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Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Spirit. Show all posts

Friday, January 14, 2022

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit - Purity 628


 

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit -  Purity 628

Purity 628 01/14/2022  Purity 628 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a roaring fire on what was a 16 degree night last weekend comes to us from a friend who did the uncommon thing of having a campfire meal of steak and local vegetables on a January night where few would follow his example. But the company of their significant other and the heat of the fire seemed to enough to warm their bodies and hearts as they felt cozy with what they called “low key relaxation”.  I would have said it was low degree relaxation.  But seriously,  I have a lot of respect for people who do the uncommon thing and don’t let their surrounding circumstances prevent them from enjoying their lives.  

Well, it’s Friday and we can thank the Lord for the day and the weekend ahead and I invite you to consider doing something with your weekend that isn’t common.

Last night I had the honor of leading a Zoom meeting with a group of men who have all decided to do what has become an uncommon thing.  They have decided to follow the Lord’s will for their lives by trusting Him to help them to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts to experience their freedom in Christ. They begun the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries and although we are only in our second week, one of the participants already has given a testimony of achieving a victory over a personal struggle because they put into practice what they learned from the course.   Before ending the meeting last night I encouraged all the men that they could experience their freedom and have similar victories if they would apply the teachings, which are based on the word of God, to their lives.  

I also encouraged them with the knowledge that when they came to faith in Christ they received the Holy Spirit, and He communicates with us in three ways:

1.    Communion – When we come to the Lord in prayer, worship, or Bible Study and we feel the presence of the Lord or especially close to God the Holy Spirit is manifesting His presence and moving us into closer relationship with God by revealing things about God that we didn’t fully grasp or understand. 

2.    Conscience – After coming to Christ, sinning ain’t like it used to be! Our consciences tell us that our sinful behaviors are in opposition to who we are in Christ. And if we commit ourselves to follow the Lord, we have a heightened sensitivity to sin and have a motivation to forsake it. The Holy Spirit is the one that is convicting our consciences to turn to God’s ways.

3.    Intuition – Who ever said that our faith walk was one sided communication?  If we are walking in the Spirit, we will receive intuitions that will lead us to do good works or do uncommon things like talk to someone about Jesus or to pray for someone.  The leadings of the Holy Spirit never lead us into sin. They lead us to do good things or to impart knowledge to others and when we follow the Spirit’s lead we never regret it because we have the assurance that, regardless of the results, we were faithful to the Lord’s call. 

I encouraged the men that although the choice to follow the Lord may result in negative responses from the world, and even family and friends, their choice to agree with the Lord about how they should live and actually apply it to their lives may be uncommon but it will be the choice that leads to the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. 

To end the meeting we read through the Who I Am in Christ resource (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf)  that is a list of statements that proclaim the truth of God’s word about our condition of being accepted, secure and significant when we are in Christ.  I read the scripture references for each statement and discovered that for many of the verses there was a condition to the promises that God would fulfill. The condition was to be faithful and to live according to the Lord’s ways. The condition was to follow Him.   

Many times Christians live mostly in the world and rest on God’s forgiveness of their sins and remain unchanged and struggle with the same things they did before coming to Christ.     

Christian Counselor, J.E. Adam’s note on Proverbs 28:9  provides some hard truth regarding seeking the Lord’s favor in prayer when your heart is not His or if you are not following Him. He writes:  

“It does no good to urge an unbeliever to pray about his problem. Because biblical counselors seek change that pleases God, nothing that an unbeliever does (short of repentance) will be accepted by Him (cf. 2:14b, 22; Rm 8:8). The prayer of rebellious believers is likewise ineffectual (1 Pe 3:7).”

I hate to be blasé about this but to quote the NY State Lottery: “You have to be in it to win it.”   

So in order to experience the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live, we have to do the uncommon thing and stop living for ourselves and start to live according to our new Identity in Christ.  

So light the fires, and kick the tires, and make a decision to follow the Lord every day, It doesn’t have to be complicated, It starts with the decision to surrender some of our time to draw close to Him in prayer and Bible study and to continually meditate on who we are in Christ to shape our thoughts and our behaviors to be conformed to the image of Christ. 

When we do that we will experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control that the Lord has already poured into us with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We just have to start living like we should as a child of God to see those fruit grow in our lives.  

So do the uncommon thing and keep walking and talking with God.  People might think you have gone off the deep end but, brothers and sisters can I tell you, that’s where the living waters of the Holy Spirit really flow and they will move you to the abundant life you always wanted but never thought you could have.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 28:13 (NLT2)
13  People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Today’s verse tells us of the mercy we receive that comes to us from God when we confess them to Him. 

Brothers and sisters, if you are new to the Bible and want to take a crack at the Old Testament, I would recommend reading the Book of Proverbs. It is loaded with pithy spiritual nuggets of truth that are definitive about the way we should go if we want to live in harmony with God.

No matter how rich and famous you may be, if you conceal your sins and do not confess them and bring them under the atoning work of the cross by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, you will not prosper.

The verse for evangelism, John 3:16, is a beloved promise for the believer but is a harsh warning for those who don’t. 

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

That one word, perish, says it all.  If you conceal your sins, or don’t believe in sin, it doesn’t matter, you ultimately will not prosper; you will perish.  

But as today’s verse points out, God has made a way for us to receive mercy.   By putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are forgiven and are mercifully given a place n God’s eternal kingdom as an adopted child of God.  

This verse also has real life application as well. Hey, we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t.  If we hide what we have done we will be tormented by guilt, shame, and fear but if we confess what we have done we may receive mercy here on earth.  

Confession, as we taught yesterday, means to agree with God.  So in our daily lives, if we mess up or do something stupid we need to throw ourselves under the bus, rat ourselves out, and tell the truth with the full knowledge that we may have to suffer some negative consequences, but if we do that we will be honoring the Lord’s will for our lives to repent and we can have the conviction and motivation to forsake the ways that led us astray.   

But there is a way not to suffer.  Don’t do anything you will need to conceal or confess! There is great freedom when you have nothing to hide and nothing to confess. So follow the Lord and know how good His mercy feels when you apply His wisdom to your life.


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 4.   

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.

GETTING TO THE EMOTIONAL CORE

As you pray through your list of names, stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what he or she did, how he or she hurt you, how he or she made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.). This process is important because facing specific issues is what enables you to get to the emotional core, where the damage was done and the healing takes place. Forgiving superficially results in superficial freedom and healing.

Many people have sincerely tried to forgive but weren’t able to because they didn’t understand the real source of their bitterness and the subsequent lies they have believed about themselves. Feelings of abandonment would fit into this category. Forgiving someone for hurting you may only be dealing with the symptom. You may need to ask yourself, “What specifically happened to me?” “How did I respond at the time?” and “How has it affected me today?” Anger, sadness, and depression are only the emotional consequences of what happened.

Physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse can also severely damage your self-concept. Your identity becomes wrapped around the abuse. A rape victim may feel like a whore, and the emotionally battered person may feel worthless. Forgiving the person for making her feel like a whore or feeling worthless will not get it done. She would need to forgive like this: “I forgive that man who raped me, for forcing me to have sex with him against my will, and for violating my body, which is a temple of God, when I wanted to glorify God in my body. And I renounce the lie that I am a whore or that my body is dirty.” (More will be said about this kind of renunciation in Step Six.) Or you may need to pray,

 “I forgive my mother for saying I will never amount to anything and for constantly putting me down by saying ___________________ (be specific), because it made me feel ___________________ (state how it made you feel, i.e. incompetent, inferior, worthless, etc.). I renounce the lies that I have believed about myself. I am not the terrible person my mother said I was; I am a child of God, and I choose to believe what God says about me.”

Hurtful experiences in early childhood shape our self-perceptions. It is common to hear people tearfully pray: “Lord, I forgive my father (or mother) for beating me, for never caring about what was happening in my life, for not believing me when I told him about the sexual abuse. I forgive him for what he said and did that caused me to feel dirty, unloved, and worthless.” Such negative programming contributes to a distorted sense of self. Forgiving others connects them to a loving Father who sees them as His children, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Mental strongholds are torn down as people forgive those who have offended them. They have lived under the condemnation of those labels for years. For the liberated Christian, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”85 Lies are exposed so they can live according to the truth of who they really are in Christ.

PREPARING YOUR HEARTS

Bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die. It is to the soul what cancer is to the body. If you knew that you had a form of cancer that could be removed by surgery, wouldn’t you say to the doctor, “Go for it! Get it all!”? Bitterness, like cancer, affects every part 

of your being. Forgiving from your heart those who have hurt you is God’s way of removing the cancer.

Tragically, this cancer of the soul is a communicable disease that can be spread to others. That is why the Word of God says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”86 Entire families and churches can be defiled by roots of bitterness.

God may bring to mind offending people and experiences you have totally forgotten. Let Him do it even if it is painful. Remember, you are doing this for your sake. God wants you to be free. Don’t rationalize or explain the offender’s behavior. Forgiveness is dealing with your pain and leaving the other person to God. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing yourself from the past is the critical issue right now.

Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive” because He is already helping you. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive” because you are bypassing the hard-core choice to forgive, which is your responsibility. Stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what they did, how they hurt you, how they made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.).

Are you ready to forgive the people on your list so that you can be free in Christ and so that those people and your past no longer have any control over you? If you are ready, then for each person on your list pray aloud as follows:

Lord, I choose to forgive ____________________

(name the person) for_______________________

(what they did or failed to do), which made me feel

________________________________________

(share the painful memories).

 

 ---------------------------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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Anchors Away! – Wherever You Go, Go with God – Purity 479


Anchors Away! – Wherever You Go, Go with God      

Purity 479 07/24/2021 Purity 479 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a sunrise paddling enthusiast comes to us from our friend “across the pond” on the south sea seafront on the shores of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.  I love the abiding sense of peace that this photo conveys and I’m just so happy to see my friend taking advantage of the summer season and going where his joy flourishes. 

It's Saturday so we made it to the weekend, and it is my prayer that all my friends out there will also take advantage of the season and find a place where your joy can flourish. 

As for me, I have a confession to make, unlike my usual process, I had to compose today’s encouraging words last night because I am hitting the road early this morning and couldn’t chance running late because I have a boat to catch. A friend has graciously invited me to go boating on Lake George today and I look forward to the experience with real excitement and anticipation.         

I haven’t been to Lake George in years, and I will be glad to see it again and I’m not sure how the day will go but I plan on thanking the Lord for all that I encounter and will keep myself open to wherever He leads me.  

So open yourself up to the possibilities that God presents to you this weekend. Let the people in your life know you appreciate them. And let them know that God has a plan for all of us and if we are His through faith in Jesus Christ, it’s a good one.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in those who put their faith in Christ.  

Jesus Christ was sent to earth to reconcile sinful men with God.  To become “joined to the Lord”, man must put their faith in Christ. When that happens The Holy Spirit comes and indwells us, quickening our formerly “dead” spirit, making us spiritually alive, giving us “new life”.  

Notice the small letter “s” in the word spirit in today’s verse. This shows us that it’s not just the Holy Spirit in us, it indicates that believers each have their own “spirit” that has been made alive.  Our individual spirit now resides “with Him”, meaning God in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Because The Holy Spirit is God, He is omnipresent, meaning He can be everywhere at once. So The Holy Spirit can indwell each and every Christian and still be present and active throughout the world at the same time.  I know, pondering this stuff can blow your mind. This is the complex spiritual reality that is alluded to in today’s verse.

Through salvation by faith in Jesus, we are joined to the Lord and are one with Him in spirit.  

As I often teach and try to explain, the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit in three ways:

1.    Conscience – We have an increased sensitivity to sin; sin becomes less enjoyable because of the Holy Spirit’s communicating conviction to us

2.    Intuition – We become sensitive to His guidance and are led into all truth and into the good works that God has prepared for us.

3.    Communion – We enjoy a special fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit when we worship Him or study His word. For we are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, and the Holy Spirit gives us revelation from God’s Word to help us grow.       

Theses interactions with the Holy Spirit, is the means through which we can “walk in the Spirit” or “live by faith in the Holy Spirit”.   These interactions with the Holy Spirit can lead to a deepening of our relationship with God because they provide an experiential knowledge of God in our lives.   

Some may say: “I don’t know what you’re talking about MT! Why don’t I feel any of this stuff?”  

There can be several explanations for not experiencing this fellowship of the Spirit but the most obvious reasons for not feeling close to God include:

1.    No real profession of faith - Have you really made Jesus your Lord Savior? Did you verbal express it and feel joy at your “salvation”? We don’t go by feelings but there should be some change in you after coming to Christ.  

2.    Active Sin – Thoughts and Deeds that do not agree with the word and will of the Lord disrupt our harmony with God.

3.    Demonic Interference – The enemy actively tries to keep unbelievers spiritually blind and dead. And they love to deceive and oppress those who are saved from experiencing their freedom and living out their purpose in Christ.

4.    Spiritual Apathy – Some believers either through ignorance, immaturity, or preoccupation with the world do nothing to mature in their understanding or faith.

As people living in the world system that tries to live independently of God, with the direct influence of Satan and spiritual forces of darkness, the enemy can play a part in all these reasons but the other player in this spiritual drama of life and death is ourselves.  So do our problems reside in us or the enemy? 

The bad news is that we can’t always be sure, but the good news is that the remedy in either case is the same.   We are to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior, repent of our sin, and seek the Lord’s wisdom and His ways for our lives.   

I have had conversations recently with people who have “lost that loving feeling” of the Holy Spirit in their lives and they have stated that they feel His Presence has departed because they have “quenched” the Spirit.  

I have recommended confession and repentance as a remedy, but they state that “it didn’t work” and they feel utterly dejected.  

While there can be dry seasons in our faith walk, the only answer is to keep walking. I got the impression that the person was still tied to their sin.  This may seem unkind, but I got the feeling they had said “Sorry” and expected everything to go back to normal instantly, without true repentance. 

The Holy Spirit is omniscient, that means He knows everything.  He knows when you are sincere, and He is the One who can lead us into true repentance. So we must surrender to the Lord completely. Half measures aren’t going to work.  

So if you want a deep relationship with the Lord, you have to keep knocking, you have to keep asking, you have to keep praying, and you must walk the away from darkness that is keeping you from Him.   Let go and Let God, as they say. 

And remember, The Holy Spirit is in you. So one possibility for the feelings of separation is that you are being deceived by the enemy. There is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1) so if you are feeling condemned those are lies you are listening to.  

Confess your sin and agree with what God says about you and do the rest of what Romans 8:1 says – do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.   If you do that, the devil’s condemnations can’t touch you.  

So no matter where you are on this path of Christian Discipleship, keep your head up, turn from your old ways, and keep walking and talking with God.   

 

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

 Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 8.

 As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

7. Security. Key Concept: Relating to the Eternal

Insecurity means depending upon temporal things that we have no right or ability to control. Do you realize that God is shaking the foundations of this world? Insecurity is a global problem. Some tough days are ahead for this fallen world. It doesn't take a genius to determine that. An exploding population and decreasing natural resources indicate we are fast heading on a collision course.

Our security can be found only in the eternal life of Christ. Jesus said no one can snatch us out of His hand (see John 10:27-29). Paul declared that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (see Romans 8:35-39) and that we are sealed in Him by the Holy Spirit (see Ephes. 1:13, 14). How much more secure can you get than that?

Everything we now have we shall lose some day. Jim Elliot (a missionary who was killed along with four other men by the Auca Indians in Ecuador, South America, in 1956) said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Paul said, "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:7, 8).


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

 

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Surf’s Up: Overcoming the Waves of Adversity - Purity 458


 Surf’s Up: Overcoming the Waves of Adversity

Purity 458 06/30/2021   Purity 458 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend who joined their son for some sunrise surfing on one of the beaches of near Jacksonville Florida. They shared this beautiful view this past Sunday with the instruction to “Make it a great day.”  

As I already documented, my Sunday was great, as I officially graduated with my master’s degree in Christian Counseling and the blessings kept coming as I continued to receive congratulations yesterday. So as we walk out of the month of June, I would like to again thank all who recently wished my happy birthday and congratulations on my graduation. Great days are made even greater when we have friends and family to share them with. So, thank you!

As our friend was surfing Sunday, it appears that we in upstate New York, and people elsewhere across the country, have been riding the crest of a heat wave as the last few days have seen record high temperatures all over the country but just as Wednesday is the hump in the middle of our week, it looks like it will all be downhill from here as our local forecast predicts temperatures going back down to a high of 70 degrees on Saturday.

No matter how hot or turbulent our lives can be at times, if we walk with God, we know that we can lean on His strength to see us through the waves of adversity that can come our way.   In my experience, it has been in the worst of times that the Lord really shows that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Suffering loss, trials, and heartaches is often a lonely road as friends and family only have a limited amount of capacity to help you. They have lives of their own and their own set of problems and concerns to deal with. So it is no fault of their own when they are less than perfect in offering help or support.    

That’s why it is critical to have a relationship with the Lord. There will be times when we will walk through challenges by ourselves. A lot of the problems we will face are consequences of things we have done, or failed to do, and when push comes to shove the responsibility falls to us to get ourselves out of the messes we have made.  In those times we will need the comfort, assurance, love, strength, and guidance that only a comes from a covenant relationship with God. 

I hate to get specific to those who like a more general spiritual outlook, but the truth is that the promises of God for a new and eternal life are conditional upon faith in Jesus Christ.   The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is also contingent on faith in Christ. 

And for those who don’t know, our reception of the Holy Spirit, adoption into the kingdom of God, and a new identity in Christ are the game changers that give peace in the midst of the most turbulent waves of change we will face.  

While most of us can adapt and overcome problems and trials in our own strength by gritting our teeth and putting our noses to the grindstone, the big questions of life will never be answered through man’s limited knowledge or individual efforts.  

The questions of life beyond death must be addressed. Ultimate meaning and reality must be considered.   Otherwise, we are micromanaging our lives, problem solving and planning from one moment to the next without true meaning or purpose. 

You can even make short- and long-term plans for every eventuality that you can imagine for life here on earth but unless you secure the Truth, the Way, and the Life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, your best laid plains will be as castles made of sand that the wind and waves of life will wash away, eroding your limited conception of what life is along with the pride that held your dusty kingdom together.   

So stop fighting the waves all by yourself. Seek the Lord’s answer and you will see the cross of Christ.  The cross bridges the gap between God and man and provides those who place their faith in Christ with the ability to rise above the waves of this world. 

With your eternal destiny secured in Christ, you trade your castles of sand for the kingdom of God. The spiritual reality of your new life in Christ gives you the ability to ride the waves of adversity with strength, patience, and skill.  So let go and let God bring you through and to a place where their will be peace and life everlasting.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Today’s verse is the cliff notes for evangelism.  Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Enough said.   That’s Pretty Straightforward, I think, but I would highlight the two aspects of this simple instruction that will make the difference between a true and a false conversion.  

“Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus” means two things. 

First, it means that we must “speak it”. We must make a public confession of our faith. “Hey guys! Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m a Christian!.. Please don’t hurt me.”

Yeah, outside of areas of the earth where there is heavy-duty persecution, there should be no uncover Christians.  To quote my high school history teacher, Mr. Burley, “Say it Loud and say it proud!”   You have to, and should be proud to, say that Jesus Christ is Lord.  

Second, confess means to “agree with”. That means that you are not just saying something and not meaning it.  Your saying Jesus Christ is Lord is not just lip service. It means that you are making Jesus the Lord of your life with the implication that you will obey your Lord and Master.  

“Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” is also integral to the promise of salvation.  

“In your heart” points to a sincere heartfelt conviction that you not only believe the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, but you also believe in the spiritual meaning of the resurrection and that God’s redemptive plan applies personally to you.   

So not only do you believe the resurrection happened, but you also believe the resurrection happened to you as those who place their faith in Christ are crucified to death and raised to life with Him.   

So if you evangelize, make sure that the people you speak to understand the implications and spiritual realities that are inherent in their act of confession. Reciting a sinner’s prayer is not more spiritual than saying the pledge of the alliance to the Untied States if people don’t agree that Jesus is Lord and don’t believe in their heart that they are resurrected with Christ.  


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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 5.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

What the Spirit-Filled Walk Is

If the Spirit-filled walk is neither license nor legalism, then what is it? It is liberty. "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17).

Our freedom in Christ is one of the most precious commodities we have received from our spiritual union with God. Because the Spirit of the Lord is in you, you are free to become the person God created you to be. You are no longer compelled to walk according to the flesh as you were before conversion. You are not even compelled to walk according to the Spirit, but you are inwardly bent in that direction. You have the choice to walk according to the Spirit or to walk according to the flesh.

Walking according to the Spirit implies two things. First, it is not sitting in the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is not sitting around in some holy piety expecting God to do it all. Second, it is not running in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is not an endless round of exhausting activities in which we are trying to do it all by ourselves. Thinking we will become more spiritual if we try harder is a typical error of many believers. If Satan can't tempt us to be immoral, he will simply try to make us busy.

How much fruit can we bear if we try to do it all by ourselves? None! Apart from Christ we can do nothing (see John 15:5). How much gets accomplished in the kingdom of God if we expect God to do it all by Himself? Not much! God has committed Himself in this age to work through the Church (see Ephes. 3:10). We have the privilege to water and plant, and God causes the increase (see 1 Cor. 3:6-9). If we don't water and plant, nothing grows.

A pastor was working in his garden one day when one of his deacons paid a visit. "My, the Lord sure gave you a beautiful garden," the deacon said. To which the pastor responded, "You should have seen it when God had it by Himself."

This truth is illustrated by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

In His youth, Jesus was a carpenter. In those days, carpenters didn't frame houses; they fashioned wooden doors and yokes. Jesus metaphorically used those products to describe the spiritual life. For instance, Jesus is the door to spiritual life (see John 10:9), and a yoke is a wooden beam that fits over the shoulders of two oxen. How well does the yoke work if only one person is in it? You would be better off not having it on you. It only works if two are yoked together and pulling in the same direction.

A young ox is trained by putting it in a yoke with an old seasoned ox who "learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). The typical nature of the young ox is to think the pace is too slow and to run ahead, but all it would get is a sore neck. "Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:30, 31). Some young oxen will be tempted to drop out, but life goes on and the debts pile up. Others will be tempted to stray off to the left or the right. Then one day the young ox thinks, This old ox knows what he is talking about and how to walk; I think I will learn from Him.

I once owned a rather dumb dog named Buster. I bought a choke chain and sent Buster off to dog obedience school with my son. It didn't work. So one day I thought I would take Buster for a walk. I said "walk" not "run." So I put the choke chain on Buster and off we went. I was the master and I knew where I wanted to go on this "walk." Buster just about choked himself to death trying to run ahead, but I was determined to be the master and walk at my pace. Then he would stop and sniff a flower or some gross thing, but I kept on walking.

"Did that dumb dog ever learn to walk by its master?" you ask. No, it never did, and I have met a lot of Christians who haven't either. Some try to run ahead of God and burn out. Others fall into temptation and stray off to the left or the right. Some just drop out even though their Master is saying, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). We can find rest for our souls if we learn to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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, 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

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Our Constant Companion: Purity 452


 Our Constant Companion

Purity 452 06/23/2021  Purity 452 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the summer solstice sunset over the peaks that surround Lake Granby in Colorado comes to us from the vantage point of a friend’s sailboat.  My friend loves to regularly celebrate the joys of sailing and life with others on their boat, but this sunset was just for them and man’s best friend, a golden retriever whose orange life vest testified to the fact that this solstice cruise wasn’t their first. You can go to the blog to see our four-footed friend for yourself.


One of the aspects that brings quality to our lives is companionship, having someone else to share our experiences with.  Our needs for companionship don’t necessarily have to be met by a romantic soul mate or life partner. Our needs for companionship can be met by close family members or by our friends, both old and new, and both human and animal, as our pets seem to have the ability to qualify as both our friends and family in ways that humans seem to lack.  

But what happens when our companions leave us? What happens when they move away, die, or the relationship suddenly sours? What if your life has been met with betrayals and heartache of losses that are so bad that you can’t even bear the idea of establishing a new relationship because of a lack of trust and the potential for future pain?  

While I would encourage people to try to process their grief and would tell them to be wise and discerning in pursuing new relationships, I could unreservedly advise them to foster or purse a relationship with the One who will never leave them or forsake them: God.

God is the healer and the provider.  He can take away our pain and give us all that we need. 

He is omnipresent so He is our constant companion but just because He is there for us doesn’t mean we are there for Him.  Our relationship with God is established by placing our faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins, for the imputation of His righteousness, and for instant adoption into God’s royal family.   When we say yes to Jesu Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to quickens our spirit and comes to dwell within us.   And let me tell you, The Holy Spirit is an ever-present help and comfort to us and will lead you into all truth.   

Our life of faith is often called “walking in the Spirit” for a reason. That phrase means that we begin to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our lives and act on it.  He leads us into all truth and sometimes the truth is hard.  The Holy Spirit showed me that things I wasn’t aware of, and He convicted me of the things that I was doing that were detrimental to my peace.  In the past several years I have tried to follow His leadings and have been liberated from painful situations and have a transformed life.    

When you make Christ your Savior, God doesn’t sit up in heaven wishing you well. His redemptive plan, that is revealed in the New Testament, makes a way for your forgiveness through Christ and for your empowerment through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.     

We receive a new abundant life when we believe, but in order to experience it we must follow our Constant Companion by listening to His still quiet voice and by surrendering the ways of the world for the wisdom of God.  

So if you’re looking for someone to share your life with, why not choose the One who gave it to you in the first place. With God, you will never be alone again. He is our Heavenly Father who call us to better things and life everlasting. You’ve got a friend in Jesus who paid the cost that we never could. And with the Holy Spirit, we have a Constant Companion who will lead us to grow into a life of love, peace, and joy.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 5:18 (NLT2)
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

Today’s verse encourages us to make good choices and to enter into the new life God has given us.  

As much as I advocate for total abstinence of alcohol because of my history, I must admit that the Bible doesn’t prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages, but it does have a lot to say about drunkenness and none of it is good. 

Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t drink alcoholic beverages casually and would almost always drink myself into one of the various levels of drunkenness. The “drunken” verses of the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s conviction and guidance caused me to abandon what was a lifelong love hate relationship with alcohol.  

From the word of God, I got the deep conviction that my allegiance to alcohol and a lifestyle that included periodic, if not often, drunkenness could have deep spiritual and possibly eternal consequences.

Drunkenness causes disharmony to our relationship with God. 1 Cor 6:9-10 tells us that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.  When I understood that my drunkenness  could cause damage to my fellowship with the Lord and could even be an indicator that I wasn’t really His and cause my eternal destruction, my blood ran cold at the realization that I could be one of the false believers that would be told that Christ never knew me, that while my lips confessed faith in God, my actions would testify to an idolatrous worship of the powers of darkness through my enslavement to alcohol.   

So I trusted the Lord to take away my addiction and while it seemed like it was going to be impossible at first, when I increasingly began to adopt and live by my identity in Christ the poison of addiction was taken out of me.  The Holy Spirit granted me repentance and now I can be around others drinking alcohol and have no temptation to drink and to put myself into a yoke of bondage again.   

But please understand me. Our freedom doesn’t come from just saying no to the sins that enslave us. We do have to say no and be proactive in our efforts to change our thoughts to hate what we proclaimed to love but what is truly important in our life of faith is saying “Yes” to the Holy Spirit.   

We are filled by the Holy Spirit by filling ourselves with the word of God, by reading the Bible and knowing its principles for living, but we are also filled by the Spirit by asking to be filled with His presence.   When we ask for strength to live the Christian life, we will receive it.  When we ask for the Lord’s wisdom and help, He will provide it.  But the key is that we must surrender our worldly ways and start living with the Holy Spirit by shaping our lives to live every day according to God’s wisdom and by talking to the Lord in prayer.  

So be filled with the Holy Spirit, or as I always say: keep walking and talking with God. Our faith is more than a set of beliefs. Our faith is an experiential reality of a relationship with the One who created all things and who is guiding the events of time and space and who wants us to join into His design for our lives.  So don’t choose the things that take away from your life, instead choose to live with the One who gives life everlasting.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 4.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support His work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

A New Man

Parallel to the concept of being a new creation in Christ is the teaching that the believer has put on the "new self" (Col. 3:10), or more literally the new man. The new man at times refers both to the new individual (i.e., "self") in Christ as well as the new humankind, the new creation united in Christ, with Christ as its head. F. F. Bruce says, "the new man who is created is the new personality that each believer becomes when he is reborn as a member of the new creation whose source of life is Christ."

What does it mean to be a new man? Does it mean that every aspect of the believer is new in reality? We still look the same physically, and we still have many of the same thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Picture, for instance, the ornamental orange tree that has just had a tiny new stem grafted into it. Because so much appears to be the same, it is sometimes taught that our "newness" refers only to our position in Christ. The newness is only what we have seen in relation to our position of righteousness and holiness in justification and positional sanctification. There is no real change in us until we are finally transformed in glorification. That, however, would be like teaching justification without regeneration (we are forgiven, but there is no new life). If we are still ornamental orange trees, how can we be expected to bear navel oranges? We have to believe that our new identity is in the life of Christ and commit ourselves to grow accordingly.

If you are a new creation in Christ, have you ever wondered why you still think and feel at times the same way you did before? Because everything you learned before you knew Christ is still programmed into your memory. There is no mental delete button. That is why Paul says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2, NIV).

Let me illustrate. When I was in the Navy, we called the captain of our ship "the Old Man." My first Old Man was tough and crusty, and nobody liked him. He drank with the chiefs, belittled his junior officers and made life miserable for the rest of us. He was a lousy Old Man. If I planned to survive on board that ship, however, I had to do it under his authority relating to him as my Old Man. Then one day he got transferred to another ship. I no longer had any relationship with him and I was no longer under his authority.

Then we got a new skipper who was very much different from the Old Man who trained me. So how do you think I related to the new skipper? At first I responded to him just as I had been conditioned to respond to the first Old Man. As I got to know the new skipper, though, I realized he wasn't a crusty old tyrant like the Old Man who was once my authority. He wasn't out to harass his crew. He was a good guy, really concerned about us, but I had been programmed for two years to react a certain way when I saw a captain's braids. I didn't need to react that way any longer; but it took several months to recondition myself to the new skipper.

When you were dead in your trespasses and sins, you also served under a cruel self-serving skipper. The admiral of that fleet is Satan, the prince of darkness, the god and ruler of this world. By God's grace, you have been "delivered . . . from the domain of darkness, and transferred . . . to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col. 1:13). You now have a new skipper; your new self is infused with the divine nature of Jesus Christ, your new admiral. As a child of God, you are no longer under the authority of Satan and dominated by sin and death. The old man is dead.

New Things Have Come

Despite the fact that all believers at times still live according to the old self, like Paul, they are new persons—new in relationship to God and new in themselves. The change that takes place in us when we come to Christ involves two dimensions.

First, we have a new master. As mortals we have no choice but to live under a spiritual power—either our heavenly Father or the god of this world. At salvation, the believer in Christ experiences a change in the power that dominates life.

Second, there is an actual change in the nature of believers so that the propensities of their lives or the deepest desires of their hearts are now oriented toward God rather than toward self and sin.

This becomes evident when believers choose to sin. They are being convicted. What they are doing is no longer consistent with who they really are in Christ. I have counseled hundreds of Christians who are questioning their salvation because of their struggle with sin. The fact that it even bothers them is the best argument for their salvation. It is the nature of a natural person to sin. On the other hand, I have talked to people who profess to be Christians, but seem to have little or no remorse for sin. I would have to question their salvation. If we are children of God, we are not going to live comfortably with sin.

Why do you need the nature of Christ within you? So you can be like Christ, not just act like Him. God has not given us the power to imitate Him. He has made us partakers of His nature so that we can actually be like Him. You don't become a Christian by acting like one. You are not on a performance basis with God. He doesn't say, "Here are My standards, now you measure up." He knows you can't solve the problem of an old sinful self by simply improving your behavior. He must change your nature, give you an entirely new self—the life of Christ in you—which is the grace you need to measure up to His standards.

That was the point of Christ's message in the Sermon on the Mount: "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees were the religious perfectionists of their day. They had external behavior down to a science, but their hearts were like the insides of a tomb: reeking of death. Jesus is interested only in creating new persons from the inside out by infusing in them a brand new nature and creating in them a new self. Only after He changes who you are and makes you a partaker of His divine nature will you be able to change your behavior.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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, 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