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Showing posts with label Hebrews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hebrews. Show all posts

Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Key That Unlocks The Fruit of the Spirit - Purity 621


The Key That Unlocks The Fruit of the Spirit -  Purity 621

Purity 621 01/06/2022  Purity 621 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of another absolutely stunning January sunset over the Hudson River comes to us from yours truly as I knew I just had to pull the car over to capture this sight from the shores of Castleton-On-the-Hudson NY because the light would soon be fading and this wonder would disappear over the horizon.  I am sharing a video I took of this scene on mt4christ.org today if you want to get another “live” view of what I was seeing.  



 Well it’s Thursday, and I normally share a photo of a pathway to encourage people to get on or to keep walking on the path of Christian Discipleship. Technically the Hudson River is a water pathway and I think today’s photo qualifies as a representation of a path to seek the Lord and signifies the wonder and the magnificence that one will experience when they decide to “pick up their cross” and follow Jesus. 

Today I am excited because this evening I will resume teaching Christian Discipleship as I will be hosting a Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course Men’s Group via Zoom!  The possible participants for tonight’s group span the east coast, hailing from as far north as Massachusetts and going as far south as Florida, with other states in between also possibly being represented.  

I say possible participants, because although several men have signed up for the course, they are only participants if they show up at tonight’s Zoom meeting.  I sent out an email this morning to remind and to encourage all the participants to attend tonight’s meeting, saying that a big part of our faith walk as Christians is “showing up”.  

If these men want to learn about and prayerfully experience their Freedom in Christ, it would help them a great deal to show up. Reading books or watching videos on our own can give understanding but I have learned that acts of faith and going into Christian communities to be vulnerable are things God uses to mature us in our faith.   

“Putting your money, where you mouth is” by investing your time and presence to pursue the Lord’s will for your life moves you closer to God and closer to the abundant life in the Spirit that He wants all His children to experience.   

Our friend in the UK, Philip Hand, recently sent me a poem that reflects my sentiments that it is through the Lord that we can find our freedom and that we can reflect God’s glory when we trust in Him and follow where He leads.   Philip’s poem reads:

 

The Key

Let go of your stress

the Lord is our rest.

His presence lifts our heads.

Sorrow and heartache flee,

his love is the key

to the cage that surrounds our hearts.

 

Wonderful is the one who’s crimson pierced hands

holds our lives in the safest of places.

 

The world will see

that we are free

 with the light of the Son on our faces.

-      Philip Hand

So, grab a hold of The Key, our Lord Jesus Christ, to unlock the mystery of life and to find out who you are in Christ, what your purpose in His kingdom is, and how to experience the fruit of the Spirit in your life on a continual basis.  

The peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control that you are seeking is only found in one place: in a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.  To experience it, we have to “pick up our cross” and follow Jesus.  When the Lord calls you to find meaning and purpose for your life, you still have to answer the call. You still have to show up.     

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 3:14 (NLT2)
14  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

Today’s verse speaks of the need for us to persevere in our faith walk and of the rewards to be had.   

One of the  parables of Christ’s refers to the sowing of seed and speaks of some seed that fell on rocky soil that sprang up but quickly wilted and died and others that fell among thorns and were choked out.  

These two types of seeds were explained to be people who heard the gospel and accepted it but who didn’t stay in the faith, pointing to, depending upon your view, either carnal Christians who are saved but aren’t fruitful or it points to false converts, people who say and possibly believe they are Christians but who will be turned away by Christ as someone He didn’t know on judgement day to be cast in the outer darkness of Hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

Honestly, my interpretation of this parable agrees with what the word says: these seed die and are choked out, so I believe in the second view that people who seem to put their faith in Christ but who walk away from the church and are consumed by the things of this world more than the things of God are spiritually dead and will be lost as their loyalties to the things of this world or their love of themselves over their love for Christ will result in their eternal separation.  

With that said, I also believe that the Lord might not be done yet with some who we would think are unredeemable.  We don’t know how all our stories end yet so we should encourage people to believe in and follow Christ rather than declare that someone is reprobate and eternally lost.  

Knowing these spiritual realities, the author of Hebrews encourages us to be faithful to the end and to trust in the Lord like when we first believed to have the assurance that we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 

We don’t want to fall away or be corrupted by the world, the flesh, and the devil only to discover we really weren’t “in Christ”. 

The key to being faithful to the end is to be faithful today and set the intention to be faithful tomorrow. Our faith is supposed to be a daily spiritual practice and if we keep showing up to connect with God through our spiritual disciplines of gratitude, prayer, Bible study, kindness, and service we will know that “Wow, I really am a Christian!” and we can trust the Lord with our lives and be assured that we will share in all of the things that Christ has for us, both here and now and in His eternal Kingdom. 

So keep walking and talking with God. It’s the recipe for faithfulness and leads to the peace and joy that comes from knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are His children.   

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 3.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

Doctrinal Affirmation

·       I recognize that there is only one true and living God who exists as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is worthy of all honor, praise, and glory as the One who made all things and holds all things together. (See Exodus 20:2-3; Colossians 1:16, 17.)

·       I recognize that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. I believe that He came to destroy the works of the devil, and that He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them. (See John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8.)

·       I believe that God demonstrated His own love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I believe that He has delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to His kingdom, and in Him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (See Romans 5:8; Col. 1:13, 14.)

·       I believe that I am now a child of God and that I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, and that it was a gift and not a result of any works on my part. (See Ephesians 2:6, 8, 9; 1 John 3:1-3.)

·       I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. I put no confidence in the flesh, for the weapons of warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds. I put on the full armor of God. I resolve to stand firm in my faith and resist the evil one. (See 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:10-20; Philippians 3:3.)

·       I believe that apart from Christ I can do nothing, so I declare my complete dependence on Him. I choose to abide in Christ in order to bear much fruit and glorify my Father. I announce to Satan that Jesus is my Lord. I reject any and all counterfeit gifts or works of Satan in my life. (See John 15:5, 8; 1 Corinthians 12:3.)

·       I believe that the truth will set me free and that Jesus is the truth. If He sets me free, I will be free indeed. I recognize that walking in the light is the only path of true fellowship with God and man. Therefore, I stand against all of Satan’s deception by taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ. I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative standard for truth and life. (See John 8:32,36; 14:6; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 John 1:3-7.)

·       I choose to present my body to God as a living and holy sacrifice and the members of my body as instruments of righteousness. I choose to renew my mind by the living Word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable, and perfect. I put off the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self. I declare myself to be a new creation in Christ. (See Romans 6:13; 12:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9, 10.)

·       By faith, I choose to be filled with the Spirit so that I can be guided into all truth. I choose to walk by the Spirit so that I will not carry out the desires of the flesh. (See John 16:13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18.)

·       I renounce all selfish goals and choose the ultimate goal of love. I choose to obey the two greatest commandments: to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. (See Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Timothy 1:5.)

·       I believe that the Lord Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, and He is the head over all rule and authority. I am complete in Him. I believe that Satan and his demons are subject to me in Christ since I am a member of Christ’s body. Therefore, I obey the command to submit to God and resist the devil, and I command Satan in the name of Jesus Christ to leave my presence. (See Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 2:10; James 4:7.)

There is no way that we can instantly renew our minds. Defense mechanisms and flesh patterns have been learned over time and they have to be unlearned, which will take time. The purpose in this Step is to identify the ways you have been deceived and expose unhealthy ways of thinking and believing. It reveals where you need to grow. You are not hopeless, and you don’t need someone else to do your thinking and believing for you. Such lies have been played over and over again in people’s minds. You must assume responsibility for choosing the truth, regardless of how your emotions feel.

Suppose there is a dirt road leading to your house in the country. If you continually drive over that road the same exact way, ruts will be formed over time. The sun will dry those ruts and make them hard as concrete. The easiest thing is to allow the car to drift along in those ruts. It will be a rough ride compared to the smooth ride that you could have on the surface right beside the ruts. You will immediately feel the resistance on the wheel to return to the ruts in the road when you only make a half-hearted effort to steer out of them.

If you want to get out of the rut, you will have to be totally committed and willing to make deliberate choices. In the same way, if you no longer want to be controlled by the strongholds or “rut thinking” that the world, the flesh and the devil has put in your mind over years, you need to be committed to breaking those strongholds and make deliberate choices based on the truth of God’s Word. You choose; you don’t passively let your old patterns of thinking decide. You take every thought captive in obedience to Christ and choose His truth. This is how we renew our minds—by knowing and choosing the truth, and by letting the Word of Christ richly dwell within us. (See Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:16.)

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, December 24, 2021

Send Me an Angel –We Wish You a Cr***y Christmas! - Purity 610


 Send Me an Angel –We Wish You a Cr***y Christmas! - Purity 610

Purity 610 12/24/2021  Purity 610 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a most mystical twilight over the Port Wilunga Old Jetty in South Adelaide Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography. Little did Dave know that when he decided to brave the cold and wind, in shorts no less, on December 9th in his first time ever shooting at Port Wilunga, that he would capture what I think is the perfect picture to reflect the wonder of Christmas Eve, the wonder that goes far beyond twinkling lights on a Christmas tree and the festive decorations at a holiday gift exchange.   The beauty of the light in the darkness that Dave captured here points to God’s beauty, wonder, and grace.

The wonder of Christmas Eve is the incarnation, God coming to earth in the humble setting of a manger in Bethlehem to begin the ministry work that would result in all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ finding peace with God and a new and everlasting life of hope in His kingdom as adopted sons and daughters.  

But unfortunately so much of the wonder and true meaning of Christmas, which is finding peace with God through Christ, is lost because of the hardness of our hearts and the deception that enemy perpetuates.

For those who are spiritually blind, the Christmas story is quaint but boring. Those whose hearts are cold to the Christian aspects of Christmas but who delight in the pageantry of holiday celebrations are in grave danger. It is not always the Ebeneezer Scrooges that we should worry about. Without faith in Christ, the most kind, dear, merry, bright, alive, and joyous in our midst will find that they worshiped the wrong god: themselves and their own “goodness”.  

As someone who “just didn’t get it” for years and years of my life, I have the utmost sympathy for those who don’t like church, hate religion, and think that being “good” is “good enough”.    

I was raised in a denominational liturgical tradition and struggled mightily with the Christian message and what I viewed as a disingenuous, superstitious, sentimental, and unrealistic faith that I saw people pay lip service to but not actually live out.  On the opposite side of the coin, the devout of our congregation seemed to be positively insane and odd as they either seemed to believe just for believing’s sake and or didn’t know why they believed what they believed or couldn’t adequately express what the Christian faith was to a young man who frankly didn’t want to hear it.

So although my family religiously went to church every Christmas Eve, our hearts were filled with joy when we were released from the service and walked briskly towards the exit and literally went running into the night towards the Christmas party and the opening of presents that awaited us at my grandparent’s house.  

Santa, the decorations, and the gift giving and receiving was what played the big part of Christmas for my family, and it still does as my parents have become the grand parents and now host the Clark Family Christmas Eve extravaganza.

However, amongst all the years of holiday hoopla and looking forward to receiving items on our Christmas wish lists, we will all eventually experience  that first “crappy” Christmas where our innocence is lost, our disappointments are depressing, or our losses are devastating. 

For me, my first disillusionment over Christmas was in my 12th or 13th year of life.  Although as a child I was positively insane in my belief over Santa Claus and would dance around the house with the Album Cover of a Gene Autry’s Christmas Album that displayed a picture of Santa Claus Riding in a single reindeer sleigh with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer sort of just standing out front, my heart wasn’t too broken at the discovery that Santa wasn’t real.  My older brothers simultaneously debunked the Santa myth and filled my childhood heart with delight at the same time one year as they revealed our parent’s hidden stash of “Santa presents” that were locked away in my dad’s room in the attic.

So I wasn’t heart broken at 12 or 13 because I discovered Santa wasn’t real.  And before you start guessing about some death in the family or other trauma, let me assure that wasn’t the cause of my pain on the Christmas Eve of my preteens.  

No the cause of my “worst Christmas” as a youth was for far less sympathetic reasons.  As I said Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Clark’s house was a joyous affair because of the gifts I received but on that 12th or 13th year I was very disappointed because my regular stash of presents was less than what I was used to! I had fallen victim to the biggest menace of any secular Christmas – the pain that comes from having high expectations and basing your happiness on positive circumstances.

In hindsight, I think my grandparent’s resources were split or less than previous years, so I understand but honestly that year, although I believe I was successful in hiding my disappointment, I was thinking “is this it?” “Is this all I get?”  And unfortunately, that year the disappointment was the perfect storm of dashed expectations, as not only the quanity of the presents was significantly diminished but the quality of the presents was so low that it made me question if my grandparents were mad at me, even knew who I was, or even cared. I recall thinking that I didn’t receive one gift that was worthwhile or showed any fore thought or care.  The lesson learned that year was that you should temper your expectations and that you should know that those even nearest and dearest to you can let you down.       

After that year, I learned to not get my hopes up in terms of presents but they still played the biggest part of my enjoyment of Christmas for the rest of my childhood and for most of my adult life.  So I carried on tempering my expectations and each year and sought to create a Merry Christmas by spending abundant amounts of money to ensure that I and my family would be blessed with happiness that didn’t depend on Santa or anybody else.  I was Santa.  

Only after I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, did Christmas become more about Him than about me creating the circumstances of a joyous holiday.  As my children aged, the Santa myth was debunked once again, and my faith in Christ grew, I saw less and less need to buy a happy holiday. After 2010, I surrendered more and more of myself to God each year  and was filled with joy at Christmas not because of the presents I received but because of who I was in Christ and because of God’s presence in my life.   

Of course, when you come to faith in Christ and decide to actually live as a Christian, things change significantly and sometimes what you gain in Christ is matched by the losses of your former life.   

In 2018 my marriage dissolved in part because of my decision to live as a Christian and that year I was faced with the prospect of facing the worst Christmas ever as my ex took the kids to celebrate Christmas Day at her sister’s house, leaving me home alone.  

I was in deep pain over the negative circumstances of my life and no amount of circumstantial manipulation on my part was going to give me a Merry Christmas on that day in 2018.  Although I was appreciative of the gifts I received that year they were cold comfort compared to the pain of being forced to live in a house with someone who summarily rejected me and seemed to take delight in my misery.

However, what could have been the worst Christmas of my life didn’t turn out to be that. Instead it became another part of my ongoing testimony of the reality of God’s presence in our lives and of His goodness.

The thing I encourage people to do is to develop a daily spiritual practice of connecting with the Lord through prayer, scripture reading, or just talking with God.  Before 2018, the Lord had given me victory over addiction and the negative mind states that accompany a life of condemnation, so I knew that when the going got tough it was best for the tough to get going to God.  

So after my ex and kids left me alone on Christmas Day of 2018, I pressed into my faith and started praying and reading a book on Angels that described people’s encounters with God’s heavenly messengers.  

I had been baptized by the Holy Spirit in 2015 and had and continue to have moments of experiencing His manifest presence in my life and not surprisingly it has been both a cause and confirmation of my faith and the reason why I encourage people to seek the Lord and to live a life of Christian discipleship and walking in the Spirit.  So I knew that God is alive and well and can be experienced on the terra firma as well as someday in heaven.  

As I read the book on angels, I reached out in prayer to the Lord and pleaded for His comfort and presence and made a request to send me an angel like the people in the   book had experienced.

While I can’t testify to a visible manifestation of one of God’s heavenly hosts, shortly after I prayed for a messenger of God I was overcome by a feeling to get out of my chair and to get on my hands and knees.  As I prostrated myself on the floor, I was overcome by the feeling that I wasn’t alone anymore and that there some one there with me.  It similar to my experiences of the manifest presence with the Holy Spirit but slightly different.  I closed my eyes but saw a brightness through my closed eyes and I was overcome by feeling of joy, peace, and love as I received the nonverbal message that I was not alone and that I was loved by God.  I open my eyes and there was no one there but I cried and praised the Lord all the same and felt that even though I couldn’t see anything I wasn’t alone. The unseen entity, the angel, was still there and I bowed again and just stayed in the peace that I had found thanking the Lord for His goodness.  I was overcome and after a time I received assurance that I had “received the message” and the presence departed.  

My spirits were transformed. What was a very dark and depressive morning was changed in the wake of what I consider as my angelic visitation.

When I reflect on it, I struggle to articulate how this visitation was similar to but different from my experiences of the manifest presence of Holy Spirit. All I can say is that they were both powerful expressions of God’s love for me and evidence of His presence, but they were a little different from one another.  If pressed for details I can’t really give you anything to convince you that this experience on Christmas of 2018 was indeed an angel, but I will stand on the fact that a message of God’s presence and love was the best gift that I received that year or any other Christmas before or since.

So yeah, I know – cuckoo! But I have to be honest and tell you that this really happened to me, and I am sure that if you put your faith in Christ, surrender to the Lord’s will for your life and seek the Lord’s presence continually, similar manifestations of the Lord’s presence will happen in your life.  The word tells us that if you seek the Lord and you find Him, and I can assure you that the word of God is true.

So for those in Christ, I encourage you to press into your faith and share the love of God with those in your life who don’t know Him. 

And for those outside of the faith, or who find more joy in presents at Christmas than in going to church, worshipping the Lord, or being in God’s presence, I wish you a very very crappy Christmas.  

Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, or just the fact that you won’t receive the gifts you wanted this year, if you don’t know the Lord, I hope that your Christmas sucks so bad that you lose hope in all the things that aren’t meant to satisfy you and you hit “rock bottom” in seeking your happiness in creating the circumstances for a happy holiday.   

Its through great disillusionment of the world system and our own efforts that we can be humbled enough to seek the Lord, and as I have already stated when you seek the Lord you will find Him.  

I would rather you suffer a crappy holiday than to go on to be enslaved to a circumstantial secular xmas and find that you never knew God and are subject to His wrath one day.  

The promise of Christmas Eve is the coming of the King. Jesus came as a baby in a manger, but He is coming back to judge the world and to reclaim it.  

So to all the “Me’s” down in “Me-ville”,  whether they be sad, bad or glad” 

It its my prayer that this Christmas, you make Jesus your Lord and Savior

Because when he comes back to earth, He’s coming back to reign and rule, and

because of all the evil in this world, He’s coming back mad.”  

 

Now don’t get me wrong, as someone who has suffered some major losses and traumas in my life, I know how hard it can be to be suffering when everyone else is having holiday fun. So I would encourage those who are hurting to seek the company of family and friends to share your burden but to also seek the comfort of the Lord for He will never leave you or forsake you.  

Forgive my zealous silliness and know that all I say comes from a heart of care and compassion that knows that the only peace that lasts comes from knowing the Lord through faith in Jesus.  

God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas Eve.  Or a crappy one,,, you know what I mean.

      

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 10:25 (NLT2)
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Today’s verse is the go to verse to encourage people to come to the corporate gathering of believers commonly referred to as “going to church.”    

I find it just another evidence of God’s presence in our lives that this verse would come up on Christmas Eve.  Not only is Christmas Eve one of the highest, if not the highest, attended church services but it is also an occasion where the Lord’s coming is proclaimed.  

Today’s verse encourages Christians to gather together and to encourage one another and it reminds us of the promise that Jesus will return someday.     

Although I encourage an individual daily spiritual practice for every follower of Christ, I also encourage those who would call themselves to be Christian disciples to join and serve at a local church.

I credit my local church, Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY, and its leadership in providing me with teaching, guidance, and a church home where I could grow in my faith.  

Practicing what you preach will not be tested adequately if you are living in solitude. Our abilities to encourage, serve, and ministers to others are developed in community.  The corporate gathering can also teach us a great deal about forgiveness and patience as well.  The church is the ideal place to practice Christ’s second commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves as we are all part of the same body and have the common goal of being more like Christ.  

So get yourself to a church tonight and if you are not a member of a church already, find one where the Bible is held as the inspired word of God  and where you can worship, serve, and grow.   

 

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 28 as this current resource series has brought us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 28

PREPARING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 JOHN 3:3

Why is it that such a small proportion of Christian ministers ever feel the necessity to preach a sermon on the truth of His second coming? Why should pastors depend in this matter upon those who travel around the country with their colored charts and their object lessons and their curious interpretations of Bible prophecy?

Should we not dare to believe what the apostle John wrote, that “we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is”?

Beloved, we are the sons of God now, for our faith is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ! We believe in Him and we rest upon Him, and yet it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, when He shall be disclosed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!

Then, John says bluntly and clearly: “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” Everybody! Everyone, he says! He singularizes it. Everyone that hath this hope in him purifies himself as He is pure!

Those who are expecting the Lord Jesus Christ to come and who look for that coming moment by moment and who long for that coming will be busy purifying themselves. They will not be indulging in curious speculations—they will be in preparation, purifying themselves!

It may be helpful to use an illustration here.

A wedding is about to take place and the bride is getting dressed. Her mother is nervous, and there are other relatives and helpers who are trying to make sure that the bride is dressed just right!

Why all this helpful interest and concern?

Well, the bride and those around her know that she is about to go out to meet the groom, and everything must be perfectly in order. She even walks cautiously so that nothing gets out of place in dress and veil. She is preparing, for she awaits in loving anticipation and expectation the meeting with this man at the altar.

Now John says, through the Holy Ghost, that he that hath this hope in Him purifies and prepares himself. How? Even as He is pure!

The bride wants to be dressed worthy of the bridegroom, and so it is with the groom, as well!

Should not the church of Jesus Christ be dressed worthy of her bridegroom, even as He is dressed? Pure—even as He is pure?

We are assured that the appearing of Jesus Christ will take place. It will take place in His time. There are many who believe that it can take place soon—that there is not anything that must yet be done in this earth to make possible His coming.

It will be the greatest event in the history of the world, barring His first coming and the events of His death and resurrection.

We may well say that the next greatest event in the history of the world will be “the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!”

The world will not know it, but he that hath this hope in him will know it for he has purified himself even as Christ is pure!

 

 

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, December 6, 2021

Learning to Walk – Letting Go and Setting Out Solo - Purity 594


 Learning to Walk – Letting Go and Setting Out Solo  - Purity 594

Purity 594 12/06/2021  Purity 594 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a highlight illuminated Waite Road in Easton NY was captured by yours truly at twilight on Friday as I was mesmerized by the fading light on the horizon and had to stop and try to capture the beauty before me. If it wasn’t for my headlights the road and the surrounding farmland would have been completely shrouded in darkness as daytime was over and the night was coming on strong.  

It's Monday again, and the light that was the weekend has left us behind and as I wake quite early each day I start my work week shrouded in darkness waiting to see what the light of day and the new week will bring.  For me it looks like it will be as regular a work week as I can expect as I currently only have one planned activity for the week that falls outside of my work hours so I intend to use my available time to finish up some reading I had started and put some finishing touches on my Christmas preparations as I managed to get the lion’s share of my holiday shopping done yesterday.  

Christmas is 19 days away and I know that for me its best to get things done when I can as I always have a certain degree of uncertainty in my life of when I may be called to help others.  

When you walk in the Spirit you make yourself available to do the Lord’s will as He calls you and quite often you can find yourself being led to help others with tangible good works or you can be called to support or encourage others with your words or presence.  

However, sometimes we are called to stand back and let our friends or loved ones “go it alone” and walk through the trials before them by themselves.  In truth, as much as we may claim that “we are all in this together” or we are “surrounded by friends and family”, for the most part our lives are a highly individualized journey where only we will feel the pain of our struggles and only we can take the steps that will lead us out of the muck and mire that we find ourselves in.   

If you don’t believe me about how we are alone, ask any mother about giving birth. As much as a couple may say “we are pregnant” and no matter how many coaches, midwives, doctors, or family members are present at the baby’s coming, only the mother feels the experience of the “ring of fire” and the only she can bear down and push out her offspring. 

And as much as that mother will do her best to protect her baby and raise it to adulthood, there will be times when she must let her child do things on their own and will eventually let them go on to live independently.   Because of her love for her child a mother must teach them to stand up on their own and walk out their life’s journey.  

While thinking about this concept of how we are individually called to forge our own paths through life and how we have to stand back at times to let our friends and loved ones  live out their lives, I recalled the bridge to Our Lady Peace’s song, “Innocent” which says: 

“One day
You'll have to let it go
You'll have to let it go, no
One day
You'll stand up on your own
You'll stand up on your own, yeah

Remember losing hope
Remember feeling low
Remember all the feelings
And the day they stopped”

That’s part of the song really spoke to me at various times in my life when I had lost hope and when I was feeling low but how I stood up on my own, of how I had to “let it go” and trust my best efforts and the Lord to see me through.  

And when I walked away from the darkness of my life and overcame the various trials that I had to walk through in various seasons, I remember the joy, peace, and clarity that came from knowing I had survived and how that feeling of losing hope and those times of feeling low stopped. 

Life will present us with times that we must let those we love to walk through things on their own and there will be times when we ourselves will see that the path before us can only be walked out by ourselves.  

Just like in today’s photo of how the light of the head lights only penetrate so far into the darkness to reveal the road before us, the light of certainty that we have in our life journey’s only goes so far. Sometimes we don’t know what tomorrow or the days further ahead will bring, but we are on a road that must be travelled and all we can do is be sure in how we take the next step before us.    

For those of us who walk in the Spirit, we assess our situations, remember what we have learned and what the Lord has led us through, put our best foot forward and trust the Lord to bring us through again.  

It’s Monday, and no matter what lies ahead in your week, I would encourage you to stay in the Lord’s presence wherever you go.  The good news is that even though you may be “all by yourself”, when you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ you will never walk alone.  

So whether you are in a season where you have to “let go” and let someone find their own way, or if you find yourself called to “go it alone”, or, as life can be multilayered and complex somehow, find yourself having to do both, remember that God is with you and if you keep walking and talking with Him you will have all the company, wisdom, and strength to stand up on your own and make it to the next place that He has for you.

   

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:


Hebrews 13:8 (NLT2)
8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Today’s verse reminds us of the divine nature of Jesus Christ and His immutability

Talk about a paradox.  Today’s verse may challenge us as it calls us to look at the big picture of the Godhead and to accept the idea of the Trinity.  

The Nicene Creed (https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/nicene-creed) summarizes the truth of who Jesus is to help us understand that Hebrews 13:8 speaks the truth. The section of the Nicene Creed about Jesus says that we believe:   

“… in one Lord Jesus Christ,

      the only Son of God,

      begotten from the Father before all ages,

           God from God,

           Light from Light,

           true God from true God,

      begotten, not made;

      of the same essence as the Father.

      Through him all things were made.

      For us and for our salvation

           he came down from heaven;

           he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,

           and was made human.

           He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;

           he suffered and was buried.

           The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.

           He ascended to heaven

           and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

           He will come again with glory

           to judge the living and the dead.

           His kingdom will never end.”

I present the creed not to start a debate. Many cults that deny the trinity take great delight in challenging specific words in scripture, like begotten, and the difficulty of understanding the paradox of the God the Son, and the Son of God for their antichrist agendas. 

I merely present it here to show that truth about how Christ doesn’t start at the manger in Bethlehem.  Jesus was “God from God”, “Light from Light”, and “of the same essence as the Father “before all ages”.   The creed then presents the facts Christ’s Incarnation, death, resurrection, and His future coming in glory to judge the living and the dead after which He will rule and reign forever.  

The Truth of Christ’s eternal nature and immutability should give us immense joy and hope. Christ always was and will always be.  Although He has different times and seasons in His existence that can confound us and challenge our understanding and faith, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever because of His divine nature.   

Christ’s earthly ministry and redemptive work displays God’s love for us and allows us to have peace with Him forever.

So enjoy the Christmas play at your local church this holiday season but don’t get wrapped up in confusion like a babe in swaddling clothes by thinking the birth of Baby Jesus was Christ’s beginning.   Jesus was the Word made flesh and the Word was there in the beginning with God and He will reclaim the earth and rule His eternal kingdom someday as God.

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 A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 10, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 10

OUR ANTICIPATION: JESUS THE VICTOR

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.

REVELATION 11:15

The unbeliever, who boastfully will “take my chances,” can only remain cynical. Deep within, he or she discovers doubts and uncertainties multiplying daily. Tell that person about this revelation, about the certainty of Jesus Christ’s ultimate victory, of God’s promise of new heavens and a new earth, and he or she can only react with the cynic’s biting contempt: “Who cares about fables and empty promises? No person in his right mind would ever confess that he has been reading the book of Revelation!”

Take my word for it. Men and women who think they have all the answers about this life and the next have been mouthing their brave words for generations. They are big, challenging words, but they come from puny, empty hearts and minds. These infidels are too blind to recognize or acknowledge that God does have an eternal plan—a divine plan in which mankind is never permitted to utter the first word or the last.

The fact is that God has always been God—and He always will be God. He knows all about our human beginnings. He has had to consult with no one about anything!

One day that little bundle of delight, so fondly nurtured by parents and family, finds herself in human consciousness and accepts the fact that she is. It is at that point that her volitional life begins. Until that time, she had nothing to say about anything—absolutely nothing.

Have you noticed, in the human family, how encouraged we are by the sound of our own voice? Men and women take to strutting and boasting, and in their pride they may declare their independence of God. Little do they realize that God in His divine sovereignty has reserved the right to take up at the last where He began at the first. It can mean only one thing: human beings are in the hands of God finally, whether they will or not.

I declare this truth in all frankness because God’s Word, including the book of Revelation, tells us clearly that our man-made civilizations, so called, will not prevail in the coming day of judgment and consummation.

Secular-minded men and women seem annoyed by the premise that the Creator-God has in mind a plan for ending this age in which we live. They do not want to be told that organizations, governments, and institutions cannot expect earthly things to continue as they are for ever and ever. Repeatedly and plainly the Bible tells us to expect Jesus, the Christ of God, to return to this earth in power and glory. People who have long joked about the “invisibility” of the kingdom of God will see it established in righteousness and with authority.

Humans try to ignore God, continuing to make their own ambitious, selfish plans. In the years before World War 1, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, largely blamed for the beginning of that first world conflict, was exceedingly headstrong. At a chapel service attended by the kaiser, a faithful German minister preached on the coming again of Jesus Christ to establish God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace throughout the earth. Wilhelm was greatly offended and spoke to the minister at the close of the service.

“I never want to hear that kind of a sermon again,” he warned the preacher. “Such an event is not at all in keeping with the plans we have for the future and the glory of our Fatherland!”

But Kaiser Wilhelm and, a generation later, Adolf Hitler are merely fading memories—illustrations of that vain human propensity to make ourselves big and God small.

There is vastly more in Revelation than you or I will ever know while we are on this earth. But just God’s urging that we be ready for the announced coming events should be sufficient to keep us expectant, interested—and praying!

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship