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Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2024

Total Solar Eclipse, End Times, and If Today Was You’re “Last” Day- Purity 1320

 

Total Solar Eclipse, End Times, and If Today Was You’re “Last” Day- Purity 1320

Purity 1320 04/8/2024 Purity 1320 Podcast

Purity 1320 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sunrise from Preacher’s Rock in near Suches. Georgia comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this photo on social media Saturday. Fred hasn’t let the moss grow fat on his rolling stone of a life since retirement a few years back and is actively living his life to the fullest, recently doing back-to-back endurance hikes of the Fire Creek Rim Trail in the Nantahala National Forrest in North Carolina. I suspect that if he was suddenly called into eternity, Fred would be pleased with how he spent his last 48 hours, doing something he loved in the splendor of God’s creation.

Well, It’s Monday, April 8th the day of the big eclipse, and as the moon and sun will converge to give us a moment to pause and consider our life’s path through time and space, I am considering our “last day” and the possibility of Jesus coming back “soon” and unexpectedly as He told us in:

Matthew 24:44 (NLT2)
44  You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

And He told us.

Revelation 22:12-13 (NLT2)
12  “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

So is today the day that we will see Jesus coming on a cloud and will have his faithful followers to meet Him in the air as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?  

Let’s just say, I’m ready! Come Lord Jesus Come! How cool would that be?

But honestly, my middle name is Thomas, and when it comes to end times predictions I am filled with doubt over whether Jesus Christ’s return will happen in my lifetime here on earth, let alone later this afternoon to coincide with today’s solar eclipse.  Although I believe Jesus will return to reclaim and rule the earth for 1,000 years and eventually usher in a new heaven and a new earth as the Bible tells us, I’m doubtful it will start today…. But it could.

For those curious about what Christians should actually believe about the end times – based on what the Bible says, Check out a couple of links I am sharing from gotquestions.org on the blog today if you “got questions” about the “millennium kingdom” (https://www.gotquestions.org/millennium.html) and the new heavens and new earth (https://www.gotquestions.org/new-heavens-earth.html ) . 

If you check out those links, you will probably be a lot less scared about the future, that is of course if you have made peace with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, of course.   Truly, the only way we can have peace about the end times, or the end of our time here on earth – our deaths, or any given day really, is to have the assurance that you are “safe” and have the guarantee of eternal life that is only found in Christ alone. 

If you don’t have Jesus, you should be afraid. Not only could you die at any moment in any number of unexpected ways, which would not be cool, if you haven’t been forgiven of your sins and welcomed into God’s kingdom as His beloved child, you would die in your trespasses and sins. Your independence from God and disbelief in the person and finished work of Jesus will be seen as rebellion and rejection of God’s gracious invitation to life with Him.  If you die without faith in Jesus, you will be rightfully judged for your sins and face God’s wrath and go to the dark place that Jesus warns us about. 

To quote a 2017 article from the Gospel Coalition’s Leslie Schumucker: (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-uncomfortable-subject-jesus-addressed-more-than-anyone-else/#:~:text=He%20says%20it%20is%20a,16%3A19%E2%80%9331).)

“Jesus doesn’t only reference hell, he describes it in great detail. He says it is a place of eternal torment (Luke 16:23), of unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43), where the worm does not die (Mark 9:48), where people will gnash their teeth in anguish and regret (Matt. 13:42), and from which there is no return, even to warn loved ones (Luke 16:19–31). He calls hell a place of “outer darkness” (Matt. 25:30), comparing it to “Gehenna” (Matt. 10:28), which was a trash dump outside the walls of Jerusalem where rubbish was burned and maggots abounded. Jesus talks about hell more than he talks about heaven, and describes it more vividly. There’s no denying that Jesus knew, believed, and warned about the absolute reality of hell.”

So if today’s solar eclipse has you a little nervous about “what will happen” or has you wondering about the universe, you, and the big questions of life and death, grab a hold of the answers the Bible gives us and grab a hold of the eternal hope and new life that you can have by making the decision to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  

You don’t have to be afraid of an eclipse. You don’t need to be afraid of your mistakes in life. And You don’t have to worry about how or when you will die.   If you put your faith in Jesus, you will be safe and you will live with God forever.   Jesus said in

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?"

For many reasons, I know the Bible is true, Jesus is who He said He is, and I do believe this and although I’m not going to attempt to fly into heaven to meet Jesus today or run head long into the jaws of death to see Jesus sooner (I have to share this good news), I know that no matter what happens, I will one day be safe and alive in God’s kingdom forever.  

And I believe, that if you believe what Jesus said and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. You can be there too. 

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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 Death and Eternal Life

John 14:1-4 (ESV)
1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

2. The believer will dwell in God’s house forever.

Today’s verse cements what I didn’t realize was “today’s topic”- eternal life and safety through faith in Jesus Christ). Jesus tells us to believe in God – to believe in Him and that He prepares a place for those who put their faith in Him. So add these words of Jesus to the other verses that assure us of the need to make a decision to believe in Jesus and to follow Him and be at ease knowing that the way Jesus goes is the way we want to go.

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

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: JOHN 12

“Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard,
[and] anointed the feet of Jesus.” – John 12:3

This act of Mary expresses three things:

Her Faith. Faith had revealed to her that Jesus was none other than the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. Thus, she took the pound of oil, breaking it upon Him in anticipation of His atoning death.

Her Hope. Hope had carried her beyond death and the grave. Had she thought that Christ would not rise, she would have kept the oil until the burying for embalming.

Her Love. Above her faith and hope shines forth her love in this act. For in that expensive gift was expressed her unstinted, unreserved love. Love is only measured by the sacrificial gift; and the breaking of the vessel of spikenard upon Him meant the sacrifice of her all. No wonder the room was filled!

O, that my life would be as Mary's oil –
a sacrificial, unreserved gift to my Lord.[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, April 6, 2024

Rest in Peace - Purity 1319


Rest in Peace - Purity 1319

Purity 1319 04/6/2024 Purity 1319 Podcast

Purity 1319 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of the confluence of turquoise colored waters, white sand beaches, and black rocks of some tropical beach scene comes to us from an unknown FB friend wo shared this scene on social media on or around June 29th, 2021. If this is your photo and you want, let us know and we can share the location and give you your proper photo credit by updating the blog after the fact.  

Well, It’s Saturday and even though I always have plenty of things to keep me busy when I’m not working, I am officially on vacation this week and share this serene aqua sea scene this morning with the prayer that my friends all find some rest and relaxation this weekend. 

To reassure us that it’s okay, and to inspire us all, to rest, I am sharing a link  OpenBible.Info’s 100 Bible Verses about Rest (https://www.openbible.info/topics/rest) and to impress upon how our relationship with God, founded on the peace we have with God though our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, gives us rest. 

Jesus encouraged us in

Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) to
28  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  

Our faith life is a light burden and when we are in harmony with God we have peace and rest.  

David encourages us to find the rest and peace that comes from a relationship with God and the safety only he can provide in:  

Psalm 4:5-8 (NKJV) where He instructs us to
5  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD.
6  There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7  You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8  I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

We are only ever truly safe and able to rest when we are “good with God” for He is good. As David proclaims in:

Psalm 34:8 (RSV)
8  O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

So my simple encouragement for this weekend is to take refuge – find your safety, peace, and rest by reminding yourself of how much God loves you and has welcomed you to be with Him forever as His beloved adopted child and how you will simultaneously live for ever and still be able to “Rest in Peace”.

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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 verse 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 Death and Eternal Life

Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Today’s verse is the first of two passages of scripture that fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

2. The believer will dwell in God’s house forever.

Today’s verse reminds us of the eternal state of goodness and mercy that we get to enjoy forever when we have peace with God and decide to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  The house of the Lord is synonymous to the “church” or the body of Christ – the kingdom of God – His royal priesthood of adopted sons and daughters – and it is within that fellowship and that close personal relationship with God that we can experience the goodness and mercy that only comes through the Lord.  So let’s rejoice and rest in the peace the comes from receiving the goodness and mercy that the Lord has for us.

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

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: JOHN 11

“Lazarus sleeps.” – John 11:11

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, was and is the only One to make such a statement. In His presence, death is as sleep. Hence, He could say, “Lazarus sleeps.”

A little farther down this chapter, the Lord Jesus says these words: “I am the resurrection and the life” (v. 25). What is death in the light of this pregnant statement? No wonder the apostle could challenge the king of terror, saying, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

In the light of this whole chapter, death appears to be the means through which God manifests His glory. It was so on this particular occasion. Christ's death was the means through which God was glorified (13:23-28). Death to self is the only basis on which Christ will be glorified in me.

Daily let me die to self so that You may be glorified.
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

Monday, April 1, 2024

What do you want me to do Lord? - Purity 1314

What do you want me to do Lord? - Purity 1314

Purity 1314 04/1/2024 Purity 1314 Podcast

Purity 1314 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a tree branch and clear blue skies over the brown fields located beyond the clearing at the end of “Freedom Road” comes to us from yours truly as I decided to capture this moment as I enjoyed the stillness, quiet, and the view while sitting on a stone and mortar cornerstone foundation which all that remains from a building, a barn or a house, that is no more than a small pile of rubble and a distant memory of days gone by. 

With the 40-Day Journey with Martin Luther series on the blog and the online Freedom in Christ course that I was facilitating having been concluded on Saturday when I got to the end of Freedom Road with my canine pal, Harley along for the walk, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do next. Part of walking in the Spirit, is seeking the Lord’s guidance through listening prayer. So when I say I walk and talk with God or “ask the Lord something”, I mean that quite literally. Before I was born again I used to talk to myself but now I talk to God. 

Although I still have a few responsibilities and requirements to meet (2 freedom appointments this week– one today) to finish the work I started with this season’s Freedom in Christ course and last year’s school of prayer ministry with Deeper Walk International, the future seemed to be wide open during my walk on Saturday and I wasn’t just asking the Lord what was next, as much as I was asking Him what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life. With different ideas about what I would like to do, what I could do, and what I would probably do concerning my personal, professional, and ministerial life swirling around my heart and mind, I just wanted some assurance that, even though I don’t have much that appears to be certain, I wanted to be certain that I was walking with God in the right direction.  Admitting that I didn’t really know where I was going, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life and didn’t have to wait long for a response.

What do you want me to do Lord?

Tell people about ME…

Although there were a few follow-up questions and concerns about exactly how I should do that, the “word” that the Lord put in my heart and mind – no, it wasn’t a booming voice or even a quiet audible whisper, gave me peace, assurance, and joy that even though I am perplexed or vexed quite often over “what’s next” on this path of Christian discipleship, the Lord is with me and has given me a desire to do His will – I have been trying and will dedicate the rest of my life to doing just what the Lord said – to tell people about Him. 

So even though much is still to be determined in what I will do and where I will go and live, I was able to rest on that block of mortar and stone at the end of Freedom Road knowing that I had nothing to worry about and could just enjoy my freedom and life in Christ for the wonderful adventure that it is. 

Well, Its’ 's Monday, and although it’s not “Spring Break” for me, and I have to go to work today, and lead a brother through the Steps to Freedom tonight, I will rest and rejoice in the Lord and our mission for my life – to tell others about Him- all the same. 

God is good. He loves you. He calls you to put your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and invites you to Come and See what a life lived in His presence feels and looks like.  I know from experience that it’s the best life you can have because it just happens to be the life you were created to live but are free to reject or accept all the same. 

So let’s not worry about where we will be next year or in the distant future, or even tomorrow – for as Jesus said.

Matthew 6:34 (NLT2)
34  “…don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

And when we keep walking and talking with God, we can know that there are no troubles that we will face today, that God and us can’t handle. Let’s go and let God lead us and tell those we meet along the way about just how good He is.

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

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.

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

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the twenty-fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

24. The primary goal in life must be to fear God and keep his commandments.

Today’s verse is really what our lives in Christ are all about – seeking God’s kingdom – His presence and His purposes- and His righteousness – The Person of Jesus and His ways for living. When I shared Matthew 6:34 above, I honestly didn’t know 6:33 was the verse of the day – but God knew – and He wants us to know the way to not worry about tomorrow is to seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  This is what we do as Christians.  So keep seeking the Lord, His kingdom, and His righteousness, and reap the fruit of the Spirit that will grow in your life when you walk with Him.

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

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: JOHN 6

“It is I; do not be afraid.” – John 6:20

What grand words! How they strengthen, cheer, and comfort the heart. It is true that these words were uttered at a dark moment in the experience of the disciples, but these same words are still the words of the Lord Jesus, and therefore continue to carry with them their ancient power.

He says, “It is I, do not be afraid.” There is no need to fear when He is near. He is the perfect Love which casts out fear. Moreover, He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), and with the Hebrew writer, I reply “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What man can do to me?” (Heb. 13:6). “It is I” (John 6:20) – “If God is for [me], who can be against [me]?” (Rom. 8:31).

Lord, in these uncertain times,
Your Word brings comfort and peace.[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 16, 2024

Yo-Yo Life - Are We Done Yet?- 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 28 - Purity 1301

Yo-Yo Life - Are We Done Yet?- 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 28 - Purity 1301

Purity 1301 03/16/2024 Purity 1301 Podcast

Purity 1301 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun descending into the darkened forest off of Waite Road in Easton NY comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene while out walking with my canine friend, Harley on the last Friday before daylight savings time, on March 8th, 2024.  

Well, It’s Saturday and I may have a little darkness in my mood this morning because I have to work today, and I am frustrated with my “Yo-Yo Life” when it comes to the battle with the flesh that is food addiction.

Food addiction is without a doubt the most difficult of addictions to overcome, yup I am sorry to all of you who struggle with other things I said it, but as someone who has overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex – I feel your pain believe me – but the insidious but subtle evil that surrounds man’s relationship with food can be the most difficult thing to find victory, freedom, and balance in.  

Not only does food addiction cause you to face that you are your own worst enemy – it is me who betrays myself! – but we also are under siege by a demonically led world system that seems hell-bent on dragging us into error when it comes to food.  Man-made processed foods are manufactured to make us crave them. Businesses profit from our inability to say no to their addictive delicacies. Take on food addiction in earnest and your family and friends will speak their fears that you are getting “too skinny” or “too obsessed” and discourage you from achieving your goals for optimal health. And the enemy is ready to push you to that extreme if you’re not too careful. If food addiction is your struggle, I can guess that your upbringing included lots of cooking,  “comfort food”, “finish your food” shaming, family or cultural traditions that were heavy on the food that makes you heavy,  and “recreational snacking”.

If you ever doubted what scripture says about the world, flesh, and the devil being our enemy, just talk to a food addict and unlike other addictions where you get a wealth of support from your family, friends, and society at large, the food addict falls in the no-mans land between those fighting for their right to feast and those who seem driven to perfection who seem just as pleased with your failure as your success.  Fatties aren’t welcomed by the fit and the obese don’t like the idea that people they know leave their ranks because of what it implies about their own food situation.  So it’s rough. 

But in all honesty, all struggles are like this and in the end, the buck stops with you.  We can overcome but we have to come to a place where “we are done” and where we can stay “done.”  And I know most of us have felt “done” many times in our walk through life with all kinds of things – bad habits, bad relationships, bad jobs, and bad situations -  but the truth of our actions will tell us whether we are “done” or not. The concept of freedom indicates that we can choose to walk away and be “done” with any of those things – and we can, but our actions must demonstrate that are “for real” with being done.

After my recent yo-yoing with my health goal’s progress, I’m frustrated with myself and as much as I have pointed out how it seems “everyone is against” the food addict, at the end of the day it is the food addict that gives into the pressures or temptations around them or gives up the fight.  In the other instances of my freedom and victory, I came to a place where I was “done” and I am getting the feeling that I am “done” when it comes to food addiction and am ready to press in even more to achieve the “impossible” and I am going to call on the Lord to help me go these last miles and to never look back.

Are we done yet?  Oh, I pray that I am. I feel so much better when I don’t have to carry the extra physical weight and the weight of the shame and guilt of having to win back what I gave away to self-indulgence of relapses that never satisfy. It’s a strange beast this “food thing” and I realize that to some extent there will always be a battle to maintain my health when I achieve my goals and I am willing to accept that, but I want to get there all the same. I want to see what the Lord can do when I trust in Him to help me. I want to see and feel what it looks like to not be “overweight.”  Honestly, I don’t think it will be much different from where I am right now but I’m going to pursue it all the same.  And I’m going to renew my mind, exercise my body, and lean on the Lord to do it. 

And speaking of leaning on the Lord, it just happens to be the season for that… Lent. And speaking of Lent…

It’s the twenty-eighth 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 28

May your kingdom come.

What does this mean?

In fact, God's Kingdom comes on its own without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come to us.

What is the kingdom of God? Answer: Simply what we heard above in The Creed, namely, that God sent his Son, Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, to bring us to himself, and to rule us as a king of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death and an evil conscience. To this end, he also gave his Holy Spirit to deliver this to us through his holy Word and to enlighten and strengthen us in faith by his power. We ask here at the outset that all this may be realized in us and that his name may be praised through God's holy Word and Christian living. This we ask, both in order that we who have accepted it may remain faithful and grow daily in it and also in order that it may find approval and gain followers among other people and advance with power through the world.

Biblical Wisdom

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed into his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. Matthew 13: 31-32.

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

·       What does it mean to say that God's Kingdom is invisible, or at least difficult to see, like the tiny mustard seed in Jesus' parables?

Well, the kingdom of God is invisible in the mere fact that we don’t see Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father on His thrown.  There is a spiritual realm that we can’t see with our eyes. Jesus literally rose to the ground and ascended in the sky until he was no longer visible. Where did He go?  Some theologians hypothesize that God’s kingdom is in the “north of the universe”. I think there was even a Stark Trek episode or movie where the crew of the enterprise came to a place in the deep reaches of outer space and encounter a powerful being that claimed to be God.. he or it wasn’t, of course, but is God’s kingdom like that, somewhere out there? Or is God’s kingdom like another dimension, where Jesus just rose up and passed through an unseen veil to enter into the place where God is? You got me! But I look forward to finding out someday. In the meantime through our interactions with the Lord, we can feel His kingdom come through instances of His manifest presence – something invisible seemed present in my car when I got “baptized in the Spirit” and while I couldn’t see God I have no doubts that He came to visit me back in 2015 and in various times since then in “Infilling or the Spirit” moments. But God also reaches through the veil into our lives in more subtle ways with the moves of our hearts and minds when we seek Him in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study and worship.  So God’s kingdom has come when Jesus showed up on earth in in our lives and will come when He fulfills His promise to come back. And as for the mustard seed, God’s kingdom grows in us when we surrender to His will and let Him move us to be more and more like Jesus.

·       How do we “remain faithful and grow daily” in God's kingdom?

We remain faithful and grow daily through the spiritual disciplines and by living for God.

·       If God's Kingdom is the redemptive work of Christ culminating in his “rule (over) us as a kingdom of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death, and evil,” what does this mean for the mission of the church and the world?

This means that we are to be progressively sanctified personally and that we are to encourage others to put their faith in Jesus and to become His disciples as well.

Psalm Fragment

They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Psalm 145:11-12.

Journal Reflections

·       Journal on what it means to you to live under the rule or in the kingdom of God?

It means to obey Him by living according to God’s wisdom and ways found in the Bible – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

·       Write about the ways in which you sense the Holy Spirit advancing the reign and rule of God in your life and in the world?

I feel the Holy Spirit advancing the reign and rule of God in my life through the compulsions to be holy and healthy and to serve God in ministry.

·       Make a list of the ways in which you might be a part of the Spirit's work in advancing God's rule in the world.

I might be a part of the Spirit’s work through these messages on the podcast and blog but probably am used more by the Lord with the personal interactions I have in my life and through recovery/freedom ministry work that I do where I encourage others to follow Jesus and to be set free.  Either way, I don’t think I’m doing enough for the one who saved my life and gives me joy.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray for someone you know who seems not to be among those who believe. Pray that you can speak the right word, and sow the seed in them.

Lord, you know the person’s I am thinking of right now, and I pray that I or someone else can speak the right word and sow a seed in them that will grow into them putting their faith in Jesus.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Prayer For Today

Gracious God, I pray that you will give me the courage to speak your word and live according to your word where it is needed, and the patience to wait for your harvest.

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.

Proverbs 17:1 (NKJV)
1  Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.

Today’s verses are the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the fourteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

14. It’s better to have a simple lifestyle than to have wealth with a lot of conflict in the home.

Today’s verse shares the wisdom that quietness is more important than filling one’s belly and having strife in your life.  As I contemplate my food addiction, the demand for certain foods or indulgences seems to be “strife” as I stand on my personal right to please myself. I’ve fasted before and found great peace in the process. So although a house full of feasting may sound like a good thing, I think there is some truth to the fact that strife often accompanies it…

We can’t find peace through substance, but we could find it in quiet moments with the Lord… just some “food” for thought.

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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.

MORNING READING: LUKE 17

“If your brother sins against you, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.” – Luke 17:3

The Lord leaves no excuse for compromise in His teaching. Here He lays down a principle: rebuking sin and forgiving the repentant.

Rebuking Sin. He who does not rebuke sin is a compromiser with sin. The Lord Jesus exposed and rebuked sin continually during His ministry. He did not even spare His own disciples. Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan [Peter]” (Matt. 16:23). The apostle Paul, in writing to the young man Timothy, exhorted him thus: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” (1 Tim. 5:20).

Forgiving the Repentant. This is the outward or public forgiveness. That is to say, after rebuking a brother before the Lord, he should be forgiven; but the public expression of this must follow the trespasser's outward repentance. “Forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

Lord, give me the courage to rebuke sin
and the love to forgive the sinner.[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