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Showing posts with label Freedom in Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freedom in Christ. Show all posts

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving 2022! - Walking With God - Purity 897


Happy Thanksgiving 2022! - Walking With God - Purity 897 

Purity 897 11/23/2022  Purity 897 Podcast

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving,

Today’s photo of Lake Ontario from the vantage point of the swing set on the shores of B. Forman Park in Williamson NY comes to us from yours truly as I was letting the Holy Spirit guide my path during my pilgrimage to Buffalo to serve as an altar counselor for the “An Evening with David Jerimiah” event at the Key Bank Center back on November 10th.  

This scene is just a reminder to me of just one of the many moments in 2022 that I had abundant joy and am deeply thankful for. 

Why? Because I was “walking and talking with the God”, of Course!  When you live a life of Christian Discipleship, when you walk in the Spirit, you are constantly in His Presence and the fruit of the Spirit, the Lord’s love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control, shape your character and define your experience.

So that is why I encourage all who see or hear this message to establish or rededicate your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and to make the daily decision to follow Him, by applying the wisdom of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, to the way you live your life, by choosing to “Walk with God”.

Because I don’t have to rush out the door to get to work this morning, and because it is Thanksgiving I have decided to “step outside of the box” of my normal message by producing it as a video via Zoom, with a power point presentation that I presented to the men that attended the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course as our last meeting this past week, with a few alterations, including this text.  

So it is with a grateful heart and a sincere hope that all who see this have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, I present this short teaching called: Walking with God!

 


 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Conquering the Complaining Spirit - Purity 890


Conquering the Complaining Spirit -  Purity 890

Purity 890 11/16/2022 Purity 890 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Schodack Creek/Hudson River shrouded in mist comes to us from yours truly as I captured this haunting scene before pulling out of my driveway yesterday as the cold air temperatures and the relative warmth of the waters came together to create something that neither of them could produce on their own.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and while the Lord was gracious to me in that my driveway’s black top remains black, I will have to remember the green grass in today’s photo fondly because it is currently covered in a thin veil of white snow!

However, just like yesterday’s river mist didn’t last, I don’t expect the white stuff to remain as the temperature will rise to 41 degrees and rain is in the forecast. After seeing the snow this morning, I had to ask my electronic personal assistant whose names begins with “A” when the first day of winter was.  It’s not until December 21st, of course, but when the temperatures fall and the snow comes, it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says, Winter has come, even if it is early and even if this sudden appearance doesn’t exactly mean we will be living in a winter wonder land. 

I knew “the change” to Winter had come Monday morning as the morning temperatures were below or right around freezing, 32 degrees, and the high was around 40.  Hearing my personal assistant announce that forecast caused me to get out my waterproof winter boots and switch to my insulated hood ieand long sleave work shirt.  And now snow has fallen. 

The times can change in an instant and this really points out our need to be aware of what is happening around us and to be diligent to roll with the changes.  

One of our local news channels shared an expected snow fall map yesterday and while I have to admit I did petition the Lord with prayer to have mercy on us, a prayer I believe has been answered – Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit – I still accepted the forecast with certain of two things:

1.    the forecast is not guaranteed, and subject to change, because God is in charge  

2.    I will be able to meet the challenges of the day regardless of the weather or any other circumstance because God is with me.

However, other people in the comments section of this post were honestly expressing how they felt about the snow. Even though what most of us in the northeast know is that snow inevitable, many in the comments section were proclaim ingtheir hate for the white stuff and their deep desire to move away from it all.   The mere mention of snow had caused these people to lose whatever peace they might have had.  

Of course, it is doubtful that those who were offering their complaints about the possibility of snow had any peace in the first place because when you are giving a voice to a negative comment or complaint it is probably not the first thing that you have spoken against and it is more likely that you may be oppressed if not fully possessed by a “complaining spirit”!

Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT2) reminds Christians to
14  Do everything without complaining and arguing,
15  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

What I can’t complain about the weather!

Well, it does say “do everything without complaining” and before you give rise to your “contentious spirit” that would like to debate that matter, the rest of the verse tells us to “do everything without… arguing” as well!  

Just so you know I didn’t cherry pick this verse, okay maybe I did do a quick google search for a verse about complaining, I am going to share the fruit off that search by providing a link to openbible.info’s 100 Bible verses about complaining ( https://www.openbible.info/topics/complaining) to show that the Lord encourages us to not see our lives with a critical eye and dwell on the negative circumstances and give voice to complaints. 

Why? Because it doesn’t help. Complaining steals away our peace and the peace of others. 

My little ministry here is one of encouragement and I know that while it can be difficult to see the bright side on a cloudy day, because of the Lord, there is always something we can give thanks for rather than complain about things that challenge us.   

Last night, I hosted the last regular session of the Freedom in Christ course on Zoom, and the power of God’s word to transform someone’s outlook on life was on display in its full glory.  

One of the participants of our group testified in the beginning that he only joined the group because while he had attempted to go through the course material on his own it had left him cold and he ended up discontinuing the study because he wasn’t able to receive what the course had indicated he would get from it, namely Freedom in Christ.  In our first sessions, he openly admitted that he just wasn’t “feeling it” but in his desperation and depression he had committed himself to “stay the course”.  

One of the tools the course uses to identify our view of our situation is the “What I Believe” questionnaire, in which the participants are to rate how “successful, significant, satisfied, etc” they feel and to answer a fill in the blank question about how they could be more “successful, significant, and satisfied”. 

This man had confessed that he had taken that questionnaire before the course and he had answered those “more” questions with a pretty worldly attitude stating that he would be more satisfied by winning the lottery, or more successful by obtaining certain positions or tangible rewards of success

. But last night, although he admitted he felt he was learning and felt he was making some progress, he didn’t think much was happening from one week to the next during the course, but when he went to answer those “more questions” this time something amazing had happened.  He had come to view that the only way he y be “more” successful etc was now in reference to his relationship with the Lord and would be determined by his ability to obey and follow the Lord’s will for his life.  

He was as shocked as anyone!  Here was this cynic who had begrudgingly decided to step out in faith with a somewhat flinty hear of stone, testifying to how simply agreeing with the truth of God’s word and what God said about who he was in Christ had changed the way he saw the world and had changed his heart to a heart of flesh that sought to please the Lord and to serve others.   Before the course, he was a complainer and saw his situation as depressing and lacking the things that he need to satisfy him but now even though he didn’t win the lottery or gain any worldly rewards, he felt he had found the way to satisfaction, through just doing the small things that God put before him and knowing that being in harmony with God was the pathway to peace.   

So it’s Wednesday, there is snow on the ground and its supposed to rain, but instead of looking at what some could consider negative, if not HORRIBLE, circumstances, I choose to remember all that God has done and how He has empowered all His children to overcome any obstacles in our paths and to walk through this life with the peace and joy that goes beyond understanding.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Every step you take in His direction leads you closer to Him and closer to the person He created you to be.  It may not seem like you are making a lot of progress but if you stay true to keeping going in the way the Lord leads you, one day you will look back and be amazed how far you have come and how your heart which was once so hard and cold has become alive because of the love that God has poured into you.  

  

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 10:13 (NLT2)
13  For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

Today’s verse reminds us that salvation from the Lord was the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament, as all who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.  

The gospel of grace can not be emphasized enough in our walk.  It the hope for all of us.  That if we simply “call on the name of the LORD”, for us Jesus, we will be saved.   We just have to put our faith in God and trust in Him. 

The Apostle Paul knows Christ but He quotes Joel 2:32 here to show that the Lord has always saved those that surrender to Him in repentance. 

People in the Old Testament had the promise of the Messiah and if they placed their faith in God’s and in His coming, even though they didn’t know His name, they were considered righteous.  Those who trusted and obeyed the Lord in the Old Testament were saved by faith. The writer of Hebrews makes this point in Hebrews 11.  

So God hasn’t changed, in Christ He has revealed what was hidden and quite frankly makes it a lot easier to know His will.  

We have Jesus to put our faith in and to show the way to live.  And while we should rejoice over having Christ’s example of how to live as a Christian, we should never forget that our salvation doesn’t come from our obedience.  

We are only saved because of God and His mercy and grace that heard us cry for help and who showed us the truth. 

We don’t have to accomplish anything to be saved. It is freely given.

Our obedience is not the way to salvation, but it naturally grows out of our salvation.  And while it is our purpose to become sanctified and be pleasing to God, we should never forget that we already are pleasing to our Heavenly Father and that no matter how we fail or how we succeed, nothing can separate us from His love because one day because of our great need we called upon the name of the Lord, and have been saved ever since.

___________________________________________

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 7

The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart

The Disciple and the Unbelievers Continues

When we judge, we encounter other people from the distance of observation and reflection. But love does not allot time and space to do that. For those who love, other people can never become an object for spectators to observe. Instead, they are always a living claim on my love and my service. But doesn’t the evil in other people necessarily force me to pass judgment on them, just for their own sake and because of our love for them? We recognize how sharply the boundary is drawn. Love for a sinner, if misunderstood, is frightfully close to love for the sin. But Christ’s love for the sinner is itself the condemnation of sin; it is the sharpest expression of hatred against sin. It is that unconditional love, in which Jesus’ disciples should live in following him, that achieves what their own disunited love, offered according to their own discretion and conditions, could never achieve, namely, the radical condemnation of evil.

If the disciples judge, then they are erecting standards to measure good and evil. But Jesus Christ is not a standard by which I can measure others. It is he who judges me and reveals what according to my own judgment is good to be thoroughly evil. This prohibits me from applying a standard to others which is not valid for me. When I judge, deciding what is good or evil, I affirm the evil in other persons, because they, too, judge according to good and evil. But they do not know that what they consider good is evil. Instead, they justify themselves in it. If I judge their evil, that will affirm their good, which is never the goodness of Jesus Christ. They are withdrawn from Christ’s judgment and subjected to human judgment. But I myself invoke God’s judgment on myself, because I am no longer living out of the grace of Jesus Christ, but out of a knowledge of good and evil. I become subject to that judgment which I think valid. For all persons, God is a person’s God in the way the person believes God to be.

Judging is the forbidden evaluation of other persons. It corrodes simple love. Love does not prohibit my having my own thoughts about others or my perceiving their sin, but both thoughts and perceptions are liberated from evaluating them. They thereby become only an occasion for that forgiveness and unconditional love Jesus gives me. My refraining from judgment of others does not validate tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner; it does not concede that the other person is somehow right after all. Neither I nor the other person is right. God alone, God’s grace and judgment is proclaimed to be right.

Judging others makes us blind, but love gives us sight. When I judge, I am blind to my own evil and to the grace granted the other person. But in the love of Christ, disciples know about every imaginable kind of guilt and sin, because they know of the suffering of Jesus Christ. At the same time, love recognizes the other person to be one who received forgiveness under the cross. Love sees the other person under the cross, and that is what enables it to have true sight. If my intent in passing judgment were really to destroy evil, then I would seek evil where it really threatens me, namely, in myself. But the fact that I seek evil in another person reveals that in such judgments I am really seeking to be right myself, that I want to avoid punishment for my own evil by judging another person. All judging presupposes the most dangerous self-deception, namely, that the word of God applies differently to me than it does to my neighbor. I claim an exceptional right in that I say: forgiveness applies to me, but condemnation applies to the other person. Judgment as arrogation of false justice about one’s neighbor is totally forbidden to the disciples. They did not receive special rights for themselves from Jesus, which they ought to claim before others. All they receive is communion with him.

But it is not only judging words which are forbidden to the disciples. Proclaiming salvific words of forgiveness to others also has its limits. Jesus’ disciples do not have the power and the right to force them on anyone at any time. All our urging, running after people, proselytizing, every attempt to accomplish something in another person by our own power is in vain and dangerous. In vain—because swine do not recognize the pearls thrown before them; dangerous—because not only does this defile words of forgiveness, not only does it make the other person I am to serve into a sinner against holy gifts, but even the disciples who are preaching are in danger of being needlessly and pointlessly harmed by the blind fury of hardened and darkened hearts. Squandering cheap grace disgusts the world. Then the world will turn violently on those who want to force on it what it does not desire. This signifies for the disciples a serious limitation on their work. It agrees with the directive in Matthew 10 to shake from their feet the dust of any place that does not hear the word of peace. The driving restlessness of the group of disciples, who do not want to accept any limitation on their effectiveness, and their zeal, which does not respect resistance, confuses the word of the gospel with a conquering idea. An idea requires fanatics, who neither know nor respect resistance. The idea is strong. But the Word of God is so weak that it suffers to be despised and rejected by people. For the Word, there are such things as hardened hearts and locked doors. The Word accepts the resistance it encounters and bears it. It is a cruel insight: nothing is impossible for the idea, but for the gospel there are impossibilities. The Word is weaker than the idea. Likewise, the witnesses to the Word are weaker than the propagandists of an idea. But this weakness liberates them from the sick restlessness of a fanatic; they suffer with the Word. Disciples may retreat, or even flee, as long as they are retreating and fleeing with the Word,[224] as long as their weakness is the weakness of the Word itself, as long as they do not abandon the Word in their flight. They are nothing but servants and tools of the Word, and should not want to be strong when the Word is weak. If they wanted to force the Word onto the world by all means, then they would make the living Word of God into an idea, and the world will justifiably fight back against an idea which cannot help it at all. But it is as weak witnesses that they do not flee, but remain—to be sure, only where the Word is. Disciples who would know nothing about this weakness of the Word would not have come to know the secret of God’s lowliness. This weak Word, which suffers contradiction by sinners, is the only strong, merciful Word, that can make sinners repent from the bottom of their hearts. The Word’s power is veiled in weakness. If the Word came in full, unveiled power, that would be the final judgment day. The great task of recognizing the limits of their mission is given to the disciples. But when the Word is misused, it will turn against them.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 170–173.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Holiday Stress Beginning Already? Learn Ways to Be Calm - Purity 887


Holiday Stress Beginning Already? Learn Ways to Be Calm -  Purity 887                  

Purity 887 11/12/2022 Purity 887 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the unnatural wonder of a mammoth artificial Christmas tree decorated to remind people of the need to go Christmas shopping, and possibly encourage people to remember the birth of or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, comes to us from yours truly as I stopped long enough to capture it before running out the door of the Walden Galleria Mall in Buffalo yesterday…

Ok I have a confession to make. While it will be “yesterday” when I release this message, I am actually writing this moments after leaving the mall and before the David Jerimiah event I will be prayerfully serving at in just an hours time!

Yup, you see I am going back home tomorrow and I want to hit the ground running, as in, no, do not collect $200, do not even go to jail, go directly home because “we out of here”.  

I have enjoyed my trip immensely thus far but tomorrow morning I will be raring to go and right now can’t imagine writing and recording the podcast at the Hostel again. “Hey guys, its been real.  Later.” As if any of the Hostel guests would know or care, its that laid back and fluid in Hostel world. 

Anyway, my ill conceived choice to go into the mall to kill some time caused me to stress in general about the holidays and specifically about my Exodus tomorrow. And As I was checking my email, I saw an appropriate message to share from the Freedom in Christ blog about the coming holiday season and anxiety and I figured that I should share that then rather come up with some wisdom from the Parking lot. 

So  I am sharing a message from Freedom in Christ Ministries’ National Director of Prayer, Sue Jantz entitled Calm – Part 1 that was released on FICM’s blog (https://blog.ficm.org/blog/calm-part-1) to give us all some helpful advice about how to be able to handle any social anxiety that may make a visit this holiday season:

“We have officially entered the holiday season! Do the activities surrounding the holidays make you giddy with excitement, scouting the stores for all things “grinch,” or somewhere wavering in the middle? Interestingly, Psychology Today reports that studies show that approximately 40 percent of all adults are riddled with social anxiety around the holidays.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines anxiety—and its synonyms care, concern, and worry—this way: “a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this.”

The Greek word for anxiety means “divided” with the implication that what is divided is our mind. When we live in anxiety, we can become a “double-minded” person who is “unstable in all his ways,” as James says.

Peter links anxiety with the roaring lion, our adversary, Satan, who prowls around seeking who he may devour (1 Peter 5:6-8).

So let’s take a moment to identify where we are facing anguished uncertainty (uncertain goals) this holiday season.

It may be:

  • Family relationships
  • Work environment and relationships
  • Physical health
  • Financial expenditures and expectations

The world gives us helpful (or not so helpful) advice to calm our anxious hearts:

  • “Really?! Calm Down!”
  • “Suck it up!
  • Get it together!”

 

Since our body, soul and spirit are connected, our anxious emotions trigger a physical response both for good and for ill. Scripture speaks directly to this.

Isaiah 13:7 NLT – “Every arm is paralyzed with fear. Every heart melts”

Jeremiah 50:43 – “The king of Babylon heard the report of them, and his hands fell helpless; anguish seized him, pain as of a woman in labor.”

Ezekiel 7:17 MSG – “‘Every hand hangs limp, every knee turns to rubber” (In view of God’s coming judgment upon His people).

In a frightening scenario painted in Psalm 46 of both physical upheaval and political turmoil, God gives a command, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

But how can we know that He is God if we are in anxious turmoil?

Let’s start with some simple, physical practices to counter anxiety. Some of these we do subconsciously and don’t even realize they are calming such as massaging our arms or rubbing our face. But small practices done over time can make a significant difference!

The first is belly breathing—slow and low. This is the breathing taught to U. S. Navy Seals which helps deactivate the fight or flight response.

  • Inhale to a count of four letting your diaphragm expand, hold to count of four, then exhale to the count of four and say a verse of Scripture. My favorite is Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you, O Lord.” Then pause and count to four. Repeat three times. I love to do this “stronghold buster” as I lay down to sleep.
  • Others say a name of God like Lord Jesus on the inhale, and a Scripture prayer on the exhale like “Help me to be still and know that you are God.”

 

The next is quiet through participating physically in worship. The Scripture is replete with commands—let us sing to the Lord, let us shout to the God of our salvation, let us worship and bow down, let us exalt His name together. Dr. Richard Smith of the Oklahoma Neuroscience Institute found participatory worship causes a decrease in blood pressure, pulse and breathing slows, hand temperature increases, and there is a reduction in anger and depression because of increased dopamine and serotonin! If David’s harp music calmed the angry King Saul, it can bring peace to our soul.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s almost impossible to tell someone else or yourself to relax and then be instantly relaxed. But what is helpful is tensing and releasing various muscle groups from your head to your toes. This is something you can do discreetly like when I was on a flight when they announced there was a malfunction in the ventilations system, and there would be no air circulating from the time we touched down till we got to the gate!

Another practice is yawning. Yawning signals to your body that it is time to quiet and rest. Turn your head to left, yawn, and then to the opposite way and yawn. One article called it the fastest way to hack mental stress and gain focus as it gets more oxygen to the brain.

Laughter and play are helpful as well: “A merry heart is like good medicine” (Proverbs 17: 22). The Christian author Dr. Archibald Hart writes, “Delighting in the everyday pleasures of life actually repairs and heals the overstimulation of our brains.”

Lastly, physical exercise can help us to calm. Strenuous exercise releases endorphins which relieve pain and create a sense of well-being. Walking at a little slower pace gives us time to drink in God’s beauty in creation.

In Matthew 7, there’s a familiar story of two men, one who built his life on the rock and the other one on the sand. Jesus says this, “Everyone who hears these words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). The wise are not those who simply get it, but those who practice it. This week should give us plenty of opportunities to practice these quieting exercises so that we can know the God who is the Prince of Peace!”

Sue Jantz – FICM National Director of Prayer

Okay, I hope that helps! Keep Walking and talking with God and I will report on my evening as a volunteer with David Jerimiah on Monday, possibly, because when you walk in the Spirit the Lord may have something else in mind and may point me in another direction. 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 5:24 (NLT2)
24  “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus and the exclusivity of Christ alone to save us could not be made any clearer. If we listen to Jesus and believe in God we will have eternal life, we will never be condemned and have the assurance of our salvation like it is already a done deal.  

Now you could play Jesus’ statements here and say “ Oh I hear you Jesus and I do believe in “A god” so we are good, right? 

Unfortunately, Christ called his disciples to follow Him, not just hear His words and generally disregard them and then just have the faintest sense of mentally assent to a belief in God.    

NO Christ came to earth to draw people to the Father, to bring people into the kingdom, to know God and to live for God, to love God with all of our hearts, minds, and strength.  

So while Christ’s message is clear we have sure that we let those we share the gospel with that while the gift of salvation is free it is not cheap. It cost Christ His life, and the epistles indicate it will cost us ours as well as Paul writes that we are crucified and die with Christ and then are raised to new life through Christ’s resurrection.  

So today’s verse is great news, but we have to receive all of it to live.  

___________________________________________

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

The Simplicity of Carefree Life

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matt. 6:19–24).

The life of those who follow proves to be on the right course when nothing comes between them and Christ, not the law, not their own piety, and not the world. The disciples always see only Christ. They do not see Christ and the law, Christ and piety, Christ and the world. They do not even begin to reflect that; they just follow Christ in everything. So their vision is simple. Its sole focus is on the light which comes from Christ. There is no darkness or ambiguity in their eyes. Just as the eye must remain simple, clear, and pure, so that the body may remain in the light, just as the foot and the hand have no other source of light except the eye, just as the foot stumbles and the hand gropes when the eye is clouded, just as the whole body is in darkness when the eye is blinded, so disciples are in the light only as long as they look simply to Christ and not to this or that. The disciples’ hearts must simply be focused on Christ alone. If the eye sees something other than what is real, then the whole body is deceived. If the heart clings to the appearances of the world, to the creatures instead of the creator, then the disciple is lost.

It is the goods of the world which try to turn away the hearts of Jesus’ disciples. What is it that attracts the heart of a disciple? That is the question. Is it attracted by the goods of the world, or even by Christ and the goods of the world? Or does it stand by Christ alone? The light for the body is the eye, and the light for a disciple is the heart. If the eye is dimmed, how dark the whole body must be. If the heart is darkened, how dark it must be in the disciple. The heart becomes dark when it clings to the goods of the world. Then Jesus’ call, be it as urgent as can be, nevertheless bounces off; it finds no entry in the person, because the heart is closed. It belongs to another. Just as no light can enter the body if the eye is evil, so the word of Jesus cannot enter the disciple if the heart is shut. The word is choked off, just as the seed among thorns is choked by the “cares, riches, and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14).

The simplicity of the eye and the heart is like the hiddenness in which nothing except Christ’s word and call is known and complete communion with Christ is all there is. How should disciples deal simply with the goods of the earth?

Jesus does not forbid them to use the goods. Jesus was human. He ate and drank just as his disciples did. In doing so, he purified the use of the goods of the earth. Disciples should gratefully use the goods required for their bodies’ daily need and nutrition—goods which are consumed in sustaining life. “We’re wandering Pilgrims day by endless days, / ill-clothed and poor yet freed in fearless ways. / We need not gather, hoard, nor trade, / lest our paths to God overburdened fade. / Who so craves with greed’s lethal eyes, / cannot along life’s journey with us have ties. / Few goods at hand, we live at peace, / with God our lot our needs decrease.”[200] Goods are given to us to be used, but not to be stored away. Just as Israel in the desert received manna daily from God and did not have to worry about food and drink, and just as the manna which was stored from one day for another rotted, so should Jesus’ disciples receive their share daily from God. But if they store it up as lasting treasure, they will spoil both the gift and themselves. The heart clings to collected treasure. Stored-up possessions get between me and God. Where my treasure is, there is my trust, my security, my comfort, my God. Treasure means idolatry.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 161–163.

 


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Epic Journey Continues - Relationships Dynamics Inventory – Purity 884

 

The Epic Journey Continues - Relationships Dynamics Inventory   Purity 884

Purity 884 11/09/2022 Purity 884 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the afternoon sun shining through a hazy sky over the Hudson River, and Schodack Creek, and my driveway comes to us from yours truly as I stopped to capture the view from my front yard upon return to my home “Down by The River” back on October 30th.  

Well, it’s Wednesday, and I am hitting the road to go to the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY tonight after work as part of a spiritual journey that will culminate in my volunteering for the ministry that delivered the radio message that saved my soul back in 2010.   I will be serving at an Evening with David Jerimiah at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo on Friday and letting the Spirit guide me between now and then. So I am excited and short on time.  

This morning I utilized some information one of the participants from the Freedom in Christ course provided in the chat last night to create the Following “Relationship Dynamics Inventory”   and because I took the time to make it I am sharing it today on the blog and podcast.  So here goes: 

“Relationship Dynamics Inventory”

As we seek to walk in the Spirit and become aware of the lies we have believed and recognize the things we may have done, or have failed to do, or that we may have experienced from our parents/caregivers/family/loved ones/friends growing up, we have to take an honest inventory of our pasts and our past performance. 

A Freedom In Christ Course Participant shared the following list that he received from a ministry that seeks to reconcile relationships and to help people to honestly look at the things they have done or have been perceived to have done.

 

·       Lack of interest in things that are special to me

·       Breaking promises

·       Criticizing unjustly

·       Allowing my brothers or sisters to put me down

·       Misunderstanding my motives

·       Speaking carelessly

·       Punishing me for something I’d already been punished for

·       Telling me that my opinions don’t really matter

·       Giving me the feeling that you never made mistakes

·       Not being gentle when pointing out my weaknesses or blind spots

·       Lecturing me and not understanding that all I need is some support

·       Never saying, “I love you’”

·       Not spending time alone with me

·       Being insensitive and rough

·       Being thoughtless.

·       Never saying, “Thank you”

·       Speaking harsh words

·       Being inconsistent

·       Being taken for granted

·       Being told how to do something that I was doing on my own

·       Nagging me

·       Bossing me

·       Feeling unnoticed and unappreciated

·       Being ignored

·       Not being considered a thinking/feeling person

·       Being too busy to care for me

·       Being too busy to listen to what I have to say.

·       Dismissing my needs as not important, and yours are more important

·       Bringing up mistakes from the past

You can utilize this list by providing it to your children, spouses, family, or friends to allow them an opportunity to honestly assess you without fear of reproach and with the intention of reconciliation and rebuilding and healing broken or troubled relationships.

You can also use it for self-evaluation or evaluation of your relationship dynamics with parents, children, extended family, spouses, significant others, or friends.  

The basic principles of Christian Discipleship recommend that you repent of any known sins, study God’s word to renew your mind, develop a daily prayer practice, and to seek the community, counsel, and accountability of other mature Christians.

I would recommend that you also utilize the teachings presented in the Freedom in Christ Course and Victory Over the Darkness (regarding Handling Emotions Well, Forgiving From the Heart, Relating to Others, with the focus of working on one’s own character and seeking to meet the needs of others, without expectation) to help you in the process of evaluation and sanctification, before attempting any reconciliation.

For resources from Freedom in Christ Ministries go to: https://www.ficm.org/

This document is merely a tool to use for evaluation and should be used with wisdom and discretion.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  

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Yeah I know that is one harsh list of things we may have to face. The participant in our Freedom in Christ course actually provided that to his wife and children to get the hard truth of how they felt he was doing as a husband and father.  Talk about humbling.  

But sometimes we need the hard truth to help us to change and there is no truth harder or more true that the word of God.  When we are faced with our failures and sins and relationship blunders, hope can be found in seeking the Lord and in repentance.  

The Lord can help you to change. He can transform your life. And while He can’t change what happened in the past He can help you move past it and correct your course going forward.  

So look in the mirror and see how you are doing, but be sure to look in God’s word and see who God made you to be. If you are in Christ, you are new creation but you have to believe it and you have to start living like it, preferably in all the areas of your life.  

But God is gracious and patient and He will meet you where you are and guide you little by little, one day at a time, into the new life that He has for you. 

But you have to be honest and have to surrender and decide to follow Him.  So as I will be letting the Spirit lead me over the next couple of days to Oswego tonight and Key Bank Center at 3:30pm on Friday without much of a plan for in between, let me encourage you that even if you may not be 100 percent sure where the Lord will take you, you can trust that if you are following Him that it will eventually lead to a good place. 

So turn from the past and the ways of the world, and follow the Lord into a life that is EPIC and abundant with meaning and purpose and filled with the fruit of the Spirit.  

The EPIC journey the moment you follow Him. So put your faith in Christ and go.

 

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 24:12 (NLT2)
12  Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

Today’s verses  reminds us of the sometimes painful realization that the Lord is all knowing and He will repay people as their actions deserve.  

Yeah, God knows everything including what we know and don’t know.  So that is why I recommend to all those I encourage to be honest with the Lord because there is no fooling Him.  

Also God is holy and will repay everyone as their actions deserve.  Without Christ as our Lord and Savior, that means hell.   

So put your faith in Christ and avoid any chastisement by being honest, by not making excuses, and by living according to the Lord’s wisdom and ways.

 

___________________________________________

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

The Hiddenness of Prayer continues

“Your will be done on earth as in heaven.” In the community of Jesus Christ, the disciples have completely surrendered their will to God’s will. They pray, therefore, that God’s will be done on the whole earth. No creature should obstruct it. But because the will of evil still lives even in the disciples trying to tear them out of their community with Jesus, they must also pray that the will of God rule in them more completely every day and break down their resistance. Ultimately, however, the whole world shall bend to the will of God and gratefully worship God in distress and in joy. Heaven and earth shall be subject to God.

Above all, Jesus’ disciples should pray for God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. Of course, God does not need these prayers, but through them the disciples themselves participate in the heavenly treasures for which they are praying. Also, such prayers may hasten the end of time.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” As long as the disciples are on earth, they should not be ashamed of asking their heavenly Father for the things they need for their bodily life. God who created human beings on earth intends to preserve and protect human bodies. God does not intend that God’s own creation become disdained. Disciples pray for bread to be shared. None of them will be given it alone. They also pray that God give daily bread to all of God’s children on the whole earth, for they are all sisters and brothers in the flesh. The disciples know that the bread which grows from the earth comes down from heaven and is God’s gift alone. That is why they do not simply take their bread; they ask for it. Because it is bread from God, it comes anew every day. The disciples do not pray for advance supplies, but for the daily gift from God today, which sustains their lives in the community of Jesus and for which they praise God’s gentle goodness. This petition is proof of the disciples’ faith in God’s living action on earth doing what is best for them.

“Forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us.” The disciples’ daily sorrow is the recognition of their guilt. They, who could live without sin in community with Jesus, sin daily in all sorts of ways: they lack faith, are lethargic at prayer, lack bodily discipline, and give in to self-indulgence, envy, hatred, and ambition. So they must pray daily for God’s forgiveness. But God will only hear their prayer when they forgive each other’s guilt in a loving and willing way. Together, they bring their guilt before God and pray together for grace. May God forgive not only me my sins, but us our sins.

“Lead us not into temptation.” The temptations of the disciples are various. Satan attacks them from all sides and tries to bring them down. False security and godless doubt tempt them severely. Knowing of their weakness, the disciples do not provoke their being tempted in order to prove the strength of their faith. They ask God not to tempt their weak faith and to protect them in the hour of temptation.

“But deliver us from evil.” The disciples’ final prayer is to be that someday they be delivered from this evil world and inherit the kingdom of heaven. This petition is for a blessed end[188] and for the salvation of the Christian community at the last days of this world.

“For yours is the kingdom …” Daily the disciples receive this certainty anew from their communion with Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of all their petitions. In him God’s name is hallowed; in him God’s kingdom comes; in him God’s will is done. For his sake the bodily life of the disciples is preserved; for his sake they receive forgiveness for their sins. In his power they are protected from temptation; in his power they are saved unto eternal life. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever in communion with the Father. The disciples are certain of this.

As if to summarize the prayer, Jesus states once again that everything depends on receiving forgiveness, and that this forgiveness can only be received when living in the fellowship of other sinners.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 156–158.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship