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

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump” - Purity 908


Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump”  -  Purity 908

Purity 908 12/07/2022 Purity 908 Podcast

Purity 908 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s photo of Bell Mountain from the shores of Chatuge Lake comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from Hiawassee Georgia on social media back on November 27th.   This particular friend’s travels have been highlighted often on the blog and its been a while since I have used any of his “stuff” but I wanted to let them know that “I see you, brother” and to thank him for his generosity in sharing his experiences with his friends.  

Well, it’s Wednesday again and I share our adventurous friend’s photo of Bell Mountain today to visual represent our arrival at the first “hump day” of December and to highlight the enduring quality of friendship and the personal mountains of adversity that we have to face in life on the path of Christian Discipleship.   

In all honesty, I have never personally met the photographer of today’s work. I made his acquaintance on social media a few years ago and have been following him ever since.  His journey, that I can see, has been an epic one.  From our view of his life, we have “seen” him retire and move from his home in Hillsdale in Upstate NY to hop around all over the place, settling for a time in Kentucky, Florida, and now North Carolina. And even though those were the states he has set up “camp” for a while, he has traveled to all the nearby places in between.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is his faithfulness in sharing the things he sees along the way.  If I am ever at a loss for the photo of the day, he is someone I can look to and can usually count on to have something to “use”.  So, thanks Fred, God bless you and your travelling spirit.   

Friends are people we can count right. Friends are people that we have a bond with that can endure separations and time.  As a CFMA, an encourager, for Freedom in Christ Ministries and as a former teacher, and the last director, of Celebrate Freedom my former church’s, now defunct, recovery ministry.  I have made a lot of friends through the years.  I have increasingly and continually found my freedom in Christ through the years  and since 2015, the year I went into recovery, I have been sharing the message of the hope for a new life of peace and abundant joy that is found through faith in Christ alone.

I have encouraged and walked with a lot of people on the path of Christian Discipleship and unfortunately as I keep walking and talking with God I eventually am separated from their company.  As a facilitator of the Freedom in Christ course, I meet new people and walk with them for 12 weeks or so and then have to wish them well as our paths divert.  However, I consider all the people I have known through my old church, and the people I have met through recovery ministry, and the volunteer work I do at Freedom in Christ ministries as my bothers and sisters in Christ, but also as my friends.  While we may have parted company, for whatever reasons, I still consider them to be my friends no matter how long we have been separated. As I leave the people I meet on the path of Christian Discipleship, I leave with the encouragement that they reach out to me to keep in touch or if they need or want to talk.  

With my two household existence, and my secular and ministry work, my availability is something that is hard to pin down on a regular basis, and let’s face it, if you are walking in the Spirit, the Spirit will move you to places you don’t expect! But I always encourage the people I meet along the way to reach out to me periodically or if they are in need because I want to be a friend they can count on.  

We in the body of Christ need each other.  I know how lonely this road of following the Lord can be and I want to be thought of as someone who is faithful to encourage others who decide to pick up their cross and follow the Lord.  

So Monday morning, an old friend from the past reached out to me to confess that he wanted to talk. I was running out the door to work at the time and suggested they just text me or record a voice message to give me a heads up to tell me what was going on and I would respond in kind later.   But they sheepishly replied to never mind and wished me a “Merry Christmas”.   

So as I was driving down the highway, the Holy Spirit indicated to me to reach out and call them.  My new car likes to highjack my phone and I still don’t quite understand how it works. So I reached out and eventually figured out how to speak though my car and learned that my friend had made some bad turns, suffered the consequences of poor decisions, and wanted some advice about what to do.   

Part of my friend’s testimony though revealed to me the root issue of all his problems: his rebellion.  We walked together for a time in the past but we separated because he went against several of his friends’ advice and got involved in a relationship that proved to be toxic. He also hid his relapse in drug and alcohol use.  He has been running ever since and predictably everything has become a huge mess.      

In his statements to me, in asking for help mind you, he was trying to establish his rights and his freedom to “have a beer” at the end of the day and was lamenting over the how he has been misused or wrongly accused  by the state and the other people in his life.  In essence, he was making the claim that he could do what he wanted and that he was a victim of circumstances.  While he was asking for help, he seemed to deny that he was the problem.   

