Do you want to be made well? - Choosing the Believe the Truth - Purity 841
Purity 841 09/20/2022 Purity 841 Podcast
Today’s photo of a large heron standing in the surf of the Gulf of Mexico comes to us from the Church at the Well in Cullman Alabama who recently organized a Ladies Beach Trip and shared over 80 photos of their adventures to Orange Beach.
How do I know the Church at the Well in Cullman Alabama being a Yankee amongst the “frozen chosen” in upstate New York?
Well last fall I participated in a training conference that Freedom in Christ Ministries put on in Latham where the conference attendees were introduced to Pastor Mike and Chare’ Rester who gave their testimony of how Chare’ had suffered from bizarre medical symptoms and seizures that defied medical explanation and how she was healed after going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.
I will always remember Pastor Mike’s emphatic and passionate plea to the conference attendees to complete their training as Community Freedom Ministry Associates and to help others to receive healing and resolution to spiritual conflicts and to let the world know of the reality of the spiritual forces of darkness that can oppress even those in the body of Christ. Pastor Mike had seen the enemy face to face and it was clear that he he would never forget how his family suffered because of a supernatural enemy that seeks to destroy us. His voice rang out through the conference room as he concluded his statements by saying: “There are demons and we have to fight the enemy!”
While I enjoy this morning’s photo I reminded that as beautiful as this world can be at times, there is an unseen enemy that seeks to deceive, tempt, condemn, and accuse us and to lead mankind away from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.
Tonight I host the third session of the Men’s Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course that I facilitate on Zoom for Freedom in Christ Ministries and I have already received reports from one of the group that he believes that he is under spiritual attack with negative thought and temptations that have been on the increase since he started the course.
Tonight’s lesson is on Choosing to believe the Truth and in my short stint in this latest ministry role I know this is the week that the enemy like to afflict people as my past two sessions had participants report difficulties in their spiritual walk or who ended up having to miss the session unexpectantly.
The enemy doesn’t want people to know who they are in Christ and that our freedom and victory as Christians is not the product of some magical blessing as much as it is driven by our choice to believe what God’s word says, to live according to it, and to continue to walk in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Tonight’s lesson reveals that we have a role to play in our relationship with God and that the reception of our healing and victory comes from making the decision to believe and to follow the Lord.
Unfortunately, some Christians still believe the fallacy that faith is some magical characteristic that God imparts to some and not to others.
“I only wish I could have faith like “so & so”!”
You can! Choose to believe God’s word! Choose to apply His wisdom to your life by changing the way you live to match up with His ways! And keep choosing to do that!
If you don’t know what the Bible says: Read it. If you want a better prayer life, set time aside and pray.
Our part is to seek the Lord and keep on seeking Him. And when we do that our faith grows as our minds are renewed by His word and our lives are changed by the positive experiences we encounter when we start walking in God’s ways.
So if you are one of those Christians that are wishing for God to give you “great faith”, start walking towards Him by taking action to know what His word says and apply it to your life.
The spiritual forces of darkness will attempt to distract you with temptations in this world to stay away from the things of God and they will condemn you that you aren’t good enough to “have faith”. But the truth is that you can choose to have a deeper walk with God, you can overcome the things that keep you stuck, but you have to choose it.
John 5:6 (NKJV) tells us about the
healing of a man that was unable to walk for 38 years. It says
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"
So do you want to be made well? Christ asked the question to make the man choose whether he would stay where he was or to rise up and walk into a whole new life.
It’s the same with us. Do you want to be well? If so, you have to choose to believe the truth and keep walking and talking with God until you see that the old has been made new and the further you go you’ll see and experience the fact that you have been set free the moment you said “Yes” to Christ and it was only a matter of choosing to get up and follow Him to know it.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Hosea 14:9 (NKJV)
9 Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.
Today’s Bible verse speaks of the fact the Lord’s ways are right and that the righteous walk in them because they are wise and prudent.
We all want to be wise right? And today’s verse indicates that it is wisdom to walk in the ways of the Lord. The verse assures us that God’s way is the right way and thus if we walk in them we will be righteous.
But transgressors, those who ignore God’s ways and choose their own wordly ways are guaranteed to stumble through life. I know I got tired of falling down and stumbling over the negative consequences of doing things my way. So the Lord shared His wisdom and understanding with me and I realized that His word was true and if I walked in His ways I wouldn’t stumble like I used to.
Today’s verse encourages us to follow the Lord’s ways and live a life that is right. And I encourage you to listen and follow the Lord’s lead into a righteous life that is wise and prudent.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
The Call to Discipleship - Continued
At this point let us now take a look at Christian pastoral care. It is particularly important for pastors giving care to speak from knowledge of both of these statements. They need to know that sorrow over a lack of faith repeatedly comes from disobedience, which may be intentional or even no longer noticed, and that such sorrow all too often corresponds to the comfort of cheap grace. But the disobedience remains unbroken, and words of grace become a consolation which the disobedient grant to themselves and a forgiveness of sins they accord themselves. But for such people, the Christian message becomes empty; they no longer hear it. Even though they forgive themselves a thousand times over, they are incapable of believing in true forgiveness, because in truth, it has not been granted them. Unbelief feeds on cheap grace, because it clings to disobedience. This is a common situation in today’s pastoral care. What then happens is that people get so stubborn in their disobedience through their self-granted forgiveness that they claim they can no longer discern what is good and what is God’s command. They claim it is ambiguous and permits various interpretations. At first they know clearly that they were disobedient, but their knowledge is gradually dimmed until they become unapproachable. Then the disobedient have entangled themselves so badly that they simply are no longer able to hear the word. Then they can no longer have faith. Something like the following conversation will take place between the obstinate disbeliever and the pastor: “I can believe no longer.”—“Listen to the Word, it is being proclaimed to you!”—“I hear it, but it doesn’t say anything to me. It seems empty to me; it is beyond me.”—“You don’t want to hear.”—“Yes, I do.” With that, they reach the point where most pastoral conversations break off, because the pastors do not know what is going on. They only know the one statement: only the believer obeys. With this statement, they are no longer able to help the obstinate unbeliever, who does not and cannot have this kind of faith. Pastors think they are standing here before an ultimate puzzle, that God gives faith to some and denies it to others. With this one statement, they surrender their efforts. The obstinate persons remain alone and continue to bewail their predicament. But this is the turning point in the conversation. The change is a complete one. There is no longer any sense in arguing; the questions and worries of the other person are no longer taken so seriously. Instead the person hiding behind them is taken all the more seriously. The pastor breaks through the walls such a person has built with the statement, “Only the obedient have faith.” So the conversation is interrupted, and the pastor’s next sentence is, “You are disobedient; you refuse to obey Christ; you desire to keep a piece of autonomy for yourself. You cannot hear Christ, because you are disobedient; you cannot believe in grace, because you do not want to obey. You have hardened some corner of your heart against Christ’s call. Your trouble is your sin.” At this point Christ reappears on the scene; he attacks the devil in the other person, who until then had been hiding behind cheap grace. At that point everything depends on the pastor having both statements ready: only the obedient believe, and only the believer obeys. In the name of Jesus, the pastor must call the other to obedience, to a deed, to a first step. Leave what binds you and follow him! At that moment everything depends on that step. The position taken by the disobedient person must be broken through, for in it Christ can no longer be heard. Fugitives must leave the hiding places they built for themselves. Only when they get out of them can they again see, hear, and believe freely. Indeed, as far as Christ is concerned, doing the deed itself gains nothing; it remains a dead work. But in spite of that, Peter has to step out onto the rolling sea, so that he can believe.
In short, the situation is that people have poisoned themselves with cheap grace by the statement that only the believer obeys. They remain disobedient and console themselves with a forgiveness that they grant themselves, and in doing so, they close themselves off from the word of God. The fortress walls around them cannot be broken through, so long as all they hear is the statement they are hiding behind being repeated. A change has to come about by calling people to obedience: only the obedient have faith!
Will people thus be led down the fatal path of belief in their own works? No, they will learn instead that their faith is not faith; they will be liberated from their entanglement with themselves. They have to get out in the fresh air of a decision. In that way Jesus’ call to faith and discipleship is made audible anew.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship