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

Monday, December 27, 2021

Legislating Immortality – Fearful New World – Purity 612


Legislating Immortality – Fearful New World  – Purity 612

Purity 612 12/27/2021  Purity 612 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun blazing through an ice covered forest comes to us from yours truly as I took a canine friend for a walk down Waite Road in Easton NY yesterday afternoon and had the presence of mind to bring my phone to capture some scenes along the way on what was a sunny and pleasant Boxing Day.

It's Monday again. So it’s back to life and back to reality for most of us as the Christmas holiday is over and it’s time to make the donuts again as we return to work today.  For many of us that will mean having to secure our face coverings as we will be subtly forced to comply with mask mandates that are designed to stop the spread of the flu and common cold… I mean the deadly viruses Covid-19, and its hosts of variants. I know there was a Delta variant that the news tried to terrify us with a few months ago and now we apparently on Omnicron. 

Assuming Covid 19 was Alpha, I guess Beta, and Gamma must have been pretty lame and likewise Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Mu, Nu and Xi  must have been relatively harmless as they didn’t make the news.  To be honest, I don’t watch the news so they could have.  I would apologize for my ignorance in regards to current events but there doesn’t seem to be a very large concern with the truth in general so I choose to not subscribe to a media stream that may knowingly or unknowingly be propagating a fraud or a false narrative.   

The idea of mandatory vaccines that don’t prevent the disease they are designed to prevent and the wearing of masks that likewise will not prevent the spread of the same disease shows us that we are not content with the truth as we are with feeding the culture of fear as the objects of concern shift to a new supposed menace every few weeks to keep the measures of control in place and to keep a steady stream of income into the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and the industries that profit on keeping the pandemic alive. 

With the abandonment of Afghanistan the war on global terrorism was lost or is over, instead those in charge are declaring a war on disease as cold and flu season has begun and the response is to reinstitute mask mandates and to demand that a round of “vaccine booster” shots be given.  

New Hampshire’s state motto is “live free or die” and I think I choose that option rather than to get a “booster” of a shot with questionable ingredients and limited effectiveness.  And as for the masks, unless you are in a Hazmat suit we are all vulnerable to  the spread of diseases. 

So I will take every opportunity to gain permission to remove my mask, as the vast majority of us – either don’t believe the hype, feel secure with our own immunity systems, or know that there is a sovereign God who chooses when each one of us will be called into eternity in spite our personal efforts to stay alive at all costs.  

The inconsistencies of our attitudes regarding society’s concerns over the sanctity of life and compassion highlight the madness of our age and the heights of hypocrisy that would have even the most carnal of sinners in a Christian house of prayer balk and point a retaliatory finger of accusation towards all the hypocrites outside of the church.

The lifestyles and attitudes that are perverse and contribute to the spread STD’s, the continuation of addiction, and encourage the termination of life in the womb as well as the elderly are “deemed” an expression of our liberty and are beyond reproach.  But the decision to refuse medical treatments and forced codes of dress, because that’s all it is, are villainized as ignorant, uncompassionate, and dangerous. 

The powers that be have stirred the pot of fear and enough of the populace is scarred enough to agree with just about anything to avoid death, or chastisement.    

I fear the opinion of God more men and I know my life is secured in Christ so I don’t fear death.  My assurance is as absolute as you can get. I know God has purposes for us that go beyond eternity and I know that God will be faithful to those who put their faith in His Son.

We don’t know when we are going to die but those who put their faith in Jesus don’t have to worry about a disease or some other sudden calamity that will usher us into eternity.  The grim reaper isn’t so grim for the Christian.  We have the assurance of everlasting life. 

When Covid-19 dropped in 2020 and the uncertainty and fear was at its zenith, essential workers had to make the decision to stay at home with the masses or to just go on and live. In the early days, there was no PPE to be found and as we know, the vast majority of it is less than 100% effective, proving that the proliferation of a “hope so” faith, that something was better than nothing, would be the soup du jour for all of 2020. And that dish of “hope so faith” that was more superstition than science is still being served up and forced fed to us in 2021.  Essential workers were, and still are at risk and vast majority of them lived and still live.  

But a new season for the flu is upon us and we now supposedly can track every new variant of disease and will demand that people keep their “hope so faith” alive, creating new fear evangelists that push a new “booster gospel” as the original vaccines weren’t the scientific messiah that we were hoping for.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want anyone to get sick and die.  Life is precious and we should take measures to protect it and let it thrive by making good choices.  

But regardless of boosters, your disinfectants, and your governmental pressures to comply, death will not be stopped.

Death is God’s means for taking people into eternity.  No one dies early according the God’s timetable.  Regardless of what the coroner puts down as the cause of death, the ultimate truth is that God reclaimed the life that he created and the only hope for our lives is to make peace with the God who made us.  

We can’t prevent physical death. But we can experience a thriving life of peace, love, and joy will on earth and prevent spiritual death by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.  

I would love to put laws in effect to make Christianity the state religion and have everyone pledge allegiance and their souls to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  But God doesn’t want forced love and obedience.  He invites us all to choose life and life everlasting through faith in Jesus Christ but that is an invitation that we all must individually choose to accept and reject.

You can’t legislate immortality. But I can “hope so” that more people will seek the Lord and find life everlasting in Jesus and have the assurance of a “know so” faith in the One sent to save us.      

So as we go towards the end of this year, I encourage us to be compassionate with one another and obey the mandates, when necessary.

As much as our freedom is being restricted we still have the freedom to speak and instead of proliferating the “hope so” gospel of masks and vaccines, let’s remind people of the “know so” faith and assurance of life everlasting that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.   

If we are living separated from God, we really should expect his protection.

The harsh lesson of life that the world teaches us is that we will all die one day and nothing will prevent that. 

But God tells us of life beyond this world, and His word repeatedly tells us that He is sovereign and that we are to not fear. 

So fight power of fear and take responsibility for the life you have.  Putting your trust in man and science is a “hope so” faith that offers nothing but a steady stream of fear and panic. 

Putting your faith in Jesus Christ gives you the assurance of eternal life and the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control . 

So as you head out for work today put on the protection that will save you: faith in Jesus Christ. This world needs to know that God is real and cares about us. This world needs the hope of the light that outshines the darkness and the fear. This world needs Jesus and it needs someone to deliver the message of His truth.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Walk in the Spirit of peace and love and assure those who are afraid that there is safety in Christ alone.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Jeremiah 31:35 (NLT2)
35  It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says:

Today’s verse is as provided by “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” as an answer for the contemplation for “When you wish you could see Jesus at work in the world today”.

The idea from the authors of The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men is that “Jesus’ work in the world today is evidenced by the continuous miracle of God’s creation.  God provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night every day, and He also is the one who stirs the seas. 

In my short stint as teacher in jail ministry, I developed a quick apologetic for the existence of God in which I presented the three evidence for God as:

1.    God’s creation – Existence itself points to the God who made all things.

2.    Our Consciences – God wrote His law upon our hearts – we all know when we have done wrong

3.    Transformed Lives – Some people who have made Jesus their Lord and Savior were one way before coming to Christ and afterwards were set free of the former lives that were defined by sin.  Their changed lives are evidence of His power and His reality. 

So the evidence for God is all around us.  And the really great news about that is we as Christians are a part of that evidence and we get to present ourselves to the unbelieving world to prove that God is real and active in this world.  

Yes, we can point to the rising sun each day as proof that God is at work in the world today but if we are growing in our relationship with God, we can also point to ourselves and reflect on the work that He has done and is continuing to do in us.

So open your eyes to see the goodness of God and Him actively working but also know that your contemplation of Him and the things of God are evidence that He is already working in you.

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

 

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we begin sharing from Chapter 1.    

 

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

CHAPTER ONE

REDEMPTION HISTORY

We have learned from history that most people haven’t learned much from history. Those who don’t learn are doomed to repeat the same failures over and over again. Those who have learned the truth from their forefathers know that history is His-story of unfolding grace and love for all humanity. In order to understand what His plan is for you, we need to start at the beginning of human history.

THE CREATION

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,”5 are the first words in the Bible. God is a Spirit and is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His wisdom, power and holiness. He existed when the physical world was just an idea. There was a beginning in time when He  created all physical matter and all living creatures. Then God created Adam in His image, and together with Eve they were to rule over the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea.6 They had dominion over the rest of creation and were to be fruitful in order to multiply and fill the earth. They were physically alive, which means their souls were in union with their bodies. They were spiritually alive; therefore their souls were in union with God. Because they were created in the image of God, they could think, feel, and make choices, unlike all the other creatures that are physically alive, which function by divine instinct.

Adam and Eve were safe, secure, and significant. They had a sense of belonging to God and to each other. They were naked and unashamed because they had nothing to hide and therefore no need to cover up. Adam and Eve were welcomed to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever by remaining in union with God.

Prior to the creation of humanity, a magnificent angel named Lucifer  rebelled against the Creator God and fell from heaven, taking a third of the angels with him. Lucifer means light bearer, but he no longer reflected the glory of God. He became Satan, or the devil, and ruled over his brood of fallen angels, known in the Bible as demons. Jealous for the significant position Adam and Eve were given, Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. She in turn persuaded Adam to do so, and together they sinned by rebelling against God.

THE FALL

The consequences were immediate. Adam and Eve died spiritually. Sin had separated them from God. Their souls were no longer in union with their Heavenly Father. They remained physically alive, but physical death would be a consequence of their sin as well.

Adam and Eve were left to make a name for themselves and to find their purpose and meaning in life independent of their Heavenly Father. They had to rely on their own strength and resources because the life of God was no longer within them. They were like cars without gas and struggled to find purpose and meaning in life in their natural state, which is still true to this day for those who don’t have a relationship with God.

Every car has a battery that provides a spark of life, so the natural person tries to find their purpose in the beauty of the car, or the comfort of the seats, or the sound of the stereo, or the lights, or the noise of the horn, but that is not what the car was created for. The purpose of automobiles is to supply transportation. Without gas they may look, sound, smell, and feel good, but they cannot fulfill their purpose for which they were created, and neither can we unless we have the life of Christ within us.

As a consequence of the fall, every natural descendant of Adam and Eve is born physically alive, but spiritually dead.7 In addition, the whole world was affected by their rebellion, and all creation is groaning and looking forward to a day of redemption.8 That day is coming because God immediately cursed the devil and promised that a descendent of Eve would bring forth a Savior that would crush the head of Satan.9

God’s plan was to first show all humanity their need for a Savior. He revealed our need by instituting a sacrificial system to show us that somebody had to pay the penalty for our sins, and through Moses God gave us a moral law to govern our behavior. However, no animal sacrifice could give us spiritual life, and nobody could live according to the law. So He sent prophets encouraging His people to live righteously according to the laws of God. These prophets also revealed God’s word to us and recorded the history of God’s redemptive plan. There are 39 books in the Old Testament that record the history of creation and the fall of Adam and Eve. They reveal humanity’s futile attempts to find purpose and meaning in life and live independently of God.

God called Abraham out of the Land of Ur, which is the land of present day Iraq, and into the promised land of Israel. With Abraham, God made an unconditional covenant, promising that through him and his descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The Messiah would come from one of His descendants. Through the prophet Moses, God made a conditional covenant of law, promising to bless those who kept it, but none could. For centuries God’s chosen people tried unsuccessfully to live under the law, which proved to be a taskmaster that was intended by God to lead us to Christ,10 the promised Messiah.

THE GOSPEL

When it looked like there was no hope for humanity, and when the time was just right, God sent Jesus His Son. Jesus was supernaturally born of the Virgin Mary and, like Adam, was born both physically and spiritually alive. Jesus is the pre-existent Word of God who became flesh and dwelt amongst us. Jesus is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and together they make up the One true God. While on this earth Jesus remained fully God, but He was also fully human. No person can become God, but God can and did manifest Himself in human form. Jesus came for three primary reasons.

First, He came to give us an example to follow in His steps. Jesus showed us how a spiritually alive person could live a righteous life. He did so by demonstrating a life totally dependent upon His Heavenly Father.11 All temptation is an attempt to get us to live our lives independently of God. Jesus was tempted in all ways, but unlike Adam, He never sinned. His sinless perfection was what made Jesus the only possible sacrifice for our sins. No other animal or human sacrifice could accomplish that.

Sin had separated all humanity from God, and the wages of sin is death.12 So Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins in order that we may be forgiven. According to the Old Testament Law, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.13  In dying and shedding His blood, Jesus removed the enmity that existed between God and all humanity. “He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”14 However, knowing that our sins are forgiven is not enough.

Second, Jesus came not only to die on the cross for  our sins, but also to be resurrected in order that we may  have new eternal, i.e. spiritual, life in Christ. That means  our souls are again in union with God. What Adam and `Eve lost in the fall was life, and what Jesus came to give  us was life.15 “Jesus is the bread of life.”16 He is “the way, the truth and the life.”17 He is the only path back to God. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.18 “Jesus is the truth and if you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”19 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live [spiritually] even if he dies [physically], and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die [spiritually]. 20

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Forget Sides! – What We Need is Some Solidarity! - Purity 577


 Forget Sides! – What We Need is Some Solidarity! - Purity 577

Purity 577 11/16/2021   Purity 577 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a tranquil beach at the Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres Resort comes to us from a friend’s late October vacation that made them feel “thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to unwind and relax…”. 

While it is only the second day of the work week and most of us will not have the opportunity to unwind and relax, all of us can still feel thankful and blessed when we remember who we are in Christ and how God has provided for us all the days of our lives.  

Okay, I have a confession to make. As peaceful as this tropical scene may be I am using it with a somewhat confrontational attitude this morning.  

I have a friend on FB who enjoys winter sports and took delight in announcing that somehow it was “official” that the first snow of the season was falling in Albany NY last night. 

Personally, I was filled with doubt and annoyance at seeing their post and actually checked the forecast this morning to see what they were talking about.  Granted, I didn’t look hard or exhaustively but I didn’t see anything about snow, and I am happy to report that the black top of my driveway is untouched by any snow. Not only that but the weekly weather indicates that Thursday is forecasted to have an unseasonably warm 61 degree high in two days.  

I myself do not enjoy winter sports and am quite content with winters that deliver a minimum of snow.  Beyond my lack of love for snow, I might be particularly sensitive to announcement of its arrival because I just purchased a new snow blower, and it is yet to be delivered.  

My friend’s report beyond Pollyanna-ish in its unmerited hopes of the changing seasons should teach us a few things:

1.    Don’t believe everything you read via social media, or the media in general.

2.    Don’t let other people’s reports, attitudes, or actions affect your peace.

In this era of misinformation and skepticism, as Christians we should, as always, focus on the Truth.  Our friend’s, and the media’s, reports are influenced by the story they want to tell but may not accurately portray a full picture of reality and may indicate far reaching affects that may not necessarily have the impact they state on one’s personal experience. 

My friend likes snow. So the first report of flurries that they hear of is broadcasted on their social media as if we will be in a winter wonderland in no time. And based upon your perspective, we will be, eventually. But we will not be experiencing that today, and especially not on Thursday apparently.  

So what does my friend’s report of the “official” snow fall last night have to do with my experience today in terms of travel or in any other aspect of my life?  Nothing. Although, it could actually prove helpful if I was so opposed to snow that I was living in some deep state of denial and convinced myself that snow would not becoming to my area at all this winter.  My friend’s report could cause me to prepare for the reality of the eventuality of snow.    So thanks, friend.  Just so you know, I got 3 new snow shovels, enough rock salt to last me for 5 winters, and a brand new snowblower with EFI technology, whatever that is, is being delivered Thursday.  

So, okay while I have no evidence of my friend’s report being true, let’s assume it did “officially” snow in Albany last night. They were “only reporting the facts”  and while I could assume they are taking delight by announcing it to those of us who don’t like snow, that is not necessarily the truth.  That’s a projection.  

Instead of rubbing it in the faces of those who hate snow, they could have been just intending to share the “good news” of flurries to their snow loving buddies.  

We should not take offense at their report. They didn’t say, at least this time, “HA, HA, snow is falling in Albany, deal with its losers!” That message, although could be behind the motivation of their “announcement”, it  actually in the content of what they said.  

So, it is my responsibility, to not take offense at their report, just like it is now their responsibility to not take offense at my displaying a tropical scene this morning where their beloved winter sports don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of coming to pass. 

Which brings us to our second item learned: not to let other’s words, attitudes, or actions take your peace.   

Other people will think, say, and do things, intentionally or quite unintentionally, that will challenge and annoy us.   But God tells us to love them anyway.   

In our weekly Bible study, we recently came across the section in Joshua where Joshua and the Israelites are preparing for battle when the Commander of the Lord’s armies shows up! Joshua knowing this Commander is from the Lord (and actually is said by scholars to be an Old Testament appearance of Christ) asks Him “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 

To which the Commander, aka Jesus, says: “No!”

Christ explains that  it is “as Commander of the army of the LORD”  that He has come. Jesus isn’t there to choose sides. He has come to do the will of the Lord.  

Thus in the war between those who like snow and those who hate it. the Lord isn’t choosing sides. He loves my snow loving friend, and He loves me too. 

He loves those who have made Him the Lord and Savior of their lives and He loves  those who haven’t yet, and who never will.   

He commands us to love one another regardless of our differences.  So we should not let those who oppose us or annoy us change the way we live and stop us from representing God’s kingdom and sharing God’s love and righteousness.    

And let’s be clear here too. Although God loves all of us, He sent Christ to earth so that we would be saved through faith in Him.  

So just like in the events in Joshua, although God loves all people, Christ is here to do the will of the Lord and those who align themselves with God by placing their faith in Jesus will stand for all eternity and those who don’t will suffer the Lord’s wrath. 

So forget about sides!! What we need here is solidarity.  And the only thing we can stand on that is solid in this world is The Rock: The living Word of God: Jesus Christ.  

So align yourself with the Lord by following the Commander of the Lord’s armies, Jesus Christ, by making Him the Lord and Savior of your life every day. 

The power to overcome our sin, to maintain our peace, and to love the unlovable are only possible when we place our faith in Christ, receive the Holy Spirit,  and choose to live according to God’s will and ways for our lives.    So keep walking and talking with God, and do it in all seasons, whether it snows or not.  

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Jeremiah 15:16 (NLT2)
16  When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.

 

Today’s verse reminds us of the importance of the word of God and how our faith draws us to take delight in the truth that comes from Him.  

The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, aka Jesus, is the living Word of God so when we place our faith in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit and the ability to understand and take delight in the word of God like never before because we have the indwelling presence of the Lord in us that will lead us into all truth.  

When we sincerely approach the word of God to know God more and to apply His wisdom to our lives, The Holy Spirit will reveal to us things in scripture that we never understood or He will make certain passages of scripture suddenly meaningful to us.  

Reading the word of God and seeking to know God and to do His will through it, is a foundational aspect of our relationship with God. Reading the Bible shows God we are seeking Him and when we seek Him , by golly, we will find Him.   

When you discover this dynamic aspect of our relationship with God, your appetite for the word of God will increase and you will “devour” scripture and find joy in it as you realize that your study is a spiritual practice and direct communication with God. 

So be like Jerimiah, devour scripture and find the joy that the Lord has waiting for you in the pages of the Bible and in your heart as you take delight in the fact that you are God’s beloved child and that you are talking with Him, and He is talking to you.  

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

II. Characteristics

No book of the Bible is more closely identified with suffering than the book of Job. This righteous man, Job, for whom the book is named, experienced one heartbreaking loss after another that left him with heartrending despair. Such pain and suffering—even in just one area of our lives—can leave us struggling with unanswered questions... even to the point of questioning God. Behind a profound loss usually lies a series of questions all beginning with, "Why?" Job bitterly cried out ...

"Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul?" (Job 3:20)

A. Do You Feel That God Is Unjust?

Although Job had been an exemplary man—God called him "blameless"—in a short amount of time his entire life has collapsed. Feeling flabbergasted over his losses... feeling fiercely racked with pain... feeling falsely accused by friends... feeling completely forsaken by God... Job considered death far more desirable than life ...

"Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?" (Job 3:11)

Like Job, Have You Experienced...?

Disappearance of your possessions.... Job's belongings were stolen. (Job 1:14, 15, 17)

Dissolution of your partnership.... Job's workers were suddenly killed. (Job 1:14-17)

Destruction of your property.... Job's property was totally destroyed. (Job 1:16)

Death of your loved one(s).... Job's children tragically died. (Job 1:18-19)

Dissipation of your finances.... Job's wealth was instantly lost. (Job 1:21)

Deterioration of your body.... Job's body was severely afflicted. (Job 2:7)

Distancing by your mate.... Job's wife deserted him emotionally. (Job 2:9)

Despairing of your life.... Job's hope no longer existed. (Job 3:1-26)

Disappointment of your dreams.... Job's future seemed doomed. (Job 7:7)

Damage to your reputation.... Job's friends maligned him. (Job 12:4)

 

Question: "What did I do to deserve this suffering?"

Answer: Your suffering may be a result of consequences for which you are not directly responsible. Recognize that in a sinful world, both good and evil people will suffer.

  • The Bible says, "He [God]... sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45).
    —But as a Christian, you have a promise from God that your suffering here on earth will one day come to an end.
  • After experiencing the good and evil in this world, you will find yourself in either heaven (eternally in the presence of a holy God and with no suffering) or in hell (eternally apart from God and with eternal suffering).
    —Do not become bitter from the pain. Instead, put your faith in God, know that He cares, and wait patiently for His help.

God is present. Nothing will happen that He won't equip you to handle ...

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Light in the Darkness – Bringing Friends to Holy Ground - Purity 563


 A Light in the Darkness – Bringing Friends to Holy Ground - Purity 563

Purity 563 10/30/2021   Purity 563 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a peaceful scene on the shores of what I suspect to be Lake George in up state New York comes to us from what was day 1 of an extended “girlfriends’ getaway” weekend as a pair of ladies decided to set apart time to enjoy one another’s company and to celebrate nearly 30 years of friendship.  Over three decades, there can be a lot of struggle and changes in our lives as we journey through life, but true friendships transcend time and distance and because of the brevity of our lives should be cherished and celebrated.   

Well we made it to through another work week and as it is Halloween weekend it is my wish that my friends enjoy the time they have over the next two days to rest, relax, have some good old spooky fun, if you’re into that, and to enjoy the company of family and friends as the moth of October expires on Monday.    

Halloween has dark aspects to it but as a child, and an adult, I celebrated by going trick or treating, dressing up in costumes, and going to parties and despite my ignorance and the demonic undertones that surround the 31st day of October, I somehow by the grace of God survived.  

So although I would warn against being a part of any seances or occultic activities, like I would any other day of the year,  I would also remind well-meaning Christians that condemn any celebrations of Halloween that the day is also Reformation Day and the revelation of the doctrines of grace that resulted from Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg should remind us of the supremacy of Christ over the powers of darkness and should encourage us to be a light for the gospel even on Halloween and that we should use the opportunity to make new friends that desperately need Christians in their lives.

The testimonies of people coming to faith in Christ because of a Christian friend are vast and instead of pushing people away with restrictions, we should be purveyors of the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit brings to our lives and attract people to the One that can set them free from sin and death.  Jesus came to give us life more abundantly and to set the captives free.  So shine a light in the darkness and be friend whose liberty in Christ gives you the power to bring the gospel of hope every where you go.  Because of the Holy Spirit in us, every where we go is holy ground.   

As it turns out my new friend on the other side of the Atlantic just happen to compose a new poem about the hope found because of Jesus and I thought that it was a good reminder of the “treat” that we have to give out on Halloween and every other day of the year. The poem is from Philip Hand, who hails from Manchester in the United Kingdom and is entitled:  

Holy Ground

To be rich in your heart feeds your soul

lifts your life and should be  your goal.

To be in love with tender loving kindness

will bless your heart and heal your blindness.

All it takes is one step 

one that you won't regret once the savior you have met.

A step of faith into the light

out of this eternal night.

I was blind but now I see

eternal love lights the way for me.

Lord unify our hearts, tear our borders down

when we are on our knees, this place becomes holy ground.

-       Philip Hand

Thank you, Philip.  So whether you spend time this weekend with friends you have known for nearly 30 years or that you have only known for a short time through social media, rejoice in your friendship and rejoice in the new life of hope, peace, and joy that you can enjoy in all seasons with the friend that you can have in Jesus.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 37:4 (NLT2)
4  Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Today’s verse is a conditional promise that is fulfilled with a transformative relationship with the Lord.

This verse can very well be misapplied as one of the “gimme” verses of the prosperity gospel.  “Does not the word say, He will give you the desires of your heart?”   Well I desire a whole lot of fortune and fame and a brand new car!   Survey says? XXX  

When this verse is misapplied to material goods and prosperity as an expression of an immature believer’s wanton avarice,  I am tempted to share:

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
9  "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

But to be honest, I hesitate to share Jerimiah 17:9 because that verse doesn’t apply to Christians, although it is used ad nauseum in churches today to chastise believers for their periodic or habitual sins.   While Christians can and do sin, we have been transformed and given new spiritual life, and a new heart, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.  

The problem is that many Christians fall into Satan’s trap as identifying with their sin instead of their Savior. 

To “delight in the Lord” is to love Him and obey Him.  Our delighting in the Lord should bring us to repentance and the renewal of our minds and hearts to be more aligned with the Lord’s ways and will for our lives.   When we “delight in the Lord” our hearts are changed from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and our desires are changed.  

These “new desires” that come from delighting in the Lord are the “desires of the heart” that God will gladly give us.   Our heart’s desire to be progressively conformed to the image of Christ through faith and by walking in the Spirit is something that the Lord will give us.   

So stop praying to get what’s behind door # 2 or curtain #3, for worldly desires, and instead desire to know the Lord more and to be more like Him.

God’s will for our lives is our sanctification and when we that is our desire, we can be assured we won’t get “zonked”!

Although we were once were desperately wicked, we have been made righteous though our faith in Christ and adopted into God’s royal family and God the Father has good gifts for His kids who seek His heart and ask for His desires for us.    

 

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

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

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

C. How to Have a Transformed Life

Deborah doesn't date anymore. Deborah doesn't date any less, either. The truth is, Deborah doesn't date at all anymore.

At one time, Deborah's dating card consistently stayed full. But after she begins to take her walk with the Lord seriously, her social life drops off dramatically. Staying busy with church activities, she barely misses dating. But she does long to have someone special in her life...and she'd like to marry someday.

A friend in her Sunday school class tells her that she should pray about it. Her mom tells her to be patient and keep trusting the Lord. Her sister tells her she should just keep following where the Lord leads and look to see whom He brings alongside her and go from there. So Deborah waits—maybe not patiently—but she waits.

Volunteering to help with the church carnival, Deborah notices the young man in the booth next to her. As they each interact with the kids playing games, she sees that he's kind and encouraging to the non-athletic participants and sweet and helpful to the little ones. He's polite and gracious to the parents...and when he smiles, she notices his eyes light up too. She likes his laugh...and he really is cute!

Another pair of volunteers come to relieve them from their posts, and not a moment too soon because Deborah's fingers are freezing! Her "next door" neighbor/volunteer smiles and says, "Hi. I'm Sam. I couldn't help but notice that you're cold. Could I interest you in joining me for a cup of hot cocoa?" Deborah chuckles as she answers, "Thanks, Sam. I'm Deborah and I'd like that very much."

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

Whether you've never dated or you are just starting to date after becoming single again, dating can, and should, be a fun and enjoyable experience. If you're emotionally and spiritually prepared to begin forming dating relationships, you could come face-to-face with a jarring reality: No one on your horizon is eligible to date. Rather than lowering your standards for the sake of stirring up interest or considering those who once would have been out of the question, use this opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ....

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

Reaching the Target: Transformation!

 



Target #1—A New Purpose: God's purpose for me is to be conformed to the character of Christ.

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to be conformed to the character of Christ."

Target #2—A New Priority: God's priority for me is to change my thinking.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to line up my thinking with God's thinking."

Target #3—A New Plan: God's plan for me is to rely on Christ's strength, not my strength, to be all He created me to be.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to fulfill His plan in His strength."

My Personalized Plan

My identity is in Christ, not in another person. To overcome the need for a significant person of the opposite sex to validate me and to give me a sense of worth, I will live according to who I am in Christ. I will remember what God says in His Word—every true Christian is a complete person of immeasurable value and worth in Jesus Christ. God created me to have my identity in Him. I can find meaning and purpose in Him, not in a dating relationship. Since the truth sets me free, wrong thinking only keeps me in bondage. Therefore, I will transform my thinking by renewing my mind.

I will remember what God says is true about me. I will stay focused on deepening my intimacy with Him and realize the depth of His love for me.

Who I Am in Christ

  • I am loved.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" (John 15:9).

  • I am totally accepted.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7).

  • I belong to God.

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16).

  • I am never alone.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8).

  • I am complete in Christ.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

  • I have all the confidence I need.

"The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught" (Proverbs 3:26 ESV).

  • I have the mind of Christ.

"Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).

  • I have a purpose in life.

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8 ESV).

  • I am made pure in Christ.

"All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

  • I have victory over sin.

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

As I open my mind and heart to the truth in God's Word, I will ask the Lord to reveal to me the messages I received and believed that led me to think I am somehow incomplete or lacking without having someone of the opposite sex in my life. Once I identify these messages, I will renounce them as lies and realize the truth that sets me free....

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Prayer of My Heart

The Lord knows my situation. I will put Him in charge of the timing and pace of my dating life. I will make this the prayer of my heart:

"Heavenly Father, I will...

  • Refuse to be desperate to find someone to date,
  • Wait on Your timing and person(s) to date,
  • Not lower my criteria to evaluate a prospective date,
  • Use this time to listen intently for Your voice to lead me,
  • Focus on what I have, not what I don't have,
  • Be grateful for Your unconditional love for me,
  • Remember that I am not alone, unloved, or forgotten,
  • Not put my life on hold until I begin to date,
  • Look for ways to bless others."

"But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content." (Psalm 131:2)

Meeting the "Right" One

Question: "How do I know when I've met the 'right' person?"

Answer: Instead of asking, "Is this the right person for me?" why not ask, "Am I becoming the right person?" Being the "right person" is about coming to a relationship with love to share, not about finding love and validation in another person.

If you come from a full place in your life, it becomes much easier to discern whether someone is empty inside, and you will be less likely to be attracted to that person. If you continually learn about yourself—are growing emotionally, socially, and spiritually, and taking responsibility for your own feelings of safety and security, worth and winsomeness—you will not be attracted to someone who is closed and controlling or who just wants to be loved but not give love in return.

It takes time to know whether someone is the "right" person for you. To discover if the person you're dating is who they say they are, you need to see them in a variety of situations and settings. How a person handles conflict is one of the best ways to see the "real" person. A "right" person is open to learning from conflict, not just wanting to win and be right.

Other characteristics to watch for in "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right" are...

  • Closely matched levels of emotional and spiritual maturity
  • Commitment to lifelong marriage
  • Capacity to care for and empathize with others
  • Common interests and values
  • Compatible long-term goals
  • Comparable health and fitness goals
  • Common money management practices for saving and spending
  • Chemistry—at least a basic spark of attraction

"Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments." (Psalm 119:66 NASB)

Is Marriage for Everyone?

Question: "Does God intend for everyone to marry?"

Answer: Not necessarily. While marriage is ordained of God and most people do get married, the apostle Paul was obviously called by God to remain single. In 1 Corinthians 7:8, he said... "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do." Both singleness and marriage are good in God's sight. But the reason Paul encourages singleness is that there is less distraction from the things of God for the single person.

"I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:35)

Contentment

Question: "How should I respond to people who keep telling me I need a boyfriend when I am content being single?"

Answer: People may want you to have a boyfriend for any number of reasons.

Generally, they mean well. Try to guard against taking offense at their opinion. A safe response might be to tell them you appreciate their interest and concern, but you are actually quite content in focusing on being the person God created you to be. Explain that you have a full life and then ask if there is something they see in you that causes them to think you need someone in your life.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship