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Showing posts with label James. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2024

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Draw Near to God and He Will Draw Near to You - Purity 1324

Purity 1324 04/12/2024 Purity 1324 Podcast

Purity 1324 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a Canadian goose on the shores of a tranquil lake at the early hours of sunrise or the late hours of sunset comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this photo on social media on or around May 15th, 2021. If this magic moment was yours, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to photo-credit you after the fact. 

Well, It’s Friday, and as I enter into the last “workday” off on my week’s staycation down by the River, I am thankful for the opportunity to find rest and to be restored after a busy “Freedom in Christ” season.  Last night  I met with Sue Huber, FICM’s national course coordinator and other online course facilitators to debrief and to celebrate another round of discipleship courses that led our students to know who they are in Christ and to experience for the first time, or to increase, their freedom in Christ as our ministry is discipleship (teaching people what we believe, why we believe it, and applying it to their lives), repentance (actually turning from our behaviors and beliefs that are contrary to God’s word and will for our lives) and of reconciliation (where we confess our sins, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive those who have sinned against us).  Sue Huber perhaps said it best last night as one of her concluding statements was “Our ministry is the gospel”.   

All we do as course facilitators is to lead people to understand it, to choose to believe it, and to let it work in their lives by going to the Lord in prayer and resolving all the areas of personal and spiritual conflicts that have been keeping them from living the gospel. Our faith in Christ should change us. It should give us peace and joy and when we get real with God and surrender to His will and ways for our lives, we can experience it. 

Even though this “Freedom Season”, has presented some real challenges to my sense of peace and joy at times and made a week’s “staycation” absolutely necessary, I am rejoicing over the work that has been done and the rest I have enjoyed over the last few days.  Peace and joy are never far from those who know who they are in Christ and who keep on walking and talking with God. 

James 4:8-10 (NKJV) tells us to
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
      

I know, we love to cherry-pick the “good sentiments” from these verses and exclude the ones that chastise us – but in order to be lifted up by the Lord – we must be cleansed, purify our heats, change our double minds, lament, mourn, and weep over our sins – to be woken up from the world’s sinful hilarity and to see we have gone astray. We must repent… and then the Lord can lift us up to new heights of joy and peace that come from being reconciled to the Lord and living in harmony with Him.

In the freedom appointments I have conducted over the last month, I watched men humble themselves and lament over the sins of their pasts but at the end, they reported having a “quiet mind” and a new sense of peace that only comes from the Lord when you draw close to Him and He lifts you up in freedom. 

These men “got real” before the Lord and they walked away with a real sense of freedom – because their reconciliation with God and their healing is real and they can enjoy it for the rest of their lives if they simply agree to choose to believe it, tell others all about it, and keep on walking and talking with God. 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Today’s verse fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

6. Those who die in the Lord are blessed.

Today’s verse tells us the those who die in the Lord really can rest in peace – we may rest from our labors for our “deeds follow them” – meaning that the good work we do for God’s kingdom will not be forgotten or lost at the hour of our deaths- they will follow us into eternity and be rewarded.  

Some Christians hesitate to read Revelation because of the apocalyptic end time scenes that tell us of the great tribulation that is to come but as today’s verse challenges us to understand, we need not fear death for we who are “in the Lord” – in Christ -  are not cursed – but are blessed at the hour of our death.  We don’t need to ask Mary to pray for “us sinners” now or at the hour of our death because we are forgiven and free in life, and blessed when we die physically because we will live spiritually and receive glorified bodies just like Jesus’s resurrected body when we are called into eternity.

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: JOHN 16

“Whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
– John 16:2

Here is certainly a sad state of spiritual affairs. There is coming a time, and in fact in some places it has already come, when the departure from truth shall be such that men who will not accept the real Truth will persecute and kill the very servants of God. Of course, this primarily applies to the time when the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel and our Lord, will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem, and the great tribulation shall take place. But even now, it is possible to be so misunderstood by those who profess to bear the truth, as to provoke hatred and persecution.

Enable me to stand for You, whatever the odds.
Amen.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Silencing Condemnation - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther - Day 2 - Purity 1275


 Silencing Condemnation - 40 Day Journey With Martin Luther – Day 2 - Purity 1275

Purity 1275 02/15/2024 Purity 1275 Podcast

Purity 1275 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a snow dusted winding forest pathway lined with trees covered in holiday lights comes from yours truly as I captured this dark and bright scene back on the evening of December 30th, 2023, during my visit to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and “Forest Music” exhibit. 

Well, Its Thursday, and as I am one “wake up” away from a flight to Florida, I need a vacation!  I’ve actually on vacation since Tuesday, because I cashed in a few more vacations days to get there sooner and you think I would be just kicking back and relaxing, and I am, but I had a real “SERENIDITY NOW!” moment this morning as I just about lost it sitting in my countryside living room trying to “enjoy the silence”  and shake off the condemnation of some poor food choices I have made over the last few days, but was disturbed over my food failure and triggered because of the “white noise” of my wife’s rock tumbler that has been grinding away the hard edges of unseen rocks since last weekend. And so I pulled the pull and shut that machine up to stop all the “noise, noise, noise!” only to have to endure the rumbling of the furnace that decided to fire up to fill the vacuum of silence.   Really?!? – Still waiting… I mean I get up early enough you would think I could find some silence to rest in but that silence I find this morning will have to be a relative thing.  Anyway, this path of walking in the Spirit is all about finding peace that goes beyond all understanding and that is not contingent of conditions and so we will practice.  I know my unease this morning is more about my need to return to the new normal of my food plan and shake off the sugar-induced toxicity that I have subjected my body to over the last few days.  But the condemnation – Superbowl – Vacation – inspired feast is over and even though I may give myself permission to have desert while in the Magic Kingdom, today I am going to purge my system with copious amounts of water and account for every morsel that goes into my mouth. My body isn’t used to eating junk anymore and while I feel better this morning I felt absolutely sick to my stomach last night, as I had a persistent belly ache that stayed with me when I laid down to sleep.   But today is  a new day and I know that I can find healing and peace in the presence of the Lord so let’s get there.

It’s the second day of Lent and so we will try to recover physically by drawing close to God spiritually as I continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walk through Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 2

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day… When your heart has been warmed by such recitation to yourself (of the Ten Commandments, the words of Christ, etc.) and is intent upon the matter, kneel or stand with your hands folded and your eyes toward heaven and speak or think as briefly as you can:

O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands toward thee or to pray. But because Thou has commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through Thy dear son Jesus Christ hast taught us both how and what to pray, I come to Thee in obedience to Thy word, trusting in Thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all Thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: “Our Father who art” … through the whole prayer, word for word.

Biblical Wisdom

And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

 

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on how Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Oh, Praise the Lord, the Furnace or whatever rumbling thing was going, has stopped, I have found silence….. Thank You Lord!  

Questions to Ponder

·       Why (and how) is the heart warmed by the recitation of the Ten Commandments and the words of Christ? Does your faith community encourage such recitation? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

I just took a few moments to compile the Bible verses for The Ten Commandments, (Exodus 20:1-17), The Lord Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13) and the text for the Apostle’s Creed and put them into a separate Word document and reflected on them briefly and recited them aloud. That simple practice of reading God’s word aloud that confirms His law, prays to the Father, and declares what I believe as a disciple of Jesus Christ has given me peace- you could say it has warmed my heart because I feel connected to the Lord and assured of who I am as a child of God as I recite those words. No wonder Martin Luther recommends this!  While the body of Christ and my local church encourage a lifestyle of prayer, I would say that the recitation of creeds, scripture, or prayers is a practice that is not specifically encouraged.  Doing the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s Prayer was a part of the liturgy in my childhood church tradition but I currently am a member of a non-denominational seeker-friendly church and the recitation of creeds or prayers together as a corporate body just doesn’t happen and while the Lord Jesus himself warned about “vain repetitions” or prayer – I can see why churches recite creeds, scripture, or prayers together – they give honor to God, confirm our corporate and individual faith and bring us together in unity.  Why my current church doesn’t do creeds or recitations of scripture together as a body would be a question to pose to my church leadership but one could make a point of standing on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:7 or want to avoid “dead religious” practices where a well intention recitation can become meaningless, as people just parrot words that are far from their hearts and minds.   

·       Why do you think Luther recommends a certain position of the body as important for the beginning of prayer?

I think that Luther suggests a certain position of the body because the religious tradition of his day was pretty strict in teaching how one is to present themselves to the Lord in prayer. His instruction doesn’t demand bowing down before the Lord, as you can kneel or stand, but it does demand reverently folding one’s hands and looking upward to heaven.  We are to present ourselves humbly to the Lord if we understand His holiness and fear Him. We look up because He is from above – Jesus did ascend after all- and look to the clouds for His return.

·       How is it possible to “pray without ceasing”?

I think it is possible to pray without ceasing by “walking and talking with God” all day long – through walking in the Spirit -being God-conscious, living in the context of the kingdom of God, and continually bringing God into our experience by talking to Him, seeking His presence, and being surrendered to His will.

Psalm Fragment

Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I pray. O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice; In the morning I plead my case to You, and watch. Psalm 5: 1-3.

Journal Reflections

·       Reflect on any difficulties you may have had in the past in keeping a regular schedule of prayer. See whether or not you can detect “false, deluding ideas” that have kept you from keeping a schedule.

I have been doing a daily spiritual practice for so long that I don’t recall specific false or deluding ideas that kept me from keeping a schedule but in the early days of my walk there was a battle to establish my practice as a simple rebelliousness and pride that said – “I don’t want to” or “I’m tired” would try to speak up or , in my drinking days – I would be hung over and be just plain sick and unable to focus on anything other than not hurting.  But Luther’s passage points out the common trap the enemy uses to discourage prayer – the idea that you can do it later or have other things to do but really there is nothing more important to your faith walk and peace of mind then spending some time each day with God in prayer or Bible Study and meditation.

·       Meditate on the expression “pray without ceasing”. To what degree does it define your experience? Think back to yesterday and write down the several times and ways in which you may have called upon God.

I would say it “praying without ceasing”  describes my experience pretty well, except when it doesn’t. I am only human after all and make mistakes.  Yesterday, my praying without ceasing started off great because I rose, did some spiritual reading and journaling through my blog and podcast and then rushed off to my old Roman Catholic church for an early Ash Wednesday service. But then I ran into my mother, and we ended up going to breakfast where I ignored my food plan. With my plan compromised, I gave into the flesh and bought a bunch of sweet snacks and over ate on and off throughout the day.  When my belly started aching, I prayed for healing and forgiveness and went to my recovery ministry meeting, openly confessed my failures, and prayed for God to help me and the others with their struggles. So even in my wandering, I went back to the Lord and that is where we should all try to stay – in His presence, trying to follow what He says is best for our lives. 

·       Reflect on how it makes you feel to know that the saints in heaven and on earth are praying with you (and you are praying with them).

It is a great comfort to know that we are not alone in the body of Christ and that while we may seem alone at times all of us are together when we connect to the Lord in prayer.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

 Pray that you (and anyone journeying with you) can establish and keep a schedule of prayer faithfully through the next forty days.

 I pray that I can be more faithful in praying without ceasing and pray for anyone reading or hearing this message to be successful in establishing or maintaining a regular schedule of prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pray For  Today

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You that You have given me the words with which to pray. Thank You that I can come to You any time in prayer with any concern at all.

Amen

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

James 3:1-12 (ESV)
1  Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
2  For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
3  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4  Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
7  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
11  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
12  Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Today’s verses fall under the twelfth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

12.     Tame the tongue; it can be very destructive

Today’s verse encourages us to try to bridle the tongue because of the immense damage our words can do. James calls for the image of setting fires with our careless words to impress upon us how seriously we should take our speech. He also shows how inappropriate it is for us to use the same instrument to bless others with that we curse people with, reminding us that this should not be so.  So let’s try to bridle that unruly beast and only use our words to bring encouragement, healing, and love.

 

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MARK 7

“He could not be hidden.” – Mark 7:24

Wherever Christ is given His rightful place, He cannot be hidden, for He is the Light of the world and therefore, a Light which cannot be hidden. Christ is the “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).

“He could not be hidden.” This was also said of Peter and John, for it is recorded that when people saw them, they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Paul's great ambition was that Christ should live in him. He could say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

The Lord said in that wonderful sermon of His, “Let your light so shine … that they … glorify your Father” (Matt. 5:16).

O, that this might be said of my life![1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Are Struggling "Christians" Demonic Plants in God’s Garden? - Purity 1257


Are Struggling "Christians" Demonic Plants in God’s Garden?  - Purity 1257

Purity 1257 01/25/2024 Purity 1257 Podcast

Purity 1257 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sunrise on the horizon over the eastern stretch of Waite Road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out walking back on the morning of November 24th, 2023. Even though that day was what man has declared as “black Friday”, God had different ideas.  

Well, It’s Thursday, and I remember my tradition of sharing pathway photos on Thursdays and I’m glad I did because somehow I didn’t share this one sooner.  Anyway the reason I share pathway photos on Thursdays is because that was the day of the week that I originally took my first steps into recovery and the freedom that the Lord had for me.  It's been a pretty fantastic journey since that first Thursday back in March of 2015 and although I can’t say that it was easy I can say emphatically that it was worth it because my life now is filled with peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness (work on that one), patience (ditto), and self-control.  

The decision to surrender my sin and myself to the Lord’s will for my life was a good one and it has been one that I have continued to make ever since then. Our victories come one day at a time and when you string enough of them together you realize that you have been set free.   I have been reflecting on how the Lord has helped me and how we have walked together to see all this come about and I am somewhat flabbergasted and disappointed when I see others locked in bondages of the flesh, heart, and mind and how they seem not to “get it”.   Surrender to the Lord’s will for your life. Renew your mind with the Word of God. Seek the Lord and His righteousness.  Turn from your ways and follow His ways.  Know who you are in Christ and live according to it.  Submit to God, Resist the Devil, and He will flee from you?  Anything? Hello? Bueller?

The thing about leading a recovery ministry  (Celebrate Freedom Growth Group – Wednesday Nights – Starpoint Church – BE There!) is that you often run into brothers and sisters “in Christ” (that’s in quotes because you wonder) who are locked in the vicious cycle of sin-confess and who seem to be waiting to be magically transformed in an instant by God and who seem to be passive participants in their walk of faith.  The “matter of fact-ness” of how some can repeatedly confess the same failures over and over again and who seem to lack any real – guilt -shame – heart conviction – about the continual sin they perpetrate not only frustrates me but makes me seriously wonder about whether or not this person is in the “state of grace” at all. Their deer in the headlights – sinner saved by grace confessions make me wonder if this is one of Satan’s tares among the wheat – because although they come to church and may even serve in the church – their resignation to sins from the “sins that will send you to hell list” ( see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) makes me shudder to think that one day Jesus may declare to them that even though they were regular church attendees and may have done some good works there, He never knew them.  

Study of the word of God and passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 made me very concerned about the authenticity of my faith and led me to surrender to the Lord’s will for my life and to go into recovery to ask for His help to be set free.  While my path to the place of freedom and victory was not perfect and has come in stages – tackling one stronghold or foothold at a time, there was always progress even if it was one painstaking step after another, or one day at a time after one day at a time. 

When I see someone continue to make the same old ho-hum confession and report no progress, I fear for their soul and wonder if they are in the kingdom at all and begin to expect that this person is a “demonic plant” in God’s garden meant to distract, disappoint, and frustrate the Lord’s disciples in some sinister scheme to rob us of our hope and joy. 

And frankly, ultimately, that might turn out to be the case,  but I don’t know that to be the case and regardless, as a Christian who has dedicated his life to encouraging others to follow the Lord to find their freedom, I have to accept the fact that I can’t save anyone and I can’t change anyone – Only the Lord does that – and I have to remember that the measure of someone’s victory or freedom isn’t up to me either.  Repentance is something that is granted to us by the Lord and is dependent on the individual’s decisions and relationship with God.  

I was reminded of this principle concerning personal responsibility recently in my reading of Dr. Neil Anderson’s Discipleship Counseling where he writes:  

Christians will never experience wholeness or victory or mental, emotional and spiritual health until they assume their own responsibility. No one can be healthy for someone else. Good health is not contagious, only sickness is. Nobody can eat right, get enough rest or exercise for another person.

The same truth holds for spiritual maturity and victory in Christ. No one can practice Christian disciplines for another person. Some people ask for help with their attitude, begging, “Fix me!” If you loved them, you would help them understand that you cannot. Only God can change who they are. If any lasting change is going to take place in their lives, it will be directly related to what they have chosen to believe and do.[1]

 So, while I will pray for, encourage, and give lots of pep-talks and advice to those who claim to want to be set free, I realize that I can’t do the work they need to do for them, most of which is the work of surrendering their lives to God, following Jesus, and knowing, believing, and living according to who they are in Christ.  And I realize that ultimately it will be their relationship with the Lord, not me, that will make the difference in their life.  

So if you have broken people in your life, don’t try to fix them because you can’t. Encourage them to follow the Lord and love them the best you can but understand that not everyone will be walking with us on the path of Christian Discipleship and not everyone will realize the abundant life the God wants them to live. 

But as for us, let us give thanks for the freedom we have, and let’s not be frustrated and distressed over someone else’s failures to the point that we lose the peace and joy that we have been blessed to receive.  

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

James 1:19 (NLT2)
19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Today’s verse is the first of five passages of scripture that fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

5.     Be quick to listen, slow to speak.

Today’s verse is preaching to the choir this morning, as I was severely tempted recently to go storming into someone problems with “tough love” and to angrily make demands and ultimatums to try to compel them to be “smart” or “do what is right”.  Then I saw the temptation for what it was – either my pride that wanted to wield control over someone else’s life or the whispering of the enemy who was looking to cause division and strife in my relationships – and I wisely decided to “surrender everyone and everything to you Lord”  - I was blessed by remembering benevolent detachment – letting go and surrendering them to God – or to Satan (1 Cor 5:5) – knowing that my efforts would likely prove to be futile and would only accomplish stealing my peace and joy. 

Sometimes we have to let things fall apart or let someone feel the weight of the consequences of their poor decisions and consciously choose to be “slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to get angry.   

Instead of being quick to be angry and to speak angrily – I was quick to listen to the Holy Spirit and let go and let God with things that “aren’t my problem”.  Someone failing to do what they should – is not my problem. Granted we will have to limit and put up boundaries to keep people’s problems from spilling into our lives but if we do that we can allow people to fall without dragging us down.  But we have to make them aware – that if they refuse to be “quick to listen” and to heed our advice – our help to them will be limited or removed.  

If we want to live in freedom we may have to cut some people loose and let them fend for themselves. Paul refers to dropping weights as we move forward to follow the Lord and we should realize that our difficult relationships may be the heavy things we have to be free of.

So heed today’s advice be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be angry but let the ones who make you angry know that you are not going to give them the power to cause you harm or to steal your peace and that they may find themselves on their own.   

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MATTHEW 17

“Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea,
cast in a hook.” – Matthew 17:27

In this verse, the Lord practices his own teaching on offending, and takes every step to avoid offense.

Some of the most severe language the Lord ever used in His teaching was in connection with the offending of little ones. “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6, KJV).

The apostle Paul similarly teaches this important truth, and indeed more – he lived it. He says that even if it were merely in the eating of meat that he made his brother to offend, he would cease to eat altogether. Note the solemn words in 1 Cor. 8:12: “When you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.”

O, that I might have the wisdom to live a life
without offense, and yet not compromise
Your Holy Word.[2]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Neil T. Anderson, Discipleship Counseling, ed. Benjamin Unseth (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2003), 102–103.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Responding to Trials – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1246

Responding to Trials – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1246

Purity 1246 01/12/2024  Purity 1246 Podcast

Purity 1246 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a freshly harvested field and hale bales underneath a pleasant blue but cloud-filled sky comes to us from your truly as I captured this scene while out working somewhere in Delanson NY back on July 20th, 2020, and decided to set it free from my phone’s photo archive by sharing it here.  Looking at this photo gives me joy and hope for the summer days yet to come in 2024, but they say that the best joy is one you can share so I hope you like it as I understand just how much we need one another on the path of Christian Discipleship.  

Well, it’s Friday, thank God, and in my journey of faith I have come to understand that without Christ we can do nothing and that we were never meant to go this walk of faith alone over time I have come to recognize when I need to take a rest or when I need to get a little help from my friends.   

The week has been a busy one and while I don’t feel like I am necessarily going through a trial currently, I have decided to take a break this morning and am going to share a message from Mindful of Christ’s Lauren Roskilly, who sent this message about responding to trials out to here subscribers as this week’s “Word for Wednesday”.  If you would like to receive Lauren’s messages in your inbox or would like to benefit from her teachings and encouragements go to https://mindfulofchrist.net/ .  

Lauren references:  

James 1:2 (NLT2) that says:
2  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Lauren writes:

Responding to trials.

What problems, difficulties, worries or illnesses are you currently experiencing?

The fact is, we will always experience trials and suffering, we will. In fact, we’re destined for them, all the time we’re on this Earth we are, anyway!

There are many different reasons for suffering too. For instance; our own choices whether good or bad will lead to consequences, the destruction that Satan brings; spiritual warfare, the fall and many others!

It’s how we respond to them that matters.

We are to persevere and hold onto the hope and promises of the Lord. The main one is; that Jesus died and overcame death to save you from it and with that comes the promise of eternity in Heaven with Him.

Though, your focus of attention might sometimes get held up on those negative issues. Perhaps they consume you? Perhaps they bring you down? But, you must catch/recognise these thoughts before they do.

Ask yourself: “Does this thought bring me closer to the Lord or further away?”

We can ask ourselves, others or God “Why?” or “Why me?” but those questions bring our focus inwards, onto ourselves. Try asking the Lord “What's the meaning of this?”, “What’s your plan?” and “What can I learn from this?”

You can literally change your thoughts and mindset; Romans 12:2 tells us that you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind! The Message says, “fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out…God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Therefore, focusing on the Father, Jesus & Holy Spirit, can literally transform your mindset and how you respond to trials.

So, next time you face difficulties of any kind, remember His promise and ask the Lord “What?” and not “Why?”

Blessings

Lauren x

Thank You Lauren! I love Lauren’s practical advice to examine how we are responding to the things we face in life and to look at what we are thinking and how they are affecting us.  Her advice to focus on the Lord and to renew our minds by relying on Him, is the game changer. When we start taking every thought captive and reflect on what God’s word says about us and choose to live by it, the Lord will transform our lives and fill our hearts with an abiding sense of peace and joy regardless of the circumstances.   

So keep on walking and talking with God and try to respond to trials in the way that Lauren suggests. She is pointing at the wisdom of God’s word and a deep relationship with God and that is good advice.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse come from the section on Comfort.

Psalm 55:22 (NASB)
22  Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Today’s verses fall under the 16h point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

16. Cast your concerns on the Lord, for he will support you.

Today’s verse encourages us to cast our burdens on the Lord and assures us that He will sustain us.  It also states that God will never allow the righteous to never be shaken, but in my experience those who are a work in progress, like me, might get a little tussled about – mostly by our own emotions.

But you know what, when you follow this advice from the psalmist, you will discover that the word of God is true and that God is faithful to help us in times of need and although I can’t guarantee that we will always experience positive outcomes in the ways we expect, I know that God will sustain us and when we faithfully follow the example of righteous Jesus, we will marvel at the strength, perseverance, and ability to not be shaken that we receive from the Lord.  

I have to be honest. As I made the decision to surrender to the Lord and to increasingly follow Him in the way that I live, I suffered some major league trials and significant losses where I had no idea what I was going to do in the future, but because I casts my burdens on the Lord in prayer during those dark days of transitioning to a whole new life, He sustained me and I was able to walk through those days relatively unshaken because I was walking in righteousness – I was trying to do what was right for myself and my family and was trying to do it the Lord’s way – with me doing what I could and leaving the rest up to God.  And sure enough, little by little, bit by bit progress was made and then almost suddenly all at once, I was delivered – I was victorious and I was free like I never thought I could be, and I have continued to experience increasing levels of freedom and victory ever since.  

So cast your burdens on the Lord. He will sustain you. And when you walk according to His ways – in righteousness – you will rejoice over how you can remain unshaken.  

 

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MATTHEW 5

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8

The word “pure” can mean “clean,” “pure” or “clear.”

Happy are the clean in heart for they shall see God.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Ps. 119:9).

The Lord Jesus said on one occasion to His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).

In that wonderful prayer of His, He says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

God demands holiness – “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

O Lord, allow the cleansing Blood, the cleansing Word,
and the cleansing Hope by the operation of the Holy
Spirit to make me pure “just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship