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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Amazing? What's so amazing? - I Hope You Know – Purity 478


 

Amazing? What's so amazing? - I hope you know – Purity 478                                                                  

Purity 478 07/23/2021  Purity 478 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a misty morning sunrise over wetlands comes to us from a friend’s sunrise hike at the Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve in Rexford NY. Getting up early to exercise our bodies, minds and spirits have several benefits one of which is seeing the glory of the beginning of a new day. But its not just the sights that complete the experience, for our friend reports that the stillness of the morning environment comes with sounds of nature coming alive that are “amazing”.      

I share this photo because I love the view of the morning sun reflected on the water and because it’s finally Friday and I am looking forward to ending the first week back to work since my staycation ended on Monday.

My friend’s use of the word “amazing” makes me think how that word is sometimes used disparagingly or how it can be overused. I believe my friend’s use of the word “amazing” was not only sincere but wholly appropriate to their experience but there are many among us who would fail to see what was “so amazing” about some stupid hike at the crack of dawn.  

Just for the record, amazing is defined as: “causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.”  My friends use of amazing expresses their sense of wonder at God’s creation and the peace they found in the moment.  My friend’s experience could also have been surprising or astonishing to them, depending on their perspective. 

I know this friend has a solid relationship with the Lord through their faith in Jesus Christ, so I know that they consider the things of God quite often and make a regular practice of gratitude:, which is the practice of continually thanking the Lord for all the blessings, and challenges, we experience in life.   That faithful perspective and attitude of gratitude are foundational practices of the Christian lifestyle that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, and love.  

But in our society the word “amazing” can also be used to express that sense of astonishment that is more of a negative emotion.  My young adult daughter often uses the word “amazing” to sarcastically describe things that annoy or frustrate her. While their may be astonishment, surprise, and some wonder in my daughter’s angsty use of the word amazing, it is a far cry from the use of “amazing” that describes the grace that saved a wretch like me.  

To borrow my daughter’s sarcasm for a moment, wonder where she got that from?, I guess you could say I have been having an “amazing” week at work as my normal routine has been disrupted by the effects of all the rain we have hade in the past weeks causing me to have to adapt to new challenges, uncertainty, and stress.  So I’m not sure where the day will take me, but I’ll be sure to lean on the Lord and will rejoice when its quitting time later this afternoon.

Using the word “amazing”, in this negative context is an indicator that you may not exactly be familiar with God’s amazing grace or that you may have forgotten it. 

When we look at the world through a disgusted or negative lens we don’t do ourselves any favors emotional or mentally.  Why would we want to dwell on the bad things in life? How we think effects how we feel.  While I am not suggesting living in denial of the suffering that surrounds us, I am suggesting that directing our thoughts to recognizing the good that God has provided in our lives will brighten your experience emotionally.  

So have an amazing day and an amazing weekend.  Regardless of the circumstance that surround you, when you keep walking and talking with God your experience of life can be one where the word “amazing” describes positive senses of wonder, surprise, and astonishment instead misusing the word to describe feelings of discontentment, annoyance, or bitterness. 

God invites all of us to know His Amazing Grace every day by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.  Some have of us have done that but are not living amazing lives because we don’t live in harmony with God.  

God has put a path before you.  How you walk it is up to you. I encourage you to put your best foot forward and follow the Lord’s lead.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 8:32 (NKJV)
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Today’s verse is a promise from Christ for every believer to experience their freedom.  

The previous verse that leads to this profound statement from Jesus states that Christ’s disciples are those who abide in His word.  The results of abiding in God’s word is a knowledge of the truth and freedom.  

This world is shrouded in the lies of the enemy and a world system that has developed philosophies that are independent of God.  Our hostile environment seeks to define truth as worldly wisdom and how things work according to man.  The problem is that there are a whole lot of men and women with their own ideas about what is true and with various opinions on how to live.  While everyone is entitled to their own opinions about the nature of existence and what is right, we will all be subject to what the Creator of existence declares as true.  

God’s word is a warning and a book of instruction.  To ignore the Bible is to disregard truth. Scripture describes very negative consequences for those outside of God’s will and grace.  Knowing that it is only through faith in Christ that we can be reconciled to God to avoid God’s wrath is the truth by which we will all be judged. 

When we know that and put our faith in Christ, we are free from the rightful penalty of God’s wrath. We are free indeed.  

But that’s only half the story of knowing the truth in God’s word. His instruction manual, the Bible, also teaches us to turn from our sin and live a righteous life.   When we do that we experience the freedom from the bondage of sin.  We no longer are compelled to sin because we experientially know that we are set free because we have applied God’s truth to our lives.   

The amazing news, yes surprising, full of wonder, and astonishment in a good way, is that as we walk out our Christian lives, there is more of God’s truth to be revealed to us, in relation to our understanding and its application to our lives, and that means that there is more freedom for us to experience!

So act like a disciple of Christ by abiding in His word and learning His truth with an open hear and an open mind. Seek to know God’s truth and how it applies to you personally. Endeavor to apply God’s teachings to your life.    When you do that you will not only experience new dynamic levels of freedom in Christ, but you will undoubtedly want to help set the captives free around you by sharing the truth and hope that is found in Christ alone.    

 

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, continuing Chapter 8.

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:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

6. Fun. Key Concept: Uninhibited Spontaneity

Fun is uninhibited spontaneity. Have you ever planned a major fun event? Chances are, the last time you really had fun was spontaneous, after you threw off your inhibitions. Worldly people know they need to get rid of their inhibitions to have fun. That is one reason they drink.

The secret to enjoying uninhibited spontaneity as a Christian is to remove unscriptural inhibitors. Chief among the inhibitors of Christian fun is our fleshly tendency to keep up appearances. We don't want to look out of place or be thought less of by others, so we stifle our spontaneity with a form of false decorum. That is people pleasing, and Paul suggested that anybody who lives to please people isn't serving Christ (see Galatians 1:10). The joyless cry, "What will people say?" The liberated in Christ respond, "Who cares what people say? I care what God says; I stopped playing for the grandstand a long time ago when I started playing for the coach."

I love the uninhibited joy of King David. He was so happy about returning the Ark to Jerusalem that he leaped and danced before the Lord in celebration. He knew there was joy in the presence of God. Michal, his party-pooping wife, however, thought his behavior was unbecoming to a king, and she told him so in no uncertain terms. David said, "Too bad for you, lady. I'm dancing before the Lord, not before you or anybody else. And I'm going to keep dancing whether you like it or not" (see 2 Samuel 6:21). As it turned out, Michal was the person God judged in the incident, not David (see 2 Samuel 6:23). It is a lot more fun pleasing the Lord than trying to please people.


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, 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, June 29, 2021

Keep Your Eyes Open: Seeking the Kingdom, Finding His Presence - Purity 457

 


Keep Your Eyes Open: Seeking the Kingdom, Finding His Presence

Purity 457 06/29/2021   Purity 457 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of blue heavenly skies over water from the vantage point of a starboard window comes to us from a friend who was taking the ferry to Burlington Vermont on a recent trip to their camp in Highgate.  Although I am sure our friend was excited about getting to their final destination, they had the presence of mind to keep their eyes open for the beauty that God had prepared for them along the way.   

As I encourage others to “walk in the Spirit”, one of the basic instructions I give comes from Matthew 6:33 which says:

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The depths of meaning that can be drawn from this verse are seemingly limitless as the Holy Spirit can continually reveal new aspects to it.  

The aspect of seeking is what our friend tapped into when they didn’t become distracted by the details on the boat or with what was on their phone or with thinking about what it would be like after getting off the boat. They seemingly let all of those possible distractions go and discovered a pleasant view that could draw their minds and hearts to heaven.   

When we see sights like this one we could just recognize it as “pretty” or we can recognize it as part of the setting that God has put into our life’s narrative. If we do the latter the response is gratitude, awe, wonder, and expectancy as we look to see what God will bring into our lives next.   

Many have drawn off the wisdom of the word of God in Jerimiah 5:21, that says foolish people have eyes and see not, and have said that there are none so blind than those who will not see.  

Likewise, I would say that sentiment applies to our relationship with God. If we are not seeking His presence in our life, we won’t see it and we won’t be able to enjoy it or draw from His strength and wisdom.

So no matter where your travels take you today, try to remember to seek the Lord’s kingdom and righteousness along the way. He has things for you to see and He has experiences that He is inviting you into that will show you heaven on earth and allow you to be a channel of His love, joy, and peace.           

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 14:27 (NKJV)
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Today’s verse shows us the care and concern Christ had for His followers in the dwindling hours before His crucifixion and death.   

The Apostles were undoubtedly troubled by Christ’s statements concerning His betrayal and being turned over to the authorities and at Christ’s insistence that He must leave them and go to the Father.     

In the preceding verse Christ promises that the Holy Spirit would come from the Father to teach them and cause them to remember all that Christ had taught them, but Christ’s words here indicate that He knows the state of confusion and anxiety the disciples are experiencing in these moments.   

Jesus seeks to assure them that in this chaotic time of transition that His intention is for them to have peace, and that peace is possible as the Apostle’s eternal relationship with Him can calm troubled their hearts and cast out their fears if they trust in Him.  

These words of Christ are often in liturgical services leading us to the time of communion, when we fellowship with God by partaking of the Lord’s supper.   This tradition is intended to bring us in God’s presence and to bring God’s presence into us. 

The admonition of peace in the service reflects the time Christ sought to give His followers comfort and to draw them close into the new covenant that He was instituting.   

As members of the Body of Christ, we are part of the new covenant and have also been encouraged to have peace through our faith in Jesus Christ. 

So don’t be afraid, and don’t let your heart be troubled. When our minds and hearts are focused on Christ, we can partake of the peace that Christ wants us to experience; the peace that only comes by faith and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. 

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, continuing Chapter 5.

 

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:

Parameters of the Spirit-Filled Walk

When we first became Christians, we were similar to one-third-horsepower lawn mower engines. We could accomplish something but not very much because we were not very mature. Our goal as Christians is to become DC9 Caterpillar engines—real powerhouses for the Lord. Without gas, though, neither a lawn mower nor a bulldozer can accomplish anything. Neither can we accomplish anything apart from Christ (see John 15:5). No matter how mature you are, you can never be productive unless you are walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to walking according to the flesh and walking in the Spirit, our wills are like toggle switches. The wills of new Christians seem to be spring-loaded toward fleshly behavior. New believers are going to live according to what they know, and they don't know very much about the Spirit-filled life. The wills of mature Christians are spring-loaded toward the Spirit. They make occasional poor choices, but they are daily learning to crucify the flesh and walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit is relationship, not regimentation. To illustrate, think about your marriage. You may have started your marriage by relying on rules for effective communication, meeting each other's sexual needs and so on. If after several years you can't even talk to each other or make love without following an outline or list of steps, however, your marriage relationship is still in infancy. In a mature marriage, communication flows naturally from two who love each other.

Another example is prayer. Perhaps you learned to pray using the simple acrostic ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. If, however, you have been a Christian for a few years and your prayer life is no deeper than an acrostic, you have never learned to pray by the Spirit (see Ephes. 6:18). Prayer is a two-way communication with God that requires listening as well as petitioning.

Paul defines what it means to walk by the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-18: "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." Actually, this passage mainly tells us what walking by the Spirit is not, but that is helpful because it gives us two parameters within which we can freely live.

What the Spirit-Filled Walk Is Not

First, Paul said that walking according to the Spirit is not license. License is a disregard for rules and regulations constituting an abuse of privilege. Some Christians wrongly assert that walking by the Spirit and living under grace means, "I can do whatever I want to do." Walking by the Spirit means, "You may not do the things that you please." Living by the Spirit doesn't mean you are free to do whatever you want to do. That would be license. It means you are free to live a responsible, moral life—something you were incapable of doing when you were a bond servant of sin.

I was invited to speak to a religion class at a Catholic high school on the topic of Protestant Christianity. At the end of my talk, an athletic-looking, streetwise student raised his hand and asked, "Do you have a lot of don'ts in your religion?"

I answered, "I don't think I have any that God doesn't, but I think what you are really asking me is, 'Do I have any freedom?'" He nodded.

"Sure, I'm free to do whatever I want to do," I answered.

His face mirrored his disbelief. "Get serious," he said.

I responded, "I am free to make the decision to rob a bank. But I'm mature enough to realize that I would be in bondage to that act for the rest of my life. I would always have to look over my shoulder wondering if I would someday be caught. I would have to cover up my crime, possibly go into hiding and eventually pay for what I did. I'm also free to tell a lie. But if I told a lie, I would have to remember who I told the lie to and what I told them."

What some people think is freedom is nothing more than license that leads to bondage. Freedom doesn't just lie in the exercise of choice; it ultimately lies in the consequences of those choices. The Spirit of truth will always lead us to freedom, but the desires of the flesh will lead us to sin and bondage. The commandments of God are not restrictive; they are protective. Our real freedom is in the ability to choose to live responsibly within the context of the protective guidelines God has established for our lives.

Second, walking by the Spirit is also not legalism. "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law" (Galatians 5:18). If you want to relate to God purely on the basis of moral law, then you need to listen to Paul's words in Galatians 3:10: "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse." You will be a driven person or a guilt-ridden dropout. "Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law" (Galatians 3:21). The law is powerless to give life.

Telling people that what they are doing is wrong does not give them the power to stop doing it. Christians have been notorious at trying to legislate spirituality with don'ts: Christians don't drink, don't smoke, don't dance, don't attend movies, don't play cards, don't wear makeup and so on. Others may claim not to be legalistic, but all they have done is gone from negative legalism (don't do this and don't do that) to positive legalism (do this and do that). We are "servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).

The law also has the capacity to stimulate the desire to do what it intended to prohibit (see Romans 7:5, 8)! Let me illustrate. What happens when you tell a child, "You can go here, but you can't go there." The moment you say that, where does the child want to go? There! He probably didn't even want to go there until you told him he couldn't go. A Christian school published a list of movies the students could not see. Guess which ones they all wanted to see? Why is the forbidden fruit the most desirable? Apparently it was in the Garden of Eden as well.

Christianity is a relationship, not a ritual or a religious code of ethics. We could not keep the commandments by human effort living under the law. The law was a "tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). In Christ we can actually live by faith according to the righteous laws of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Suppose you were walking along a very narrow mountain road. On the right side is a cliff too steep to climb down and too far to jump. On the other side of the road is a roaring forest fire. Ahead of you is a church and a roaring lion is behind you. Which way do you run? Off to your right is an option. Just sail off that cliff. Can you imagine the initial thrill? There are serious consequences to that decision, though, like the sudden stop at the end. That is the nature of temptation. If it didn't initially look good, you wouldn't be tempted. Giving in to temptation always has serious consequences. When people advocate free sex, they are advocating license that has deadly consequences to meaningful relationships and even life.

On the left is another option, but you will be burned by legalism as well. The accuser will give you no peace when you try to live under the law. The only path of freedom is straight ahead, but no church building or group of people will provide an adequate sanctuary. A devil is roaring around like a hungry lion seeking someone to devour (see 1 Peter 5:8), and your only sanctuary is in Christ. No physical place can provide a spiritual sanctuary for you on planet Earth.


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


Monday, June 7, 2021

Purity 438: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 Purity 438 06/07/2021 Purity 438 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo comes from a friend whose eyes are on the heavens near Dunedin, Florida and who captioned this pic as “Bird and Sky”.  I love how God used the cloud formations in this scene to give our fine feathered friend some celestial companions.  The scene may be just a bird in the sky but the wonder of God’s handiwork causes me to think of it as “Soaring in Florida” as our spirits can be lifted up knowing the Grand Designer that coordinates all the elements in time and space for us to marvel over. 

So as we soar into a new work week, I encourage you to thank the Lord for what He has provided and keep your eyes open for what He puts in your path because just like the bird in this photo seems to have some heavenly company, I can assure you that God is with you in your travels.  We just have to open our hearts and minds and reach out with our spirits to find His presence. 


This morning’s meditation verse is:

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.

Today’s verse is the go to verse for Christian evangelism.   If you needed to break down God’s redemptive plan for man in a single verse, John 3:16 wouldn’t be a bad choice.  Many Christians feel this way because John 3:16 is often put on signs and displayed at sporting events to get the message out.    

The verse is so popular by its self that it may not be clear to those who hear it that these are the words of Jesus, Himself. 

Jesus is telling us that:

1.    God loves us

2.    That He is the Son of God and He was sent for a purpose

3.    The purpose was to save those who believe in Him from perishing and by giving them eternal life. 

     These things may seem obvious to us as Christians, but they were counter cultural statements that weren’t obvious to the people Jesus told them to and isn’t obvious to those who don’t know God today. 

God is loving? This idea may be considered debatable by both those who claim to believe in “a god” and to those who don’t. Other religions may see their version of god as powerful, mysterious, and vengeful but not necessarily loving.   Atheists, Deists, and Agnostics would look at the suffering in the world and declare God doesn’t exist, doesn’t get involved in our affairs, or doesn’t seem to be very nice. So the idea of God loving the world wasn’t and still isn’t a concept that all people can accept.  

God having a Son is also a point that is refuted. Entire religions and cults take exception to the idea that God would or could  have a Son. 

 And of course, the idea of being saved from God’s judgement by “just believing” is much too simple for many to believe.  First you would have to get over the doubts regarding the Sonship of Jesus and then you would really have to trust what he said.  

We live in a world of cause and effect and in a worldly economy in which we generally have to earn everything we get. Even when we receive gifts from others there is a perceived obligation to reciprocate by giving in return or at another occasion.   There is no such thing as a free lunch after all so how can God accept me on just the merits of my believing and trusting His Son? Surely we have to do something else, probably a whole lot of things, continuously, in order to gain and keep God’s favor.   

 So you can see that those outside of the kingdom of God can have a problem with the simplicity of John 3:16 if not several.  

So as much as we might want to quote John 3:16 and “drop the mic”, while the multitudes bow down to give their faith to Jesus, we should be prepared to express what we know about the Lord by sharing more of His word and more of ourselves as we seek to gain brothers and sisters in Christ that we will spend eternity with.   

We know what we have in Christ so we should seek to not just “win souls” as much as we should seek to give hope and if possible to form relationships that will build up ourselves as much as edify others.   

 We need to seek and save those who are lost but we should also make room in our lives for those we find.    

 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, beginning Chapter 2.  

 

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:

 

Chapter 2

The Whole Gospel

Imagine for a moment a typical college man. Let's call him Bill. Bill is into the college social scene. He sees himself as a skin-wrapped package of salivary glands, taste buds and sex drives. So how does Bill occupy his time with this self-perception? By eating and by chasing girls. He eats anything and everything in sight regardless of its nutritional value. He chases just about anything in a skirt, but he has a special gleam in his eye for luscious-looking Susie, the cheerleader.

Bill was chasing sweet little Susie around the campus one day when the track coach noticed him. "Hey, this kid can really run!" When the coach finally caught up with Bill he said, "Why don't you come out for the track team?"

"Naw," Bill answered, watching for Susie out of the corner of his eye. "I'm too busy."

But the coach wasn't about to take "naw" for an answer. He finally convinced Bill at least to give track a try.

So Bill started working out with the track team and discovered that he really could run. He changed his eating and sleeping habits and his skills improved further. He started winning some races and posting some excellent times for his event.

Finally Bill was invited to the big race at the state tournament. He arrived at the track early to stretch and warm up. Then, only a few minutes before his event, guess who showed up: sweet little Susie, looking more beautiful and desirable than ever. She pranced up to Bill in a scanty outfit that accentuated her finer physical features. In her hands was a sumptuous slice of apple pie with several scoops of ice cream piled on the top of it.

"I've missed you, Bill," she sang sweetly. "If you come with me now, you can have all this and me too."

"No way, Susie," Bill responded.

"Why not?" Susie pouted.

"Because I'm a runner."

What is different about Bill? What happened to his drives and glands? He is still the same guy who could pack away three burgers, two bags of fries and a quart of Pepsi without batting an eye. He is still the same guy who was just itching to get close to beautiful Susie. His understanding of himself has changed, though. He no longer sees himself primarily as a bundle of physical urges, but as a disciplined runner. He came to the tournament to run a race. That was his purpose, and Susie's suggestion was at cross-purposes with why he was there and how he perceived himself.

Let's take the illustration one step further. Let's say the runner is Eric Liddle, who was the subject of the movie Chariots of Fire. He was committed to Christ, but he was also very fast and he represented his native Scotland in the Olympics.

When the race schedule was posted for his event, Liddle discovered his race was to be held on Sunday. Eric Liddle was committed to God and he couldn't compromise what he believed. So he withdrew from a race he might have won. Why didn't Eric Liddle run? Because he was first and foremost a child of God and he believed that competing on Sunday would compromise who he was. His belief about himself and his purpose in life determined what he did.

Many Christians are not living free and productive lives because they don't understand who they are and why they are here. Who they are is rooted in their identity and position in Christ. If they don't see themselves the way God sees them, to that degree they suffer from a false identity and poor sense of worth. They don't fully understand the gospel and the dramatic change that occurred in them the moment they trusted in Christ.

The Example of Christ

The redemptive plan of God began to unfold when Christ, the last Adam, appeared. The first thing we notice about the life of Christ was His complete dependence on God the Father. He said, "I can do nothing on My own initiative" (John 5:30); "I live because of the Father" (John 6:57); "I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me" (John 8:42); "The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work" (John 14:10, NIV).

The ultimate test came after a 40-day fast. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness and Satan tempted Him. "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread" (Matthew 4:3). Satan wanted Jesus to use His divine attributes independently of the Father to save Himself. Jesus replied: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus prayed, "Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you" (John 17:7, NIV). What Jesus modeled was a life totally dependent on God the Father.

Jesus Came to Give Us Life

Like the first Adam, Jesus was born both physically and spiritually alive. This was made evident by the fact that Jesus was conceived by the Spirit of God, and born of a virgin. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus was tempted in every way, but He never sinned. He never lost His spiritual life because of any sin He committed. He kept His spiritual life all the way to the cross. There He bled and died, taking the sins of the world upon Himself. He committed His spirit into the Father's hands as His physical life ended (see Luke 23:46). What Adam and Eve lost in the Fall was spiritual life, and Jesus came to give us life. Jesus said, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

John declared, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Notice that light does not produce life. Life produces light. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life" (John 6:48) and "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies" (John 11:25). In other words, those who believe in Jesus will continue to live spiritually even when they die physically. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). The ultimate value is not our physical life, which is temporal, but our spiritual life, which is eternal.


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