Labels

Showing posts with label Healing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healing. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Healing By Faith – Gradually and All at Once- Purity 865


 

Healing By Faith  – Gradually and All at Once- Purity 865

Purity 865 10/18/2022 Purity 865 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a kaleidoscope of autumn color found in a sampling of trees comes to us from an anonymous friend who captured this scene on social media last Thursday. My friend is not anonymous of course but time was limited this morning and I didn't think I had enough of it to  scour Facebook to discover the identity of the photographer. I know they're not a professional, I don't think, but the photo they captured shows they certainly have an eye  of an artist, and I am thankful to them for sharing what they saw. And if they should happen to see their photo and want credit, just contact me and I will add your name to the post.

Well it's the 18th of October and as I stated last week the peak season for the fall foliage in the Catskills and Adirondacks region of upstate New York is the first couple of weeks in October,  so we may be on the other side of seeing the best of the season as I see more and more leaves on the ground with each passing day.

The change in the leaves can be gradual but it can also seem like it happens all at once. For those people who were waiting for the changes that come it probably seemed like it took forever and now with each passing day the glory of those autumn colors are beginning to fade as October draws closer to the arrival of November in just two weeks.

In the past two weeks I was waiting for healing to come to my wife as she was suffering from an infection in her gums because of a dental problem. We started praying for healing immediately, and she started taking antibiotics to fight the infection, but instead of things getting better they seemed to get worse.

I was positively upset that my wife was suffering, and I had some real out loud conversations with the Lord about it. I wish I could say I wasn't angry but I was. My wife's journey has been a strange one this year, with several job changes and contentions in court, and just when it seemed like we were ready to finally come to a place of peace and victory she gets hit with this!

So I went to the Lord, and I told Him I wasn't happy. I kept praying for healing every day. I even answered a call that I felt the Lord was giving me to make an offering to a local cause that was calling for donations, and even though I stepped out in faith and made the sacrifice even that didn't seem to be changing the spiritual atmosphere to bring healing to my wife situation. But I kept praying and hoping and my wife kept suffering.

And then Saturday, I had a fall at work that could have been a real disaster, but I was providentially given the grace of the Lord so that I walked away from it with comparatively minor injuries.  But I was still pretty sore Sunday morning when I went to church.

Our pastor was concluding his four part series on prayer and the message broke down the different scenarios concerning God answering prayer.  Pastor Roscoe shared the four following points:

Request not right = NO

You're not right = grow

Timing not right = slow

Everything's right = go

He explained that if our prayer request wasn't in God's plan for us the answer would be no.  The second point meant that if we weren't right with God and needed to repent or mature in our faith, God would use our walk and our unanswered prayers to make us grow.  The third point meant that our prayer would be answered but not yet. And the fourth point meant that everything would be right, and your prayer would be answered.

Well I had to believe that my prayers for TammyLyn was a good request and I hoped that it was in God's plan that she'd be healed. Although I have to admit the enemy whispered my ear “This is how your wife dies” but I didn't listen to that!

As for me being right, while I will never claim to be perfect, I didn't think that I had anything in my life that would prevent God from healing Tammy Lynn.

So, it looked like option 3, the timing, wasn't right yet Or something else was going on that I didn't know about.

As a service drew to an end, Pastor Roscoe, the prayer team, and other members of leadership, invited people to come up to be prayed for.  Well I had been blessed the previous day without being seriously injured, I was still hurting, and I remembered

James 5:14-15 (NKJV) that says:
14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

When I remembered that, there was no way I wasn't going up there for prayer.  So I went up and Pastor Larry, our executive pastor, just happened to be the person available for me to go to.

And so I explain to him how I had had a fall the previous day and the Lord had blessed me with without being seriously hurt but I was in pain and I wanted to be obedient to the word of God and come to the elders and get anointed with oil and be prayed for. But I also said that I wanted him to pray for my wife Tammy Lynn to be healed as well. And that I knew that if we want to be right with God we have to obey His word.   So pastor Larry prayed and the service ended.

Sunday night I made my way back to River house and I was very sore and very tired and I had entertained the idea I'm staying out of work for a couple of days to fully recover, not knowing for sure whether or not I would go to work come Monday morning.  But yesterday I woke up and I wasn't too sore and I was able to do my regular morning workout and although my neck was a little stiff I made it through a full day of work Monday without any real problems.

I think that sometimes we have a choice of what story we're going to tell with our lives. I think we can stay home sick or we can get on with our lives. Now don't get me wrong if you're sick stay home. If you're not well enough to work don't force yourself to do something that you can’t. 

But sometimes it's not very clear whether or not you're well or sick and you have to decide what you're gonna do. You have to either agree that the Lord is going to heal you and has healed you or you can choose to stay and wait on the Lord to see if you're healed. Yesterday I decided by faith that I was well enough to go to work and I was.

Now this is a Gray area because I could have easily just stayed home and believe me at different times I'm like what am I doing at work. But I didn't want to be a liar either. I don't wanna stay home nursing a little bit of muscle soreness and being deceitful and saying I couldn't work. When you're walking with the Lord you have to really be concerned with whether or not you're speaking the truth. By calling in sick saying i couldn't work, I thought it be dishonest.

So because I was convicted about being honest I assessed my situation and said I can work and if I could work that means I had received healing or at least I wasn't hurt too bad.

And this reminds me of the verse where Jesus asked the guy at the pool of Siloam in

John 5:6 (NKJV)
6  … "Do you want to be made well?"

Well, do you want to be made well? 

And it reminds me of the time Christ spoke to the woman who had the issue of blood who fought through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment and how she was healed. Christ said to her. 

Luke 8:48 (NKJV)
, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace."  

Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.

So I went in peace to work on Monday, oh brother.  But today I am feeling even better that yesterday, and I believe I made the right choice and my faith in that choice is blessed by the Lord.  

Oh by the way, after I had Pastor Larry pray for me and my wife, TammyLyn has dramatically improved as well.  She isn’t completely healed yet but her condition has vastly improved and I am encouraging her to take it on faith, and to follow her dentist’s instructions, that her complete healing is on the way, and it is all but a done deal in God’s eyes because He already knows the end from the beginning.  

So if you are hurting today or know someone who is sick or just have something you are praying for, I encourage you to get right with God by turning from any overt sins and by being under the spiritual authority of a local church, to examine just what your praying for and to consider how it may or may not be part of God’s plan for you, and to be patient and to trust the Lord’s timing and that He will get it right in the end, whether you receive what want or not.  

The way to peace and joy in our lives comes from following the Lord and from accepting what He has in store for you.  So keep walking and talking with God and you will be blessed. It’s just a matter of how and when. What God has for us may be gradual or may come all at once just like the leave on the trees will shine bright for a season one moment and fall to the ground the next, we may just have to wait to see God’s plan work in the seasons of our lives.  

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse is

Mark 11:25 (NLT2)
25  But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of another aspect to our prayer life: forgiveness.  

Yeah, being right with God also includes forgiving others and asking others for their forgiveness.   Scripture repeatedly commands us to forgive much as we have been forgiven much.  So when we go to worship God or when we have prayers that we want to be considered, we should be obedient to God and true to who we are in Christ by living a lifestyle of forgiveness.  

If we sin, we are to confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness. 

If we offend or hurt someone, we are to ask them to forgive us.  

IF we are offended or hurt by others, we are to forgive them, as Christ forgave us.  

So pray to  the Lord at all times, but be sure to be obedient to His command to forgive.

___________________________________________

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.

Chapter Six

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Visible Church-Community

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

¶ “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:13–16).

Those being spoken to are those called in the Beatitudes into the grace of following the crucified one. So far the blessed have appeared as people worthy of the kingdom of heaven, but obviously at the same time as people unworthy of living,[51] superfluous for this earth. Now they are described using the image of the most indispensable commodity on earth. They are the salt of the earth. They are the noblest asset, the highest value the world possesses. Without them the earth can no longer survive. The earth is preserved by salt; the world lives because of these poor, ignoble, and weak people, whom the world rejects. It destroys its own life by driving out the disciples, and—O wonder!—the earth may continue to live because of those outcasts. This “divine salt” (Homer) proves itself by its effectiveness. It penetrates the entire earth. It is the earth’s substance. Thus, the disciples are focused not only on heaven, but are reminded of their mission on earth. As those bound to Jesus alone are they sent to the earth, whose salt they are. When Jesus calls his disciples “the salt,” instead of himself, this transfers his efficacy on the earth to them. He brings them into his work. He remains in the people of Israel, but he consigns the whole world to the disciples. Only when salt remains salty is the cleansing, flavoring power of salt preserved and the earth preserved by salt. Salt must remain salty for its own sake, as well as for the sake of the earth. The community of disciples must remain what Christ’s call has made them. That will be their true efficacy on earth and their preserving strength. Salt does not decay; it is, therefore, a lasting power for cleansing. That is why salt is used in the Old Testament for offerings, that is why in the Catholic baptism ritual salt is put into the child’s mouth (Exod. 30:35; Ezek. 16:4). The fact that salt will not decay guarantees that the community will last.

“You are the salt”—not “you should be the salt”! The disciples are given no choice whether they want to be salt or not. No appeal is made to them to become salt of the earth. Rather they just are salt, whether they want to be or not, by the power of the call which has reached them. You are the salt—not, “you have the salt.” It would diminish the meaning to equate the disciples’ message with salt, as the reformers did. What is meant is their whole existence, to the extent that it is newly grounded in Christ’s call to discipleship, that existence of which the Beatitudes speak. All those who follow Jesus’ call to discipleship are made by that call to be the salt of the earth in their whole existence.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 110–112.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Real Suffering in a Real Life of Faith - Light in the Darkness – Purity 727

 


Real Suffering in a Real Life of Faith - Light in the Darkness – Purity 727

Purity 727 05/10/2022  Purity 727 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo twilight from the vantage point of the parking lot outside of Regal Theaters in Clifton Park NY comes to us from yours truly as I stopped to capture this scene on the way into the movies with my family on Saturday Night.   

When I took this photo a part of me wanted to focus on the horizon to just capture the contrasts of pink, and purple of the night sky because the foreground wasn’t exactly breathtaking but in the moment decided to just take it as it was.  Even though I loved the sky I captured, I had serious doubts whether I would ever share this photo because let’s face it, it was just a photo from a parking lot after all. 

But this morning I am suffering from a strain in my left calf that didn’t quite work itself out with this morning’s work out and my morning Bible Study included Psalm 88, which deals with suffering and doesn’t conclude with a happy ending, and I thought that this photo portrayed the idea of beauty in the mundane and suffering in a real life of faith that I am being moved to share on this Tuesday morning.   

Heck, even the day, as it is only the second day of the work week, points to the need to be faithful even when it might not seem we have much to be happy about.  

Yup, life comes with suffering. From aches and pains and other medical concerns, to hunger, to financial difficulties, and to traumatic losses,  sometimes life is a regular provider of “lemons” which could cause us to reply “What’s so good about it?!?” when someone innocently wishes us to “Have a nice day!”

Unfortunately, there can sometimes be an over emphasis on “making lemonade out of lemons” in the church as there is a tendency to encourage one another to “put on a happy face” that can cause irritation or make those who are suffering to feel they belong at the Sunday service.  There is a false perception of the church that the enemy pushes that makes those who are struggling or hurting feel they are not welcome.  

In churches that believe in and pray for miraculous healings, it may seem that our faith has failed us or we don’t belong in the midst of such hope when sickness, disease, and pain are a part of our daily experience.  

In church circles where “Word of Faith” theology is subtly or not so subtly practiced, the hurting are encouraged to ignore or deny their pains as they are prompted to “believe for their healing.” and actually told to not to pray “if it is your will Lord” which actually flies in the face of what Jesus Himself Prayed in:

Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)
10  Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

And even in what appeared to be His most desperate moment in the Garden of Gethsemane in

Luke 22:42 (NKJV) Jesus said
42  … "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.":

 I know when I suffered a personal tragedy in the loss of my infant son, my nominal faith  wasn’t enough to keep me in the church as I thought that God had broken “the deal” where I thought that because I went to church once a week, my continual sins would be continually forgiven and overlooked and my family and I would be insulated from pain and suffering.

I had a wrong view of what our faith is.  I mean really, Christ being persecuted, suffering and dying on the cross should clue us all in to the reality of suffering as part of our lives, even when we are Christs. Christ even told us we would suffer because of our faith in

Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV) where He said
44  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

I don’t know about you but a part of me thought that being a Christian was the right thing to do and the idea that people would hate us for it  and that rain would fall on the just, in equal measure to that it would fall on the unjust just doesn’t seem fair!   

But the fact of suffering in our lives, instead of being denied or ignored actually holds to the key to our hope and the key to our overcoming the world with Christ as the Apostle Paul referring to the thorn in his flesh, that the Lord didn’t heal him of, told us in    ,

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)
9  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The strength and power of our faith comes in the acknowledgement of our suffering and in our still proclaiming the goodness of God because we know, as Paul said in

Romans 8:18 (NKJV)
18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Our suffering is real.  God doesn’t always heal us.  Unless Christ comes back before our bodies fail us, we will all die in the flesh.  

It’s okay to acknowledge the pain we have, the struggles we are going through, and to “keep it real” but after we weep, to make the pain manageable we should remember who we are in Christ and how our Lord and Savior Himself and all the saints throughout history have suffered too.  

Ours is not a Pollyanna faith, we should recognize the suffering we go through and allow it to make us grow closer to the Lord who will strengthen and mature our faith even when our bodies are weak. 

The days of our walk of faith won’t always be filled with sunshine and rainbows but when we remember Christ’s sufferings and His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, we should connect to the fact that “death has lost its sting” and that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.   

When we internalize our identity in Christ and commune in the Lord’s presence, we don’t have to fake it. We don’t have to “put on a happy face” because the joy of the Lord is our strength and we can overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony that confesses that we were once blind but now see, and that while we are weak we are strong, and that while we were dead in our trespasses in sins , we have been forgiven and been given a new and everlasting life in Christ.   

So grin and bear it, or bear it and grin, but don’t let surface deep, an outward expression to hide your pain.  Let your smile come from the inside, from the joy that the Holy Spirit produces in your life, when you decide to keep walking and talking with God even when it hurts.  

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 106:2 (NLT2)
2  Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him enough?

Today’s Bible verse rejoices over the multitude of miracles that the Lord has done and indicates that we can never quite praise the Lord enough.  

The holy scriptures are filled with the miraculous moves of God both in the Old and New Testament.  People knew that the Lord was with the patriarchs. the nation of Israel, the prophets, and with Jesus and the Apostles because of the accompanying signs and wonders that happened when they sought to do the Lord’s will on earth.  

The miracles that happened all had one thing in common: they all pointed to the existence and the present reality of God.  

And so we know that what the people in the Bible told us about God is true.  The Lord backed up what they said with miracles and divine providence. 

As Nicodemus said to Jesus in

John 3:2 (NKJV)
2  …, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

The miracles tell us we can be assured that Christ was the Messiah.  But as today’s verse indicates they also tell us that we should praise the Lord and that we can never praise Him enough.  

So praise the Lord in song, in prayer, but don’t forget that the greatest praise we can give the Lord is to repentant and to surrender our lives to His will.  The Lord has done so many miraculous things and when we decide to follow Him in Spirit and in truth, we become another miraculous sign of His coming that we ourselves can rejoice in and praise Him for.  

 

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

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

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

Not Christians Because They Do Not Want to Give

Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish pastor who died at the age of twenty-nine in 1843, spoke of the mercy and generosity of Christians as the evidence that they were indeed Christians. He loved the poor in his parish, and he feared for those who did not look for ways to show them mercy.

I am concerned for the poor but more for you. I know not what Christ will say to you in the great day.… I fear there are many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians, because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart; an old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends! Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity.

The Dilemma Where We no Longer Hang

What is the nature and aim of glad-hearted, Christian giving? It is the effort—with as much creativity and sacrifice as necessary—to give others everlasting and ever-increasing joy—joy in God. If God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, as we argued in Chapter 2, then living for the glory of God must mean that we live to gladly make others glad in God. Our gladness and our pursuit of their gladness glorifies God. And since gladness in God is the greatest and most lasting happiness, pursuing it is also love. Since the same joy in God both satisfies man and glorifies God, we never have to choose between the motive to love people or to glorify God. By gladly pursuing the gladness of others in God—even at the cost of our lives—we love them and honor God. This is the opposite of a wasted life.

We Cannot Make Anyone Glad in God

How then do we make others glad in God? That is what the next chapters are about. But first there are two clarifications I should make. The first clarification is that, of course, we can’t make anyone glad in God. Joy in God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is called “the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). It is the work of God: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” (Romans 15:13). It is the effect of God’s grace: “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:1–2). Joy in God is awakened in the heart when God graciously opens our eyes to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Nevertheless, even though joy in God is ultimately a gift of God, he uses means to bring people into the fullness of it. Paul described his whole ministry as laboring for the joy of others. “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24). He said to the Philippian church that the reason God would let him live was “for your progress and joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:25). Jesus said that his own words were the means God would use to give joy to his disciples: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He also said that prayer was a means of joy: “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). The list of means could go on. But the point here is simply to show that there are things we can do to make people glad in God, provided God blesses our efforts with his decisive grace.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 102–104.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Peace, Joy, and Bad Medicine? – A Fine Line Between Healing and Heresy - Purity 725

Peace, Joy, and Bad Medicine? – A Fine Line Between Healing and Heresy - Purity 725

Purity 725 05/06/2022  Purity 725 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a silhouette of children frolicking on the shores of Point Dume Beach under the glory of a California sun comes to us from my sister-in-law Megan who captured this magnificent shot while visiting friends in Malibu.

Well, It’s Saturday and it is my prayer that all my friends find some “fun in the sun” this weekend if the circumstances allow it but I would also like to assure you that no matter what the weather is like where you are, you can find peace and joy when you walk in the Spirit. Peace and joy are two of the fruit of the Spirit and although my assurance may sound rather “Pollyanna-ish” or too good to be true, the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the Bible indicate that when we have faith in Christ, and therefore receive the Holy Spirit, and we make the daily decision to abide in Christ and obediently follow His wisdom for living, we can have peace and joy.  Jesus said in:    

John 14:26-27 (NKJV)
26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Jesus also said in

John 15:9-11 (NKJV)
9  "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

And finally, Jesus assured us in

John 16:33 (NKJV) by saying:
33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Now, those statements of Jesus that indicate we can have peace and joy are conditional statements.  The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives requires the condition of faith in Jesus. God the Father will send Him in Jesus’ name after all.

And the peace we have in Christ is “not as the world gives” peace.  The world’s peace is circumstantial and fleeting but somehow in Christ, even if we suffer and go through tribulation, we can still be of good cheer and have peace because Christ overcame the world.  

Jesus also advised us to abide in His love and to keep His commandments so His joy would remain in us. His joy can remain and fill us with joy but His words indicate that we are to abide in His presence and maintain a harmonious relationship with God by agreeing with Him in the way we behave by keeping His commandments.   

In a recent class I attended on Christian doctrine, the presenter stated that there was a difference between “knowing the truth of our faith” and “practicing our faith.  Just knowing the basic facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the principles of Christian living is one thing but applying that knowledge to our lives personally, in faith, and in practice is quite another and the difference can be experienced. 

I “knew” the basic facts of Christianity for most of my life but it was only after I put my faith in Christ, made Him my Lord and Savior, and decided to follow Him by actually living according to His wisdom and ways that I was able to experience the peace and joy that go beyond all understanding. 

And trust me, I experienced quite a bit of suffering and tribulations in the twelve years since I said the prayer that surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ.  Frankly, I have had a lot to learn, and continue to learn, about living by my Christian faith. But as I have continued to stay true to my commitment to follow the Lord’s call on my life by trying to abide in the Lord’s presence and be obedient to His commandments, I have learned that the peace and joy that come from the Lord can be experienced even during the toughest times of our lives.

The peace and joy of the Lord aren’t affected by the changing circumstances of the world around us but require us to stay with Him and to follow Him.  Our walk doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be continuous, go in the direction the Lord would lead us in, and remain in His presence.  

As I sat down to write this message this morning there was a burden on my heart as I considered some of the differences that can exist in what we believe as Christians across the wide spectrum of Christianity. I originally sat down with the intention to share my two cents about some teaching regarding “receiving your healing” I recently came across that deeply disturbs me.  

But I have decided to “chill-lax”, a bit anyway , I might decide to grind that axe some day but I have decided to lay it down today because I haven’t developed my thoughts on the matter fully and I thought that my words of criticism could cause division in the body of Christ.  

I may disagree with a certain author’s theories on healing, and I mean really disagree, but I know that the Lord, as our sovereign God and Creator is the author of all healing and continues to confound our understanding of why or how things happen in this world and in the area of healing.  The author’s basic intention was to encourage Christians to pray to God for healing and in that I can not disagree.  

While only the Lord’s plan will be done in matters of how prayers are answered, we still have to ask and trust that the Lord will do what is right even if we can’t understand how or why things work out the way we do.  

And while this unnamed author’s use of scripture seemed misguided and out of context, his methodology was questionable, his theories seemed positively inane, and his claims of being able to control the reception of healing was over the top and quite frankly, what I considered to be blasphemous and heretical by subscribing to the “word of Faith” heresy that treats God like a divine slot machine that just needs to be properly manipulated in order to get what you want,  I can’t say that you shouldn’t pray for healing.

I know too many people who have prayed and who have been healed, including myself.  But when we think that we just have to follow a certain prayer recipe to make the Lord to do our will on earth, we cross the line from asking for healing to speaking heresy.  We don’t “pull healing” or “transfer healing” “out of our spirits” through an act of our will as this author stated we did  If we believe that, we will have a hard time having peace or joy when our faith isn’t strong enough to give us our miracle.

No like Christ’s prayer, in

Luke 22:42 (NKJV) where He said:
42  … "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

God’s will is what will come to pass, not ours. We will not get everything we want in life. We don’t know what cup of suffering we may have to drink. And we really don’t know if our healing is the Lord’s will or not.   We should ask for it, we should pray to God for it.   But like Jesus, we must accept the cup that the Father gives us to drink.

In our efforts to push our desires or personal agendas, we may be going against God’s will for our lives and although we can boldly fight against what we don’t want, we may find ourselves being rebuked by the Lord.

John 18:11 (NKJV) says
11  So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"

 

Peter tried to “resist” and “fight the power” and as noble as his cause seemed, it was misguided.  

 

So trust in the Lord, find the peace and the joy that He has for you by abiding in His presence, walking in the Spirit, obeying His commandments, and accepting the cup that He has given you to drink. 

 

If our peace and joy depend on good health, prosperity, and positive earthly circumstances, we will be sorely disappointed in the times of suffering and tribulations. But when we accept who we are in Christ, accept what the Lord has for us,  and keep walking and talking with God, we can find peace in the storm and joy in the morning of after the dark night of the soul.  

 

God is good, all the time. And all the time God is good.  So find peace and joy, regardless of your circumstances, in Him today.

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT2)
20  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Today’s Bible verse gives us great hope because it speaks of the power God has given us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  

As Christians, the power in us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and even though it might not be a miraculous gift of physical healing that will work though us, the Lord blesses us in our walks of faith to accomplish infinitely more that we might have thought possible.  

Through the practice of our faith, the fruits of patience and self-control grow. Through the strength we receive from the Holy Spirit, we can persevere and change how we respond to life’s problems.

The fact that we are progressing in living a righteous life through the application of Biblical wisdom is more than we could ever hope to accomplish before we put our faith in Christ.  

While seeing signs, wonders and miracles might not be in the offering every day, because let’s face it even in scripture they were rare, the fact that we are following the Lord and doing good works to share His love and to share the gospel, is much more than we could think we would do before coming to Christ.  

So as much as we want miracles, let’s remember the miraculous work that the Lord has done in us ny bringing us from death to life and let’s give glory to God by representing Him on the earth by faithfully conforming ourselves to the image of Christ and by accomplishing things that will advance His kingdom cause.

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

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

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

All You Need to Do His Will and Be Happy Forever

What, then, does Jesus mean, “All these things—all your food and clothing—will be added to you when you seek the kingdom of God first”? He means the same thing he meant when he said, “Some of you they will put to death.… But not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:16–18). He meant that you will have everything you need to do his will and be eternally and supremely happy in him.

How much food and clothing are necessary? Necessary for what? we must ask. Necessary to be comfortable? No, Jesus did not promise comfort. Necessary to avoid shame? No, Jesus called us to bear shame for his name with joy. Necessary to stay alive? No, he did not promise to spare us death—of any kind. Persecution and plague consume the saints. Christians die on the scaffold, and Christians die of disease. That’s why Paul wrote, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).

What Jesus meant was that our Father in heaven would never let us be tested beyond what we are able (1 Corinthians 10:13). If there is one scrap of bread that you need, as God’s child, in order to keep your faith in the dungeon of starvation, you will have it. God does not promise enough food for comfort or life—he promises enough so that you can trust him and do his will.

I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Even Starve

When Paul promised, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” he had just said, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12–13, 19). “All things” means “I can suffer hunger through him who strengthens me. I can be destitute of food and clothing through him who strengthens me.” That is what Jesus promises. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). If we starve, he will be our everlasting, life-giving bread. If we are shamed with nakedness, he will be our perfect, all-righteous apparel. If we are tortured and made to scream in our dying pain, he will keep us from cursing his name and will restore our beaten body to everlasting beauty.

The Far Side of Every Risk, Triumphant Love

The bottom-line comfort and assurance in all our risk-taking for Christ is that nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ. Paul asks, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). His answer is, NO! In other words, no misery that a true Christian ever experiences is evidence that he has been cut off from the love of Christ. The love of Christ triumphs over all misery. Romans 8:38–39 makes this crystal-clear: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

On the far side of every risk—even if it results in death—the love of God triumphs. This is the faith that frees us to risk for the cause of God. It is not heroism, or lust for adventure, or courageous self-reliance, or efforts to earn God’s favor. It is childlike faith in the triumph of God’s love—that on the other side of all our risks, for the sake of righteousness, God will still be holding us. We will be eternally satisfied in him. Nothing will have been wasted.

How Can It Get Better Than Being Conquerors?

But there is even more to the promise that sustains us in times of risk for Christ’s sake. Paul asks “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The answer he intends us to give is, Nobody. It’s the same as saying, “If God is for us, no one can be against us.” That seems na├»ve. It’s like saying when your head is cut off, “Not a hair of my head has perished.” These excessive statements, it seems, are meant to say more than we have said so far. They intend to say something more than that dying saints won’t be separated from Christ. 

This “something more” comes out in the words, “more than conquerors.” “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). What does “more than conquerors” mean? How can you be more than a conqueror when you risk for the cause of God and get hurt for it?

If you venture some act of obedience that magnifies the supreme value of Jesus Christ and get attacked by one of the enemies mentioned in verse 35, say, famine or sword, what must happen for you to be called simply “a conqueror”? Answer: You must not be separated from the love of Jesus Christ. The aim of the attacker is to destroy you, and cut you off from Christ, and bring you to final ruin without God. You are a conqueror if you defeat this aim and remain in the love of Christ. God has promised that this will happen. Trusting this, we risk.

But what must happen in this conflict with famine and sword if you are to be called more than a conqueror? One biblical answer is that a conqueror defeats his enemy, but one who is more than a conqueror subjugates his enemy. A conqueror nullifies the purpose of his enemy; one who is more than a conqueror makes the enemy serve his own purposes. A conqueror strikes down his foe; one who is more than a conqueror makes his foe his slave.

Practically what does this mean? Let’s use Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “This slight momentary affliction is preparing [effecting, or working, or bringing about] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Here we could say that “affliction” is one of the attacking enemies. What has happened in Paul’s conflict with it? It has certainly not separated him from the love of Christ. But even more, it has been taken captive, so to speak. It has been enslaved and made to serve Paul’s everlasting joy. “Affliction,” the former enemy, is now working for Paul. It is preparing for Paul “an eternal weight of glory.” His enemy is now his slave. He has not only conquered his enemy. He has more than conquered him.

Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness. Affliction is made the servant of godliness and humility and love. Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight. In that way Paul—and every follower of Christ—is more than a conqueror.

The Only Road That Leads to Lasting Joy

This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor. It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.

Therefore, it is right to risk for the cause of Christ. It is right to engage the enemy and say, “May the Lord do what seems good to him.” It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!” It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world. This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. At the end of every other road—secure and risk-free—we will put our face in our hands and say, “I’ve wasted it!”[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 94–98.