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

Friday, April 12, 2024

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Purity 1324 04/12/2024 Purity 1324 Podcast

Purity 1324 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a Canadian goose on the shores of a tranquil lake at the early hours of sunrise or the late hours of sunset comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this photo on social media on or around May 15th, 2021. If this magic moment was yours, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to photo-credit you after the fact. 

Well, It’s Friday, and as I enter into the last “workday” off on my week’s staycation down by the River, I am thankful for the opportunity to find rest and to be restored after a busy “Freedom in Christ” season.  Last night  I met with Sue Huber, FICM’s national course coordinator and other online course facilitators to debrief and to celebrate another round of discipleship courses that led our students to know who they are in Christ and to experience for the first time, or to increase, their freedom in Christ as our ministry is discipleship (teaching people what we believe, why we believe it, and applying it to their lives), repentance (actually turning from our behaviors and beliefs that are contrary to God’s word and will for our lives) and of reconciliation (where we confess our sins, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive those who have sinned against us).  Sue Huber perhaps said it best last night as one of her concluding statements was “Our ministry is the gospel”.   

All we do as course facilitators is to lead people to understand it, to choose to believe it, and to let it work in their lives by going to the Lord in prayer and resolving all the areas of personal and spiritual conflicts that have been keeping them from living the gospel. Our faith in Christ should change us. It should give us peace and joy and when we get real with God and surrender to His will and ways for our lives, we can experience it. 

Even though this “Freedom Season”, has presented some real challenges to my sense of peace and joy at times and made a week’s “staycation” absolutely necessary, I am rejoicing over the work that has been done and the rest I have enjoyed over the last few days.  Peace and joy are never far from those who know who they are in Christ and who keep on walking and talking with God. 

James 4:8-10 (NKJV) tells us to
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
      

I know, we love to cherry-pick the “good sentiments” from these verses and exclude the ones that chastise us – but in order to be lifted up by the Lord – we must be cleansed, purify our heats, change our double minds, lament, mourn, and weep over our sins – to be woken up from the world’s sinful hilarity and to see we have gone astray. We must repent… and then the Lord can lift us up to new heights of joy and peace that come from being reconciled to the Lord and living in harmony with Him.

In the freedom appointments I have conducted over the last month, I watched men humble themselves and lament over the sins of their pasts but at the end, they reported having a “quiet mind” and a new sense of peace that only comes from the Lord when you draw close to Him and He lifts you up in freedom. 

These men “got real” before the Lord and they walked away with a real sense of freedom – because their reconciliation with God and their healing is real and they can enjoy it for the rest of their lives if they simply agree to choose to believe it, tell others all about it, and keep on walking and talking with God. 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Today’s verse fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

6. Those who die in the Lord are blessed.

Today’s verse tells us the those who die in the Lord really can rest in peace – we may rest from our labors for our “deeds follow them” – meaning that the good work we do for God’s kingdom will not be forgotten or lost at the hour of our deaths- they will follow us into eternity and be rewarded.  

Some Christians hesitate to read Revelation because of the apocalyptic end time scenes that tell us of the great tribulation that is to come but as today’s verse challenges us to understand, we need not fear death for we who are “in the Lord” – in Christ -  are not cursed – but are blessed at the hour of our death.  We don’t need to ask Mary to pray for “us sinners” now or at the hour of our death because we are forgiven and free in life, and blessed when we die physically because we will live spiritually and receive glorified bodies just like Jesus’s resurrected body when we are called into eternity.

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

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: JOHN 16

“Whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
– John 16:2

Here is certainly a sad state of spiritual affairs. There is coming a time, and in fact in some places it has already come, when the departure from truth shall be such that men who will not accept the real Truth will persecute and kill the very servants of God. Of course, this primarily applies to the time when the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel and our Lord, will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem, and the great tribulation shall take place. But even now, it is possible to be so misunderstood by those who profess to bear the truth, as to provoke hatred and persecution.

Enable me to stand for You, whatever the odds.
Amen.[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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

It’s Who I am in Christ, Not Who I am at Work - Purity 1321


It’s Who I am in Christ, Not Who I am at Work  - Purity 1321

Purity 1321 04/9/2024 Purity 1321 Podcast

Purity 1321 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting over the Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography’s Rocco Saya who shared this scene on social media commenting that the sun did make an appearance on the day of the big eclipse, but it apparently was obstructed by clouds at the “magic moment” when the moon eclipsed its light.

Well, It’s Tuesday, and although I enjoyed unobstructed sunshine for most of the morning and early afternoon while doing a spring clean-up of my backyard, my view of the eclipse was similarly obstructed by overcast clouds causing me to agree with Saya’s other comment to his FB friends that we – “…can’t have everything in life”. I would add that if you are counting on the circumstances of your life to fulfill you or to give you “everything in life”, you will be severely disappointed. 

We don’t look to blue skies and sunsets to give us joy. We don’t look to eclipses to give us a sense of meaning and purpose. We don’t look to thing things on earth or the things in the skies to give us those things.  No, we should look to the Creator, God, not the creation, to give us  a sense of purpose, joy, and worth.  And luckily Our God revealed Himself throughout history and used men to tell us all about it in the Bible. We don’t have to look for a sign in the skies or listen for a voice from heaven, God shows us who we are and tells us what we need to know in Scripture.   And He doesn’t only tell us about Himself and the history of His interactions with man, He also tells us about who we are when we put our faith in Christ. 

This world would tell you that your identity and your worth is based on your accomplishments, talents, preferences, and performance but who we really are and what we are really worth should be determined by the One who has perfect knowledge and who made us.

I’m on vacation this week but as I was enjoying myself outside yesterday I received a negative report from a colleague at work who was assigned to use my truck and reported  “there was no way he could work out of it” because of its disorganized – overstocked state and that he was concerned about negative comments about my “less than exemplary work”. Now this man is a brother and a friend, so I appreciate his “warnings” and readily admit to disorganized state of my truck when I left for vacation and humbly accept that people may criticize my skill sets (although I do perform the jobs I get to the best of my abilities) but then he wished to “encourage” me by reminding me that “we work for the Lord” and convict me that how I “choose to work is not a good testimony”. He then admitted that he may have his own issues in some regards but stood on the fact that he gets “his work done.”  - whereas I guess the perception is that I don’t (because I don’t work overtime and will pass my unfinished work on to those who do and will readily ask for and accept help if I need it). He then reminded me that we have a “great job” – Its great… sorry for the sarcasm – it is a well-compensated job and I appreciate how it provides for my needs. But my colleague did admit that the job isn’t perfect, and neither are we, but “we need to be a reflection of Christ”.

While I understand what my brother is saying and appreciate that I could keep a more organized truck and strive to “do better”, I have to admit that I take issue with the performance based – works based – bill of goods that he is trying to impart me with.  While I agree with the Colossians 3:23 sentiment to do everything “heartily” as to the Lord, I think there is a fine line here in thinking that we are approved, significant, or secure because of our performance and that the opinions of our fellow men are similar to what God thinks about us.   The truth is our worth in Christ (who we are supposedly trying to “reflect”) doesn’t work that way.    

As I stated I am doing everything to the best of my abilities – and somehow got a satisfactory evaluation from my supervisor during my last review, I believe, and even get customer accommodations on occasion. Oh by the way, I couldn’t stop myself and had to check my “numbers” and I discovered that I have exceeded my performance goals more than I have “missed the mark” so far this, although I can’t claim perfection.  I know I am not the best tech but do my work to best my abilities and am satisfied with my work.  The standards of performance and the opinions of others are subjective and honestly I don’t put my sense of personal worth in “doing a good job” because there will always be room to criticize me, and my performance will vary from time to time. If I were to put my sense of worth in my performance, I would be fearful of not measuring up to others (how good do I have to be?) or depressed because I am not “the best” (Is top 10 good enough, what about top 20?) Or do I have to be approved by all of my cp-workers to feel a sense of worth?  Or do I have to be number one to “reflect Christ. – He is perfect after all. 

The reason I am so zealous about my faith is because I am accepted by the Lord because of who I am in Christ, not because of “Who I am at Work” and honestly it bothers me when Christians fuel this worldly performance driven evaluation of our reflecting Jesus.  That’s not how it works, although you may have been taught in the church!  Legalistic standards created “Sunday best” and the Pharisaical attitudes of being “above the law” and often drive people away from faith or cause us to live in despair over our shortcomings.  

I have been going through Neil Anderson’s “Who I am in Christ: A Devotional” and just yesterday read about how our worth is NOT determined by our “talents”.  And so I am sharing what I read yesterday to stop the condemnation I was under and to remind myself that negative reports should be evaluated not by our “feelings” but should be check out according to the actual truth – the facts are my performance is satisfactory-ish, lol – like I said not perfect in all the areas, all the time,  and more importantly – the truth of God’s word. 

So from Neil Anderson, I present that:

I Am a Member of Christ’s Body

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

1 CORINTHIANS 12:27

Anybody who regularly relates to people on a deep level knows that they don’t inherently feel good about themselves. We are not born with an innate sense of worth or value. The natural man has no identity in Christ, so from the time we are born into this world, we are constantly pursuing some sense of identity, purpose or meaning in life.

The self-esteem movement has been profoundly affecting every aspect of life. More and more, people are searching for some sense of significance, and the philosophy of attempting to find it within yourself has even found its way into the Church.

I have heard Christians say a man finds his identity in a job and a woman finds her identity in her children or family. Some say this teaching comes out of Genesis 3, where it states that a man shall work by the sweat of his brow and a woman shall bear her child in pain. But that is the curse of the Fall, the result of man’s choosing to live independent of God. If a man finds his identity in his job, what happens when he loses his job? If a woman finds her identity in her family or children, what happens if she never gets married?

Who we essentially are is not determined by what we do or the roles we live out in society. It is who we are that determines what we do, and then what we do brings a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Search for Self-Worth

So the question is, “Where does a person find a legitimate sense of identity or worth?” Is it in talents? No, it can’t possibly be. God has given some one talent, some two talents, and others five talents (see Matt. 25:14–28). You may say, “Well, God, how could You do that? Don’t You know that the only person who can have any legitimate sense of worth or identity is the five-talented person?” But that is not true. I know a lot of five-talented people who are struggling for a sense of worth, just like the one-talented person.

Well, then, does our worth lie in intelligence? No, according to 1 Corinthians 1:27, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” Okay, how about appearance? If we only appeared good, certainly we would have the acceptance and affirmation of others. But according to Isaiah 53:2, Jesus had “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him.”

One time I asked my son, “Karl, suppose there is a young girl at your school who has a potato body, stringy hair, bad complexion, stutters when she talks and stumbles when she walks—is there any hope for happiness for her?”

He paused for a moment and said, “Hmmm. Probably not.” In the world’s system, probably not, but could she have a legitimate sense of worth in God’s system? Absolutely.

Is our worth found in spiritual gifts? No, I am sure it is not. God has not equally distributed gifts, talents or intelligence, but He has equally distributed Himself. Our identity comes from knowing who we are as children of God, and our sense of worth grows out of our commitment to become like Him.

Legitimate Sense of Worth in Christ

Show me people today who know who they are as children of God and have committed themselves to Him, and I will show you those who have a profound sense of self and of worth. Show me somebody who is continually growing in the fruit of the Spirit, whose life is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Will that person have a good sense of identity and value? Yes, I am sure of it. And the beautiful part of that truth is that everyone has exactly the same opportunity.[1]

Not to “toot my own horn”, but I do know who I am as a child of God and have committed myself to Him, and as Anderson indicates, I have a profound sense of self and of worth.  I marvel over how much I have grown in the areas of the fruit of the Spirit and have a great sense of peace and joy as long as I don’t let the world’s performance based system, or the opinions of men speak to me more than truth of what my Heavenly Father says about me. 

There is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, right? So if someone comes at you with a negative report and tells you to “do better” to “reflect Christ” take it under advisement, look at where they are coming from and see if they have a point,  but at the end of the day remember we are not accepted because of our performance and we will never be “free in Christ” if we are busy in our attempts to measure up to some subjective standard of performance or to be “well considered” in the eyes of men – most of whom are desperately wicked and head for perdition.   In only in Christ that I would I ever be accepted, secure, or significant and I won’t let the opinions of others, or the changing circumstance of the world erase the truth of my new identity in Christ.  \

It’s who I am in Christ, not “who I am at work”, that’s sets me free. So please excuse me, as I reject your performance based evaluation of my sense of worth and choose to keep on walking and talking with God in the way He leads me. 

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Philippians 1:21 (NIV2011)
21  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Today’s verse falls under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

3. To live is Christ; to die is gain.

Today’s verse determines our mission in life.  To live is Christ – so we live to proclaim the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, until our dying breath. And if we die? We go to see Him. We can’t lose because we are victorious through Jesus. The only loss we suffer is when we fail to remember who we are in Christ or fail to tell others of how they can be saved, forgiven, and set free through 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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: JOHN 13

“[Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments,
took a towel and girded Himself.” – John 13:4

In this picture is presented supreme humility. O to grasp the same spirit, that my life may be characterized with the humility of my blessed Lord.

He rose from Supper. Here was the deliberate and intentional advance for the expression of humility. It is true that He was incarnate humility, but it is also true that He deliberately came to express it.

He laid aside His garments. He emptied Himself of all His glory. He who was rich became poor.

He took a towel and girded Himself. He took upon Him the form of a servant. Girding is essentially the sign of service. He could say, “I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27).

Teach me humility, O Lord.[2]

---------------------------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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Neil T. Anderson, Who I Am in Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001), 61–63.

Friday, April 5, 2024

A Christian Life Should Never Be Boring - Purity 1318


 
A Christian Life Should Never Be Boring - Purity 1318

Purity 1318 04/5/2024 Purity 1318 Podcast

Purity 1318 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of an outcropping of rock, green treetops, and blue skies comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on or around June 5th, 2021. If this emerging photo is yours, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to photo credit you after the fact. 

Well, It’s Friday – thank God – and there is nothing quite like hiking up a mountain or hilly trail and reaching the place where you can finally see that you have made it to the top – you have arrived and that’s how I feel this morning as I completed the last scheduled freedom appointment for the Online Freedom in Christ course that had its last meeting last week.  I was blessed to lead eight men through the Steps to Freedom in Christ in individual appointment this season and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the body of Christ in this ministry of reconciliation. There is nothing quite like coming alongside others as they seek to be set free of the burdens of the past and to experience their freedom in Christ and as demanding as my schedule can be during “Freedom Season”, I can’t think of a better use of my time. But with that said, part of the joy I have this morning also comes from being able to say “It is finished” as I can take a moment to relish a job well done and go into my vacation this week to rest and to spend some quiet time with the Lord.  

However, I should be clear that I’m not “done”. This path of Christian Discipleship doesn’t end and my ministry will continue – as the Celebrate Freedom Support Group at Starpoint Church is continuous – meeting on Wednesday nights, I am attending Peter Markavage’s – Way of Escape – Freedom in Christ Course on Tuesday evenings through June (https://www.mt4christ.org/2024/03/way-of-escape-freedom-in-christ-course.html), I am attending an online Advanced Encourager’s Practicum tonight and tomorrow, and I have agreed to attend and support Scott Salvadore’s new men’s ministry at Starpoint Church that will be starting in May on Monday nights!  And somewhere in the next few weeks or months, I have plans on finishing my training with Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry.  My cup is full and running over with opportunities to serve and to be further equipped to serve God’s kingdom and I will be on the lookout for whatever other opportunities that the Holy Spirit guides me into. 

A Christian life should never be boring as we are called to live in God’s presence and to do the good works that He has prepared for us to walk into.  What good works?  That’s for us to find out and to walk into when we walk in the Spirit.  So as happy as I am to have a measure of rest this weekend, and next week “on vacation”, let me encourage you to “DO SOMETHING” that will bring you closer to God as you seek to grow into the person He created you to be and to fulfill His purpose for your life.   A life of walking in the Spirit is a thrilling adventure but you have to be intentional about picking up your cross and following Jesus – where the work is just as likely to be about changing you as it is to be about helping others as we serve the Lord.   We call that a win-win-win situation because we are victorious in Christ. So celebrate the weekend after work today, but also celebrate the relationship you have with the living God, through your faith in Jesus Christ, and rejoice in the freedom and purpose that God freely gives to those who seek Him.  

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

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Today’s verse falls under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

1. You can face death without fear.

Today’s verse is the call to courage and faith that has been spoken and prayed by many Christians who have faced challenges, trials, and tribulations, and who have suffered loss.  Though we walk through times of darkness and death, we are given courage and peace when we remember that the Lord is there to comfort, guide, protect, and correct us as we seek His way through the pain and fear.  When we draw close to God, He draws close to us for He is near to the brokenhearted and gives strength to the weary.  So keep on walking and talking with God, brothers and sisters, for He is with us, and He will see us through, even through the valley of the shadow of death.

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

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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: JOHN 10

“John performed no sign, but all the things that John
spoke about this Man were true.” – John 10:41

What a testimony to covet! In the light of this one verse, it is clear that John the Baptist was not known:

By the Miracles. That which can be seen with the natural eye or superhuman outward manifestations.

By the Supremacy of Self. For he spoke of another, but he was known by his testimony concerning the Lord Jesus.

Notice, “All the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” He “shunned not to declare … the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27, emphasis mine). He was a true and faithful witness.

May I be known only by what I have to say
concerning You, O Lord. Amen.[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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Ready? Your Body is Meant for the Lord - Purity 1317


Ready? Your Body is Meant for the Lord - Purity 1317

Purity 1317 04/4/2024 Purity 1317 Podcast

Purity 1317 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a dirt path dividing fields of green under blue skies with what I suspect to be the Catskill Mountains in the distance comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on or around May 24th, 2021.   If this pathway photo is yours and you would like to let us know where this is and what your name is, I will update the blog to give you the photo credit you so richly deserve. 

Well, It’s Thursday and as is my habit, I share today’s pathway photo as a visual reminder or encouragement to get on or to keep on walking on the path of Christian Discipleship by surrendering to the Lord’s will for your life and following where the word of God and the Holy Spirit lead you.  

Last night, I was unexpectedly called to co-lead the Celebrate Freedom Meeting at Starpoint Church, and even though I had little notice it felt good to be back in the saddle again as the Lord revealed to me, through the use of some helpful technological tools, that next Wednesday would mark the first 100 days of 2024 and I invited the group members to press into their faith and ask the Lord to help them to “get ready” to make a positive change or to develop a positive habit that they could add to their life beginning next week.  The “100 days” thing came to me as I reflected on last year’s ministry, which began on May 10th. As I have stated when I began leading Celebrate Freedom, I was content that, with my victories over drugs, alcohol, and sexual addiction being continuous, I didn’t really have anything to work on.  However, the truth is that we are all works in progress and the Lord has plenty of things He can clean up in your life and He will help you to overcome them, if you would just take the problem to Him and work with Him to conquer it.   And last summer I had quite a lot of “cheat days” and binges of comfort eating to convict me of my admitted “food addiction” that I still hadn’t overcome. So on August 18th, I surrendered to the Lord and asked Him to help me to overcome it and I utilized the basic tools of awareness and accountability to help me fight the good fight – to finally actually treat my food addiction as an addiction.  And that span of time from May 10th to August 18th was, guess what, that’s right 100 days…. 

So I don’t know what that means, if anything, but after 100 days of going through the motions last year, I asked God for help and made a commitment to change, and He helped me to accomplish a breakthrough in the war against the flesh.  We “got ‘em on the run now” but recently have been compromising with my adherence to my food plan and being aware of what or how much I am eating.  I have been self-correcting of course – no fall can’t be put back on track – with keto it only takes three days – but if you fall every week or two which I have been doing since my trip to Disney in February, you stop making progress and just plateau.

So last night, I decided that I would press into my faith and make some positive changes in my life to launch into a new breakthrough for 2024 and I realized that 100 days into the year was as good as any place to start.    And so I encouraged others to do so.  

One of the things I started doing recently has been reading Neil Anderson’s “Who I Am in Christ: A Devotional” to stay grounded in my identity in Christ.  Even though I recite the “Who I Am in Christ” list as a regular spiritual practice, I know that living from your identity in Christ is the game changer for our walk of faith and so even though I had some resistance to getting that book, because I “already know that”, I have been blessed in reminding myself or learning again – more about what I already know. 

One of the aspects of our faith walk that is often overlooked is the role our bodies play in our faith walk and this morning I read the following passages from Anderson’s book, that I felt moved to share. Neil Anderson writes:    

What to Do with Your Body

The Bible is very clear about what we are supposed to do with our physical bodies: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:11–13). We don’t have to work at becoming dead to sin; we simply accept it as being so. In Christ Jesus we are alive to God, so we are already dead to sin.

However, we do have the responsibility to safeguard our mortal bodies from sin and keep them from being instruments of unrighteousness. Failing to do so would be to violate the unity we have with the Lord and our spiritual oneness with Him. If we use our bodies as instruments of wickedness, we will allow sin to reign, actually rule, in our mortal bodies, and we will end up obeying its evil desires even though we don’t have to.

Your Body Is Meant for the Lord

Let’s look at one of the biggest problems in the Church, which is sexual sin. According to 1 Corinthians 6:13, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Verse 18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” And, I would remind you, sinning against your own body involves sinning against the One with whom you are united.

Scripture seems to set sexual sins in a class all by themselves. For one reason, it is impossible to commit a sexual sin and not use your body as an instrument of unrighteousness. The moment you do, you allow sin to reign in your mortal body.[1]

I love how Anderson presents this fundamental truth about our faith. We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies and thus sexual purity and “holy sex” (between a man and woman in a marriage covenant) are the only options for our sex lives as Christians.  When we do anything else – with others or by ourselves – we sin, and we disrupt our harmony with God and give a foothold to the enemy to torment us.  

I would extend this to how we steward our bodies as well.  If we eat unhealthily or eat too much, are continually lazy, or don’t get enough sleep we are in essence “missing the mark” of the proper care and maintenance of our bodies and in a sense are sinning against our bodies.  And we all know this inherently – the diet and exercise industry are built on this conviction – and thus we should not exclude our bodies from “getting right with God” – and we should “use our bodies as instruments of righteousness” by getting them, as much as it depends on us,  in good physical condition.  We can’t control everything that may afflict our flesh, but we can control what we do with them and what we put in them, and if we determine to “crucify the flesh” and restore ourselves to good health and ask God for help – His wisdom and guidance – He will undoubtedly bless our efforts.  

So next Wednesday is 100 days into 2024 and let me encourage you to pray about a way that you can give glory to God by “doing what is right” and turning from bad habits and establishing a good one to replace it.  

This is our walk of faith and let’s not tire of trying to optimize our harmony with the Lord by surrendering our hearts, minds, and bodies to become instruments of righteousness to give Him glory.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Proverbs 21:26 (ESV)
26  All day long he (the sluggard) craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Today’s verse falls under the twenty-seventh and final point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

27. The righteous will be ready to give liberally, rather than to be covetous.

Today’s verse highlights the dichotomy of covetousness and giving.  Psalm 23:1 tells us that the Lord is our shepherd and we “shall not want” (NKJV) and that means that we will not lack or be in need, but it also can be seen as an instruction to be content – and not be “wanting” in a covetous manner.  Coveting is a sin and Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:8 – that freely we have received and thus we should freely give.  Everything we have comes from God’s blessings and when we are in a “right spirit with God” we won’t be “craving and craving” like the sluggard, we will instead give and not hold back.   So look at your heart and determine if you are “wanting” or if you are content with what you have and are ready to give from the treasure that the Lord has given you – both materially and spiritually. God has given us everything for life and godliness and when we realize that we stop the cravings for things that ultimately won’t satisfy us anyway and we can find peace.

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

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: JOHN 9

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me
while it is day.” – John 9:4

The true principle of all real service for God underlies this statement of the Lord Jesus. And since He was the perfect Servant when upon this earth, He made this principle the basis of His loyal service to God.

The Obligation of True Service. The Lord Jesus said, “I must work.” The obligation of loving and loyal service to His Father compelled Him to work. Yes, right from the beginning (remember the temple when He was twelve years old?) to the end.

The Occupation of True Service. There is only one great occupation in true service – it is doing God's will. I must work the “works of Him.” “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me,” said the Savior (John 4:34).

The Opportunity of True Service. “While it is day.” Now is the acceptable time … “Time is short” (1 Cor. 7:29).

I can do nothing else but serve You, Lord, all of my days,
For it is a privilege and an honor – yes, even my duty![2]

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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 YouTube 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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Neil T. Anderson, Who I Am in Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001), 47–48.