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Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Monster – Progressing in the Flow = Purity 601

Monster – Progressing in the Flow =  Purity 601

Purity 601 12/14/2021  Purity 601 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Hudson River at dusk comes to us from yours truly as I was blessed to have this view to gaze upon at the end of another Manic Monday yesterday at my modest home that has been affectionately named “River House”.  I just love where the Lord has placed me and how I can enjoy the way the river just “goes with the flow”.

In my new job function as a telephone repair man, I diagnose the problems that are affecting customers telephone service by isolating the “trouble” to a specific point in the telephone cable and try to “fix” the problem by trying to find away around the problem.  I’m sort of the  “quick fix” guy meaning if there is a way to bypass your issue, I can fix it.

Imagine a phone line as a rope from me to you. The rope between me and you is actually several smaller ropes that are tied in knots that make up one long continuous rope.  When something goes wrong, one of those smaller ropes “breaks” and I have to follow the path of rope and figure out which “rope broke”.  When we discover the problem, we can either fix the problem with your original rope section or we can tie a new rope to replace that section entirely.  As a “quick fix” guy, I don’t have the tools or equipment to “fix your original rope”, so I look for a “new rope” to bypass your rope’s problem area.

For phone service, the “number of ropes” between start to finish is usually one or two, sometimes three. Yesterday, I had a trouble where there were “three ropes” between start to finish and as I diagnosed the problem, I discovered that we had 3 broken ropes! I had to find a new pathway for each section of the customer’s pathway to reestablish service.  It was a drawn out process, but we established a new pathway that worked.  

When I am looking for “new ropes” between points I have equipment that can tell me many different things, but I have gotten in the habit of streamlining the process by quickly eliminating the many choices by only looking for good pathways. If there is the slightest problem with a possible pathway between points, that pathway is eliminated from consideration. 

I don’t continue testing that pathway to look at its’ other attributes or qualities.  I don’t question “why” this pathway doesn’t work. My training and experience have taught me what a “good” path and a “bad” path looks like. 

The more I perform my current job function the more I “know” what will work and what won’t.   At the first sign of trouble, options are eliminated until I find a path that will work or until I exhaust all options and have to refer the trouble to a technician who has specialized equipment to pinpoint the trouble and the “fix the original” rope rather than bypass the problem.

In life I have discovered that we waste a lot of time trying to “fix our original” ropes rather than “bypassing” the bad ropes (or decisions) and going to a “new rope” or new path that works.   

Our lives are like a flow chart of decisions and predictable outcomes.  

In my history with alcohol, I had an immense flow chart regarding whether I would choose to drink, what I would drink, when I would drink, how much I would drink, and then the various outcomes that would result from my decisions to drink.  And brother let me tell you, through the 26 years of my drinking, from age 17 to 43, I worked every possible avenue of the alcoholism flow chart. 

I followed new pathways and tried every possible combination of routes to find the pathways that had the fewest negative outcomes and at several points in my life I thought I had found the “secret”  to better life through chemistry.  I worked out the right conditions of how I could drink, enjoy a pleasant level of drunkenness, and not suffer too much. 

The problem was that my habit wouldn’t be tamed.  I could “travel” the approved paths of alcohol for a time but eventually would have an overwhelming compulsion to “go rogue” and to run down paths that broke the “rules” of moderation and balance.  

Of course beyond the flow chart of decisions involving alcohol, there was a whole spectrum of emotions and thoughts that drove that behavior.  When you are addicted, its like you are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And no matter how long you can be Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde will find his way out, usually on holidays or special occasions for maximum embarrassment, shame, pain, and discord.   Skillet’s song “Monster”, described it pretty well saying:

“The secret side of me, I never let you see

I keep it caged but I can't control it

So stay away from me, the beast is ugly

I feel the rage and I just can't hold it

It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls

It comes awake and I can't control it

Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head

Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin

I must confess that I feel like a monster

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun

I must confess that I feel like a monster”

Thankfully,  in 2010 I heard a gospel message that caused me to realize that God didn’t expect me to clean up my act to make peace with Him. All my mistakes and all my sins could be forgiven by placing my faith in Christ.  I put my faith in Christ and decide to follow the One who saved me no matter where it would lead.  

The Lord doesn’t force you to do anything. He wants your love and obedience to be freely given.  So after awhile of studying the word, going to church, and still working that alcohol flow chart,  Pastor Bob Costello started a recovery ministry at my local church, and I was presented with a “new path” for the rest of my life.  Amazingly, when the Lord called me to follow it, I did.

Instead of working that alcohol flow chart, and wondering why all those pathways didn’t work, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to bypass it all by saying no to alcohol in all of its forms and choose to walk out my life and my faith on the path of Christian discipleship.  

That mess of decisions that flows from the choice to drink was bypassed as the Lord gave me the strength and guidance to live in a new way and as I walked away from alcohol and into my freedom in Christ, I continually discovered that following the Lord would cause me to walk away from other regrettable decisions and the negative emotions that accompany them.    

The path of Christian Discipleship also gave me the solid foundation of my new identity in Christ upon which I could stand and know my true self-worth as an adopted child of God.  Instead of walking through the emotional flow chart that caused me to be anxious, angry, or fearful, agreeing with what the word of God said about who I am in Christ moved me to experience the fruit of the spirit of peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. 

The Truth, the Way, and the Life that you receive when you come to faith in Jesus Christ is not behavior modification or agreeing with positive affirmations, it is realizing and manifesting the transformation that has already occurred when you received new spiritual life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.      

So while we will have to volitionally decide to renew our minds by believing what the word says about us and lean on the Lord’s strength and guidance to repent and turn from our former worldly ways; the process of transformation has already been accomplished. 

Our efforts of following the Lord’s way are merely the steps that we need to take in order to grow into what we already have the potential to be.  Our transformation is not immediate perfection, our lives of faith are lives of progress as we go from “faith to faith” and “glory to glory”.  

So keep walking and talking with God. He will warn you about the paths that “don’t work” and will guide you in the way that you should go.  The Lord works all things together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.  If you love Him, He is calling you to walk away from those old paths that lead to guilt and shame and is encouraging you to “flow” into a life that is defined by peace, love, and joy. So progress into the “flow” of where the Spirit will lead you and continue to discover the new life of freedom and victory that He has for you. 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 44:3 (NLT2)

3  For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.

Today’s verse points to a future fulfillment of the reception of the Holy Spirit for the nation of Israel.  

When Christ came into His earthly ministry he eventually informed His disciples that he must someday depart from them, but it was better for them because they would receive the Holy Spirit.   The original Apostles were all children of Israel, and they had the Holy Spirit poured out on them at the Day of Pentecost and the church grew and has never been the same since. 

All believers in Christ receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and are given a new everlasting spiritual life when they place their faith in Jesus.  

The prophetic meaning behind today’s verse was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, is fulfilled with every new convert to Christianity, and will ultimately be completely fulfilled as the last of the tribulation saints come to faith in Jesus Christ just before His glorious return to reclaim the heavens and the earth for God’s kingdom.  

For those who have received the Holy Spirit and who have experienced His presence and the flow of His fruit into their lives, they can confess that their lives before Christ were as parched fields in a dry and dusty land but when the living waters of the Holy Spirit flowed into their lives, their thirsts were quenched by goodness of God and the new life that He has for them.  

So if you are feeling dry, ask for the Holy Spirit to refill you with His anointing and receive it by faith.  God gives good things to His children, but you have to have faith that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, and you have to ask.   

So seek Him and ask Him to be with you and empower you to go the way you should go.  The Holy Spirit is with us always and is faithful to move us into our purpose for God’s kingdom with love, strength, and power that comes when you ask His Spirit to fill you.  

 

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

 

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 18, as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 

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

DAY 18

TRUSTING IN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

REVELATION 22:20

Have you ever heard of a person eagerly reading an interesting book, then suddenly deciding to abandon it without reading the last chapter? The last chapter ties together the threads of the narrative; it summarizes the arguments; it climaxes the action. You and I would agree that to close a book without reading the final chapter would be to read without purpose and without satisfaction.

I have had people tell me that although they read the Bible, they stop short of Revelation—the final “chapter.” Imagine! That particular Bible book announces itself as the revelation of Jesus Christ. It forecasts the consummation of all things and introduces the new order. How can readers form a balanced understanding of God, sin, unbelief, and divine judgment if they ignore so important a book? In these crisis days of world government, no Christian can afford to ignore the climactic Revelation.

We may take one of only two stances in regard to this prophetic “unveiling”—this portraying of the future return of Jesus Christ to this earth, to this world that once rejected Him as Messiah and crucified Him at Calvary. We may ignore it, in effect despising it and jeering at the prospect of a future divine intervention affecting the entire world. Or we may embrace it, cheering for the promised victory of a righteous Ruler, the coming King of kings.

Those who ignore Revelation take their place with the many who believe a humanistic view of life is sufficient: that men and women are responsible captains of their own souls. They take their place with the defiant multitude who shout the age-old refrain: “We will not have this Man to rule over us!”

Those who take Revelation seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as the world we now inhabit. They are persuaded that the day of consummation nears when “the kingdom of the world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ,” who “shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

Living in this generation, we are fully aware that the competitive world and our selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can empathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world’s store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty of God! I, too, would not sleep well if I could not trust moment by moment in God’s sovereignty and omnipotence and in His grace, mercy, and faithfulness.

The prevailing attitudes of fear, distrust, and unrest permeating our world are known to all of us. But in God’s plan some of us also know a beautiful opposite: the faith and assurance found in the church of Jesus Christ. God still has a restful “family” in His church. As believers we gladly place our confidence in God’s revelation of Himself. Although the material world has never understood our faith, it is well placed in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us many things we could learn in no other way.

This amazing Revelation—the final section of the holy Scriptures—tells us plainly that no human being and no world government or power will have any control or any say in that fiery day of judgment yet to come upon the earth. John’s vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time the direction and administration of this world will be taken away from men and women and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and power to rightly govern. That Man is the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation describes the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior is universally acknowledged to be King of kings and Lord of lords. All will acclaim Him victor. God’s Revelation leaves us with no doubt about that.

In our present period of time, however, there is little recognition of God’s sovereignty or of His plan for His redeemed people. Go into the marketplace, into our educational institutions, and—yes—even into our popular religious circles, and you will find a growing tendency to make mankind large and to make God small. Human society is now taking it for granted that if God indeed exists, He has become our servant, meekly waiting upon us for our will.

In the face of this kind of human thinking, I want to make a case for the committed Christians in this world. We are the true realists. We confess that we do not hold the powers of life and death in our own hands. We have sensed the importance of John’s vision in the Revelation. We are assured that God is alive and well and that He has never abdicated His throne. While others may wonder and speculate concerning God’s place in the universe, we are assured that He has never yielded to any of His creatures His divine rights as Lord of man and nature.

It is for this reason that the Christian believer, related to God by faith, is assured of final victory. Even in the midst of earthly trials, he or she is joyful.

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

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Say What You Feel - Vows of Love - Purity 589





Say What You Feel - Vows of Love  -  Purity 589

Purity 589 11/30/2021  Purity 589

Good morning

Today’s photo was of tourists traversing a natural bridge somewhere on the shores of the island of Aruba comes to us from a friend’s recent Thanksgiving week trip to that tropical paradise. But they objected to its use so it has been removed.    I replaced it with me bell ringing for the Salvation Army with a friend from 2 years ago, before I lost a bunch of weight. 

I share this impressive slab of rock under blue skies and that is stretching over water to remind us all that today in the last day of November and we are crossing a bridge into the month of Christmas and the final month of the year that is 2021.  

So if there is anything that you wanted to accomplish before the year is out, today is the day to make a plan and set a course to get ‘er done before the end of ’21!  

For many of us the focus will be on Christmas, of course.  We need to finish those Thanksgiving Day leftovers, seriously, and move on from November and get ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ by preparing our homes and our hearts for the holiday where we can openly express the joy that we have “in Christ”.  

Because I have been splitting my time between my fiancĂ©’s place in cow country and my humble home “down by The River” affectionately known as “River House”, I am already behind the eight ball in my holiday preparations.  I normally have my Christmas Tree and nativity scene on display the day after Thanksgiving so I am playing catch up and vow to have my few Christmas decorations up by week’s end! I swear it!    

Tonight is out as we will be concluding the pre-marriage counseling sessions with my bride to be as we continue to draw closer together as we prepare to be married on New Year’s Day. 

So yeah, we have our marriage license, we are finishing our pre-marriage counseling, we have met with “the minister”, who has graciously offered to cater our wedding feast and who also just happens to be my future brother in law,  about the details of our ceremony, and we have had a Thanksgiving Day powwow with our wedding planner to figure out some details for the eventful day.   

Beyond all those plans, I have one huge responsibility ahead of me that needs to get done before December’s end: writing my marriage vows. My bride and I have agreed that our union shouldn’t have “cookie cutter vows” and that we will share our own thoughts and declarations about our love for one another and our promising ourselves to one another in matrimony.  

My future bride has reportedly composed four pages of material that will comprise her vows to me.   Four pages! So game on.  While I write 3-5 pages 6 days a week for the blog and podcast,  I am freaking out a little because the writing task at hand is no small matter and is very meaningful to me. 

Like my teenage son who would lament, and rebel over “forced” writing assignments from their high school English teachers, I am a little “triggered” at the expectation and the deadline.   But as I reminded my son, ad nauseum when he was in school, I can write whatever I want, and I am certainly “smart” enough to do this!   I just have to “say what I feel”.

So after the Christmas Tree and manger go up, I have to get serious about writing out the words that I will say just before TammyLyn, and I are declared man and wife.  So, no pressure! They just absolutely positively have to be done before January one! 

The task at hand is only difficult because it means so much to me.  How do you express all the reasons why you love someone or how thankful and happy you are that they are a part of your life?  

I haven’t done my vows yet, but I had a small taste of what this process will be like because I just composed an email to my pastor to thank him for all that he has taught me and provided my family with in the ten plus years that I have been under his church leadership.  

I have come to the realization that after the new year my faith journey will lead me into a new ministry opportunity with Freedom in Christ Ministries and to a “new church” as my bride and I have decided to worship together as a family at Starpoint Church.

So I made a point to let my pastor know about these latest developments in my personal and ministerial life but wanted to also express the immense gratitude for all that I received in the past from him and the church community at Rock Solid. 

It was a hard letter to write, and I can only hope that my words adequately convey how thankful I am for my pastor’s leadership and friendship.  I won’t be completely gone from the Rock Solid scene but my visits there will be certainly less frequent than they have been as I will be going to Starpoint for Sunday services, and I am discontinuing my Thursday night discipleship classes at Rock Solid to serve the Lord in a new way, as an online course facilitator for Freedom in Christ Ministries.

So as we all cross that bridge into Christmas, into the New Year beyond, and through all the changes that will happen from here to there, let’s endeavor to do two things:

·       Let’s let the people in our lives know how much they mean to us by telling them.

·       Let’s remember that Christmas is about our relationship with Jesus Christ and the joy we have knowing we have been set free from sin and death.  We can have peace on earth because we have peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ. So tell the Lord that love Him too.

If these two reminders seem wise, its because they echo Christ’s commandments to

Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
39   love your neighbor as yourself.'

And to

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)
37  … love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'

It’s the last day of November, so plan out what you want to do before Christmas and before New Years Day but when you plot your course try to remember to make some plans not to just “do things” or “go places”. Try to make plans to express the love you have for God and for the people He has put in your life.   


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 40:8 (NLT2)
8  The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

 

Today’s verse reminds us of the paradox of the impermanent nature of existence and the eternal nature of God.   

The “grass wither and the flowers fade” teaches us that things die.  The harsh reality of the impermanent nature of our lives here on earth and the created universe is difficult to know on an experiential level.  One of the most meaningful moments in our education is the moment when we realize that we too will die one day.  It’s a truth that should freak us out.  Atheistic and cold hard scientific  reasoning tells us that we will cease to exist, The end.  

They either don’t consider the spiritual realm of the unseen or conclude that it doesn’t exist and that talk of an eternal kingdom of God is mythic and created to assuage feelings of fear or the abject depravity that might result from the natural conclusion that life is meaningless.  If God doesn’t exist and we all just fade to black, life is hopeless as all of man’s works and memories will eventually be erased when the universe dies.   

But Today’s verse tells us that God’s word is eternal.  This verse and the rest of scripture point to God, the Creator who is over, above, and beyond time and space itself.  Unlike some false religions that speak of “beginningless time”, the Bible tells us that God, who is self-existent, created our universe when He spoke it into being and declared it to be good.  

Our own mortality should upset us because we are not self-existent. Our natural progression leads to a physical death and a separation of our spirits/souls into a spiritual realm where God will determine our destiny. 

Our loving Creator sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him and those that place their faith in Christ are spared God’s wrath and welcomed into His royal family. 

Those who reject Christ, reject God, and are promised an eternal existence described as darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, a just end to the created beings that dishonor the One who gave them life. They will gnash their teeth in agony after essentially biting the hand that made them.   

So the natural world and how it falls apart should inspire to seek the Lord to resolve the question of what will happen to us when we die.  If we seek the Lord, we will find Him and come into relationship with Him through faith in Christ to be saved from His wrath.

When that happens we become truly alive as The Holy Spirit indwells us and His “eternal word” assures us of our salvation and new life.  

So let people know that there is hope in Christ. While the grass withers and the flowers fade, God made a way for us through His eternal word, the living word, Jesus Christ.  And when us infinite beings surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior, we are given a relationship with God that has infinite possibilities.    So keep walking and talking with God and  share and experience the good news of life eternal through Christ every day.   

 

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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

F. How God Uses Suffering in Our Lives

How can a good God have a purpose for evil and pain? Sometimes a change in perspective makes all the difference in your opinion about evil. Most people would say that it is morally reprehensible to stick a knife into someone. However, we let doctors do it all the time! Just as a doctor has a healing purpose to the hurt that he causes, God has a purpose for allowing pain.

This reassuring truth is well illustrated in the life of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers and carted off to Egypt, where he was eventually unjustly jailed. After many years of being incarcerated, Joseph's interpretation of a troubling dream for Pharaoh led to his becoming prime minister of Egypt.

Ultimately, he saved the lives of the Israelites, but only because God put him in a leadership position in a strange country under circumstances far from his own choosing. Joseph's attitude toward his suffering is revealed in the statement he made to his brothers years later ...

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)

God uses suffering in your life:

  • To expose your sin...
    • —Suffering can keep you from going astray.
          "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word." (Psalm 119:67)
    • —Suffering can produce positive repentance in you.
          "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Corinthians 7:10)
    • —Suffering can cause you to reject sin and live in the will of God.
          "Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." (1 Peter 4:1-2)
  • To build your character...
    • —Suffering can teach you contentment even when you are in need.
          "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12)
    • —Suffering can develop perseverance to make you emotionally mature and morally complete.
          "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)
    • —Suffering can produce endurance, which is a catalyst to refine your character.
          "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).
  • To produce much good...
    • —Suffering can be used by God for your good.
          "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28).
    • —Suffering can give you empathy toward others in their suffering.
          "There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it" (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
    • —Suffering can produce compassion to equip you to comfort others.
          "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
  • To change your perspective...
    • —Suffering can reveal Jesus, who is living within you.
          "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
    • —Suffering can cause you to achieve greater eternal glory.
          "We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
    • —Suffering can create in you a hungering for heaven.
          "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
  • To bless your future...
    • —Suffering can secure the blessing of God.
          "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10).
    • —Suffering can prove your faith is genuine.
          "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faithof greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by firemay be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:6-7).
    • —Suffering can result in being blessed with the crown of life.
          "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).

Question: "Does God care about my suffering?"

Answer: God cares deeply about your suffering as demonstrated by the fact that...

  • He is close to you when you are brokenhearted.
        The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
  • He stays around you in the midst of trouble.
        "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them" (Psalm 34:7).
  • He keeps a record of your grief and keeps hold of your tears.
        "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" (Psalm 56:8 ESV).

Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Going to the Son: The Pathway to Peace - Purity 453


 Going to the Son: The Pathway to Peace 

Purity 453 06/24/2021   Purity 453 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a rushing stream beneath the peaks of mountains, possibly Heaven’s peak, at Lake MacDonald’s Glacier Park in Montana is brought to us from a friend’s extensive wilderness vacation out west.  A quick peak at Google Maps causes me to believe this is McDonald Creek that runs parallel to the “Going-to-the-Sun Road” that flows from the Glacier Park and pours into Lake MacDonald. 

I share it because it is an awesome photo but also because I love to share pictures of pathways on Thursdays to invite people to join me on the path of Christian Discipleship by attending our Community Freedom Discipleship Class tonight at Rock Solid Church at 6:30 pm, or by joining the class remotely via the mt4christ247 podcast.   We are currently teaching from Dr Neil Anderson’s the Bondage Breaker, and I feel it is a valuable teaching for experiencing your freedom in Christ.

As for our photo, McDonald Creek isn’t your typical pathway in that it is water, but I have recently made more friends who are kayak enthusiasts and had to admit that this creek would be a pathway for some.  Even though there are rapids, and many wouldn’t have the equipment, opportunity, or motivation to follow this particular pathway, some would approach it and follow its twists and turns with zeal.  

Likewise the pathway of Christian discipleship isn’t for everyone.  When you decide to follow the Lord’s call and leadings for your life, it usually doesn’t take long to discover that there will be twists and turns and it won’t always be smooth sailing.  

Christ said that the world hated Him so it will hate His followers as well. Christians are promised persecution because they have no choice but to stand upon the rock of Jesus Christ and proclaim Him as the sole means of salvation.   

Regardless of the plethora of other spiritual pathways available to choose from, Christ said that He was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one goes to the Father except through Him.  

So we are guaranteed to face some resistance on Christ’s path, but like the Apostles who walked it before us, we know that Jesus is the Son of God and that His way leads to eternal life, and we simply have no where else to go.   

We know this truth in our hearts because God has revealed Himself to us and we follow this path not out of some perceived obligation to follow the rules, but we follow where the Lord would lead us because of our love for Him and because we know His way is not just the only way, it’s the best way.  

His path doesn’t just lead to eternal life. His pathway gives us the power to experience heaven on earth by giving us increasing freedom from the dark ways of the world as we cultivate the fruit of the Spirit and know the peace that comes from living in harmony with God.

So go to the Son. Trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior and follow the path that God puts before you.  The Lord is always there to hear you and to guide you, but you have to ask for His help and come along side Him by agreeing that He knows best and by trusting that He will never lead you astray.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Today’s verse encourages us and instructs us in how we are to experience perfect peace.  If we trust in the Lord and keep our minds on Him, the Lord will keep us in perfect peace!   

That shouldn’t be a surprise to us for the promises of the peace that goes beyond all understanding are presented throughout scripture to be contingent on our harmonious relationship with the Lord which begins when we make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  

That’s the thing that those who are screaming for peace in our society and in the church seem to forget. There is no true peace without having peace with God. And not only that but those who have peace with God must keep the peace! 

So we must introduce those who don’t know Him to the way of peace: Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, I know from my personal history and from my efforts to evangelize how hardened, resistant, and blind those outside of God’s grace can be.  So don’t just present a gospel message, present yourself and the way you live your life as an enduring testimony of God’s abundant mercy, kindness, and love.  

Those who are perishing need to know that we care. So speak the truth in love and be sure to share what you were like before you knew the Lord so that they will understand that the kingdom of God is for them too.

As for those in the church who are without peace, encourage them to surrender some of their worldly ways for God’s ways and to draw close to Him in regular Bible Study, prayer, and worship.  It’s hard to say our mind is stayed on the Lord if we are living the way we used to before coming to faith.  Our relationship with the Lord calls us to repent of the world’s course ways and to seek a righteous and holy life.  

I advise caution in your attempts to transform because we can’t live the Christian life by the sweat of our brows with forced obedience. We must love the Lord and willingly decided to give more of ourselves to Him.  It’s not easy and I would say not to do everything all at once and instead go in prayer and ask the Lord what He can help you with. 

The chances are that you already know the problems to address. They usually have been a negative influence or ongoing dilemma of your life that you feel powerless to change.  But with God all things are possible, but we might have to take the slow road to get there by experiencing and claiming our freedom and victory each new day.   

When we surrender to the Lord there may be seasons of turmoil but when we keep our minds on Him and trust Him some how we have peace in the midst of the storm and find even more when the rain finally stops.   

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 Master

Because we are identified with Christ in His death and resurrection, we have become new and are part of the new humanity. In this change, we have a new power of dominion in our lives. This is clearly expressed in Romans 6:5-7 (NIV): "If we have been united with him . . . in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." "Old self" in this passage literally means old man. The old man in relation to the believer has been crucified in Christ and he has put on the new man (see Col. 3:10).

Paul says, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). We don't consider it so to make it so. We are to continuously believe we are alive in Christ and dead to sin because it is so. Believing anything doesn't make it true. God said it is true; therefore we believe it. Death is the ending of a relationship, not an existence. Sin is still present, appealing and powerful; but when you are tempted to sin, you can say, "I don't have to do that. By the grace of God I can live a righteous life."

To illustrate, look at Romans 8:1, 2: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Is the law of sin and of death still operative? Yes, that is why Paul calls it a law. You can't do away with a law, but you can overcome it by a greater law, which is the "law . . . of life in Christ Jesus."

For instance, as mortals we can't fly in our own strength, but we can fly in an airplane because an airplane has a power greater than the law of gravity. If you don't think the law of gravity is still in effect, then flip the switch at 30,000 feet. You will crash and burn. If we walk by faith according to what God says is true in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will "not carry out the desire of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). If we believe a lie and walk according to the flesh, we will crash and burn.

Saved and Sanctified by Faith

Paul says in Romans 6:6, "our old self was crucified" (past tense). We try and try to put the old man to death and we can't do it. Why not? Because he is already dead. Because many Christians are not living the abundant life, they incorrectly reason, "What experience has to occur for this to be true?" The only thing that had to happen for that to be true happened nearly two thousand years ago, and the only way you can enter into that experience is by faith.

A dear pastor who heard of my ministry asked for an appointment with me. He said, "I have struggled for 22 years in ministry and I finally think I know what the answer is. In my devotions I read the following passage in Col. 3:3 (NIV), 'For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.' That's it, isn't it?"

I assured him it was, then he asked, "How do I do that?"

I suggested he read the passage just a little bit slower. This dear man for 22 years had been desperately trying to become somebody he already was, and so do many other believers. We cannot do for ourselves what Christ has already accomplished for us.

Too many Christians are trying to show that the Bible is true by the way they live. It will never work for them. We accept what God says is true and live accordingly by faith, and this abundant life works out in our experience. If we try to make it true by the way we live, we will never get there. Paul points out the futility of that thinking in Galatians 3:2 (NIV): "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

We are saved by faith and we walk or live by faith. We have been sanctified by faith and we are being sanctified by faith and by faith alone. We are neither saved nor sanctified by how we behave, but by how we believe.

God's work of atonement changes sinners to saints. The radical change, regeneration, is effected at the moment of salvation. The ongoing change in the believer's daily walk continues throughout life. The progressive work of sanctification, however, is only fully effective when the radical, inner transformation by regeneration is realized and appropriated by faith.

As a new Christian you were like a lump of coal: unattractive, somewhat fragile and messy to work with. After time and pressure, however, coal becomes hardened and beautiful. Although the original lump of coal is not a diamond, it consists of the right substance to become a diamond. Right now, you are a diamond in the rough, but given enough time and pressure, you will be like a diamond, revealing the glory of God.

Anthony Hoekema comments, "You are new creatures now! Not totally new, to be sure, but genuinely new. And we who are believers should see ourselves in this way: no longer as depraved and helpless slaves of sin, but as those who have been created anew in Christ Jesus."


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