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Showing posts with label Jeremiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeremiah. Show all posts

Friday, June 25, 2021

Exodus: All Things For Good - Purity 454


 Exodus: All things for Good

Purity 454 06/25/2021  Purity 454 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the view from my kitchen window on a summer’s day with the Hudson River in the background comes to us from 2020. Yes, this view may be a familiar one to some as I have captured and shared it at various times over the last year on FB. Others may recognize my neighbor’s tree and the river beyond it because I cropped this photo and made it the logo for the mt4christ247 podcast.  

I share this old photo today because it is a day of celebration.  It was exactly one year ago today that I moved into my new home “Down by The River”.   This day was and forever will be a day of triumph and a day to remember the goodness of God and what He has done in my life.   

In 2018, my marriage fell apart in a very quick and unexpected fashion. I filed for divorce in August and due to financial reasons, lived in the basement of my home with my ex who was actively involved in another relationship and lived upstairs.  It was a very difficult for my children and I and it was only made worse by the fact that no one other than me had any sense of urgency to finalize the proceedings even though the divorce was vehemently demanded by my ex initially. 

More than a year later, at the end of September 2019, we signed and due to some last-minute fumbling on our side, I found myself with the realization that my new life would require a new place for me take my kids as my plans at negotiating keeping the house fell through. Add to this difficulty having to pay spousal support and being up to my eyeballs in debt.   I almost immediately got a second job to keep things afloat and had a pipe dream of a plan to make some moves to begin looking for a place to live in June of 2020. (We agreed to remain in the house until my son’s graduation from high school last year).  

But God…

To detail the chain of events that happened from September 2019 to June 25, 2020, and how the Lord guided my path every step of the way would require more space than we have today to document.  My story tells of the Lord’s presence in my life EVERY DAY while I did everything in my power to turn things around and keep positive and trust that He would deliver us.   From the outside looking in, the things that transpired would have people question my sanity as I made bold financial moves through the direction of the Holy Spirit that I didn’t fully understand myself and received unexpected blessing after blessing.  It is a whopper of a story, but it was far more compelling as I was living it, as I experienced the Lord leading me into “all truth”, revealing to me things that were to come, and directing me to do things that I could only do by faith.     

According to my plans, I would have earned a place to start looking for a new house by June of 2020, but according to God’s plan – I was to move into my new home on this day in June 2020.  

Oh and add to the backdrop that I was working two jobs in the forbidden zone of the pandemic.  No I wasn’t singing to my neighbors from my window. I also got sick for a week that was most likely Covid, but I was never tested, and I have been vaccinated so I guess I’ll never know. Also I was the first house sold for my broker that spring because of the near absolute shut down of the real estate industry due to the pandemic.  So despite of these minor details and other obstacles along the way, I can tell you that nothing is impossible for God.   

Oh by the way June 25th is my birthday too. Yeah, I moved into my new place on my birthday.  God is good. 

Almost 2 years after I filed for divorce and lived in difficult circumstances, I moved into my new place last year and my children and I have a home that is defined by its peace.  My home and the remembrance of how God brought me here is a constant source of joy.  

So, if you are in a dark season, I can assure you that if you come close to God, He will come close to you. If you surrender to Him, He will deliver you. 

That doesn’t mean you just get to sit there “a hoping and a praying”, our relationship with God is a co-operative effort. We are expected to use the talents and resources made available to us by God.   If you want freedom, you are going to have to trust the Lord and be consistent in pressing on toward your goals.        

You must do everything you can to better your situation but above all you are to continue to be faithful in prayer, worship, and the study of God’s Word.   We can’t do it all by ourselves, but it doesn’t mean we don’t do anything.  We must show God, others, and ourselves that we are God’s children by our words and actions. When we surrender ourselves to His care, He moves all things together for good.   

It may take longer than you want or planned for, but God will even use the delays and things that infuriate you for your ultimate good.  So be faithful and keep walking and talking with God.  He has good things for you, but you must keep looking forward and never leave His side to get there.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Today’s total random verse, I swear it, can encourage us in our Christian walk because it gives us a glimpse of the love that God has for His people.    And man did God have a future and a hope for me!

Now before I go on with how awesome God is, I must address the context of this verse, so I am not accused of being some Pollyanna Christian that doesn’t know the word.  

These words were spoken by God to the remaining nation of Israel (Judah) to encourage them even though nothing good was happening for them at the time. Babylonian Exile ring a bell? 

Have you read Jerimiah? Brother, it is rough and real in its depictions of the suffering that God’s people were going through during the time of God’s judgement on His people for their idolatrous ways.  The history of God’s people in the Bible is fascinating and should be studied to have a better understanding of who God is. He is holy, just, righteous, and loving but because He is just He will judge and punish those who are rebellious to His person and His ways.  

Disbelief is rebellion. If you don’t believe, you are telling the One who made you that He is wrong. 

Excuse me? God made you; and you don’t trust His word or the person of Jesus Christ?

Well because God gave us free will, you can hold whatever opinion you like. However you will be judged according to what you believe and put your faith in. If its not Jesus Christ, at the end of your life there will be hell to pay. 

Weeping and gnashing of teeth doesn’t sound good to me. Lake of fire doesn’t sound good to me.   The fear of hell was always before me when I was living in sin. By God’s grace, He showed me His love for me through Jesus and I was very grateful and joyful when I placed my faith in Him and knew I had been rescued from perdition.   

Anyway, many “Bible scholars” get snarky when people quote Jerimiah 29:11 as a promise for God working towards a good future for them because of the dismal circumstances that surrounded God’s encouragement and because it was directed at the nation of Israel/Judah. 

And I can understand some exasperation at Christians who quote verses out of context because of their lack of maturity or Bible knowledge, but I think I am more exasperated by Christians who would “pharisaical-ly” chastise or correct their “weaker” brother and tell them they shouldn’t use this verse to instill hope because of its original context.  

Us “wiser bible scholars” should educate our own hearts and allow whoever to take all the hope and encouragement they can get out of God’s word.  Instead of standing on your academic laurels, encourage your brothers and sisters to study the word and if the Lord wants to open their eyes to more of His truth, trust that He will.  

So do I think that God has thoughts of peace, and not evil towards us,?  Absolutely!

Do I think God will give us a future and a hope? I know He has and will.  I

n Christ we have a future and a hope right now. We are free in Christ right now.  

Are wonderful things necessarily going to come our way here on earth? Maybe not, but I know that those who place their faith in Jesus Christ, have a future and a hope.  Christ will return or we will go to Him if our life expires before He does.   We will be part of His kingdom for ever and ever, where there is no more sickness or death.   I’d say that’s a pretty good future and because of it we can stand in hope for the day it comes and every day in between here and there.    

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding in Chapter 4.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support His work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Balancing the Indicative and the Imperative

The greatest tension in the New Testament is between the indicative (what God has already done and what is already true about us), and the imperative (what remains to be done as we respond to God by faith and obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit). You have to know and believe positional truth to successfully progress in your sanctification or you are going to try doing for yourself what God has already done for you.

The balance between the indicative and the imperative is about equal in Scripture, but I have not observed that in our churches. Most preaching I have heard focuses on the imperatives. People could go to a good evangelical church for years and never hear the message that they are children of God who are alive and free in Christ. We need to worship God for all He has done, and rest in the finished work of Christ. We need to hear again and again the wonderful identity and position we already have in Christ; then we will be better prepared to receive the instructions and assume our responsibility for living the Christian life.

In Summary

I was asked if I taught the eradication of the sinful nature at the new birth. One cannot give a simple yes or no answer to that question. If you are asking, "Do you believe that the old man is dead?" the answer is yes. I am no longer in Adam, I am spiritually alive in Christ. If you are asking, "Do you believe that the Christian can still sin and walk or live according to the flesh?" the answer is yes. New believers are dominated by the flesh and deceived by the devil. It takes time to renew the mind and overcome the patterns of the flesh.

If you asked me, "Do you believe that you have a new nature?" I would answer yes, because God has given me a new heart and I am now spiritually alive. My "new self" is oriented toward God. I have become a partaker of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4), and "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man" (Romans 7:22). If you asked me, "Are you a sinner or a saint?" I would joyfully respond, "I believe I am a saint by the grace of God and I intend to live my life as His child in the way He intended me to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit."

Don't forget that our entire being was morally corrupt before we came to Christ. Our minds were programmed to live independently of God and the desires of our flesh are in opposition to the Spirit of God. The flesh, our old nature, has to be crucified by the believer (see Galatians 5:24). I do not believe in instant maturity. It will take us the rest of our lives to renew our minds, and conform to the image of God. The seed that was sown in us by God is only a beginning. Being a child of God and being free in Christ is positional truth and the birthright of every believer. Because of a lack of repentance and ignorance of the truth, many believers are not living like liberated children of God. How tragic! Perhaps the following illustration I used in The Common Made Holy will explain part of the reason why.

Slavery in the United States was abolished by the 13th Amendment on December 18th, 1865. How many slaves were there on December 19th? In reality, none, but many still lived like slaves. Many did, because they never learned the truth, others knew and even believed that they were free but chose to live as they had been taught.

Several plantation owners were devastated by this proclamation of emancipation. "We're ruined! Slavery has been abolished. We've lost the battle to keep our slaves." But their chief spokesman slyly responded, "Not necessarily, as long as these people think they're still slaves, the proclamation of emancipation will have no practical effect. We don't have a legal right over them anymore, but many of them don't know it. Keep your slaves from learning the truth, and your control over them will not even be challenged."

"But, what if the news spreads?"

"Don't panic. We have another barrel in our gun. We may not be able to keep them from hearing the news, but we can still keep them from understanding it. They don't call me the father of lies for nothing. We still have the potential to deceive the whole world. Just tell them that they misunderstood the 13th Amendment. Tell them that they are going to be free, not that they are free already. The truth they heard is just positional truth, not actual truth. Someday they may receive the benefits, but not now."

"But, they'll expect me to say that. They won't believe me."

"Then pick out a few persuasive ones who are convinced that they're still slaves and let them do the talking for you. Remember, most of these free people were born as slaves and have lived like slaves. All we have to do is to deceive them so that they still think like slaves. As long as they continue to do what slaves do, it will not be hard to convince them that they must still be slaves. They will maintain their slave identity because of the things they do. The moment they try to profess that they are no longer slaves, just whisper in their ear, 'How can you even think you are no longer a slave when you are still doing things that slaves do?' After all, we have the capacity to accuse the brethren day and night."

Years later, many have still not heard the wonderful news that they have been freed, so naturally they continue to live the way they have always lived. Some have heard the good news, but evaluated it by what they are presently doing and feeling. They reason, "I'm still living in bondage, doing the same things I have always done. My experience tells me that I must not be free. I'm feeling the same way I was before the proclamation, so it must not be true. After all, your feelings always tell the truth." So they continue to live according to how they feel, not wanting to be hypocrites!

One former slave hears the good news, and receives it with great joy. He checks out the validity of the proclamation, and finds out that the highest of all authorities has originated the decree. Not only that, but it personally cost the authority a tremendous price which He willingly paid, so that he could be free. His life is transformed. He correctly reasons that it would be hypocritical to believe his feelings, and not believe the truth. Determined to live by what he knows to be true, his experiences began to change rather dramatically. He realizes that his old master has no authority over him and does not need to be obeyed. He gladly serves the one who set him free.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Purity 431: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 
Purity 431 05/29/2021  Purity 431 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a sunrise over a daisy covered property comes from a friend who relocated to West Liberty Kentucky to enjoy their retirement. Like, me they keep their eyes on the sky and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and their photos have been shared by me more than once.     

My friend pulled a Snake Plissken, as he “escaped from New York” and he might be pleased to know that the forecasted weather for Memorial Day in his old neck of the woods calls for rain and temperatures 15 cooler than at his new home.   While I’m sure they are not looking back in anger, as the old Oasis song goes, I’m sure they are pleased with the new oasis they found for themselves.  

Our lives are meant to be enjoyed and sometimes we have to move where we are or change how we think to find a better place.  

Yesterday, I discovered that an acquaintance that had grown up in my local community, was a couple of years older, and had worked with me during my recent moonlighting season of life suddenly passed away.  It was quite a shock to hear of their death as I had just seen them while out on a shopping excursion a couple of weeks ago and we had greeted one another.  

This was the second sudden death this year of someone, I guess you would say, that was from the “neighborhood” of my school district growing up, both of which died not making it to even their mid-50’s. In both cases, they leave behind friends and family that testified of their goodness and love.  

While these loses shock us, after you turn forty and continue to age the chances of sudden death increases and the accompanying shock decreases as we see these early losses of life are within the realm of possibility. These sudden unexpected losses can and do happen. We don’t know if we will live to see our retirement. And considering sudden deaths like that of my acquaintance, we don’t know if we will live to see tomorrow.

Memorial Day and the deaths of those around us causes us to remember the brevity and value of life.   So as we are moved to remember the departed this weekend, I would encourage you to appreciate the life that you have and the friends and family that you have to enjoy while you live.  

Death is a scary thing. But we must remember that Christ came and died for us to take away death’s sting.  It is through faith in Christ alone that man can be saved from the wrath of God.  So if you value your life, let God know that you appreciate what He has given you. Recognize what He did for you in sending Christ to save us.  Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and live.   

We all see death as a loss or a waste but if we put our faith in Christ nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. For Christ said:

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

After another death in “the neighborhood”, I must seriously ask you: Do you believe this?  

If you can’t believe the testimony of one whose life has been transformed though faith in Christ, I ask you to consider the words of Christ Himself.  

He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6). 

A new and eternal life is Christ’s gift to all of those who believe in Him. 

As you contemplate the loss of life this Memorial Day, contemplate the life that is promised by Christ and choose to take the gift that He paid so dearly for.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Chronicles 19:3 (NKJV)
3 Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God."

Today’s verse chronicles the leadership of King Jehoshaphat who turned the spiritual tide of the nation of Judah from darkness to light as this section of scripture describes his efforts to turn the people back to worshiping the one true God, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Here the seer, or prophet, Jehu encourages King Jehoshaphat that the Lord recognizes the goodness in his heart as proven by his attempts to stop idol worship and his desire to seek the Lord.   

While scripture indicates that no man is righteous in himself, the Lord does call it good when we seek to repent of our foolish ways and seek Him. 

If there is a heart attitude that I would encourage Christians to take on the disciple’s path of life it would be to foster a desire to continually seek the Lord.  We are to seek His presence in prayer and throughout our day by talking to Him. We are to seek Him through the study of His word to know His wisdom. We are to examine our lives and turn from our selfish ways and seek to align our conduct according to His ways.  

My first book, Fire on the Mountain, which chronicles the preaching of Pastor Robert Engelhardt, has the underlying theme to continuously seek the Lord. The theme of seeking the Lord is put into practice through Fire on the Mountain’s accompanying Study guide that provides the reader with suggested “Faith Exercises” to facilitate the discipled life and to lead to an experiential knowledge of the Lord to deepen one’s faith. Those resources are unpublished currently but are available upon request by emailing me at mt4christ247@gmail.com.   

The reason why I push seeking the Lord is because I did, and He has revealed Himself to me in ways that cast all doubts of His truth aside.  The Lord encourages us to seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV) says
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

The Lord calls us to seek Him and tells us that if we do we will find Him. This verse is true. So seek the Lord and keep on seeking Him. He is infinite Truth and Love. There is always more that we can learn from Him. 

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

Today, in continuing recognition of mental health awareness month, we continue to share from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

J. How to Connect with Compassion

Tragically, those who take their lives fail to move from destructive to productive thinking. They fail to realize that now is not forever. They fail to see that suicide is a permanent reaction to a temporary problem.

One fact about life as we know it is that it is constantly changing ... people and circumstances are constantly changing. Just as the seasons of the year change, the seasons of life change. ... Now is not forever! ... Now is not forever! ... In His time, God can and will change your circumstances and—if you let Him—He will change your heart. Like David, you can one day say ...

“To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy .... You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:8, 11–12)

Reasonable Responses to Suicidal Statements

When first responding to suicidal statements, don’t counter—instead, connect. Don’t focus on countering with your points, but rather connecting with the person. Then, through the relationship, you “earn the right” to be heard.

  • “There is nothing left in life I care about. It’s pointless to go on living.”
    “I know your present pain is overshadowing everything dear to you right now. Tell me, please, what you have cared about up to now that has made life meaningful for you. Are there other things you could care about if your pain were not so great?”
  • “I can’t face the future. The only thing to do is just escape it all.”
    “I hear your desperation, and I know the future can sometimes seem impossible to bear. Tell me what the future holds that you think you can’t face. And talk to me about some of the fearful challenges you have already faced and conquered that seemed insurmountable at the time.”
  • “Things will never change. Death would be better than this.”
    “I definitely agree with you that there are things in everyone’s life that will never change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out a way to change the degree of their impact on us. Would you be willing for us to talk about the things in your life that you want to change and then explore ways to diminish their control over your life?”
  • “I may as well end it all. I don’t matter anyway.”
    “You certainly matter a lot to me, and it hurts my heart that you feel so defeated and down on yourself.

What would it take to make you feel valuable—to let you know that your life has meaning?”

  • “It won’t really hurt anyone else. Actually, I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”
    “Well, I’m already hurting just knowing you are hurting so badly. It is heartbreaking to me that you feel so uncared for that you actually think no one would be hurt by your death and that you would be doing everyone a favor. What has caused you to come to such a drastic conclusion? What could the people who love you have done that you would feel this way about them?”
  • “I’ve done all that can be done. There is only one thing left to do.”
    “I can hear your discouragement in your voice, and I am sorry. Please tell me what you are referring to and what you have hoped to accomplish by your efforts. Maybe between the two of us we can come up with another way of looking at it and hopefully gain a new perspective.”
  • “Soon it will be all over, and then I will have peace!”
    “You sound really tired and exhausted and just ready to give up. Would you share with me what it is that has worn you out and robbed you of your peace? What does the peace you are wanting look like to you? How did you attain peace in the past, and how did you come to lose it?”
  • “I can’t go on living like this. Life is hopeless.”
    “You sound like you have really come to the end of your resources and are in desperate need of a drastic change in your life. What is making life seem so unbearable? What has led you to conclude that life is hopeless? What would have to happen for you to have hope?”
  • “I’m too depressed to go on.”
    “I know life seems hopeless right now and you don’t feel like you have the strength to keep on keeping on. If I could, I’d pour my own strength into you but I can’t. All I can do is remind you that each day you work to get better will bring you another day closer to conquering the mountain you are climbing. And I can be here as a constant reminder that you are not alone and that you are loved more than words can ever express. Together with the Lord, we can and we will meet this challenge. We will experience ‘the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’” (Psalm 27:13).
  • “Everyone will understand. I have suffered long enough.”
    “I understand your wanting the suffering to stop. I have no doubt that everyone who loves you hates to see you suffer and would take it from you if they could. But taking your life will bring suffering to them, and I know you don’t want to do that.”
  • “Everyone has given up on me, so I’m giving up on me!”
    “I realize you feel that you cannot change, and it seems easier to just give up than to keep on trying. But I know everyone hasn’t given up on you because I haven’t given up on you. I’m sure there are others who feel the same as I feel about you. You may not yet be the person you want to be, but you can become that person by taking just one step at a time. Let’s look for a possible step you can take today.”

Unless hopeless words are replaced with hopeful words and those who feel disconnected from others feel reconnected ... those who have lost hope will come to the conclusion that death is the only possible solution to their problems. This is a lie! Satan is the father of lies and the author of such fatal thinking. Ultimately, suicide is a deliberate choice to believe the enemy’s twisted reasoning: that taking your own life is the most reasonable way out. Jesus said of Satan ...

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship