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

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


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Purity 279: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 279 12/01/2020

Good morning!

Today’s photo comes a friend who captured this stunning shot of the heavenlies as they were going over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge between Columbia and Greene Counties of upstate NY. 

I chose this pic because sometimes in life we just have to look to God.

Recently, my brother, his fiancĂ© and their family were stricken with Covid-19 had relatively mild symptoms and overcame it. I did pray for healing and God delivered.  As we drew into Thanksgiving week, my mother and father became ill and cancelled their plans to host Thanksgiving, making this the first time ever that they didn’t host and at least have some of their sons present to celebrate.  

The day after Thanksgiving, we heard the news that Mom and Dad were positive for Covid-19 but we weren’t overly concerned, assuming like many do, that they would just get over it in a few days or a week.  Over the weekend though my mother’s breathing became a concern, and my father took her to the hospital where she was admitted and is currently receiving plasma transfusion to combat the “COVID pneumonia”, mom’s words. 

As part of my daily spiritual practice, I pray. I pray prayers of thanksgiving, wisdom, and guidance.  I also pray for my friends who are in need. Be it financial problems, grieving, or medical issues, I pray for those I am aware that need it.   When I see a need for prayer on social media, I immediately pray a short prayer and comment that I am praying or just put up an emoji of the “prayer hands”. 

So if you ever see one of my comments, you can be assured that I said a prayer. It might not have been a prayer monologue, but I bring your concern to the Lord and ask for His assistance in Jesus’ name.  

So when my parents got sick, I prayed for them, of course. Until they are well, I will continue to pray. 

But yesterday, my brother who is a NY State Trooper texted that he had just spoken to our mother and she sounded horrible and that we should text her and “pray”.       

If my brother is asking for prayer, you know it is pretty serious.  So I took to social media to ask for prayer and have been overwhelmed by the care, concern, and prayers of my many friends.  Thank you for your prayers. 

This latest episode reminds me of the importance of my faith and the importance of my community of friends.  When we are in need, we need to voice it. We need to go to God in prayer, but we also need to let others into our experience to know what’s going on in our lives and to petition the Lord with their prayers too. 

God has a will that is difficult to grasp. He has set up the world in a way that has cycles that come regardless of human efforts.  He creates seasons of planting and harvest.   One may say that God’s plan will come to pass regardless of our efforts. 

However, just as the season of planting and harvest will come no matter what,  only when we till the soil, plant a seed, water, and care for it will we experience the fruit that is a product of a miracle of life, that is solely God’s doing, but can be utilized for our good through our cooperative efforts with Him.    

So cooperate with God. Walk and talk with Him.  Say a prayer.  Plant a seed, hope, and accept what the Lord brings. 

(There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse was:

1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

For those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, we are the children of God and at the moment we said “Yes” to Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit was given to us and brought our spirit to life. 

This is a spiritual reality that is hard to understand. However if you have come to Christ, the Holy Spirit can and will communicate God’s will for your life, if you seek it. 

The three ways He communicates to us is conscience, communion, and intuition. 

Conscience – after coming to Christ, sinning just isn’t as fun as it used to be. He convicts your heart when you do things that are in opposition to the new life in Christ that you have. He encourages you and gives you the power to change, if you seek it. 

Communion – He begins to change your heart. The word of God, the meaning of what Christ has done for you, the glory of who God is, and the fact that He is with you becomes something you can experience. He is communing with you when you worship Him, or when a Bible verse hits home. Sometimes you get a feeling of “electricity” or “gooseflesh” when you consider spiritual matters or worship Him. Some would blow this off, but I assure you that these are tactile manifestations of the Holy Spirit, telling you that He is with you.

Intuition – The Holy Spirit leads you into all truth and His way of life.  Sometimes you just know what to do. Sometimes you can tell something isn’t right with someone. Sometimes you get a feeling to do something good or say something encouraging, or pray for someone… You know that’s not you, right? 

Before coming to Christ, all I cared about was myself. My intuitions and schemes were never good – they only sought my selfish pleasures.     Now I go on mission trips, or volunteer, or speak in public!! – That’s where He has brought me.   

So He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world, That’s the Holy Spirit!. 

If you don’t understand what I am saying, make Christ your savior and Lord and follow where the Holy Spirit leads you.  I’ve done lots of things that the Holy Spirit has lead me to do and as different and varied as all those things may have been I can tell you that they all had one thing in common: I never regretted a single one of them. 

Our faith in Christ is supposed to be lived, not just believed. Experience the power of your faith by surrendering those things you regret for the things that God has for you.   

Today we continue to share from Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where they discuss overcoming barriers to knowing God

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

Overcoming Barriers to Knowing God

From Distance to Intimacy

We can intellectually know all about our heavenly Father and not really know Him at all. In the same way, we can know all about Abraham Lincoln. He was the sixteenth president of the United States of America. He knew a lot of Scripture, and quoted it frequently. John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln in April 1865. We know these and many more facts about Abraham Lincoln; but we have never met him, nor do we know him personally.

Paul knew all about God from an Old Testament perspective. He was taught by the best. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee who kept the law and was found blameless until Christ struck him down on the Damascus road. Reflecting on his past self-righteousness, Paul wrote:

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).

Paul no longer just knew about God. Now he knew Him. He realized that he was a child of the King, and that he was in a love relationship with his heavenly Father.

From Rebellion to Obedience

All born-again children of God have established a relationship with their heavenly Father, but many are not living in harmony with Him. Let us explain. When we were born physically, we had a relationship with our earthly fathers. Could we do anything that would change the fact that we were related? What if we ran away? Would we still be related to our fathers? What if they kicked us out of the house? Nothing would change the fact that we are blood related. It is a biological fact.

But could we do some things that would cause us to no longer live in harmony with our earthly fathers? Sure—and we probably discovered almost every way by the time we were five years old. Although living in harmony with our fathers has nothing to do with our blood relationship, it has everything to do with trusting and obeying.

This was true even of Jesus, "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). We also learned to trust and obey our earthly fathers, or chances are the relationship we had with them was not very personal, and we really didn't know them very well other than as taskmasters or absentee parents.

Now that we are children of God, is there anything we can do that would change the fact that we are related to our heavenly Father? The answer is the same, and for the same reason. We are blood related.

You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:18, 19, 23).

Scripture also says that nothing can separate us from the love of God (see Romans 8:35), and no one can snatch us out of the Father's hand (see John 10:28). Our eternal life is not dependent on our ability to hold on to Him in our strength; it is primarily dependent upon His ability to hold on to us. The Lord said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Not only that, but "You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance" (Ephes. 1:13, 14).

From Defeat to Victory

Although theologians disagree on the question of eternal security, there is no dispute about the fact that living out of harmony with God damages the quality of our life in Christ. We can be related to our heavenly Father as His children, but our relationship with Him will not be very personal or intimate if we don't learn to trust and obey Him, and our knowledge of Him will be very shallow. Although our destiny may not be at stake, our daily victory is.

If two people are going to get personal and close, they must resolve any conflicts that are going on between them. You may desire to know your neighbor better, but you won't be able to if you have offended each other. You would have to first forgive and seek forgiveness before you would have any chance of drawing closer.

The same holds true in our relationship with God. You will not be able to relate personally to God and get to know Him better until you get right with Him. Even your ability to read the Bible and understand truth will be hampered until you have resolved personal and spiritual conflicts that affect your relationship with God and people. Remember, the great commandment is to love the Lord your God with your total being, and your neighbor as yourself.

Paul also teaches that these conflicts must be resolved before we can understand God's Word. "I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" (1 Cor. 3:2, 3, emphasis added). We have observed this happening around the world. Christians try to read their Bibles, but it doesn't make any sense. They try to pray, but it is like talking to the wall. They hear a message at church, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

A missionary was seeing her psychiatrist, psychologist and pastor once a week just to hold her life together. The next step would be hospitalization. I talked with her one Friday afternoon, and two and a half months later, I received this letter.

I've been wanting to write to you for some time, but I've waited this long to confirm to myself that this is truly "for reals" (as my four-year-old daughter says). I'd like to share an entry from my journal which I wrote two days after our meeting.

"Since Friday afternoon I have felt like a different person. The fits of rage and anger are gone. My spirit is so calm and full of joy. I wake up singing praise to God in my heart.

"That edge of tension and irritation is gone. I feel so free. The Bible has been really exciting and stimulating and more understandable than ever before. There was nothing "dramatic" that happened during the session on Friday, yet I know in the deepest part of my being that something has changed. I am no longer bound by accusations, doubts, and thoughts of suicide or murder, or other harm that comes straight from hell into my head. There is a serenity in my mind and spirit, a clarity of consciousness that is profound.

"I've been set free!

"I'm excited and expectant about my future now. I know that I'll be growing spiritually again, and will be developing in other ways as well. I look forward happily to the discovery of the person God has created and redeemed me to be, as well as the transformation of my marriage.

"It is so wonderful to have joy after so long a darkness."

It's been two and a half months since I wrote that, and I'm firmly convinced of the significant benefits of finding freedom in Christ. I've been in therapy for several months, and while I was making progress, there is no comparison with the steps I'm able to make now. My ability to "process" things has increased many-fold. Not only is my spirit more serene, my head is actually clearer! It's easier to make connections and integrate things now. It seems like everything is easier to understand now.

My relationship with God has changed significantly. For eight years I felt that He was distant from me. Shortly before I met you, I was desperately crying out to Him to set me free—to release me from this bondage I was in. I wanted so badly to meet with Him again, to know His presence was with me again. I needed to know Him as friend, as companion, not as the distant authority figure He had become in my mind and experience. Since that day two and a half months ago, I have seen my trust in Him grow; I've seen my ability to be honest with Him increase greatly. I really have been experiencing that spiritual growth I'd anticipated in my journal. It's great!

This good woman had all the symptoms of severe depression and was being treated accordingly. Her thoughts went from scrambled to clear. She could now mentally process issues that she was unable to process before. Her feelings toward God went from the right side of Diagram 4.1, showing the false attributes of God, to the left side, which are the true attributes of God.

Her perception of God not only changed, but it was also God Himself who granted the repentance and brought the change. It is not enough to know the Word of God; we need the life of Christ to change. I had the privilege of encouraging her as she worked through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.

The discipleship counseling process that helped resolve this missionary's relationship with God can help you resolve the issues that are critical between yourself and God. Let's examine these issues.


Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.

 

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

 

God bless you all!