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Showing posts with label Luke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luke. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2024

He Walks With Me and He Talks With Me - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 35 - Purity 1308


He Walks With Me and He Talks With Me - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 35 - Purity 1308

Purity 1308 03/25/2024 Purity 1308 Podcast

Purity 1308 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a freshly installed mailbox on the edge of my property and a view of a late afternoon sun over Schodack Creek comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment to appreciate my hastily finished work and place where the Lord has brought me yesterday afternoon. 

Well, It’s Monday and March Madness is roaring like a lion and I am not talking about some basketball tournament, although that can be exciting too I suppose. No. I’m talking about the battle for the mind that happens when we receive and decide to answer that call from God on our lives to repent and to follow Him with the way we live, and I am talking about a schedule that is filled with work and freedom ministry. Every night this week I have something to do regarding the fight for our freedom in Christ and all although some may say my schedule is “madness” during freedom in Christ season, I honestly can’t think of a more worthy use of my time than encouraging others to repent and to find the abundant life that God makes available to us when we make the decision to surrender to his will sincerely and authentically. 

One of the criticisms that Christians face regularly is the accusation of hypocrisy, and I concur. Both before and after my decision to walk the path of Christian discipleship, I have had a problem with those “hypocrites in the church” – those “fake–blank” Christians whose lifestyles don’t seem to follow the Lord other than in superficial ways.  While I understand that we will never be perfect in our holiness, I always had a problem with our faith being “practiced” so inconsistently.  A cursory examination of our faith communities exposes vast Biblical ignorance, quasi-heretical superstitious beliefs, and moral compromise if not outright rebellion among the pews.  And while I can’t fix this very real image problem by pointing out the logs in my neighbors' eyes, I can do my best to take care of the log pile in my own eyes by choosing to examine my life for blind spots, seek the Lord’s help, wisdom, and insights, and to stay diligent in aligning myself with His holiness and in attempting to learn, grow, and progress in becoming more like Jesus.  God saved me through faith Jesus and the least I can do is try to honor his gift and return His love by choosing to follow Him and His ways for my life to best represent His kingdom.  ,

So immediately after getting saved, I sought to know God and His wisdom by reading His word which convicted me of my need to change my life to better represent the new creation I am in Christ. It’s been 14 years since I was “saved”, and it may have taken a while to get past the misunderstandings and misconceptions of what being a Christian was about, but the Lord was patient and led me into the peace, freedom, and joy that comes from surrendering to His will.  I’m not playing a “church game” or putting on a “good face” or my “Sunday best”, I’m trying to show my love for God, who is as real and as present as any person you know and talk with.  The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is inside everyone who has put their faith in Jesus – so God is with us – all the time and when you surrender your life to following Him, you understand just how present He is.  

And “He walks with me, and He talks with me” is an everyday reality and to finish that chorus – “And He tells me that I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known! (In The Garden chorus – Charles A. Miles - https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/In_the_Garden/)  

But the thing is, you can know that joy. We all can when we decide to believe in and follow Jesus. It’s Holy Week, so let’s press into our faith and decide to make this season of Lent the game-changer in our faith and in our lives.   And speaking of Lent…

It’s the thirty-fifth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 35

And lead us not into temptation.

What is this?

Answer: it is true that God tempts no one, but we ask in this prayer that God would preserve and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice, and that, although we may be attacked by them, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

This, then, is what “leading us not into temptation” means: when God gives us power and strength to resist, even though the attack is not removed or ended. For no one can escape temptations and allurements as long as we live in the flesh and have the devil prowling around us. We cannot help but suffer attacks, and even be mired in them, but we pray here that we may not fall into them and be drowned by them.

Biblical Wisdom

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Luke 22: 39-40.

Silence for Meditation.

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

Questions to Ponder

·       If “no one can escape temptations and allurements,” how can a community of faith encourage and support people who are facing temptations and allurements?

A faith community can encourage and support its people to grow in sanctification by establishing a culture of freedom, recovery, and discipleship ministry in their churches. We should take the indictment of hypocrisy against the church seriously and establish a faith community where people can feel safe to take off their masks but where they are also encouraged not to stay in their sin, guilt, and shame and to do establish it based the love of God and the love for one another that He calls us to practice. Love not legalism, saintliness not sinfulness, and authenticity not insincerity should define us…  This is extremely difficult of course because the whole world system in which we were raised and in which we operate daily is built on lies and self-interest…   

·       Is God ever the one who causes us to suffer? Explain.

Yes, If we understand that God is sovereign we have to understand that the conditions of the universe – those cause-and-effect relationships of reality have been created by Him. Now, I am not saying that God is some malicious or evil entity – that’s Satan – but I am saying that God created the universe to encourage us to do what is right and so when we violate God’s “common knowledge” or break God’s moral law, we will suffer.  Adam violated the “sin rule” in the garden that brought death into the universe (a consequence of God for giving into temptation from Satan) and mankind has been suffering ever since. While we could blame Adam and Eve for giving in to sin, or Satan for tempting them,  we can also understand that the suffering that resulted was brought to us by God to cause us to see the error of our ways and to repent and surrender to His good and perfect ways.  And so we know that “all things” , even suffering, will be worked together for the good of those that love God, put their faith in Jesus, and who are called for His purposes. Otherwise, we will all suffer for eternity in Hell – the ultimate suffering brought to Satan and all who reject the Lord. So yes, God causes suffering for a purpose, to bring us to Him.

·       How can trials or temptations “prove” us? (See James 1:12-16).

Trials and temptations can prove us when we endure through them and remain faithful to follow the Lord despite them.  Not losing hope because of trials or not giving into sin shows the authenticity of our faith. We really do believe what the Lord says and show it when we obey His word no matter what the circumstances are.

Psalm Fragment

Save me, O Lord, from my enemies; I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path. Psalm 143:9-10.

Journal Reflections

·       Have you ever felt God was against you, or at least absent? Write about the experience. How did you feel? How did you respond? What spiritual resources (or practices) did you have to help you through the experience?

Before being born again and in the early days of my faith walk where I was still in bondage to the sins of the flesh, I did feel that God was punishing me or that he had left me when I suffered. Thinking those things made me angry or depressed and I would respond by sinning. I would comfort myself in the ways I had learned from the world and that would make me feel that God had left me or hated me all the more. Thankfully, I was blessed with faithful men and women of God, Bible-believing Christians, who taught me the truth of my relationship with God and how I could have peace with Him and the assurance of His presence in my life by putting my faith in Jesus and by choosing to repent and to learn from God’s word and to follow His ways for living.

·       Describe a time when you fell into temptation. Reflect briefly on why you think that happened. Do you pray this petition each time you face “temptations and allurements”? If so, how does it work? If not, why not try it?

As I have struggled recently with my food addiction, I have given into the temptation to “go mindless” in my eating –giving into the flesh despite knowing that it goes against what’s good for me.  I have also sinned with foul language and in other ways that I should change. I unfortunately have not prayed that prayer when faced with the things that would tempt me to sin.  I think I will try it!

·       Have you ever, by prayer and supplication, been able to defeat temptation? If so, write about the experience and what you learned from it. If not, how do you imagine prayer and supplication might be helpful in resisting temptation?

Yes, I have been able to – by prayer and supplication – and surrender to the Lord’s will – and by leaning on His strength – been able to overcome temptation. As for writing about it, check out the blog – but my simple testimony is this – ask God for help each time you are tempted, and He will give you strength to overcome- be diligent in talking to Him and following Him progressively into freedom and victory – one day at a time.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you will continue to be kept from falling into sin and that you will be able to prevail against such temptations.

Lord, I pray for you to continue to help me to keep me from falling into the sins I have victory over and that you will lead me further into the victory, freedom, peace and joy that you have for me and that I will prevail against the temptations that cause me to stumble.  Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear heavenly Father, do not lead me into temptation. Save me in the time of trial and “let your good spirit lead me on a level path.”

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

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

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

1 Kings 21:1-14 (NKJV)
1  And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
2  So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money."
3  But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!"
4  So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.
5  But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, "Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?"
6  He said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.' "
7  Then Jezebel his wife said to him, "You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
8  And she wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth.
9  She wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people;
10  and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, "You have blasphemed God and the king." Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.
11  So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.
12  They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people.
13  And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!" Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
14  Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned and is dead."

Today’s verses fall under the nineteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

19. King Ahab’s unchecked covetousness finally drove him to murder.

Today’s verses tell the story of how an innocent man met his demise because of someone else’s greed and covetousness.   Both Ahab and Jezebel eventually met violent deaths for their wickedness of which Naboth’s murder was just one crime of many.  

When we covet we can be tempted to steal, kill, or commit adultery.  So be careful what you set your eyes on and what you put your heart’s desire on because that covetousness can cause you to sin and face similar ruin to that of Ahab and Jezebel. 

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

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

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

EVENING READING: LUKE 24

“Their eyes were restrained, so that
they did not know Him.” – Luke 24:16

Spiritual Restriction. “Their eyes were restrained” (v. 16). They were not able to see. Their vision was limited or restricted by unbelief. The fruits of such spiritual restriction are sorrow (v. 17) and perplexity (v. 22).

Spiritual Revelation. “He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself ” (v. 27). After rebuking unbelief, this One opened the Scriptures to the two disciples. The weapon for unbelief is the Word of God. When unbelief is dealt with through opening of the Scriptures (see Heb. 4:12), there is a real heart experience – the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Recognition. “Their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (v. 31). “They knew Him.” This is the greatest height of spiritual existence. Paul aspired to it – “That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).

I am grateful, Lord, for Your living Word that restores my
vision and faith, and allows me to know You.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Forgive Us Our Sins - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 34 - Purity 1307


Forgive Us Our Sins - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 34 - Purity 1307

Purity 1307 03/23/2024 Purity 1307 Podcast

Purity 1307 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a gorgeous palm tree on the shores of a turquoise ocean hemmed by  a broken bridge comes to us from a currently unknown FB friend who shared this scene of what could possibly be near the Florida Keys, on social media back on or around May 8th, 2021. If this photo is yours and you would like the photo credit you deserve give me a heads up and I will update the blog after the fact.

Well, It’s Saturday and while I slept last night, lamb-like March has been replaced by a lion of a snowstorm as we were warned over the last few days with below-freezing temperatures that there is no early spring in upstate NY and now the snow makes that a painfully obvious, undeniable fact.  Skiers, snow-shoe enthusiasts, and snowmobilers rejoice!  But as for me, I’ll be snuggling up with my wife in my countryside home for a day of rest as my “March Madness” is nearing completion as we enter Holy Week with Palm Sunday tomorrow.  The last meeting of the Freedom in Christ Course that I lead online is Monday and the last “currently scheduled Freedom Appointment is Thursday, and I am suspending any and all ministry meetings, other than Easter Sunday Service to Celebrate Christ’s resurrection, next weekend. Good Friday will be good in more than one way… as it will mark the end of my having 3 nights of ministry or school during the week and nearly all of the men who have attended the Freedom in Christ course will have gone through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  It’s been an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to serve the body of Christ and to be built up in my faith over the last 12 weeks but it's also nice to see this season come to a close.

And speaking of season coming to a close, the last day of Lent is a week from today but let’s make the most of this Lenten season by drawing close to the Lord with the start of Holy Week tomorrow. And speaking of Lent..,.

It’s the thirty-fourth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40-Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 34

And remit our debts, as we remit what our debtors owe.

What is this?

Answer: We ask in this prayer that our heavenly Father would not regard our sins nor deny this petition on their account, for we are worthy of nothing for which we ask, nor have we earned it. Instead we ask that God would give us all things by grace, for we daily sin much and indeed deserve only punishment. So on the other hand, we, too, truly want to forgive heartily and to do good gladly to those who sin against us.

This sign (“as we forgive our debtors”) is attached to the petition so that when we pray we may recall the promise and think, “Dear Father, I come to you and pray that you will forgive me for this reason: not because I can make satisfaction or deserve anything by my works, but because you have promised and have set this seal on it, making it as certain as if I had received an absolution pronounced by you yourself.” For whatever baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which are appointed to us as outward signs, can effect, this sign can as well, in order to strengthen and gladden our conscience. Moreover, above and beyond the other signs, it has been instituted precisely so that we can use and practice it every hour, keeping it with us at all times.

Biblical Wisdom

We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God”, and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 1 John 4: 19-21.

Silence for Meditation.

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

Questions to Ponder

·       Different versions of the Lord's prayer use different words in this petition-sins, debts, trespasses. Which do you prefer? Why?

The version of the Lord’s Prayer that I learned as a child in my Catholic upbringing used “trespasses”, so I usually use that phrasing when I pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Do I prefer it? I don’t know I sort of like the sound of “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” but I don’t usually pray that. Can I prefer something if I don’t do it? I like it because it sounds good theologically and is used in a couple of the versions of the Bible I like (NLT, NCV). Ironically, the one I like the least – debts and debtors (clunky) is the one that is used by most of the Bible translations that I prefer (NKJV,NIV,NASB,).  Regardless, no matter how we phrase our transgressions – asking for and passing along forgiveness is what’s most important.

·       What does the word “as” in this petition mean? Is our forgiveness conditional on our forgiving those who have sinned against us?

We will have to ask the LORD to be sure of whether or not our forgiveness is conditional but it sure sounds like it might be.  I teach that an “unforgiving Christian” is an oxymoron at best and may be a contradiction in terms meaning if we claim to be Christians but fail to forgive others it may indicate that your conversion is a sham… I mean the whole idea of coming to faith in Christ is receiving God’s forgiveness and if we can’t forgive others we really have to wonder if we “know” the gospel or know the Lord . If our hearts haven’t been moved to “pay it forward” with our forgiveness… when God’s word basically commands us to, repeatedly, we have to ask whether or not our disobedience and rebellion make us more like Satan than Jesus.  Our unforgiveness is at least a foothold for the enemy but it very well could indicate that we are actually in the kingdom of darkness rather than God’s kingdom and are only deceiving ourselves.  

·       How is our forgiving those who have sinned against us a sign like baptism or the Lord's Supper?

Forgiving others is a sign that we may understand the gospel and may be one of the best pieces of evidence that we have truly surrender to the Lord’s will for our lives…. but even the biggest sinners could forgive others because they want to be forgiven for all the wrong they have done and will continue to do. If we don’t confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, forgiveness would be just another empty work of our self-righteousness. Remember our salvation is not about good deeds – its about faith in Jesus – it’s not about our performance in any one area – or any areas – its not about performance – its about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ specifically and seeking to represent the kingdom and share the gospel of Jesus Christ specifically (not be a good neighbor – That’s State Farm’s slogan – or be nice – or do what’s right) with the way we live our lives.  Everything we say and do should point to Jesus – not the good work we do.

Psalm Fragment

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.  Psalm 130:3-4.

Journal Reflections

·       Meditate on whether forgiving others who have hurt or wronged you is easy or difficult for you.

It’s difficult in the flesh, but when I remember that I have been forgiven and that it is commanded by the Lord – it is easy in the Spirit.

·       When you find it difficult or impossible to forgive another, what is the impact on your relationship with God?

Our unforgiveness will either separate us from God or cause disharmony with our relationship with Him.  Sin is missing the mark and not forgiving others when we have been forgiven for everything we have ever done or will do, is that – missing the mark – sinning – that needs to be repented of to enjoy our relationship with God fully.

·       When Luther says that forgiving others is a “sign” he means that it is a sign of God's forgiveness of us. Luther tells us to “use and practice (this sign) every hour, keeping it with us at all times.” Meditate on what it would be like to adopt forgiveness as a daily spiritual practice.

If we adopt forgiveness as a daily spiritual practice, we will know peace and joy as we will be walking in the Spirit in a very significant way.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you will be able to ask God for forgiveness and be able to forgive someone who has wounded you, and that they will also be willing to forgive you.

Lord God, I pray that your Holy Spirit will guide me to always ask for forgiveness when I sin and that I will be moved to forgive others from the heart for any sins, debts, or trespasses they should do against me, and that they will likewise be moved to have faith in You and be willing to forgive me as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear Lord Jesus, you teach me to ask our Father for the forgiveness of my sins and to forgive those who have sinned against me. Give me the grace to do so.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

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

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Proverbs 22:1 (NIV2011)
1  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Today’s verse falls under the eighteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

18. A good name is more desirable than great riches.

Today’s verse impresses upon us how a good reputation, based on our character, is worth more than material prosperity.  A “good name” only comes from character.  While riches may give one’s name some recognition – like Rockefeller or Trump – it doesn’t necessarily equate to “goodness”. Rich and good may not be opposites per say but we don’t often hear them together. Bible puts more value on our goodness so let’s have a character that will reflect our goodness regardless of the amount of money we have. 

-----------------------------------------------------------

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

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

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

MORNING READING: LUKE 23

“I find no fault in this Man.” – Luke 23:4

What an amazing testimony was this!

Pilate was only an unconverted Gentile, yet he had to say, “I find no fault in this Man.”

The Lord Jesus Himself had only recently said, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). He said that even the Devil had no occasion against Him.

Yes, His life was one of spotless purity and goodness – an example to man and angels. Even the Father could say, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Blessed Lord, enable me by Your power to live
the faultless life, that Your Name may be glorified.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, March 22, 2024

Thanking God for the Journey - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 33 - Purity 1306


 Thanking God for the Journey - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 33 - Purity 1306

Purity 1306 03/22/2024 Purity 1306 Podcast

Purity 1306 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of an aerial view of blue skies over the Che Che Pin Qua Woods area outside of Chicago and Lake Michigan on the horizon comes to us from yours truly as I capture this scene and my IPhone’s GPS locator captured my position even though I was in midair, back on April 25th 2021 as I was flying to San Antonio to complete my training as a CFMA with Freedom in Christ Ministries.  

Well, It’s Friday – Thank God – and This morning I am rejoicing because of last night’s successful freedom appointment with one of the men from the Freedom in Christ Course and because it’s the end of the work week and I will have a couple of days in the presence of my beloved wife, TammyLyn!

As I have had my iPhone’s photo gallery set to 2021 and have been cleaning house of some old photos by releasing them to the blog, I have mostly discovered forgotten FB friends’ photos but this morning I came upon today’s view from my flight to San Antonio and it reminds me of how much has changed since that flight in 2021.  Not only did I complete my training as a CFMA for FICM but after that, TammyLyn and I were engaged and married on New Year's Day 2022. In the same year, I went on to serve at FICM’s next practicum in November where I met Sue Huber in person and served under her on the Practicum’s prayer team. Shortly after that Sue became the FICM’s Nation Course Coordinator and I began facilitating Men’s Online Freedom In Christ Courses in 2022.  And in the shifting landscape of 2021, I also made the decision to leave my local church, was “released in December 2021” and began attending Starpoint Church, which has since moved locations, where I now serve as the leader to the Celebrate Freedom (Recovery/Discipleship) Support Group (https://starpoint.church/supportgroups/)! Little did I know how much would change after that flight in April.  It was an end in itself in a way as I was going to complete my training for FICM but now that I look back it was really a beginning to some seismic changes in my life and it all began when I answered the call to try to help others experience their freedom in Christ, which I experienced when I decided to surrender to the Lord’s will for my life.  

A lot can change in a short time when you follow the Lord, and right now just happens to be the season to “repent and believe in the gospel, so let me encourage you to considering asking God what He wants to do with the rest of your life in this season of Lent.  God’s plan is better than our plan for our lives so why not use this season of Lent to discover it?  And speaking of Lent…

It’s the thirty-third day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 33

What then does “Daily Bread” mean? Answer:  

Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rules, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

But especially is this petition directed against our chief enemy, the devil, whose whole purpose and desire it is to take away or interfere with all we have received from God. He is not satisfied to obstruct and overthrow the spiritual order... but he also prevents and impedes the establishment of any kind of government or honorable and peaceful relations on earth... In short, it pains him that anyone should receive even a mouthful of bread from God and eat it in peace. If it were in his power and our prayer to God did not restrain him, surely we would not have a straw in the field, a penny in the house, or even an hour more of life-especially those of us who have the Word of God and would like to be Christians.

Biblical Wisdom

Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5: 7-8.

Silence for Meditation.

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

Questions to Ponder

·       How do you think our prayer to God restrains the devil? Explain.

When we pray to the Lord to provide for us, we are drawing into a close personal relationship where we are trusting Him and when we have that communion with God, we are empowered to do His will and He blesses our seeking Him with his grace and protection.  Our prayer to God takes us away from the enemy’s influence and puts us where we are supposed to live – in the presence of the Lord.

·       Luther sees all of life on this earth as a battle between God and Satan concerning every single part of our lives, from spirit to flesh. What do you understand Luther to mean by this?

Luther is addressing the truth of the unseen aspects of our lives – the spiritual reality that our enemy is not flesh and blood but are the principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this age, who are the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places – demons!” Just as God is real and has interactions with man to draw us into His kingdom, demons afflict mankind through deception, temptation, accusation, and condemnation in a wicked campaign to “steal, kill, destroy” us.  

·       Read again Luther’s list of what constitutes daily bread. What do you think is the responsibility of individual Christians and the church to see that all people enjoy this daily bread? How might this responsibility be worked out?

Our responsibilities as individuals and as the church is to work towards and encourage others to know the truth of the gospel and to work toward the betterment of our fellow man by encouraging community and work towards a productive society where our needs – our daily bread – is provided for.  We can work out this responsibility by being a productive member of society and by forming faith communities where personal responsibility and being a good steward of the things God has provided us with is encouraged and supported with words and actions.

Psalm Fragment

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. Psalm 104:14-15.

Journal Reflections

·       The Lord's Prayer directs us to ask: “Give us today our daily bread.” Meditate on this petition and write about what each of these words means to you.

These words point to the fact that everything we have is received by God’s grace and that we are to ask Him to continue to provide for our needs-our daily bread- on a daily basis.

·       Make a list of all the things that might prevent you or anyone else from receiving and enjoying your “daily bread”. Can you think of this petition as a way of saying “no” to these things? Why or why not?

Negative circumstances or trials could prevent our receiving “our daily bread” – loss of jobs, famine, natural disasters. But also our negative mind states – our pride, suffering from the consequences of our sin, anxiety, worry, fear, depression could also take away our peace and cause us to not “enjoy – or appreciate our daily bread.  It took a second to figure out what this prompting was asking but – Yes – by asking “give us today our daily bread” – it could be seen as us saying – No – to the things that would prevent us from receiving and enjoying our daily bread. Give us our daily bread – not these other things that could prevent us from receiving or enjoying it.

·       The concept of the “devil” was a common way to talk about evil and its consequences in Luther's time. Is Satan, or the devil, a reality for you? Explain. If not, how do you think about evil?

The concept?  The word of God attests to the reality of Satan, and I have experienced the reality of the spiritual forces of darkness of my life to confirm the word of God is true! Not only was I freed from the temptations and condemnations of the enemy when I repented personally, I have seen evidence of the presence of demons in other people’s lives as I have seen glimpses of demons manifesting in freedom appointments before the subjects repented and cast them out. There is no “concept” about it. The devil is real, and he must be resisted and cast out of our lives through our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that God will protect you and will triumph over the evil one, and give thanks for the good that God has done to give you a good life.

Lord, Protect us and help us to triumph over Satan and always remind us to give You thanks for all you have done to give us good lives.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear God, thank you for continuing to give us each day our daily bread; continue to give us the strength to stand against evil and teach us to be thankful.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

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

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Proverbs 16:16-17 (NIV2011)
16  How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!
17  The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives.

Today’s verses fall under the seventeenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

17. It’s better to have wisdom than to have wealth.

Today’s verses encourage us to know and experience the tremendous value of the wisdom and insight that lead us to live a righteous life of obedience to God. Knowing the truth of the gospel and wisdom of living for God is better that gold and silver. Money can’t buy you love, and it can’t buy you the peace that is found through faith in Jesus Christ and following Him into a good, pure, and righteous life.  SO seek the Lord and His righteousness and wisdom to be truly rich.  

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

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

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

EVENING READING: LUKE 22

“And He said to them, ‘When I sent you without money
bag … did you lack anything?’ So they said, ‘Nothing.’”
– Luke 22:35

Loving Father, I do thank You for the fact that I can faithfully and gratefully say with the disciples of old – “I have lacked NOTHING.”

I thank You that You have supplied all MY NEEDS, despite the fact that You sent me forth without purse. Indeed, Father, You have done far exceeding abundantly above what I could have asked or thought. Blessed be Your Holy Name forever.

I thank You most of all, however, for the Unspeakable Gift, the Lord Jesus Christ, for all that He is and will ever be to me; for all that has come and will yet come to me through Him; I bow in heartfelt thankfulness.

Amen.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship