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Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Take This Cup - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 30 - Purity 1303


 Take This Cup - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 30 - Purity 1303

Purity 1303 03/19/2024 Purity 1303 Podcast

Purity 1303 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting on the shore of the Atlantic comes to us from Bonnie Schultz who shared this scene from near her home in Navarre Florida on social media back on February 25th

Well, It's Tuesday and as the dust has settled on a mental health crisis in home I am praying to God to move all things together for good with my son, Brennan, who is suffering from depression, and thanking the Lord for the systems of authority He had moved man to establish that protect us from ourselves. Early yesterday morning while recording my podcast the state police and county sheriffs came to my home based on a tip they received regarding suicidal statements made from my IP address which caused me to escort Brennan to the local hospital to get a psych evaluation.

I wasn’t aware of Brennan’s suicidal ideation. After a few appointments with a therapist, I thought my son was getting the help he needed, and things were going to improve. But yesterday’s emergency first responder visit made me realize that I had assumed wrongly and really tried to impress upon my son, the need to get the help he needed.  So I delivered him to the hospital with the expectation that he would be admitted and treated for depression. But my son is 22 years old, an adult, and after he was medically cleared, he was discharged into the care of his older sister, Jeanette, who lives with her husband in Troy. 

As much as I question the wisdom of this move, I am hoping that the shock of the hospital visit and the care and support of his sister and his brother-in-law will be the beginning of positive changes for my son’s mental health.  Brennan stopped by yesterday to pick up some things and to let me know he was going to stay with his sister, and I wished him well.  He didn’t talk to me about this before he decided to do it and I can only assume that he is angry with me for taking him and leaving him at the hospital, but I honestly thought that was what he needed, inpatient care.  I don’t take suicidal talk lightly and my work and ministry schedule prevent me from being able to watch him continuously.  And as it is, even when we are home at the same time, my kids and I do our own thing. We give each other privacy and while that’s normally a good thing when there is the possibility of suicide, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

So I am not happy that my son was discharged but I’m glad that he is with his sister and brother-in-law who have a smaller home and who may be able to help him. I have offered my son the solutions I know that work, but he rejected them because my methods are Christian, and he is not walking with the Lord. That’s my personal help, okay – granted – but I also encouraged to go to his doctor to possibly get medication to stabilize and I forced the issue of getting help to the point he actually did see someone at mental health, but now this… and so I am surrendering my son to the Lord and the care of his sister because I know that I can’t fix him and I know that he will have to decide to get help or change the way he thinks and lives to effectively deal with this depression.   So I am letting go and letting God – knowing that I have not been a perfect parent and could have done more – but also knowing that I tried to help my son and now its time to allow him to find his way.

I often teach the men I minister to that we are to be “problem solvers” – doing every thing we can think to do to make positive changes in the situations that surround us – but I temper that with the reality that we may not be able to solve all our problems or that they may take a long time to see any progress, and in those instances we have to trust the Lord to guide things that are beyond our control.  So I have to wait and see and be ready to give whatever help I can and in the meantime I will thank God for all the good that I have in my life that goes beyond this current crisis. 

When we have a trial, if we aren’t careful they can easily become all-consuming – stealing our peace and joy and negatively impacting our lives – but if we keep walking and talking with God and doing what we can and what’s right according to His word, we can have peace even in the midst of troubles and trials.

So I will continue to do my daily spiritual practices that ground me in the truth of all that the Lord has done for me, and I will give thanks to God for all the people He has put in my life who offer their prayers, help, and love when things go south.  Yesterday, I was reminded how blessed I am with my wife, my family, and my brothers in Christ as I received support and prayers in this time of need.   And even when I was alone waiting for a phone call from the hospital that never came, I wasn’t alone. The Lord was with me and stayed with me while I foolishly relapsed on my food plan and regressed by comforting myself with candy and ice cream and watching secular TV and even though the stress of the situation caused me to do something foolish, the Lord didn’t abandon me and today I asked for His forgiveness and went back to the way He has taught me to stay in His presence and experience His peace – through my daily spiritual practices that focus on Him.

And despite this present turmoil part of that practice is to encourage to do the same – focus on Him – and we just happened to be in the best season for doing that – Lent and speaking of Lent…  

It’s the thirtieth 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 30

May your will come about on earth as in heaven.

What is this? Answer:

In fact, God's good and gracious will comes about without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come about in and among us.

So here also; although we have prayed for what is most necessary-  for the gospel, for faith, and for the Holy Spirit, that he may govern us who have been redeemed from the power of the devil- we must also pray that God will cause his will to be done. If we try to hold these treasures fast, we will have to suffer an astonishing number of attacks and assaults from all who ventured to hinder and thwart the fulfillment of the first two petitions.

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.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22: 39-42.

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

·       Why does holding fast to the treasures of the faith cause suffering and assaults?

Since the Fall of Man in the Garden, this world is ruled by the evil one and the world system that operates beneath the surface of things causes people to question, doubt, and reject the truth of God’s word. The spiritual forces of darkness and society at large will demonize those who choose to walk in the light with the Lord, tempting people to govern themselves and live independently of God, being consumed by their selfish and fleshly desires they will persecute those who stand in faith.  Christ teaches that we should expect persecution and suffering in this world when we follow Him because if the world hated Him it will hate us too.

·       Jesus prays to be spared drinking the cup of suffering but prays also that God's will be done. Why does the doing of God's will often involve so much suffering?

Doing God’s will often involves suffering because of the enemy. Ephesians 6:12 tells us our enemy is not flesh and blood and the spirit that rejects God’s holiness, purity and wisdom is demonic, and whether we oppose or join those forces, we will suffer attacks from them.

·       Luther states that “God's good and gracious will comes about without our prayer”. Why pray, then, that it be done “in and among us”?

We have free will and can foolishly choose to reject God’s plan for our lives – our sanctification – and suffer from the consequences of sin and being separated from God. God’s ultimate will comes to pass but to be a part of His kingdom and to reap the fruit of the Spirit, we must choose to follow it.

Psalm Fragment

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,  obedient to his spoken word. Bless the Lord all his hosts, his ministers that do his will. Bless the Lord, all his works, and all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:19-22.

Journal Reflections

·       Have you ever felt you were suffering attacks from those powers or people that were trying to thwart the will of God? If so, write about what spiritual resources you were able to bring to the struggle. If not, what's best spiritual resources will you have if such an experience comes your way?

Since doing recovery and freedom ministry, I have felt I was being attacked by the spiritual forces of darkness that were trying to thwart the will of God. The best weapons against these attacks are prayer, faith, praise, and a lifestyle of Christian discipleship. Our surrendered lives in Christ is the whole armor of God that helps us overcome the enemy. Our faith is the resource we can bring to the struggle.

·       Have you ever, like Jesus, prayed to have the cup of suffering pass from you? If so, write about the experience. If not, imagine what such an experience would be like.

Oh yes, I have prayed for things to be taken away from me in the past and I would say that all the things that have afflicted me personally are gone now, for the most part, but to overcome them, I often had to suffer through them and grow through the suffering to be free. Alcohol addiction, sex addiction, broken relationships, getting a new home, food addiction, and now this struggle for my children’s mental health and well-being could all be said to fall within my “ministry of suffering”.

·       There are both joy and suffering for those who seek to follow God's will. Journal about the joy and suffering you have experienced in your faith life.

In all of those aforementioned sufferings, I experience the joy of triumphing over them, and I can’t control what happens in my son’s life, I will accept what the Lord brings and never forget the joy He has brought to my life on a daily basis.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you can be obedient to God's will despite suffering. Remember a friend or a member of your family who has suffered for the good, pray that they will be encouraged in their Christian journey.

Lord, I failed by giving into the flesh yesterday because of stress, help me to be obedient to Your will despite the suffering I am experiencing now. I pray for you to be with my son, Brennan, to bring into remembrance all the things he heard in the past when he went to church with me, use whatever means to draw him out of the darkness of what he is walking in and bring him back to the light and prayerfully into a life of faith and trust in Jesus.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that your will be done in me and in my life. Show me how to follow your way to the end.

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 28:6 (ESV)
6  Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

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

15. Don’t wear yourself out to get rich.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of integrity – to do what is right even when no one is watching.  Wealth and unrighteousness don’t lead to happiness, without Christ, they lead to death, and the Bible tells us it is better to live a righteous life of integrity without riches, rather than have it all financially and to walk in darkness.  So let’s agree with God’s word and live lives of integrity and righteousness to give God glory.

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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 19

“The Lord has need of him.” – Luke 19:34

The ass or even the colt was a beast of burden. It could carry valuable or valueless burdens. But on this particular occasion, the animal was required for the purpose of bearing a very important burden – the Lord had need of him. The Lord still requires beasts of burden – those upon whom He can lay important burdens. He says, “Take my yoke upon you” (Matt. 11:29), carry my burden.

Notice also how the answer of the disciples (or rather the Lord through His disciples) silenced those who tried to question their taking the colt. When the errand is a divinely controlled one, there is no stopping it. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

Lord, “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)[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

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Wishing You Had Never Been Born – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 12 - Purity 1285


Wishing You Had Never Been Born – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 12 - Purity 1285

Purity 1285 02/27/2024 Purity 1285 Podcast

Purity 1285 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a palm tree’s leaves,  a lighthouse in the distance, and a pink sunset sky comes to us from a currently unknown Facebook friend who posted this scene on social media on or around August 6, 2020. If this is your fond remembrance photo, let me know and I will give photo credit where photo credit is due by updating the blog after the fact.  

Well, It’s Tuesday and I share this photo feeling a bit forlorn and down this morning as I have decided to take the next step in a campaign of “tough love” with my son, Brennan, giving him 30 days notice to get a job and to resume paying me towards his debts or to vacate my premises. Oh joy.

Brennan inexplicably stopped going to work in January and has been lethargic ever since. While I could wait and just watch him eventually suffer from being penniless to the point where he couldn’t pay for his car insurance or cell phone or purchase food, I decided to advise him that he needs to start working again and paying his debts within the next 30 days or he could find another place to live. You can choose to suffer from being depressed, lazy, or whatever but it doesn’t mean you have a right to make me watch it.  

Brennan wasn’t happy with this notice that would cause him to get a job or get out and lamented that he wished he had never been born and that he never asked to be in a world where his value is based on the money he brings to the table.  I get it… the world sticks, and I wish I never had to work and I wish my value was never determined by the home I provide but that’s the way of the world and while you can run from it, you can’t hide and as the Lord told us way back in Genesis that man has to work ( Genesis 1:28, 3:17-19) and our emotions and quality of life will be dictated by our decision to do what is right (Genesis 4:6-7) according to God.   

As much as we must work and eke out a living here on earth, our value is not determined by the money we make or the things we can provide others with.  Our value is determined by God, our creator. He made us above all other creatures by making us in His image but for our true value to be realized we must be “redeemed” through the blood of Jesus and our faith in Him as Lord and Savior.  Our lives on earth are only so long and unless we are redeemed by our faith in Jesus, our lives will be a waste as we are consigned to hell. 

One of those verses in Genesis that tells us that we must work also tells us about the end of our lives on earth:

Genesis 3:19 (NLT2)
19  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

That last phrase is used on Ash Wednesday, to draw us into repentance with the not-too-subtle message – you will die – but in Christ you can live – so “repent and believe in the gospel” . 

The suffering of this world may cause us to wish we were never born, but we were and unless we want to suffer more in this world – we will need to do what’s right – to work and be responsible for ourselves – and unless we want to suffer for all eternity – we need to draw close to God, repent, and put our faith in Jesus.  So in the season of Lent – let’s draw close – repent – and live.

It’s the twelfth 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 walk through 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 12

YOU ARE NOT TO STEAL

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither take our neighbor's money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.

We are forbidden to do our neighbors any injury or wrong in any way imaginable, whether by damaging, withholding, or interfering with their possessions or property. We are not even to consent to or permit such a thing but are rather to avert and prevent it. In addition, we are commanded to promote and further our neighbor's interests, and when they suffer any want, we are to help, share, and lend to both friends and foes. Anyone who seeks and desires good works will find here more than enough things to do that are heartily acceptable and pleasing to God.

Biblical Wisdom

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 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 is the relationship between the commandment not to steal and the Christian's attitude toward possessions? Toward poverty?

The commandment shows us that possessions have value and that we are not to obtain possessions through crooked means and by implication it puts poverty in a negative light. The subtle message in the commandment is that it is good to have possessions – they have value – we are not to take them from others – that would be wrong and thus we should respect other’s rights to their property and work to earn our own.

·       According to Luther, how are we to consider our neighbor's property, and how are we to use our own wealth and possessions with respect to the neighbor? How would the world change if Christians followed Luther's advice?

Luther indicates that we are to help our neighbors to protect and to increase their interests to help them flourish.  The world would be a better place if we followed Luther’s advice.

·       How can a faith community help people to have a healthy relationship with money and possessions?

A faith community can help people to have a healthy relationship with money and possessions by teaching about good stewardship, the focus on helping others, and the brevity of life on earth. Sharing Jesus’s teaching on investing in the kingdom of God and the folly of amassing worldly treasure and teaching good financial habits could cause people to have a proper understanding of what their relationship to money will be.  

Psalm Fragment

Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart on them. Psalm 62: 10

Journal Reflections

·       Write about how your attitude toward money and possessions influences (and is influenced by) your spiritual life.

Money can’t buy you love or happiness but it does pay the bills – so work for what you need and what you want in life and don’t hold on too tightly to anything. Our life of faith matter more. 

·       How does your attitude toward money and possessions influence your relationships with others?

It makes it difficult because I expect others to be responsible.

·       Reflect on both your earthly and heavenly treasures. Write about how well you balance your life between the material and the spiritual.

I try to keep a balance. I do like my things and to be somewhat secure financially.  But I place a great value on my faith and would sacrifice all my earthly possessions to follow the Lord. I am currently trying to be a good father by giving my adult children a safe and affordable place to live but that has its difficulties and I am trying to be a good steward to what I have been given.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you will balance your own life and your use of what you own so that you will be able to help others with what you have.

Pray for Today

Lord Jesus, teach me to use what you have given me wisely; Give me a good sense for what is best both for my neighbor and my own life.

 

(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 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 Conscience.

Hebrews 9:14 (NIV2011)
14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Today’s verse falls under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

6. Christ will give you a clear conscience.

Today’s verse points to the fact that our faith cleanses us from the sin that leads to death, but it indicates that we are to be committed to following and serving him.  We can’t live in sin with a clean conscience. We have to repent.

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

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 1

“He will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.” – Luke 1:16

What a blessed mission for a Son of Adam! Truly, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15).

Because of such a mission, John the Baptist was to be “great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15). As to John himself, he was to touch no strong drink and he was to be filled with the Spirit from his very birth.

The application of these few thoughts is obvious. The Lord has said, “He that wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30), that is, great in His sight. But in order to be qualified to “turn many to righteousness” (Daniel 12:3), the message to be worked out in practical experience is “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, emphasis mine).

 

May I be filled with Your spirit, Lord,
in order to bear witness to Your grace and truth.[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, February 23, 2024

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282


 

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282

Purity 1282 02/23/2024 Purity 1282 Podcast

Purity 1282 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun nestled in the branches of a huge and gnarly popular tree comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene yesterday during my short visit to Lake Eola Park in Orland. 

Well, I’m back home but that was a journey in itself as some renovations at the Philadelphia airport and “no heads up” from the folks at American Airlines caused me to miss my connecting flight to Albany last night, and when they shared the good news that while I couldn’t get a flight to Albany the next day because of the size of our party, they could put us on a flight to Hartford or Worchester.  That unbelievably obtuse suggestion caused me to scramble and arrange for a rental from the good folks at Avis  and a midnight run back to my countryside home.  We made it and it was so late that I decided to wish everyone a good day before I went to bed.  So this message might be a little shorter than normal, but I am happy to be back home and ready to forsake the sweet tweets I ate at Disney World and am ready to repent! You could finally say that I’m giving up sugar-laced snacks for Lent!  Better late than never I guess.  But that’s okay our walk on the path of Christian Discipleship is about progress not perfection and I hope that encourages you that it’s never too late to change – it’s never too late to repent. So this red eye repentance edition of the mt4christ247 podcast is brought to you by American Airlines who I will choose to avoid in the future and Avis rental cars who I am truly thankful for!

Anyway speaking of repentance, making progress, and dealing with things you need to give up, it’s the ninth 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 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 9

YOU ARE TO HONOR YOUR father and your mother.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

First, then, learn what this commandment requires concerning honor to parents. You are to esteem them above all things and to value them as the most precious treasure on earth. Second, in your words you are also to behave respectfully toward them and are not to speak discourteously to them, to criticize them, or to take them to task, but rather to submit to them and hold your tongue, even if they go too far. Third, you are also to honor them by your actions, that is, with your body and possessions, serving them, helping them, and caring for them when they are old, sick, feeble, or poor; all this you should do not only cheerfully, but also with humility and reverence, doing it as if for God.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Honor your father and mother"-this is the first commandment with a promise:: so that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. "And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:2-4

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 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

     To whom is this commandment addressed-very young children or older children with feeble parents who need their help?

Yes – this commandment is addressed to young and older children alike.  Your parents will always be your parents and the Lord commands us to honor them because He used them to give us life.   And just like with any form of repentance – it’s never too early or too late to honor your mother and father. 

     Luther extends the commandment to honor your father and mother to "others in authority." Who are those others? Does it make sense to bring them under this commandment?

Others in authority who are worthy of honor would be mentors, grandparents, or other friends or family who fulfilled the role of father or mother in some aspect of our lives. If we consider them as a kind of mother or father to us, I feel it is appropriate to bring them under this commandment.  Unfortunately, estranged relationships are a problem in our post-divorce culture and while I would never excuse someone from giving honor to their natural mother or father, I certainly wouldn’t prohibit someone from giving honor to someone they feel is a “mother” or father to them in some way.  Admittedly, this is my opinion and I can understand if someone, particularly estranged fathers or mothers would disagree. 

     In what ways does your faith community encourage and support people in keeping this commandment? What more might be done?

Bible-believing faith communities usually encourage obedience to God’s word and that would include the commandment to honor your father and mother.  However, more typically this sentiment is displayed in the church on Mother’s Day & Father’s Day, and not specifically mentioned all that much from recollections in various church congregations.

PSALM FRAGMENT

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.          Psalm 16:5-6

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Meditate on how the commandment to honor your parents might become a spiritual practice for you.

This commandment could come into practice in a variety of ways depending on the circumstances surrounding one’s relationships with their parents.  For myself, I could make honoring my parents a practice by scheduling more time for visits with them and thanking them for all they have done for me and my brothers throughout the years as our parents. 

 

     Reflect on what you have done or are doing for your parents to honor and help them. Were (or are) these duties burdensome to you or a pleasure for you? Explain.

I just recently went to my mother’s church on Ash Wednesday and ended up having breakfast with Mom and Dad and have made tentative plans to get together with them again when all my brothers can be in attendance.  These things are not burdensome, and I feel it is right to give honor to the ones who gave us so much.

     What "others in authority" in your life would you bring under the umbrella of this commandment? Why?

I guess I would bring this umbrella to my mentor, Pastor Bob Costello.  Bob is somewhat of a spiritual father to me and although I don’t really plan visits with Bob whenever I do see him I try to express my appreciation for the time He spent teaching and encouraging me to live as a Christian. 

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

If your parents are still living, pray for strength to continue to honor them. Whether living or dead, give thanks for whatever good they provided you, and pray for the power to forgive them for whatever wrongs they may have done you.

Lord God, I pray for the strength to continue to honor my parents.   I thank you for providing them to me as good examples of faith, hard work, and love. As you know Lord I forgave them for any bitterness I may have held against them due to the turmoil in my life before Christ and pray you bless them continually.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to me, even if I have not honored either you or my parents as I should. Help me to give honor to you and them and show me how to care for the young who need my help.

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 verse comes 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 Conscience.

1 Timothy 3:9 (NLT2)
9  They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience.

Today’s verse falls under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

3. Hold to the truths of the faith.

Today’s verse tells us that we as Christians must be committed to our faith and live with a clear conscience, presumably because we obey what the word says and try to live a shame-free existence as we become more and more like Jesus.   

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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: MARK 14

“She has done a good work for Me.” – Mark 14:6

What a blessed commendation! Such was given in response to the outpouring of the sweet and precious spikenard – a token of true heart love.

The Lord called it a “good work.” Good because it was seen by the Lord from the spiritual side. Man, like those who murmured saying, “Why this waste?” (v. 4), looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. And as He looked, He saw that it was the true expression of unadulterated love. God looked at creation and said it was “very good.” The Lord looked at this woman's heart and saw that His work in her heart was good.

When You look at my heart, Lord,
I pray You find this same quality of love.[1]

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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

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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