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Showing posts with label John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John. Show all posts

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Battle Cry – It’s Pay Back Time! - Purity 581



 

Battle Cry – It’s Pay Back Time! -  Purity 581

Purity 581 11/20/2021  Purity 581 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a late afternoon sun blazing in a spectacular cloud filled sky seen through a dirty windshield over a highway near Albany NY comes to us from yours truly as I decided to use my “dash cam” to try to capture the glory that the Lord put before me as I was traveling through the capital district on the ides of November, this past Monday. Sometimes the Lord puts opportunities to experience His glory and beauty in front of us and it is up to us to decide what we will do with it. 

We can decide to momentarily appreciate it by mentally saying “cool” or “pretty” and then go back to an earthly train of thought, or we can recognize the source of our experience and thank our heavenly Father for what He has created, for what He continually does, and for who He is and thus appropriately commune with Him with praise and thanksgiving.  In these two options, lies the difference between someone just going about their day in the terra firma and someone “walking in the Spirit” and being “God conscious.” 

Some may dismiss the two experiences as not being significantly different but those who have an active and vibrant relationship with the living God because of their faith in Jesus Christ can tell you that it is like the difference between deciding to focus on the blotches and dirt on the windshield or choosing to look past the imperfections and to bask in the glory of the heavens. 

A life of faith can be joyless drudgery or a dynamic and exciting life of wonder and awe. The difference lies in what we choose to focus on and in our decision to choose to “walk in the Spirit” every day. 

And the decision to focus on God, to experience His presence, to walk into the good works He has prepared for us , and to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a decision that will be opposed by our less spiritual acquaintances, friends, and family as well as the demonic forces of darkness.  To choose to experience, maintain, and share our freedom in Christ is to choose to fight the good fight of faith. It is the volitional act to do battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.  

Back in April, I attended a Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Community Freedom Ministry Associate’s Practicum in San Antonio Texas where I completed my training to lead people through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  While I was there I shared my testimony of how the Lord led me to put my faith in Christ and how he delivered me from my addictions and worldly lifestyle with an FICM’ volunteer named Bettie Felder. 

In giving my testimony, I was honest in detailing how my journey was not for the faint of heart as my decision to follow the Lord has been a road paved with heart ache as I have suffered broken relationships, financial struggles, and the need to abandon my home to find a safe place for my children and I to live back in 2020.

Bettie shared how she had recently lost her husband and was struggling to emerge from her grief and the practicum was one way she decided to “fight the enemy” and regain her hope.   She told me that she could “see” my trail of tears but wanted me to know that the Lord was faithful and that it was “pay back time”!  She prophesied over me telling me that a faithful and encouraging woman of God would come into my life and walk beside me and she told me that the Lord was going to pay back the enemy and restore everything that the enemy had stolen.  

Months after the practicum, I now realize that Bettie’s prophecy has come true as my friendship with Tammy Lyn Seguin grew to a love that will culminate in our marriage on January 1st, all because of TammyLyn faithfully encouraging me.  So God has “paid back the enemy” and then some as our relationship has God at its center as we continually seek to do His will by focusing and studying the things of God and by bringing Him into our experience with prayer and a lifestyle of Christian discipleship.  

My trail of tears wasn’t traveled alone. I have two young adult children and as my life fell apart while I decided to follow Christ over the last ten years they saw the transitions and suffered the consequences right along with me.  

In her senior year my daughter Haley was diagnosed with diabetes, had relationship difficulties, and struggled with depression and anxiety after she graduated high school. She was seeing a counselor to get help during the crisis years since 2018 but was greatly helped by our moving to our new home in 2020 and has since discontinued her therapy sessions. She is currently thriving as a college student and recent employee of the month at her part time job at Lowe’s.  

My son Brennan coped with the difficulties of seeing his parent’s divorce by focusing on His interests in the performing arts.  But in 2020, Covid-19 discontinued the normalcy of his senior year, and he went into a tailspin of depression and listlessness that resulted in him graduating late via zoom classes in summer school and him staying in our house for a “gap year” where he didn’t work or go to school. 

But after his gap year and suffering continual pep talks from his father to “do something!”, Brennan decided to become a full time student at Hudson Valley Community College as a theater major.   And last night, I had the unadulterated pleasure of watching him “conqueror” on stage as the male lead, “Laurie Lawrence” in the college’s production of “Little Women”.   

Seeing my son emerging from the darkness of his listless gap year and back performing again filled my heart with joy and pride and shook me emotionally as I again was able to celebrate another victory that the Lord has faithfully provided.  I told Brennan that using his talents gives God glory and I know that this latest episode in the days of our lives is another fulfillment of Bettie Felder’s prophecy for “pay back time”.  

So keep fighting the good fight of faith by choosing to continually seek the Lord and to decide to represent God’s kingdom in all that we do.  

My friend in the UK, Phillip Hand recently shared the following poem, and I couldn’t think of a better day to share it as I am still enjoying the latest victory in my journey of faith. The poem is called:”

Battle cry

We must sing praises to the Lord most high

This is our true battle cry.

The Lord inhabits the praises of his people

We are his church. His holy people.

The battle is the Lord’s, He is our champion

The Lamb of God, The Great I Am

He is our Lord, the Son of Man.

In his arrogance and pride, the enemy shall fall into a snare set by the Lord

all we have to do is praise and sing

to our Father and Jesus our King

-       Philip Hand

 

So keep walking and talking with God.  Your days on earth may not always be bright but in Christ we can overcome and have peace and joy even in the darkest night.  It’s payback time! So go get what the Lord has for you, by being a light in the darkness and by choosing to hope for the good and to walk in the Spirit.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 12:50 (NLT2)
50  And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus and spells out a simple recipe for life and a  purpose for all of us in Christ.  

As God the Son, Jesus lived a sinless life on earth in a world that causes all of us to sin.  But Jesus remained faithful because even though He was tempted in every way as we are, He knew the Father and He knew His purpose for coming to the earth.  

Here Christ tells those on earth that God’s commands lead to eternal life and so He says all that the Father sent Him to say because His purpose was to bridge the gap between a sinful mankind and a Holy God.   Jesus said the hard things that opposed the enemy and the world system causing those in authority to eventually condemn and crucify Him.  

The things Christ said were to cost Him His very life but even with that ultimate consequence as a real and present danger Jesus continued to speak what the Father told Him to say because of God’s love for man and for the purpose to fulfill the Father’s plan for redemption that is available for all men who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  

As Christians we know that the words of Christ and the “commands”, or instruction, of the Father that we find in the Bible lead to eternal life. 

Those words and commands from scripture were used by the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and caused us to choose to place our faith in Christ, giving us eternal life.  

So as we enjoy another weekend in the kingdom of God, let’s rejoice over and meditate on the Father’s commands for us and let’s share the love of God by saying whatever our Father who art in heaven leads us to say.  

The word of God is living and powerful and if we feel moved in our spirit to encourage someone, quote scripture, or give a gospel presentation, we should obey our Father’s command because the Holy Spirit may just use us to pass on the love of God and the gift of eternal life to someone who desperately needs it.

 

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.

 

C. What Are Key Questions about Evil?

Question: "If God is intrinsically good, why would He permit evil?"

Answer: Some people argue that since evil exists in the world and God supposedly created the world, then God cannot be all good. However, God did not create an evil world; nor did He create a robot state where everyone is programmed to do only good and where no one is ever permitted to do evil. God created human beings with free will.

  • He endowed them with the capacity to choose both good and evil.
  • The problem of evil came about because people chose the evil of being disobedient to God rather than the good of being obedient to God, and as a result, the world changed. People have chosen evil ever since.
  • The use of free will does not negate the goodness of God, but it sometimes exposes the badness of people.
  • God permits evil, for He permits people to exercise their free will—and they choose evil. They can choose either evil or good—their own way or God's way ...

"The Lord God commanded the man 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" (Genesis 2:16-17)

 

Question: "Is evil a natural result of creation?"

Answer: No. The Bible says that the world God created was "very good" not very evil or a little bit evil. The Bible also says that one day the world will be restored to a perfect condition. If the world will be perfect in the future, then it was perfect at creation. Evil is not a natural result of creation, but a natural result of rebellion—the rebellion of Adam and Eve in disobeying God.

"God saw all that he had made, and, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

 

Question: "If God did not create evil, how did He create Satan, who is the embodiment of evil?"

Answer: God did not create "Satan." God created "Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12 KJV)—an angelic being who, because of rebellion against God, was cast out of heaven. Only after he sinned did he become Satan, a name that literally means "adversary." Only then did he become the adversary of God and of all that is good ...

"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!... The great dragon was hurled downthat ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray." (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 12:9)

Question: "Why hasn't God destroyed evil?"

Answer: Evil is based on moral right and wrong choices; therefore...

  • God cannot destroy evil without also destroying the free will of His creatures.
  • God determined that free will is for the greater good of humanity or He would not have made people free, especially knowing sin would occur and ultimately result in the death of His Son.
  • If God had destroyed the creatures He loves or never endowed them with free will—making them robots—that action could not be for their greater good.

God has already initiated a plan to eliminate evil. His solution is not to destroy evil in this life, but to overcome it—through Christ.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3)


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


Monday, November 15, 2021

Hello, Darkness My Old Friend – A New Day, A New Life - Purity 576


Hello, Darkness My Old Friend – A New Day, A New Life - Purity 576

 Purity 576 Podcast

Purity 576 11/15/2021

Good morning

Today’s photo of a raccoon peaking over the horizon of the tree line at the rear of a property in Picayune, Mississippi comes to us from friend who referred to this visitor as their “backyard friend”.  As cute as they may be raccoons are also known as “trash pandas” in some circles because of their penchant for knocking over trash cans  and making a mess as they seek to satisfy their appetites for table scraps.  This little “backyard friend”  may not be a welcome site to those who have experienced the results of their nocturnal adventures and have decided that their cute looks don’t outweigh the trouble they cause.  

In recovery circles, those who have overcome undoubtedly have some “friends in low places” that they had to leave behind because no matter how cute and friendly they were their friendship wasn’t worth the trouble they caused.   Likewise abusive relationships, which began in love, have to be abandoned when it is clear that the abuser refuses to change and to come under the authority of an accountability system that will end their abusive ways.  

People locked in addictive cycles or patterns of abuse may refuse help or attempts to change, and that is their decision, but those who have suffered because of their associations with them can also decide that their relationship with their abuser or fellow addict will end and that their new lives without them will be free of the “trash” that their old addicted or abusing friends continually brought into their lives.

It's Monday, so it’s the beginning to another work week and quite possibly the beginning of a new life for each of us as we may have grown sick and tired of being sick and tired.  When we go around the merry go round of this world long enough, we may begin to see that the things the world promises to make us happy or to ease our pains are a lie.

When we have suffered long enough with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, or food, we see that these things were never intended to fulfill us and that something is missing in our lives. 

Likewise, no matter how healthy or unhealthy as our interpersonal relationships are, we may come to a point where we see that our relationships also fail to completely fulfill us. 

When the things and people of this earth fail to satisfy us, we should realize that the thing that is missing in our lives is God.  

God has given us life and made us in His image to enjoy the gift He has given us and to represent Him.  When we ignore God and do things according to our ways and desires, we will eventually suffer loss and pain and question why things have to be this way.  

Instead of seeking for meaning and truth with our lives, we only sought to avoid pain and seek pleasure not realizing that our temporary nature would never allow us to find lasting satisfaction. 

Our plans to avoid pain and suffering and only have pleasure through our best efforts were short sighted because they ignored our fundamental nature and the higher meaning behind our existence. In our attempts to “build ourselves up” or have a “good life” or a “good time”, we failed to consider the Creator’s plans and intentions for us.    

Of course we are often not alone in our search for happiness and will surround ourselves with people who agree with our philosophies of life but just because we get someone to agree with us doesn’t mean that our ways are the right way. 

At one point in a previous relationship, I realized that I had made some very wrong assumptions about life and felt like I had led myself and the people I was with into a dead end. Like a group of survivalists in a zombie apocalypse movie, we had decided to ignore the signs of danger or got caught up in meeting our desires and foolishly had chosen a path that would lead to our death and destruction.   

Having seen the light and a way out, I had turned to tell the others in my party that I had found a way out but discovered that they were either unwilling or incapable of going with me.

At that point, I had a decision to make. I could stay with my friends in the darkness and continue to ignore the danger we were in and enjoy meeting our desires until our eventual demise or I could choose the hard path of escape where I would have to not only leave my friends behind but also choose to leave behind some things that I considered to be a part of me as a person: some tangible personal possessions and some intangible things, like the ways I thought about life, about myself, and about the roles I had within relationships that would have to end.  

The One who showed me the light was God and I could choose to go with Him and live or choose to stay where I was and eventually die.  He assured me that His was the way that was right and that lead to life more abundantly, but I was still free to choose which way I would go.  

I chose to put my trust in Jesus Christ and have followed Him ever since.  The going hasn’t always been easy, and I have had to suffer many loses on the path to a new life, but He has never left me in my struggles, and He has brought me continually out of the darkness that I was in.  

My old friends who live in the shadows beckon me to come back sometimes and I may find myself occasionally listening to their siren song and may even slip up and make a misstep or two as I walk but God has won my soul and my love and when I fall down, I get back up and keep walking in His direction.  

The meaning of life is to make peace with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and then endeavoring to discover what God’s will and purpose for our life is.

His will is clear in scripture: our sanctification: to be more like Him, to walk in His ways for living. 

His purpose for us is also clear: to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scripture also states that He has prepared good works for us to walk into. 

So although the specifics of our lives here on earth aren’t spelled out for us, we have the freedom to grow in the things that are clear in scripture and to discover what God has for us on the journey of our lives. 

Our current physical location should clue us in because we can only do and walk into the path that is before us.  So walk in the Lord’s way for your life where you are and if you feel that you aren’t where you should be, ask the Lord to guide you in the way you should go and get moving in that direction.  

It’s a new week, it’s a new day, and when you keep walking and talking to God it can be a whole new life.  So take the steps today to draw closer to Him into the life He has for you.

You may have to leave your personal darkness and your friends in the shadows behind but the only life you will have in the future will be in the Lord’s presence.

So choose to live and start walking towards that One that works everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Psalm 119:50 (NLT2)
50  Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.

Today’s verse reminds us that God’s promise can revive us and give us comfort.  

There are many conditional promises in the word of God, like:

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
19  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

And

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Well there are two good ones: That God will supply all you need and that you will not perish and have everlasting life.  

If you notice these promises are conditional on having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  So you have to believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior and put your faith in Him but when you do you are forgiven of all your sins, made spiritually alive, and adopted into God’s royal family. In Christ, we receive everlasting life, and all our needs are met.   

So as today’s verse tells us, God’s promise can revive us and give us comfort in all our troubles.

 

The assurance of our salvation, eternal life, and our unbreakable relationship with God should give us joy and hope to fuel our life’s journey.  If we remember God’s promises, and there are lots more to discover in His word,  we can be revived daily and be comforted if trouble comes our way.   

God is with us. He loves us. He will never leave us or forsake us. So be revived by these truths and by His presence and keep walking and talking with the One who will comfort you all the days of your life.

 

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.

G. What Is the Problem of Good?

The Bible says, "Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil" (Romans 14:16). If the problem of evil is an argument for atheism, then the problem of good is an argument for theism. Simply stated, the problem of good is that God must exist in order for ideas such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality to have any meaning. The problem has 5 parts:

1. If there is no God, then nature is supreme.

God is by definition the "supernatural creator of the universe." If there is no supernatural creator of the universe, then nothing is left except nature. Thus the laws of nature are supreme.

2. If there is no God, then nature operates by the principle of "survival of the fittest."

Nature is therefore, cold, harsh, and indifferent. The "fit" creatures that adapt to their environment survive. Those that don't adapt, perish. Thus, that which is smarter, stronger, prettier, quicker, or in any other way more fit to survive are more valuable.

3. If there is no God, self-preservation is the only ethic in "survival of the fittest."

In "survival of the fittest," self-preservation is the law of the land. If one can flourish by deception, then deception makes him "fitter" than others. If one flourishes by violence and brute strength, then strength makes him "fitter" than others. If murder, rape, theft, genocide, betrayal, or hatred contribute to survival and prosperity, then the act becomes "good."

4. If there is no God, concepts such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality are irrelevant to self-preservation.

Self-sacrifice toward others plays no part in self-preservation. Under this model, self sacrifice—or being "nice" to others—is not "good" since it will not benefit oneself. Because all acts of self-preservation are "good," there is no such thing as a crime. Love is an illusion, unless it is the kind of love that is self-seeking. Equality is meaningless unless it refers to making oneself equal to those who otherwise would be "fitter" than oneself.

5. Conclusion: If there is no God, then concepts such as goodness, fairness, love, and equality are illusions.

People search in vain for any basis for goodness, fairness, love, and equality apart from God. "Survival of the fittest" has been used to justify everything from slavery to genocide. Naturally, these practices are abhorrent to most people. This innate sense of goodness, fairness, and love is a powerful argument for the existence of God. Because we personally desire the virtue of goodness and because it is desired around the world, such goodness reflects the image of God.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)

 

Argument: "A God of love cannot be at the same time a God of wrath. These 2 attributes are incompatible."

Answer: Love and wrath are not incompatible and can certainly exist at the same time within the same person.

  • A mother who intensely loves her baby will, at the same time, have wrath against a child molester who intends to harm her baby.
    —She might even have wrath against her own beloved child for being disobedient and for being disrespectful to her.
  • When you read that "God is love," the Greek word for "love" used here is agape, which means an unconditional commitment to seek another's highest good.
    —God is never without His love for you.
  • God's wrath is in response to sin and is expressed against anything that seeks to harm you or any other object of His love.
    —This truth was illustrated in the Lord's defeat of the Egyptian army as they pursued the Israelites in order to destroy them.

Recorded in Exodus ...

"The enemy boasted, 'I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.' But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.... In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling." (Exodus 15:9-10, 13)

 

Question: "Did God know that Adam and Eve would sin?"

Answer: Because God is all-knowing and all-present, He is not bound by time. He knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him. Yet He chose to create them and to give them free will so that they too could make choices. They would not be His pre-programmed robots. Scripture is clear that God's plan for the salvation of mankind was in His mind even before the creation of the world. (Robots would not need salvation.) The Bible says ...

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)

 

Question: "Couldn't God have made a world without evil?"

Answer: Yes... however, He also knew that a world of limited moral freedom would actually be an inferior world because virtues are defined by their opposites.

For example, a person can be selfless only if selfishness stands in opposition to it.

  • —Being selfless implies the possibility of being selfish.
  • —It is in overcoming self-centeredness that character is developed and virtue attained.

Although creating a world that became corrupted by evil required God's sacrificing His Son in order to defeat that evil, in His omniscience God knew that such a world would be the best world in which to prepare people for the best of all worlds—heaven itself ...

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'" (Revelation 21:1, 3)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – 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


Monday, October 25, 2021

Looks Like We Made It.. to Monday - Amazing Grace - Purity 558


Looks Like We Made It.. to Monday  - Amazing Grace -  Purity 558

Purity 558 10/25/2021 Purity 558 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend who put their feet up to sit back and relax and to take in this stunning view from their ascension of North Point this past Saturday. Although it is Monday and the work week has only just begun, let’s just take a moment this morning to remind ourselves of all the things we have accomplished and all the things the Lord has brought us through up to this moment in our lives.  

The fact that you are listening to this message or reading this post or blog means that you are a survivor and that the Lord has more for you to experience before He calls you home. So be proud of what you have done, thank the Lord for providing all that you have received along the way, and look to Him for strength, love, and guidance as you walk into the last week of October 2021.      

I received this poem from a brother in Christ half a world away, Philip Hand who lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom, and thought I would share it to remind us of all of what Christ did for us.  I also share the Bible verses, from the King James version, from which Philip was inspired to compose it.  

Amazing grace

Not in building’s made by hand

or artistic masterpieces bold and grand.

A bittersweet love song of sacrifice and love.

Leaving His throne in heaven above.

The Holy Lamb who came to save

the foolish from the mess that they made.

A crown of thorns placed on our sin

shining the power of His beauty deep within.

The hearts of the lost who cry in distress.

Lord save even me give this grieving soul rest.

Set our hearts on fire and fill this holy place

and let me truly know Your amazing grace.”

-Philip Hand

Acts 17:24 (KJV)
24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Also,                                                          

John 3:16 (KJV)
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Psalm 34:6 (KJV)
6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV)
33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (KJV)
20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

Today’s Bible verses are drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 Peter 2:21-23 (NLT2)
21  For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22  He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23  He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

Today’s verses remind us to trust the Lord implicitly and to be conformed to the image of Christ in how we conduct ourselves and respond to the negative circumstances in the world.

 

Ever since I read Luke 5 where Peter told Christ  to “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”, I have had a special affinity for the Apostle who rose above all his mistakes, including denying Christ, to go on to lead the early church.   

Here Peter, as if speaking from experience, acknowledges that although we will suffer for our faith, we are to do good and follow in the example of Christ by:

·       Abstaining from sin,

·       Speaking the Truth, for Christ never deceived anyone,

·       Not retaliating to insults,

·       Not seeking revenge for ourselves when we are harmed

·       Trusting in the Lord

If there was any Apostle who could relate to the difficulties of the Christian life, it was Peter. Instead of giving “greasy grace” that would sympathize with our human frailties, Peter tells us to “walk the walk” of authentic Christians with moral living and by facing any suffering and persecution just as Christ did, with a complete trust and dependence on God the Father.   

Just like Peter, we won’t be perfect in our Christian walk, but we are to keep walking. We are to live our lives as Christ, and Peter’s, example taught us.  While Peter wasn’t perfect, his story gives us hope to be redeemed of our sins and to progress in our maturity in the Christian faith. 

Like Christ, Peter went to His own cross but when he did, tradition tells us, that he requested to be crucified upside down because even after he had turned from his mistakes of the past and faithfully led the church, he didn’t count himself worthy of dying in the same manner as His Lord and Savior.  Even in his martyr’s death, Peter teaches us he hadn’t attained a state of Christlike perfection. 

This teaches us that we will never be perfect like Christ in this life, but it also teaches us that we can use every moment of our lives to give Him glory as we seek to be like Him, and we should never stop living out our faith.  

So keep walking and talking with God, none of us are perfect but when we come to faith in Jesus Christ we come into relationship with the One who is, and we should be motivated to share His perfect wisdom and love with the world that desperately needs it.  

 

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:

D. What Are the Myths and Truths About Dating?

Her profile says she's 25, stands 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, and is a natural blonde. After a few dates, she admits she's really 28 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall, and highlights her hair. He already had guessed the 120 pounds was a fond memory or the result of a faulty scale.

He, too, stretches the truth. He plays up his job title, downplays why his last relationship ended, and tries to impress by flashing cash and dropping names.

Of course, both would be better served by being honest with each other...and themselves. For the biblical book of wisdom reveals the intimacy found in honesty....

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." (Proverbs 24:26)

• Myth

"I need a 'lure' to catch a date."

  • The bait technique....................claiming the other person's interests as your own
    "I'm really interested in cameras."
  • The blunder technique.............claiming to have an "accident" to get help
    "I'm so sorry I dropped all these coins."
  • The buying technique...............claiming the "need" for assistance
    "Could you help me pick out a good coffee?"

Truth

Deceptive techniques are not honoring to God and will not be blessed by Him.

"Keep me from deceitful ways." (Psalm 119:29)

• Myth

"I feel guilty going to church or Bible study with the hope of meeting someone to date."

Truth

You are experiencing false guilt. Certainly, finding a date should not be the main reason you attend church. However, God desires that you meet and fellowship with other Christians, and what better place to find eligible people to date than at a church or Bible study?

"Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another." (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

• Myth

"As a Christian, if I date someone who is not a Christian, God will use me to change my date."

Truth

You have no such guarantee. The Bible never endorses "missionary dating" or "missionary marriages"—dating or marrying a man in order to make him your mission field. Let's assume you become yoked to an unbeliever in marriage. If he is headed toward darkness, where will you be pulled? Toward darkness! If he is headed away from God, where will you be pulled? Away from God! If this non-Christian is to be saved—wait until he is saved and changed by God. Then you may be led to date and possibly marry him.

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?... Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

• Myth

"It doesn't matter if I date a non-Christian as long as I plan to marry a Christian."

Truth

The same factors that draw you into a dating relationship may very well later draw you into a marriage relationship. Dating a non-Christian places you in danger of becoming emotionally involved and, later, becoming unequally yoked in marriage. The more prudent course of action would be to not date anyone you could not or would not consider as a potential marriage partner.

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." (Proverbs 22:3)

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

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

 

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship