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Showing posts with label Mission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mission. Show all posts

Friday, November 11, 2022

Enjoying the Journey – Don’t Fear the Falls and Don’t be “Hostel” to New Things - Purity 886

 

Enjoying the Journey – Don’t Fear the Falls and Don’t be “Hostel” to New Things -  Purity 886

Purity 886 11/11/2022 Purity 886 Podcast

Purity 886 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo a bright midafternoon sun shining over one of the “natural” wonders of the world comes to us from yours truly as I decided to make the best of the somewhat long drive to Buffalo by going to Oswego last night Wednesday and by skipping along the coast of Lake Ontario along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail for a time yesterday before making a bee line for Niagara Falls.   The welcome center for the American Falls may be under construction, and it may have been “offseason” but there were no lines, the crowds were small, and the observation deck was open and didn’t require a ticket!   Add to that the bright afternoon sunshine and I really couldn’t have asked for more as my trip to the Falls was the climax of my decision to enjoy my journey to Buffalo.  

Well, It’s Friday and although I am not sure what I will do with the hours between now and when I check in as a volunteer for the Evening with David Jerimiah Event at the Key Bank Center at 3:30pm, I wanted to take the time to encourage all who read or hear this message to occasionally force yourselves to enjoy the journey by being intentional in trying new things, doing things differently occasionally, and appreciating the way to your next destination.   

When I travel I am normally pretty destination driven. IF I’m going to X, let’s get to X and let’s get to X as soon as possible!  But on occasion, not too often mind you, I will make the intentional decision to go a different way, not concern myself with the travel time, and to stop and see and appreciate things along the way.   

When I first heard about tonight’s event in Buffalo, I got the sense that this would be a wonderful opportunity to “be spontaneous” and to do a small act of service to the man and ministry  that delivered “THE MESSAGE” that saved my soul and began my new life in Christ.

Even though  I could have just used today’s holiday – Happy Veterans’ Day – Thank You For Your Service – to drive out to Buffalo in time to make the event, I decided to leave Wednesday evening and use a personal day yesterday so I could take some time to visit my alma mater’s city,  and to just see where the Lord lead me as I slowly moved west to Buffalo.  

Okay maybe I wasn’t completely spontaneous because  I was responsible in scheduling the time off from work and did book my stay at the Knight’s Inn in Oswego and the Hostel Buffalo Niagara well in advance. But other than making sure I had a place to lay my head before going, I decided to take my time and to take a more scenic route and to stop at Niagara Falls before going to my 2 day hostel home in Buffalo. 

So yesterday, after dropping off an old fraternity shirt I have no use for in the mailbox of the new Psi Phi Gamma fraternity house on West 4th Street, I went to the Oswego Marina and drove along the Lake Ontario shore up to the SUNY Oswego Campus.  I took a few pictures of the lake behind Riggs and Johnson Hall and then set the GPS for Niagara Falls.  

But I quickly realized that the GPS was going against my desire to drive along the coast, so I decided to put in Sodus Point as a destination and try to keep the lake close.  I had a great morning driving around soudus bay, to the point and then stayed on lake road, making stops at B.Foreman Park, The Lakeview Shelter at Webster Pier, and the Irendequoit Bay Outlet Pier and Beach.   But when I reached the Seabreeze Amusement Park, my leisurely pace, the unfamiliarity where I was, my desire to visit Niagara Falls and to get to the Hostel Buffalo Niagara before 5pm, all caused me to take the GPS’s quickest route to the Falls.  As I headed south and realized I had only gone as far west as Rochester I was a little disappointed because I wanted to take the long way around to Niagara Falls initially but my stopping to smell the roses had taken time and I had a date with the Niagara Falls. So I hit the thruway with enthusiasm, driving very fast, and made it to the Falls around 2 pm. 

The Falls were as magnificent as ever and I took some time to intentionally sit on a park bench to enjoy the view and to thank the Lord for the wonderful weather and all the wonderful sights I had seen thus far, and of course to thank Him for where He has brought me in life.

And of course, when you think about how good life is because you are experiencing pleasant circumstances you naturally think about the people you love. So I thought about my wife TammyLyn and sent her some photos to let er know that I was thinking of her and that I wished she was with me and that I loved her. 

After some anxiety over finding a place to park my car, I eventually made it to the Hostel in Buffalo, which admittedly is a new experience and caused a bit of anxiety too!   

Think college dorm room, meets fraternity house, meets army barracks, and maybe a bit of the apartment on “Friends”… The Hostel Buffalo Niagara is a laid back pad man, can you dig it…

Okay, I’m a nerd and as I planned this spiritual pilgrimage I decided to intentionally step out of my comfort zone and stay at a hostel.  Hey if you are going to try new things you actually have to plan new things and do them so, I am doing it. 

And although my anxiety level was up, because Mr. Spontaneity hasn’t stayed in Buffalo before and couldn’t reserve parking, WHAT!, I have now, this morning, settled down, now that  I have gotten some sleep and my horror movie fears of murder, theft, and sexual assault at the hands of strangers were baseless.  

I am currently in the “Lounge” typing this out and may even be so bold as to do the podcast if no one else is around…. 

Anyway, I am alive and well and looking forward to this afternoon and tonight’s event where I will be able to serve, worship, praise, and thank the Lord for who He is and for all that He has done.  

So, it is my prayer that all who hear this will enjoy the journey of this life by connecting with God thought faith in Jesus Christ and then by travelling with God everywhere you go.   And even if you have fear and anxiety of doing new things or doing things differently, let me encourage you that when you do them with the Lord, you never have to worry because He will never leave you and He will guide you in the way you should go. 

So keep walking and talking with God, it’s the only way to travel!

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 12:11 (NLT2)
11  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Today’s verse tells us a hard truth but reminds us of a greater purpose.  

Today’s verse tells it like it is: discipline is painful!   Some of the changes that will help us to become more like the people God made us to be will require some concerted effort to renew our minds and possibly shape our bodies to accomplish.  The changes that we want and the deeper relationship with God requires that we be disciplined in instituting solutions and in the regular application of Biblical wisdom through Bible study and prayer.   

Developing new habits and crucifying the flesh can be a daunting task but if we remain diligent in our seeking the Lord and in doing what He directs us to do, we will eventually create new godly habits and see significant results as our minds are renewed and our hearts are surrendered to God.  

So discipline might be painful but as today’s verse assures us, it will reap a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in the way. So keep at it, keep pursuing the Lord and the person He wants you to become.    

___________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

The Hiddenness of Practicing Piety concludes

Asceticism is self-chosen suffering; it is passio activa, not passio passiva, and, therefore, most vulnerable. Asceticism is constantly threatened by the godless, pious wish to make oneself equal to Christ through suffering. One’s own claim to take the place of Christ’s suffering, to complete the work of Christ in suffering, namely, killing off the old self in us, is also lurking dormant within asceticism. In this, asceticism usurps the bitter and ultimate seriousness of Christ’s work of salvation. Here asceticism makes a dreadfully harsh show of itself. Voluntary suffering should serve only better ministry and deeper humility on the basis of Christ’s suffering. But here it becomes a terrible distortion of the suffering of the Lord himself. It wants to be seen; it becomes a merciless living reproach to other people, for it has become the path to salvation. In such “public” ostentatiousness, its reward is really squandered, because it is sought from other people.

“Put oil on your head and wash your face” could likewise become an opportunity for subtle pleasure or self-praise. But that would misinterpret it as a disguise or mask. Jesus, however, says to his disciples that they should remain humble in the voluntary exercises of humility, that they should never burden others with such exercises, using them as a reproach or a law. Instead, they should become grateful and joyous that they are permitted to remain in service to their Lord. What is meant here is not the cheerful face of a disciple seen as a Christian stereotype, but the proper hiddenness of Christian deeds, the humility which does not know of itself, just as the eye does not see itself, but only others. Such hiddenness shall be revealed one day, but only by God, not by oneself.[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 You Tube 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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 160–161.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

What about Results? Answering the Call - Purity 789


What about Results? Answering the Call  - Purity 789

Purity 789 7/21/2022 Purity 789 Podcast

Good morning, today’s photo a water pathway that runs through a city to distant mountains and a sky painted by the sun comes to us from a friend who has taken a year to travel through various parts of the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ along the way.  Today’s photo documents this friend’s visit to the city of Prizren, which is “the second most populous city and municipality of Kosovo and is … located on the banks of the Prizren River between the foothills of the Sharr Mountains in southern Kosovo. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prizren).  I just love how my friend’s love for the Lord and willingness to follow His call has set them on a journey where they will spend an entire year of their lives seeing distant lands and cultures with the sole intention to represent God’s kingdom and share the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Not only has my friend chosen to leave all that was familiar to them behind for a year, but they also chose to trust the Lord by doing it alone. Now they are part of a team, but they didn’t insist that someone go with them to hold their hand. They also trusted the Lord to provide the funds for this traveling mission trip and the Lord was faithful and now what they dreamed about is coming true. They are living it.

Well, it’s Thursday again and I share this “water pathway to the mountains” to encourage my friends to either keep going, or to get on, the path of Christian Discipleship which is my poetic way saying to choose to live out your Christian faith every day.  Instead of “just believing” or agreeing with certain ideas about faith, the true value of our lives in Christ is realized when we live according to what God says about us, seek to know Him more, and to surrender to His will for our lives by pursuing our kingdom purpose.  

Our faith isn’t a list of dos and don’ts, a set of rules to follow.  Our faith is a mission to do the good works that God has prepared for us, to show and share His love and to make disciples.

So tonight, although I haven’t been called to a year long mission trip around the world, not yet anyway, I am answering the call the Lord was leading me to and will be hosting another session of Freedom in Christ Ministries’’ “The Grace Course” on Zoom. 

And how do we know we are doing the right thing? How do we know that what we are “called” to is “of God”?    How do we know we are fulfilling our purpose in Christ?

Unfortunately, unless the Lord shows up with signs and wonders or speaks from heaven there is no easy way to know that what you are preparing to do is “really what God wants you to do.”  

As I thought about this question, the first thing that came to mind is that we can know that whether or not what we do is God’s purpose for us, by the results that we get.  

It makes sense. Like with my friend who is on their extended mission, the mere fact that they were able to fund their trip could be seen as a huge indicator that this is the Lord’s will for their life.  We could reckon that the Lord is sovereign and that if He didn’t want my friend to go on this trip, the money wouldn’t have come or something else would have prevented it.  

Likewise, if you start a church or a ministry and a bunch of people show up, the large crowds could be seen as a huge indicator that you are fulfilling your purpose and the Lord is blessing your faithfulness.  Results thus could be a good indicator of how to gauge whether or not we are in the Lord’s will.   

Of course the problem is that you really have to act on faith because you won’t see the results until AFTER you act.   

Plus, the results that we are hoping for – big crowds, perhaps,(we do desire to reach the nations right ?), might not be what God has in mind.  And just because something isn’t successful in our eyes doesn’t mean that we were outside of God’s will.  

God can also use our failures or struggles to produce the fruit of developing our Christians character, our trust in Him alone, and our patience and perseverance.   

If everything we did was blessed by God we might take the Lord for granted and think that we are wise and we know the perfect will of God”, are making all the right moves, and don’t need to grow.

And because none of us is Jesus Christ, I know none of us are perfect and that we will go through seasons where our faith will be tested, and we will be called to repent and surrender more of ourselves to God’s ways instead of just doing things like we always have.  

I have a friend who was “called” to leave his home state of Arizona to come to Poughkeepsie to start a church and he was faithful to pursue it.   But despite his faithfulness and efforts to build a church there, he wasn’t successful.  He had small measures of success but ultimately the church didn’t take off.    So, I guess he was outside of God’s will right? 

But the thing is he was faithful to the call and although the church didn’t take off, because he had moved to New York, he was in the right place at the right time when a church in the nearby area needed an associate pastor.  He now is on staff as part of that church where he preaches and sometimes leads worship.  He went from being virtually all alone to being surrounded by a vibrant church community.   Good story, right?  True story, but the thing is that it took Years with a Capital Y for it come to pass.  

But this friend, remained faithful and I am sure that he would testify that the Lord had been with him every step of the way, in the lean years and now that he has “arrived”.  

This is the journey of our faith.  We go to where we believe the Lord calls us. We don’t worry about the results. We leave those up to Him. But we remain in constant contact with Him to lead us as we go, and we do the best we can to share His truth and His love and to remain faithful in seeking His purposes for us.  

So don’t worry about whether or not “you are doing it right”, just abide in the Lord’s presence through communicating with Him through prayer, Bible study, and asking Him for strength and guidance and you can be assured that He is with you regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the results.   

As long as our desire is to remain true to follow God’s word, glorify Jesus, and do good things in His name, out of love for Him, not out of obligation or in the hopes to gain something,  we can be certain that we won’t go too far off course because God will undoubtedly work all things together for good because we love Him and are answering the call to pursue His purpose for us.   

Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) say
16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

For in it, the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed. The righteousness of God is Jesus. He is revealed from faith to faith. That means we grow, we progress from “faith to faith” – we mature and know Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit more – in our hearts, in our minds, and in our experience. 

This is our call. Through our faith in Jesus, we have been justified. We are thus “just” – and we shall live by faith.  That describes the fact that we will live forever – we are saved – by our faith.  And it describes HOW we are to live, by faith, by believing what the word of God says and by trying to mold our lives to follow it. 

When we do this, we just happen to get to know God more, from faith to faith.  

This is the cycle of life in the Spirit. So keep walking and talking with God and keep growing as you go from faith to faith.

   

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Peter 1:3 (NKJV)
3  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

In today’s verse, we are encouraged to discover that we have already been given all that pertains to life and godliness because we know Jesus who called us by glory and virtue.  

One thing I have come to understand our faith lies in the heart of today’s verse: we ALREADY got it!

When we put our faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, we received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who made us spiritually alive, giving us eternal life, and the power over sin.   God “has given” – past tense – we already have “it” – all things that pertain to life, as in we will never die or face God’s wrath in hell,  we will instead live with Him for all eternity.   

Most of us understand that part of the gospel, we will go to heaven someday… but we also receive all things that pertain to godliness – we can live a righteous life where we are no longer in a “master-slave” relationship with sin.  When we trust in who we are in Christ and ask the Lord for the guidance and strength to repent of our former ways of living, we can succeed because we have already been given a portion of God’s “divine power” that pertains to life and godliness!

So go to the Lord and thank Him for His salvation from sin and death, believe you received it, and walk with the Lord in faith to receive the guidance and strength for you to live out the righteous life that God has already provided you with.

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Secure and Protected

Paul eloquently attested to the security of all who are “in Christ” in the face of every conceivable hostile power. More than security he portrayed believers as wrapped in the arms of a loving God, forever protected and forever cherished.

At the end of a section where he had described the nature of life in the Spirit, he closed by pointing his readers to the love and power of God in Christ. He remarks:

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38–39 RSV)

While throughout the book of Romans, Paul had been primarily concerned about the influences of sin, the law, the flesh and death on the believer, he turned his attention here to a more comprehensive list of forces that could separate us from God. His focus was primarily upon the hostile spirits and angelic forces against whom we struggle. This comes out particularly in his references to “angels,” “principalities,” “powers” and quite possibly in the expressions “height” and “depth.”

Principalities and powers surface throughout Paul’s letters as the spirit beings he saw as hostile to God’s people. In this context angels must be regarded as the rebellious evil angels who function in a way similar to the principalities and powers. Paul used the term angel in this sense (see 2 Cor 12:7 and Col 2:18), and it was widely used in Judaism to describe supernatural beings in league with Satan.

It appears that Paul may have used the terms height and depth as a comprehensive way of referring to all of the astral spirits who were commonly believed to control human destiny. In astronomical texts both terms appear technical. They were used to refer to the zenith and nadir of the stars, that is, the highest and lowest points reached by a heavenly body. It may be intentional that Paul’s very next expression is, literally, “nor any other creature.” Some commentators have thought this reference confirms that Paul had astral spirits in mind when he used height and depth. J. D. G. Dunn comments on these two terms, “Paul deliberately draws on current astronomical terms to denote the full sweep of the heavens visible and invisible to the human eye, and thus all astrological powers known and unknown which could be thought to determine and control the fate and destiny of human beings.”

In Christ nothing can sever us from God’s rich love showered upon us. However they are conceived, not even the powers of darkness have the ability to disunite God and his people. This does not mean that the principalities and powers will not try. Our conflict with them continues, but in Christ we have a superabundant supply of divine enabling power and love to sustain us.

In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul affirmed the promise of divine protection in a much simpler way. In a letter that warned believers about the coming of a satanically inspired “lawless one” (2 Thess 2:8–9), Paul’s assurance of divine protection would have proved exceptionally comforting. Paul told them, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess 3:3). The promise had already proved true in the experience of the Thessalonians as new believers. In his earlier letter Paul had remarked that he had sent Timothy to check on their progress in the faith because he was afraid that “in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless” (1 Thess 3:5). Quite the contrary to his fears Paul learned that the Thessalonians had been growing in their faith, in spite of persecution, and were actively propagating the message of the gospel. The Lord was truly faithful to them. He did indeed strengthen and protect them from the evil one.

Protection from evil spirits was something of great concern to people living in the first century. The word protect occurs over and over again in the magical papyri as part of recipes that are designed for bringing protection to those who use them, especially in the form of a magical amulet. This kind of magic is commonly referred to as “apotropaic” magic, which literally means “warding off.” It claims to protect people from evil spirits.

For Paul only the one true God gives “protection.” His protection for the believer extends as far as the rule of all the powers of darkness, including Satan himself.

Although God provides us with protection, becoming a Christian does not mean that one gains an automatic immunity to the demonic realm. Believers need to learn about their position in Christ. This is precisely why the study of Scripture and theology is so important for Christian living. Since Satan is a deceiver and an accuser, we need to know the truth about who we are in Christ. The actuality about our new identity needs to be grasped and appreciated in the depths of our consciousness so that we can live like free people, rescued from servitude to the powers of darkness.

These truths are difficult for people to comprehend and accept. Paul felt the need to pray and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to guide the Ephesian Christians in opening their hearts to it (Eph 1:17–18). Surely more than a few of Paul’s readers in Ephesus had heard many of the same truths being taught by their teachers when they gathered for worship and instruction. After all, Paul had spent nearly three years in the area, personally imparting his doctrine to the people who would become the leaders and teachers of the churches in the area. Many of the people still needed to be convinced. We also need to ask God for the Spirit’s illuminating help so that we too may understand the full significance of Christ’s work for us and our new identity in Christ.

Once the truth about our new identity in Christ has been grasped, we need to align our lives with this reality. We need to learn to draw on the resources available through our vital union with Jesus Christ. The Spirit’s fullness must be appropriated for living in the world on a day-to-day basis. And now is when we need to talk about “spiritual warfare.”[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 119–121.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

What Remains Matters – A Simple Mission of Love – Purity 746

 

What Remains Matters – A Simple Mission of Love – Purity 746

Purity 746 06/01/2022  Purity 746 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the geological wonder known as The Sugar Loaf at sunset comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography/) as Dave visited the Hallett Cove Conservation Park in Adelaide South Australia on May 27th.  The Sugarloaf, named for its resemblance to a mass of hard refined sugar is said to have been shaped due to wind and erosion. The red layer is made of boulders and sediment deposited on the bottom of an ancient glacial meltwater lake. When the lake was drained, white sand blew over it and settled https://www.walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/glacial-hike-hallett-cove-conservation-park/)

Well, it’s Wednesday again and I couldn’t think of a better photo to represent “hump day” and the process of gradual change than this picture of the Sugar Loaf. Even though some sources say it took Sugar Loaf 280 million years to form from the gradual shaping of wind and water, the beauty of Sugar Loaf lies not in what was lost but in what endured the test of time and remained.  As I often say regarding our journey of life, it is not where you start that matters but where you finish that will define who you are and what you stand for. 

And like the Sugar Loaf, it won’t matter what was lost over the years and through the winds of change, but what will matter is what remains.  

Yesterday, one of my jobs sent me to a senior couple who had been married for 70 years! The husband, a WWII veteran who had enlisted in the Marine Corp at 17 years old, still had a strong hand shake at 97, and his wife of 90 years was still proud of and in love with her hero.  Why these two were still in such good health at such an advanced age is anyone’s guess, but I would hypothesize that it could have something to do with their faith, as I happen to notice several pieces of tangible evidence of their devotion to Jesus Christ in their home.

Proverbs 16:31 (NLT2) says
31  Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.  

 

And this couple’s kindness and love for one another would reflect Christ’s statement about his disciples:

 

John 13:35 (NKJV)
35  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

 

This simple example of love and a prolonged commitment to God and one another inspires me for the years ahead for my beloved wife and I.  

 

In my journey of faith over the last twelve years , I have continuously sought the Lord and His will for my life and have always imagined that my journey would lead me to some epic mission or some great work of ministry, and I realize now that I have found it as my marriage to TammyLyn is something that Lord has provided me with that gives me love, meaning, and purpose. 

 

Ephesians 5:25-33 (NKJV) says
25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
30  For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31  "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.  

 

As I was saved and delivered from my personal darkness and chose to be faithful to the calling of following the Lord’s will for my life and decided to live according to God’s word, I found the peace, love, and joy of the Lord.  

But let’s keep it real when you decided to live a lifestyle of a Christian disciple, the rest of the world and even other “Christians”, can think you have gone off the deep end. Living according to Biblical Christianity with discernment and balance is not common at all and the convictions and moral discipline it requires separates you from the rest of society as there are many things that are acceptable in our society today that Christians really shouldn’t do, at all. 

 

My conviction to remain sexually pure, unless I was married, after my divorce was challenging, especially considering I wasn’t sure I would ever get married again! So when I decided to remain celibate unless married, I was fully prepared to go through the rest of my life without sex, of any kind, as the Bible convicted me that all sex outside of marriage was sin and bondage to the flesh.  

 

But amazingly, sexual purity was possible and a great relief once I had a degree of freedom in it.   So, I was okay.  In fact, despite the occasional temptations to consider going back to my old ways, I was great.

 

Anyway, the point is not that wow, I get to have sex again.  The point is that I never thought that I would enjoy the love and intimacy of a Christian marriage.  It seemed to be something that just was not going to be in the offering for me because frankly, there are some rather worldly women calling themselves Christians, and my level of commitment to follow the Lord was not exactly lining the ladies up at my doorstep.  

 

But the Lord used my podcast, to introduce me to TammyLyn and in less than a years time we became friends, fell in love, and were married with our faith and the Lord at the center of our marriage.  

 

So I take those verses in Ephesians 5 about loving my wife like Jesus loved the church as my continual mission and purpose for the rest of my life.  I don’t know if TammyLyn and I will live to be 97 and 90 like the couple I saw yesterday, but if we do, I plan on honoring my wedding vows and endeavoring to love my wife like Jesus loved the church.  

 

I think one of the great problems of the Christian faith in America is the lack of understanding and commitment people have when it comes to knowing what the Bible says and applying its wisdom to our lives. Christ’s great commandments would have us love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

 

So God comes first. Love Him by getting to know who He is, by seeking His presence, and by knowing and living by what His word says. 

 

Then, if you are married, you first neighbor is your spouse! So love them sacrificially and make sure that you are both in tune with that first commandment, to keep God at the center of your relationship to maintain the proper balance. If you are both accountable to follow the Lord, neither one of you will seek to dominate or abuse the other and your love will be bult on mutual love, trust, and service to one another.   

 

I know I am only at the 5 month mark of my marriage with TammyLyn, but my marriage to her represents part of God’s plan for my life and I plan on being faithful to follow The Lord’s direction and to let Him live in the center of our marriage to guide us in loving one another and to show His love to everyone we encounter.  

 

   

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Thessalonians 1:6 (NLT2)
6  In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God is sovereign, and no one is free of the consequences of His judgement and that those who persecute Christians will be paid back.     

As Creator, God sets the standards for what is right and wrong behaviorally but in truth our behaviors really are a reflection of whether or not we understand and respect God’s authority, as Creator and Righteous Judge of the universe.

If we believe the word of God is true and Jesus is who He said He is we will put our faith in Him as Lord and Savior and then seek to follow what the Lord instructs in His word.  

But as much as this world like to profess tolerance, those who deny the truth of God’s word are often not content to just “live and let live” and will actively mock, deride, condemn, and persecute Christians for what they believe.   

Darkness has no place in the Light and the darkness of men’s hearts will cause them to persecute Christians.  But today’s verse assures us that those who persecute Christians will be repaid.  

Even if they deny God’s existence, they are still subject to His law and His judgement.  The only good God has to be a just God and the Bible speaks of the how the wicked will be punished for their sins.   

We are to endure persecution and love our enemies in hopes that they will put their faith in Jesus because we know that we were worthy of God’s wrath too but we found mercy and grace. As much as we can be relieved that justice will be done, we should seek to save that which is lost while there is still hope that they can see the light and leave their darkness behind.

 

 

 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

If You Come With No Interest or Knowledge

Not everybody comes to this chapter with a clear and driving passion for the glory of Christ among the unreached peoples of the world. Most of us are pretty parochial and ethnocentric and narrow, and even sometimes self-centered and racist, in our way of life. We hardly ever even think about the global, multinational, multiethnic, multi-linguistic cause of God, and what God’s passion and purposes are for Guinea and Indonesia and Tanzania and Thailand and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and Turkey and Czechoslovakia and China and Siberia and Japan and Cameroon and Myanmar and the Somali or the Hmong or the Dakota or the Ojibwa of Minnesota.

So I don’t assume that you come to this chapter with a clear and resounding interest in the really great news of the world—which the media never report—namely, the spread of Christian truth and faith among the peoples of the world on the way to a God-wrought consummation that will make all of world history look like what it really is—a brief prelude to the everlasting, all-glorious kingdom of Christ. I don’t assume you come with your heart enthralled with God’s great global purpose. So I simply want to let God tell you, in his own words, about his priorities.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:27–28)

Then there are Old Testament prayers:

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. (Psalm 67:3–4)

Then there are Old Testament commands:

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! … Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” (Psalm 96:3, 10)

Then there is the great New Testament Commission from the risen Christ:

Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

Then there is the apostle Paul’s great life of utter dedication to this mission:

I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (Romans 15:20–21)

Then there is the magnificent picture of the final outcome of God’s purposes in history:

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you [O Christ] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9–10)

A Summary Statement of Faith on Missions

From these and many other Scriptures, I have been impelled over the years to think and preach and write about Christ’s great global purpose called missions. Several years ago the elders of our church drafted a statement of faith to guide us in the education of our apprentices and in the selection of new elders. Paragraph 13 of that document summarizes our sense of what missions is:

We believe that the commission given by the Lord Jesus to make disciples of all nations is binding on His Church to the end of the age. This task is to proclaim the Gospel to every tribe and tongue and people and nation, baptizing them, teaching them the words and ways of the Lord, and gathering them into churches able to fulfill their Christian calling among their own people. The ultimate aim of world missions is that God would create, by His Word, worshippers who glorify His name through glad-hearted faith and obedience. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and the goal of missions.

Even Civilians Love to Follow the Triumphs on the Front Lines

This is the big picture. Christ came and died and rose again in order to gather a joyful, countless company for his name from all the peoples of the world. This is what every Christian should dream about. I say this carefully, in view of what I wrote in Chapter 8 about secular vocations. It is crucial that millions of Christians fulfill their life calling in secular jobs, just as it is crucial that during wartime the entire fabric of life and culture not unravel. But during wartime, even the millions of civilians love to get news from the front lines. They love to hear of the triumphs of the troops. They dream about the day when war will be no more. So it is with Christians. All of us should dream about this. We should love to hear how the advance of King Jesus is faring. We should love to hear of gospel triumphs as Christ plants his church among peoples held for centuries by alien powers of darkness.

This is God’s design in world history—that people from all nations and tribes and languages come to worship and treasure Christ above all things. Or as Paul put it in Romans 15:9, “that the Gentiles [all the peoples] might glorify God for his mercy.” There can be no weary resignation, no cowardly retreat, and no merciless contentment among Christ’s people while he is disowned among thousands of unreached peoples. Every Christian (who loves people and honors Christ) must care about this.[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 159–163.