So what do you do? Agree with him and tell him “the world sucks” or “Yeah, you do what you want!” I don’t think so!

I reminded him of how when he was clean and sober, he was thriving in life and I told him flat out that he had to “say goodbye” to the past, say “goodbye” to the beer, and to start following the Lord again.  I told him that there simply is no other way but the Lord’s way and that half measures don’t work. If he wanted true freedom and peace, he had to follow the Lord and do His will.   

Amazingly, he thanked me and said that he knew that he could count on me to “tell it like it is” and he made the decision to start following the Lord again.  

He has texted me over the last couple of days and says he  feels better and he indicates that he is going to change his story from being a cautionary tale to one that tells of a turn around and a new life of victory.   

I sent him a YouTube video of Bethel’s King of My Heart and an encouraging word to let the Lord rule his heart, just this morning.  

It doesn’t cost a thing to send him an encouraging word but I know just how valuable it is to have a friend in your corner when you decide to “climb that mountain” of problems that you have to overcome when you decide to be real with God and follow where He leads.      

I’m not sure what will happen with my friend but I am praying that he stays faithful to seek the Lord and to surrender his will to God.  It’s hard going on this path of Christian Discipleship but if you keep walking and talking with God, you’ll get over that hump and eventually you will leave the darkness of you old life behind as the Lord will fill your life with meaning and purpose that will just happen to lead you on a journey that never ends whose road is paved with peace, love, and joy.  

So turn it around and follow the Lord into all He has for you.  He did it for me and He is faithful and trustworthy to do it for you, too.     




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

This morning’s meditation verses is:

Isaiah 59:2 (NLT2)
2  It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality of how our sins disrupt the harmony of our relationship with God. 

As born again believers who have put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us from the love of God or break our relationship with Him.   But when we come into a covenant relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ, there is an expectation that you are going to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” of a Christian disciple.   It is expected that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we repent. We are expected to turn from our sinful and selfish ways and to start living our lives according to God’s will and ways.  

So what happens, when we don’t?   Well it feels like God has left us because our sin separates us from fellowship with Him.  we don’t experience His presence or blessing because WE have walked away from Him by sinning.  

One of the principles of prayer is to be “right with God” if we expect to have our requests heard and fulfilled.  Today’s verse indicates our prayers won’t “be heard”, fulfilled, because of our sin.   

But the good news is that God will hear us and be with us the moment we repent. Our fellowship with God is re-established the moment we confess our sins to Him and ask for His help. 

So don’t treat your faith like some game where you can “sin-confess”, “sin-confess”, Instead be faithful to never leave the Lord’s side by turning from sin and walking where He would direct you.     


As always, I invite all to go to 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 Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Ten

The Body of Christ

The first disciples lived in the bodily presence of and in community with Jesus. What is the significance of this fact, and in what way does this community still exist for us? Paul states that through baptism we have become members of the body of Christ. This statement sounds very strange and incomprehensible to us, and thus requires a thorough explanation.

It tells us that those who are baptized are still meant to live, even after the Lord’s death and resurrection, in the bodily presence of and community with Jesus. For those who belong to him, Jesus’ departure does not mean a loss but rather a new gift. For the first disciples the bodily community with Jesus did not mean anything different or anything more than what we have today. Indeed, for us this community is even more definite, more complete, and more certain than it was for them, since we live in full community with the bodily presence of the glorified Lord. Our faith must become fully aware of the magnitude of this gift. The body of Jesus Christ is the ground of our faith and the source of its certainty; the body of Jesus Christ is the one and perfect gift through which we receive our salvation; the body of Jesus Christ is our new life. It is in the body of Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God from eternity.

Since Adam’s fall God sent the divine word to sinful humanity, in order to seek and accept us. This is why we have received God’s word, to reconcile our lost humanity with God. God’s word came as promise and as law. For our sake God’s word became weak and lowly. But human beings rejected this word, refusing to be accepted by God. They offered sacrifices; they performed good works which God was supposed to accept in their stead, thereby letting them go free.

Then the miracle of all miracles takes place. The Son of God becomes a human being. The Word became flesh. The One who had dwelled from all eternity in the Father’s glory, the One who was in the form of God, who in the beginning had been the mediator of creation so that the created world can only be known through him and in him, the One who was very God (1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6ff.; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:16; John 1:1ff.; Heb. 1:1ff.)—this One takes on humanity and comes to earth. He takes on humanity by taking on human qualities, human ‘nature’, “sinful flesh,” human form (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6ff.). Now it is no longer only through the word of preaching that God accepts humanity, but also in the body of Christ. God’s mercy sends the Son in the flesh, so that in his flesh he may shoulder and carry all of humanity. The Son of God accepts all of humanity in bodily form, the same humanity which in hate of God and pride of the flesh had rejected the incorporeal, invisible word of God. In the body of Jesus Christ humanity is now truly and bodily accepted; it is accepted as it is, out of God’s mercy.

When contemplating this miracle, the early church fathers insisted passionately that while it was necessary to say that God had taken on human nature, it was wrong to say that God had chosen a single, perfect human being with whom God would then unite. God became human. This means God took on the whole of our sick and sinful human nature, the whole of humanity which had fallen away from God. It does not mean, however, that God took on the individual human being Jesus. The entire gospel message can be understood properly only in light of this crucial distinction. The body of Jesus Christ, in which we together with all of humanity are accepted by God, has now become the foundation of our salvation.

The flesh borne by Christ was sinful flesh—yet borne without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). Wherever his human body is, there all flesh is being accepted. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Only by bearing all our infirmities and sorrows in his own body was Jesus able to heal the infirmities and sorrows of human nature (Matt. 8:15–17). “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” He bore our sin, and was therefore able to forgive sin; for in his body our sinful flesh had been “accepted.” This is why Jesus accepted sinners (Luke 15:2): he bore them in his own body. In Jesus the “acceptable (δεκτόν) year of the Lord” had dawned (Luke 4:19).

The incarnate Son of God was thus both an individual self and the new humanity. Whatever he did was at the same time also done on behalf of the new humanity which he bore in his body. He is thus a second Adam, or the “last” Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). For Adam too was both an individual self and at the same time the whole of humanity. Adam also bore the whole of humanity in himself. In him all of humanity has fallen; in “Adam” (which in Hebrew means “human being”), humanity as such has fallen (Rom. 5:19). Christ is the second human being (1 Cor. 15:47) in whom the new humanity is created. He is the “new human being.”

It is only with this perspective in mind that we are able to understand the nature of the bodily community which the disciples enjoyed with Jesus. The bond between Jesus and the disciples who followed him was a bodily bond. This was no accident but a necessary consequence of the incarnation. A prophet and teacher would not need followers, but only students and listeners. But the incarnate Son of God who took on human flesh does need a community of followers [Nachfolgergemeinde] who not only participate in his teaching but also in his body. It is thus in the body of Christ that the disciples have community. They live and suffer in bodily community with Jesus. By being in community with the body of Jesus they are placed under the burden of the cross. For in that body they are all borne and accepted.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 213–215.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Ways We Can Encourage Others - Purity 849

The Ways We Can Encourage Others- Purity 849

Purity 849 09/29/2022 Purity 849 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sky reflected in the waters near Murray Bridge in South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography ( who shared this pathway on social media back on June 17th, stating: “Another reflection image from our day at Murray Bridge. We spent hours hiking around the place and enjoying scenes like this all day long.”  

Well, It’s Thursday again and I thought I would use Dave’s photo as a visual representation of the hope we have for those of us who are “going from here to there” on the pathway of Christian discipleship and it is my prayer that my fellow travelers on Christ’s narrow path will have joy in their journey.

In Christian circles where people are actively pursuing all that God has for them by following the Lord’s wisdom and ways as outlined in the Bible, you may have heard the familiar testimony that Christians may not be perfected like Christ yet but they are no longer who they once were.  Apparently this adage was expanded upon and the following quote is attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:   

I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I truly can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was. – (  

As a Christian, Dr. King knew about the transformative power that comes through Christ and His dream was that people could get past their differences caused by group identifiers such as race and be united in harmony where people were not judged by the color of their skin but because of the content of their character, knowing that Christ can change people’s hearts.  

And so I encourage people to not just believe in Jesus but to follow Christ in the way they live their lives, to compassionately love and serve others by sharing with them what Christ tried to show us through His teachings in the word of God.  

I know you can’t push people into faith and so I just try to encourage people to seek the Lord by “walking and talking with God” and being open to the possibility to follow where He leads knowing that God is the one that will have to break though the walls that people build between themselves and his love and sometimes His “hard truth”.   

So I just encourage, “go that way “and point to Jesus.

So knowing we can’t affect those changes in people for them, what can we do to encourage them?  

Well Dr. Charles Stanley just happen to send me a letter that shared his wisdom on how we can encourage others. Okay it was a mass mailing from his ministries and not apersonal correspondence from the good Dr. , but it was addressed to me, in fact I got two copies, one to Marc Clark and another to “M. t. Clark” (small t?, typo I guess).    Anyway Dr. Stanley shared that we can encourage others by: 

1.    Giving people our time and attention

2.    Meeting their emotional or physical needs

3.    Building each other up spiritually

4.    And by trying to be a “motivator”. 

So while, I may not be doing all of the above perfectly in all situations, Dr. Stanley and I have the same teacher, the Lord and His word, and apparently I was following the right path in terms of how I try to be an encourager.  

I do my best to give my time and attention to others. I try to meet their emotional and physical needs, where I can. I try to build people up spiritually and I try to motivate others to seek the Lord and to solve their problems with His help.  

My “ministry work” is all about showing others how the Lord can help them with these things and how a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ can help them “cross that bridge from here to there”, to walk toward becoming the person God made us to be and to leave behind the troubled person we once were. 

So be motivated by Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote, consider Dr. Charles Stanley’s “prescription” for being an encourager, and follow the Lord in all your ways and you will discover that when you encourage others, the person that is most encouraged is you.



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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT2)
5  But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6  All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

Today’s Bible verses were shared in our resource under the heading “When you wish that some else could carry your problems…”  so while this passage of scripture can serve as evidence for Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah, our simple devotional resource shows us that we can also use today’s verses to find hope and comfort in our walk by putting our current burdens on to the Lord just like the weight and punishment of our sins were laid on Christ on the cross.   

In our Christian walk we will go through trials and tribulations and be rejected by men just like Christ did, but just like Christ endured suffering on the cross for the joy set before Him (our salvation, for the glory of God), we can bear the burdens of our sufferings and rejections because of our communion with Him and we can do it as a continual practice of our faith. 

As the NLT Bible Promise Book for Men indicates, when you wish someone else could carry your promise, you can look at these verses in Isaiah and two things could happen. 

1.     In light of Christ’s sufferings on the Cross to save us our earthly problems may seem somewhat insignificant. Christ’s suffering may put out “suffering” in proper perspective, especially if our problems aren’t as painful as Christ’s passion.  So we could feel relieved and motivated to endure because of Christ’s example. 

2.    We can “give” the Lord our problems by going to the Lord in prayer and asking Him to give us strength by “releasing” or “surrendering” the weight of our problems to Him by making the choice to trust the Lord to help us, to do the best we can and to leave the results up to God.   

I have just suffered another loss and disappointment in my life and at first I agonized over it and tried to “Monday quarterback” the situation and contemplated what I could have done differently that could have changed the situation to avoid this negative outcome.  But after a far amount of thinking about the situation, and the fact that it involved another person, I realized that some of the factors in this situation were simply beyond my control and I took to forgiving myself for anything that I may have inadvertently done to cause offense and then I forgave the other person for the hurt of rejection that they inadvertently caused me.  Sometimes people go separate ways and it isn’t necessarily because of anything we did but our selfish view in life makes it all about us. 

So after forgiving myself and the other person, and knowing that everything I did was motivated by my desire to help and encourage the other to follow the Lord, I prayed to “surrender” this person to the Lord knowing that God’s plan for this person’s life is perfect and it just won’t involve me anymore.

 When our relationships break down in any sense, in order to move on we need to say “good bye”, and the faithful men and women of God that have contributed to my maturity in my Christian walk have taught me to “let go, and let God” by “surrendering” people, things, and situations that are beyond my control to the Lord.   

So if you wish that someone else could carry your problems and you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, there is good news.  Christ took all our sins on Him on the Cross and at the time all of those sins of ours were “future sins”, that means that any sins, problems, or burdens, that we encounter now or in the future can likewise be given to God through Christ.  We can surrender our sins, our pains, and our problems to God and endure.      


As always, I invite all to go to 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.

Chapter Four

Discipleship and the Cross - continues

The cross is neither misfortune nor harsh fate. Instead, it is that suffering which comes from our allegiance to Jesus Christ alone. The cross is not random suffering, but necessary suffering. The cross is not suffering that stems from natural existence; it is suffering that comes from being Christian. The essence of the cross is not suffering alone; it is suffering and being rejected. Strictly speaking, it is being rejected for the sake of Jesus Christ, not for the sake of any other attitude or confession. A Christianity that no longer took discipleship seriously remade the gospel into only the solace of cheap grace. Moreover, it drew no line between natural and Christian existence. Such a Christianity had to understand the cross as one’s daily misfortune, as the predicament and anxiety of our natural life. Here it has been forgotten that the cross always also means being rejected, that the cross includes the shame of suffering. Being shunned, despised, and deserted by people, as in the psalmist’s unending lament, is an essential feature of the suffering of the cross, which cannot be comprehended by a Christianity that is unable to differentiate between a citizen’s ordinary existence and Christian existence. The cross is suffering with Christ. Indeed, it is Christ-suffering. Only one who is bound to Christ as this occurs in discipleship stands in seriousness under the cross.

“… let them take up their cross …” From the beginning, it lies there ready. They need only take it up. But so that no one presumes to seek out some cross or arbitrarily search for some suffering, Jesus says, they each have their own cross ready, assigned by God and measured to fit. They must all bear the suffering and rejection measured out to each of them. Everyone gets a different amount. God honors some with great suffering and grants them the grace of martyrdom, while others are not tempted beyond their strength. But in every case, it is the one cross.

It is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering that everyone has to experience is the call which summons us away from our attachments to this world. It is the death of the old self in the encounter with Jesus Christ. Those who enter into discipleship enter into Jesus’ death. They turn their living into dying; such has been the case from the very beginning. The cross is not the terrible end of a pious, happy life. Instead, it stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death. Whether we, like the first disciples, must leave house and vocation to follow him, or whether, with Luther, we leave the monastery for a secular vocation, in both cases the same death awaits us, namely, death in Jesus Christ, the death of our old self caused by the call of Jesus. Because Jesus’ call brings death to the rich young man, who can only follow Jesus after his own will has died, because Jesus’ every command calls us to die with all our wishes and desires, and because we cannot want our own death, therefore Jesus Christ in his word has to be our death and our life. The call to follow Jesus, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, is death and life. The call of Christ and baptism leads Christians into a daily struggle against sin and Satan. Thus, each day, with its temptations by the flesh and the world, brings Jesus Christ’s suffering anew to his disciples. The wounds inflicted this way and the scars a Christian carries away from the struggle are living signs of the community of the cross with Jesus. But there is another suffering and another indignity from which no Christian can be spared. To be sure, Christ’s own suffering is the only suffering that brings reconciliation. But because Christ has suffered for the sin of the world, because the whole burden of guilt fell on him, and because Jesus Christ passes on the fruit of his suffering to those who follow him, temptation and sin fall also onto his disciples. Sin covers the disciples with shame and expels them from the gates of the city like a scapegoat. So Christians become bearers of sin and guilt for other people. Christians would be broken by the weight if they were not themselves carried by him who bore all sins. Instead, by the power of Christ’s suffering they can overcome the sins they must bear by forgiving them. A Christian becomes a burden-bearer—bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). As Christ bears our burdens, so we are to bear the burden of our sisters and brothers. The law of Christ, which must be fulfilled, is to bear the cross. The burden of a sister or brother, which I have to bear, is not only his or her external fate, manner, and temperament; rather, it is in the deepest sense his or her sin. I cannot bear it except by forgiving it, by the power of Christ’s cross, which I have come to share. In this way Jesus’ call to bear the cross places all who follow him in the community of forgiveness of sins. Forgiving sins is the Christ-suffering required of his disciples. It is required of all Christians.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 86–88.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Laying Down The Weapons of Unforgiveness - Purity 830

Laying Down The Weapons of Unforgiveness - Purity 830

Purity 830 09/07/2022  Purity 830 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a “hump” of a pine tree’s silhouette in the light of a fiery sunset sky comes to us from a friend who captured this scene presumably near their home in Greenville NY and shared it on social media back on August 13th.  They also shared the following thoughts:

“One of the hardest things to purge is unforgiveness. We’re tempted to think that unforgiveness gives us power, when in reality it keeps us a victim.  Yet we keep clinging to our unforgiveness, convinced that doing so is fair.”  

Well, it’s Wednesday and I thought my friend’s tree was enough of a visual representation of “hump day” but I failed to remember their comments about unforgiveness which I feel are both accurate and somewhat timely.  

Last night, I kicked off another Freedom in Christ Course series of meetings on Zoom and did my best to encourage the participants to be diligent in following the course to the end to grow closer to God in their faith and to possibly share what they learn from the course with others.  

As my Facebook friend pointed out in their post, unforgiveness is one of the hardest things to purge but I know from my experience that it is not impossible to be set free from.  The Freedom in Christ Course and The Steps to Freedom in Christ specifically address unforgiveness by encouraging the participant to forgive from the heart.  

The bitterness and grudges from unforgiveness can make people feel powerful because they give the victim with an unforgiving heart the “weapons” of hate and rejection.  

“I don’t forgive you. I hate you. I reject you. You can’t be a part of my life. And I won’t be weak by forgetting about it or by forgiving you and allowing you to have peace with me!”  

That’s an extreme case of unforgiveness, of course, but these feeling of bitterness can even play a part in our “reconciled” relationships and the only thing that is required for these “weapons” of bitterness to be wield by the victim of unforgiveness is offense.  

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who would bring up all the things you have done wrong to them the minute you have a disagreement?   

That’s not forgiving from the heart!  

But our society and modern culture stokes grudges and selfishness, unforgiveness is coping mechanism and a mechanism of control.  Unforgiveness soothes our hurting heart with bitterness which is poison but because of the sense of power or control it gives people feel justified in holding on to it.  The world would tell you to never forgive. That forgiveness is for the weak. The world raises the bar and not only commends unforgiveness, it would encourage seeking revenge.  Don’t get made get even.  

But God’s way isn’t that way.   

When Jesus was asked to teach His disciples to pray, His prayer included a petition to be forgiven by God but it also indicates that we would forgive too.

Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
12  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

The Apostle Paul in writing to the churches taught that forgiving is what Christians do:

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

And in that encouragement, Paul tells us why we should forgive, because we have been forgiven.  

I guess the problem people have with giving forgiveness is they haven’t received it and thus find it hard to give away.  

So if that’s you, you need to receive your forgiveness and peace with God by putting your faith in Jesus. 

Many people think we have to earn our place in God’s kingdom by some complicated measuring of our good deeds minus our bad deeds, but that is a lie and like any good lie it has been told, shared, and believed by most of the world.  

But that is not the truth.  

The reason Christ came and died and rose again was to bring  men to God by paying for their sins with their life. Jesus died so we could be forgiven.   We don’t have to do anything but receive the gift of forgiveness and new life by putting our faith in Him. 

So say a prayer that acknowledges your sins and that declares Jesus as your Lord and Savior.   

When you do that, you receive your forgiveness and once you receive it you can let go of the bitterness that makes you feel powerful and instead you can know the power of God’s love and you can share it by forgiving those who have trespassed against you.  

Forgiveness is setting yourself free of the bitterness, the hurt, and the hate that comes from holding on to our pain.  

We can forgive because God has forgiven us. 

So keep walking and talking with God and share the good news of the forgiveness that comes through faith in Christ alone that gives you the power to live a life of righteousness and freedom.    When we walk with Him, the Lord takes the pain away and gives us peace.



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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 5:21 (NLT2)
21  What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.

Today’s verse reminds us of the ultimate dissatisfaction that comes from thinking that we are wise and clever independently of God.  

The problem is that no matter how smart we are or how much we study and learn, we don’t know everything.  God does. 

So we may become very skillful and wise on how to lead a successful life by the world’s standards but unless we come in line with the Lord’s wisdom, we are deceiving ourselves and one day will be exposed as fools.   

The way things work in the world and the way things work in God’s kingdom are different. So as today’s verse tells us if we think we are wise in our own eyes, by our own estimation, we eventually experience the sorrow of learning that we didn’t know it all.  

One of the greatest things about walking in the Spirit are those times when we think we are walking strong and “doing everything right”  only to discover that we are wrong about something or when we mess something up.  When we fail, our spiritual pride is put in it’s place, and even though those times can be very discouraging, we actually be encouraged because they demonstrate to us that we are not wise and we desperately need the Lord to help us.   

So seek the Lord and His wisdom and His presence. We can’t know everything and God doesn’t expect us to know everything. He just wants us to know and walk with Him.


As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Receive and Appropriate God’s Enabling Power

We now need to move beyond knowing we have access to God’s power into actually using it. Paul stressed the role of faith in appropriating God’s power, that is, the powerful work of his Spirit who indwells us. This kind of faith is based on the objective fact of Christ’s resurrection and exaltation over the powers of darkness. Wearing a magical charm or even a crucifix does not impart God’s power to Christians; nor should we expect God’s power through some magical use of Jesus’ name. God cannot be manipulated. His power is bestowed on his people through simple trust in him.

Prayer is one of the most natural expressions of trust in God. The apostle Paul modeled this activity throughout his letters. This kind of communication with God acknowledges his sovereignty and our dependence on him for all of life.

One distinct advantage of having a revised world view that gives credence to the real existence of evil spirits is the impact that it can have on our prayer life. If we live in something other than an entirely mechanistic universe, if there really is an ultimate reality who has revealed himself to us in the Lord Jesus Christ, if hordes of evil spirits do exist who constantly scheme and attack us seeking our destruction, then there is great reason to pray. God is there. He hears, he understands, and he wants to help us survive in the context of rampant supernatural hostility.

Perhaps the greatest service that Frank Peretti has rendered to the church in his fictional accounts This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness has been to lift the veil hiding the unseen world. He startles us with his vivid and grotesque depictions of the powers of darkness and forces us to consider afresh the real and pervasive hostility of this evil spiritual domain. Not only do Peretti’s heroes survive against this horrific backdrop of other-worldly evil, but they accomplish many remarkable things for the kingdom of God. Why? Because they pray. God hears and responds. One comes away from reading Peretti’s novels with a renewed incentive to pray because, if he is anywhere close to the truth in his fictional depictions, what else can one do but turn to God? God will fight for his people.

The Christian life is carried out in community, in dependence on other people. The apostle Paul especially stressed this point through his analogy of the church as the body of Christ. God has chosen to strengthen and build up individual Christians through their relationships with other Christians, particularly when the church assembles for worship and edification. God’s Spirit is active in different ways in different people with the ultimate goal of strengthening the entire group through what each individual member is divinely enabled to contribute. Active involvement in the ministry of a local church is therefore vital to receiving the enabling power of God to resist the attack of the forces of darkness.

Praying together with other Christians is essential if we are to appropriate God’s power. As we saw in the chapter on spiritual warfare, Paul regarded prayer as the essence of putting on the armor of God. Although we often think of deploying the armor of God in individualistic terms (that is, this is something I pray for myself in my private times of prayer), Paul presented it in corporate terms (that is, this is something we pray for other people while we are gathered together). We are responsible for arming our fellow believers with the power of God.

In preaching Paul’s “spiritual warfare” passage, I have sometimes entitled my message “Praying for the Healthy.” My goal has been to guide the content of small group prayer into prayers for each other, not just for those who are physically ill or who have some sort of problem (though that is a very important part). I want people to realize that Scripture teaches that we have a responsibility to prepare our brothers and sisters—even in the seemingly “good times”—to face demonic assault and come through unscathed. Prayers like:

Father, I pray for Tom. I ask that you will give him a fresh glimpse of all the resources that are his in the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you will strengthen him in his innermost being with the power that your Spirit can supply in abundance. O Father, you are aware of the areas he is most vulnerable to Satan’s attack. Strengthen Tom and protect him with your grace to resist the devil’s solicitations to evil.

Father, you know Sheila’s desire to make the gospel known at her workplace. We anticipate Satan’s rage at her plans to communicate this message of deliverance and redemption. Impart to her boldness, just as you did for the apostle Paul, that you can work through her to overcome the obstacles that the evil one will place in her way.

Paul modeled such prayers throughout his epistles, particularly in Ephesians, where he was especially concerned about the matter of spiritual warfare. We will do well to follow his example.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 213–215.