romans 6:2 (NKJV)
2  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

So, we are supposed to change.  Although we once sinned, we are not supposed to keep on living in our sin.  In regard to that list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 , the Apostle Paul demonstrates that Christians forsake those sins by saying in:

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT2)
11  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

So right there, we are told that we can overcome these signs by calling on the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. With their help we can be free, we can be pure.

Ask me how I know.  

So today’s verse that encourages us to live a pure and clean life, so that we can be ready for the good works God has for us, is not an isolated instance of the call on our lives to be pure.   

Who the Son sets free is free indeed, and that freedom includes the freedom to forsake sexual sin and lead a life of purity.   It may seem impossible, but all things the God commands us to do are possible with His help.   

So think about your sex life? Is there any activity that falls outside of the boundaries of heterosexual sex between one man and one woman in marriage going on?  If so, that activity is not only sin, it is bondage to the flesh, and the Lord would have you to be free of it by turning from it to a pure life.  

It’s not a popular message I know, but a pure life that is clean is God’s will for every man and woman.  Sex is a beautiful gift that God wants us to enjoy in a committed marriage relationship where the emphasis is on love more and not satisfying needs or feeding selfish desires.  

So seek a pure life in Christ, and not just in the area of sex but in all the areas of our lives.  God wants us to be holy as He is holy and our efforts to live a pure life will be rewarded by Him and prepare us to be used for His purposes. 

 

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

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

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

Why I Use the Phrase “Wartime Lifestyle”

Sometimes I use the phrase “wartime lifestyle” or “wartime mind-set.” The phrase is helpful—but also lopsided. For me it is mainly helpful. It tells me that there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).

I need to hear this message again and again, because I drift into a peacetime mind-set as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth “home.” Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs” and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached peoples drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.

What It Looks Like in Wartime

I thank God for Ralph Winter, for example, who not only wrote powerfully about a wartime lifestyle, but has lived it as a missionary, professor, founder of the U. S. Center for World Mission, and tireless advocate for the unreached peoples of the world. He gave the following vivid illustration of the difference between a wartime and a peacetime mentality about the use of our possessions.

The Queen Mary, lying in repose in the harbor at Long Beach, California, is a fascinating museum of the past. Used both as a luxury liner in peacetime and a troop transport during the Second World War, its present status as a museum the length of three football fields affords a stunning contrast between the lifestyles appropriate in peace and war. On one side of a partition you see the dining room reconstructed to depict the peacetime table setting that was appropriate to the wealthy patrons of high culture for whom a dazzling array of knives and forks and spoons held no mysteries. On the other side of the partition the evidences of wartime austerities are in sharp contrast. One metal tray with indentations replaces fifteen plates and saucers. Bunks, not just double but eight tiers high, explain why the peace-time complement of 3000 gave way to 15,000 people on board in wartime. How repugnant to the peacetime masters this transformation must have been! To do it took a national emergency, of course. The survival of a nation depended on it. The essence of the Great Commission today is that the survival of many millions of people depends on its fulfillment.

Given the vulnerability of my heart to the seduction of the peacetime mind-set, which is pushed into my mind every day by media and entertainment, I need these images and these reminders. We are at war, whether the stocks are falling or climbing, whether the terrorists are hitting or hiding, whether we are healthy or sick. Both pleasure and pain are laced with poison, ready to kill us with the diseases of pride or despair. The repeated biblical warning to “be alert” fits the wartime image. And I need this warning every day.

Why Not Speak of a “Simple Lifestyle”?

It is more helpful to think of a wartime lifestyle than a merely simple lifestyle. Simplicity may have a romantic ring and a certain aesthetic appeal that is foreign to the dirty business of mercy in the dangerous places of the world. Simplicity may also overlook the fact that, in wartime, major expenses for complex weapons and troop training are needed. These may not look simple, and may be very expensive, but the whole country sacrifices to make them happen. Simplicity may be inwardly directed and may benefit no one else. A wartime lifestyle implies that there is a great and worthy cause for which to spend and be spent (2 Corinthians 12:15).[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 111–114.