Labels

Showing posts with label Perseverance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perseverance. Show all posts

Monday, January 24, 2022

Walking out of the “Winter of our Discontent” - In His Presence - Purity 636


Walking out of the “Winter of our Discontent” - In His Presence - Purity 636

Purity 636 01/24/2022  Purity 636 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of snowmobile tracks headed onto the frozen surface of Sacandaga Lake underneath an ethereal January sky and midday sun comes to us from a friend who hasn’t let life’s disappointments stop them from having a thriving life filled with independent adventures.  While I am not into winter sports at all, with scenes like this, I can understand why some people brave the cold temperatures to see things you can’t see at other times of the year.  I mean when else can you walk on water and shoot across the surface of a lake without being buffeted by waves?   

It's Monday again and with the cold temperatures forecasted to last through the week I decided to share today’s photo to encourage and inspire us all with the fact that we can rise above what some would consider negative circumstances and overcome them and still have joy in our lives.  

I have a few friends who are in crisis moments currently and seem to be experiencing the “winter of our discontent”. Some have been bogged down by the post-holiday emotional letdown, some are healing from disease or injury,  and others are being assailed by outside circumstances, some of which are a result of their own poor choices and others of which are seemingly no fault of the persons involved.  In all of their cases, my heart and prayers go out to them.   

In this season of life they are all being asked to go into an uncertain future like setting out on this frozen lake, where their way can seem to be a cold, barren, and lonely and in some instances can seem to be a precarious one where they will lose their footing and perish.  

But just like the way the sun in today’s photo can light their path and fill us with awe and wonder, God is over and above this cold and uncertain season of life and His wisdom and presence in our lives can guide us through this time and give us peace and hope until we make it to the other side.  

Although I can’t tell any one of my friends exactly when they will get out of this cold and forbidding season, I can advise them that their situations will not last forever and that it is better to go through them with the Lord to guide, comfort, and strengthen them.   

For the friends seeking healing, I advise them to follow their doctor’s orders and to draw close to the Lord in prayer.  God is sovereign and as Creator, He has not only established our created order in which healing can come, He directs human affairs according to His purposes and may grant healings both gradual and immediate.   

In my faith walk, I have prayed for healing over myself and seen developing sicknesses stopped in their tracks, pain decrease and go away, and recovery come, but I have also had times where healing did not come as I had prayed and where pains persisted. 

So I am sorry to say I don’t have the miraculous gift of healing but what I do have is a relationship in which I trust the Lord, and in which I ask for what I think is best and accept whatever it is I receive from Him. And regardless, if I am sick, or well, I have the peace that comes from knowing that He is with me. His ways are higher than my ways and I accept that whatever is happening has a purpose.   

For the friends who are suffering negative circumstances because of the winds of change or from a day of reckoning that has finally come, I advise them to do all they can to act wisely and to work to resolve the problems at hand and then go to the Lord in prayer to ask Him for His help, strength, and guidance.   Sometimes we have to dig ourselves out of a mess or work and seek a new opportunity in life seemingly on our own but even in those circumstances we can use the Lord’s presence and strength to help us to endure and we can request His providence to make our paths easier when we least expect it.   

And finally, for the friends who are hurting from loss or a lack of fulfillment or who are just  disillusioned and disappointed with relationships or the course of their lives, I usually recommend that they examine when these feelings started and what their relationship with the Lord is like.  In most cases, my friend’s relationship with the Lord is either nonexistent or they have become lax in fostering their relationship with God and have let the things of this world determine their self-worth or to be the means to make them happy. 

For those who know the Lord, I advise them to re-establish their relationship with Him by reminding themselves of who they are in Christ and by communing with Him in prayer, worship. and Bible study.  If you walked strong in the power of the Lord before, you just have to stand up and walk with Him again.  

For those who don’t know the Lord, I try to encourage them by telling them that there is a God over and above this world who deeply cares about them individually and who wants them to come to Him to receive a new and abundant life of peace and purpose.  

It’s Monday and its January but God is alive and well and has the strength, wisdom, and guidance that we all need to make it through the trials of this life.  No matter what you are going through, with God, you are never alone. 

So go to Him and tell Him your troubles and ask for His help. I can’t guarantee an instant miracle to fix all your problems but if you start walking with the Lord, somewhere down the road you will testify to His goodness and the miracle of how you had peace through the storm, how He made a way where there was no way, or how He helped you to overcome the trials that you thought would consume you.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Joshua 1:9 (NLT2)
9  This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Today’s verse speaks the truth of the Lord’s continual presence and how we can be strong and courageous when we realize that He is with us wherever we go.   

Today’s verse’s context is that of the Lord encouraging Joshua to face incredible odds to go in and to possess the promised land, but the Lord commands Him not to fear and assures Joshua that God would be with Him wherever he went.   

This verse points to the attribute of God’s omnipresence: the presence of God everywhere at the same time.   So although this verse was specific to Joshua at that time way back when, because of God’s omnipresence, it can also be encouragement for us and our daily walk of faith.  

There are several verses in the Bible that command us not to fear and the only reason we can be obedient to this command is because of the fact of God’s presence.  It’s like God is saying “Don’t be afraid!” and we say: “Why not!?” to which His word tells us: “Don’t be afraid because I am right here with you and will be with you wherever you go!”  

In Psalm 139, David muses over God’s continual presence in His life saying:

 Psalm 139:8 (NKJV)

8  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

God is with us here on earth and when we have faith in Christ, we will be with Him forever more even if we die and go to heaven. With that assurance of God’s presence in our lives, we can obey His command to be strong and courageous because there is no way that He will ever let us down because He will be with us always.  

So reflect on God’s continual presence in your life, reach out to Him and enjoy His presence, and be strong and courageous in life because you know He will always be there.

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 5.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

IDENTITY DETERMINES SIGNIFICANCE

The world says you are nothing; therefore, you better scheme, achieve, and get ahead, which leads to malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.113 The Bible tells us that we are something; therefore, we should be submissive.114 The scriptural commands concerning roles in relationships are given in a context where the significance question has already been settled by our identities and positions in Christ.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.115

The biblical formula: our position in Christ and our identities as children of God equals significance. If a wife’s sense of significance flows from her relationship with God, she can respond to her husband’s leadership because in fact she is equally significant in God’s plan for her personally, her marriage, and her family. Husbands don’t need to demand respect or lord it over others to have any sense of worth. They already are significant as a children of God and secure in Christ. They are free to be the true servant-leader God has called them to be. The fruit of the Spirit is not staff control, nor spouse control, nor child control; it is self-control. Both the husband and wife can respond with grace to a less-than-perfect spouse, because they don’t need the other person to meet their need for significance.116

Submission, authority, and control concern not only man/wife issues, or parent/child issues, or employer/employee issues. Submission is primarily a relational matter between the creature and the Creator. When we know who we are as children of God, we don’t have to rebel, we don’t have to dominate and control. We yield to the Lordship of Christ, secure in our position in Him, and relate to others with love and forgiveness.

 ---------------------------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. 

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

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Jesus Trusts in Us? The Key to Discipleship - Purity 633


 Jesus Trusts in Us?  The Key to Discipleship  - Purity 633

Purity 633 01/20/2022  

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blue cumulus cloud filled sky over County Route 26A in Stuyvesant NY comes to us from September 10th, 2021 and yours truly as I was moved to pull over to capture this simple but beautiful scene of a roadway disappearing around a bend.    

Well, It’s Thursday and I take photos like this one, of pathways, to encourage others to step onto the path of Christian Discipleship as I will be facilitating a Men’s Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course Discussion on Zoom this evening.  Christian Discipleship is always on my mind because I live it and on Thursdays I encourage others to discover the abundant life that is the result of living it. Discipleship is a lifestyle of learning, application, and purpose.

Dictionary.com defines discipleship as the condition or situation of being a disciple, a follower, or a student of some philosophy, especially a follower of Jesus Christ. 

I love the fact that this site acknowledges that one of the best examples of what defines discipleship is the follower of Jesus Christ.   In this age of post Christian society and cultural diversity that is moving us toward the end times, instances of Christ being mentioned or respected will become less and less so its nice to see that His example hasn’t been erased just yet. (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/discipleship)

The second definition that the website lists is “the group of followers of Christ in His lifetime”.   I put that one in quotes. His lifetime, capital H! The use of a capital H in the personal pronouns of He, Him, Himself or a capital Y in You or Your when referring to Jesus Christ is done to admit and acknowledge His exalted status as God.   So Dictionary.com not only glorifies Jesus Christ as the example of discipleship but it also unwittingly testifies to His deity.   

Again in this post Christian world that’s nice to see. So let the countdown begin, for someone to complain and demand these references to Jesus be removed.   Hey if they can ban nativity displays in the public square and remove the Ten Commandments from courthouses, they can certainly edit a few lines on a dictionary website.

Amazingly, my surprise and joy didn’t end there.  For the second definition, dictionary.com provided an example of its use which said:

“The key to Jesus’ discipleship was his personal trust in his disciples.”  Okay small h’s but I’ll take it. 

While the natural born skeptic in me could point to how one of Jesus’ disciples betrayed Him and how the other Apostles, in fear of their lives, abandoned Christ, so much for trusting those disciples, I would agree with this example of what the key to discipleship is: trust.  

Discipleship is not only a condition or a situation. Discipleship is a relationship and like all beneficial relationships it is built on trust.   The disciple has to trust that the discipler is teaching something worthwhile and that the lessons they learn will have a benefit to their lives. 

Also, as dictionary.com’s example for usage points out, the discipler has to trust the disciple too.  The discipler has to trust that the disciples will absorb what they are taught and will be faithful to apply the teachings to their lives to represent what they have learned.  

Jesus Christ trusted His disciples to be true their calling and He did so with the knowledge that one of them would betray Him.  And despite the other Apostle’s failures when Christ was arrested, they showed themselves to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ by establishing the early church with all but one of them going to early deaths as martyrs for the cause of Christ.   

A discipler can’t make their disciples learn or follow the teachings they impart. The responsibility for the absorption and application of the wisdom taught is the sole responsibility of the disciple.

As Christians, we are not just supposed to be believers in Jesus. We are supposed to be Christ’s disciples. We are supposed to learn about Him and His teachings and apply them to our lives in a way that would represent Him.   

When we do less than that, those outside of the faith are right to point out our hypocrisy.

As someone who came to faith in Jesus Christ relatively late in life, I decided that I would do my best to learn and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ because I knew of the tremendous gift that I had been given in my salvation and I didn’t want to be someone who could be accused of being a hypocrite.  I wanted to be a real authentic Christian and God has worked in my life to slowly progress towards that goal.   

One term that is used in the Bible that is used to describe living a Christian Disciple’s life is “walking in the Spirit”.  When we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit of peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control begin to grow in our lives but it is our responsibility to walk into them.   

As Christians, we are disciples of Christ and, just like Jesus trusted the original Apostles, He is trusting us to answer His call and follow Him.  

So be true to the calling that the Lord has put on your life. His words and example are trustworthy and will lead you into a life of victory, freedom, and purpose that leads to an abundant life of experiencing the fruit of the Spirit here on earth and will eventually take you to the ultimate good of being welcomed into His eternal kingdom.   Trust in Christ and represent Him as His disciple and experience the peace that comes from knowing that you are in a harmonious and trusting relationship with God.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:13 (NLT2)
13  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Today’s verse is one of those verses that can empower your faith walk and inspire you to accomplish things you never dreamed of and to shift the paradigms that the world has programmed you with.  

Many Bible scholars temper this verse by encouraging Christians to look at the context of this epistle to point out that the Apostle Paul was describing both living abundantly and going through quite a bit of suffering and that if the context is properly understood we might not use this verse as a magical incantation that will guarantee us of our success. 

This verse isn’t supposed to echo the America song “You Can Do Magic”  that says “You can do magic, You can have anything that you desire.”  That song was talking about the magic of seduction.. so anyway.  

Okay, so no we shouldn’t necessarily think that saying this verse will give us anything we want.  However,  I don’t think an understanding of the context of this verse necessarily negates the ability for our faith in God to overcome and achieve great things.  

The biggest lie that the enemy tells us to discourage our victory and our pursuing our purpose in Christ is that something is impossible.   I’ll say it again. The biggest lie that the enemy tells us is that something is impossible.   

If we temper the power of our faith and try to discourage our brothers and sisters in Christ from pursuing what they feel the Lord is calling them to we could be supporting the enemy’s agenda.   

If we don’t try, we may never discover what we can do. If we don’t preserve, we may never discover what the Lord has for us on the other side of our trials.  

While today’s verse won’t give you all the material blessings you may want in life, it can empower you to become more like Christ and the context of this verse does not temper that promise.  We need to know that we can do everything through Christ when we are suffering.  This word from God can be applied at all times and in every season of life.  

Rather than a Christian “abracadabra”, it is a word from the Lord to encourage us to follow Him regardless of the circumstance and to live our lives according to His wisdom and ways.       

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 5.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

RELATING TO AUTHORITY

Daniel is a powerful example of submission. It could be argued that King Nebuchadnezzar overstepped his authority by requiring Daniel and his people to do something that went against their faith. Notice how Daniel responded. He showed respect to the king and those who carried out the king’s commands. Nebuchadnezzar wanted those who were in his service to eat the food he chose. Daniel did not want to defile himself with the king’s food, so he sought permission from his immediate superior to eat as God required, as long as he remained healthy enough to be a servant of the King, which is all the King really wanted. Because he was not defiant, nor disrespectful, “God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.”94 Daniel offered a creative alternative that allowed the commander to save face in the sight of the king and to also fulfill the wishes of the king to have wise and healthy servants.

The Lord’s Prayer95 is a model for how we are to appeal to those who are in authority over us. First, we must have a right standing, which is reflected in the phrase, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” In most judicial systems, we must approach the judge in a court of law with respect. It would be considered contempt of court if we didn’t. We respectfully address the judge as “Your honor.”

If there are any unresolved personal issues between yourself and the one you wish to make an appeal to, you better get them resolved first. That is true for our God as well as judges in courts of law or supervisors at work. We couldn’t approach God until He found a way to forgive us, and any judge who is personally biased toward or against the accused must remove himself from the case. If a teenager has been disrespectful and disobedient to his father, he should get that straightened out before he asks for the keys to the car.

Second, we should be committed to the success of those who are in authority and willing to do their will as long as it doesn’t violate who we are in Christ. This principle is reflected in the phrase, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (v. 10). We must do nothing that would hinder them from carrying out their God-given responsibilities. People in leadership cannot accomplish much without the loyal support of those who are under them. Those who are in a submissive role will not prosper in their rebellion. Scripture says, “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.

Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”96

One of Satan’s more potent strategies is to discredit spiritual leaders. Your loyalty to those who are in authority over you will be tested. This fact is especially true in Christian ministries and in the home. Everybody will be tempted with subtle thoughts such as: I don’t like the way he did that; I could do it better than that; This is what I would do if I were in that position; or I’m the one who should be running the show around here. It doesn’t make any difference if those thoughts come from the pit, from other disloyal members or from your own flesh; they are wrong according to James 3:13-18:

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Most leaders will listen to our appeals if they know we are concerned for their responsibilities and their reputations. The Lord withheld judgment upon the Israelites when Moses petitioned Him. He based his appeal on the reputation of God.97 God can only bless us if we are submissive, 98 and in doing so, we find favor with Him.99 Life will be more difficult for us if the ones we are serving are failing in their responsibilities. Every passage that commands us to be submissive ends in a promise for the ones who are—and condemnation for those who aren’t.

Third, our appeals must be based on legitimate needs. This principle is reflected in the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.”100 Every leader is subject to the needs of those he serves, and the Lord will bring conviction upon those who do not hear the legitimate cries of their people. However, requests for selfish desires may justifiably go unanswered. Few things can turn off a parent more than an ungrateful child who demands more than what is needed.

Fourth, our appeals must come from hearts that are free from bitterness. This principle is reflected in the phrase, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”101 Anyone who has allowed a root of bitterness to spring up and defile others should not expect favor from those who are in authority. When Simon requested authority from the apostles, Peter refused saying, “You are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”102

Fifth, our appeals should be for proper direction in life, which is reflected in the phrase, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”103 Every

human institution has been given its authority by God “for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”104

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Uncle Cookie?! – When Needs Become Wants - Purity 632





Uncle Cookie?! – When Needs Become Wants - Purity 632

Purity 632 01/19/2022  Purity 632 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the snowy peak of Whiteface Mountain under a crisp and clear blue sky comes to from a friend who actively was cheering for the white stuff to fall from the sky since the end of November and now we know why, he’s a skier!

While there is a lot of grumbling and anxiety that is expressed about coming snowstorms, our friend has a different perspective. The snow allows them to do something they love so they see the accumulation of snow in a different light. I am sharing a couple of other photos on mt4christ.org this morning that feature some other beautiful views from our friend’s skiing excursion from this past weekend and they are worth checking out.   



Well it’s Wednesday and I chose this one to feature because it is a perfect representation of the midweek hump that we will ascend, summit, and overcome by day’s end. I also chose it because of our friend’s different perspective regarding snowy weather.  

A huge part of cultivating the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy in our lives has to do with our perspective and the key to victory is to first embrace our identity in Christ and a Christian worldview that recognizes that God is sovereign over and above all things and that His word is true.  When we come into alignment with God’s perspective, we see our lives and the world in a whole new light.  

But the success of our victory goes beyond just knowing who we are in Christ and knowing who God is. To overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, we have to examine our lives and see what idols we still have in our lives after coming to faith in Jesus Christ.  

An idol would be something we worship. I am not talking about a statue of Buddha or anything like that but if you do have something like that in your home and you are a Christian, I would encourage you to follow the examples of the people of God in the Bible who tore idols down and destroyed them, by throwing them in the trash.  There are not many pathways to God and if something is not of Christ, it is anti-Christ and represents the kingdom of darkness no matter of sweet, kind, or endearing other religions may seem that makes them all the more sinister as they attempt to lead you to road of perdition. 

No, the idols that may be in our lives that we worship instead of God can be things like money, our families, our careers, our possessions, our bodies, our accomplishments, our relationships, sex, food, drugs, or alcohol.

If you notice, a lot of these things are things we need. We need relationships, a career, a family, a purpose, our bodies, love, and food.  Some would say we as a race we would need sex too.  I would agree that sex allows us to have a family of our own, to continue the human race, and that sex is also a way a husband and wife can express their love for one another in the confines of God’s only approved sexual relationship, a marriage.  

The problems that we face in life often result from when we make these needs idols in our lives and go to them to find our sense of acceptance, significance, and security when we should receive those things in our relationship with God.  

God will never fail us but those other needs that become idols eventually will.   

A true sign of one of these things becoming an idol in our lives is when one of these needs become a “want” : when these things become more important to you than your relationship with the Lord or they result in negative consequences and negative feelings. 

Recently, my struggles with food came abundantly clear to me as I officially ended the food plan I was on back in September with the rationale that it was too expensive and that I could take the principles that I learned from it and do it on my own with inexpensive alternatives.  

But as time progressed, I began to compromise my convictions and overindulged or ate the wrong kinds of food.  My view of food changed from something I needed to something I wanted and in several instances I ended up in the addictive cycle of binging on sweets and then feeling guilt and shame.

Unfortunately, I actually hardened my heart against these convictions and in a real spirit of rebellion of “I want what I want”, I continued in my sweet binging ways to the point that my new nephews and niece game me the nickname “Uncle Cookie” after a shameless display of sampling and then devouring a large amount of that delectable treat at their home in December. Aren’t the holidays, great!   

So after the reckless abandon of my need becoming a “want” to the exclusion of self-control, to the extent that I even had instances of shamefully tried to hide my snacking like an addict, I was eventually pulled out of the darkness by a spiritual discipline and tradition of my local church. 

Although I have been “released” from Rock Solid church, it was the church that created an environment where I was able to grow in my faith and to be transformed.  So whenever I refer to it, I will not call it “my former church” and although I do attend services at Starpoint church now, I will continue to call Rock Solid, “my local church” or “my church” going forward. 

Anyway, my church, Rock Solid church, and its leadership, obviously had a big impact on my life, and one spiritual discipline that they encourage is fasting.   Each new year, the church holds a corporate fast and encourages its members to develop a personal fast where they devote the time they would be eating to seeking the Lord and His guidance.  There are no “rules” in terms of how you fast. You choose your own way. Be it a meal a day, or certain foods, each person decides what and if they will fast.  

I have experience in fasting because of this tradition and was thankful for the reminder of how I could repent of my sins of the flesh.  So on January 3rd, I began fasting.  I only drink water and other liquids when I fast and after the first week I knew I decided the right course for the new year.  

I must have gained 20 plus pounds in the three months I indulged my food addiction, and I am happy to say that because of the fasting I have nearly returned to where I was back in September in terms of my weight.   But more importantly, my eyes have been opened to the insidiousness of my food addiction and the depths of depravity that my indulgences led to.   I desire to be healthy and what I was doing was not healthy and my behavior showed the classic patterns of addiction. 

So, I thank the Lord for the clarity He has given me and the newfound conviction to continue in my intention to be healthy and crucify the flesh through the renewing of my mind and the changing of how I view food.  

Fasting has given me a renewed spirit and has assisted me in regaining some ground in the battle of the bulge but in order to continue on my path to optimal health, I will have to change my perspective and examine what works and doesn’t work in terms of eating.  

You can’t abstain from the things you “love”.  “Yeah I don’t drink anymore but man do I love it!”  That’s a recipe for disaster. We can’t play nice with the things that would destroy us.  We need to have a truly accurate view of what these things did to us and remember the pain that accompanied their pleasures.  We need to change our perspective and live with it.  

So I don’t know if have idols in your life. I don’t know if you have made some of your “needs” into “wants” that are causing you to feel bad about yourself. But if you do I can tell you that God doesn’t want you to be in bondage. God wants what’s best for you and if you examine your life and find something that is out of balance, God can help you to be free of it by giving you His love, strength, and guidance.  

So don’t beat yourself up, nobody’s perfect except for Jesus.  But don’t stay in the muck and mire of confusion when God will lift you up and put you on solid ground. So take that hand He is offering you and keep walking and talking with God because it is only through Him where we can change our minds, our hearts, and our lives.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Daniel 3:17 (NLT2)
17  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.

Today’s verse highlights the unshakable faith of Daniel when he was faced with a punishment that would almost certainly lead to His death.   

Our resource, “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” shares today’s verse under the heading of “Confidence” and I’m glad it does because that means they are highlighting Daniel’s faith here. 

Yesterday’s verse Psalm 121: 8 highlighted the fact that God will watch over us and I had to go back to see if this verse was being used to focus on God’s protection because if it was I was going to have to point to the harsh reality that sometimes God allows suffering and death in our lives, which could lead us to the false conclusion that God doesn’t protect us.  So don’t go around testing God by telling people to throw you into a fiery furnace, today’s verse isn’t a promise that no harm will befall us. 

Today’s verse is an illustration of the type of faith that we are supposed to have as Christian: the type of faith that will not renounce our God even in the face of death.   

So why was Daniel so “confident”?  He was confident because He knew the Lord, had a devoted practice of worshiping Him in prayer, and he had experienced the Lord’s providence before.  He loved the Lord so much because of what He had done for him that the idea of renouncing His faith was so distasteful that He would rather die than to dishonor God.  

Did Daniel know he would be saved?  Nope. The next verse in Daniel tells us he was ready to die, where Daniel said:

Daniel 3:18 (NLT2)
18  But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Talking about rejecting idols and false belief systems! Daniel had the “God perspective” and knew that even if He did die, he would live in God’s kingdom for all eternity.   

So stand fast in your faith and be confident that, with God, we receive His eternal protection and the ability to overcome this world and all the things that would threaten to destroy 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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 5.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

LEARN TO TRUST GOD

Beth was raised in a legalistic church-going family. When she met and married Todd, who was a Christian, she fully expected that her life would be satisfying and that he would be able to meet all of her needs. Her fantasy faded as the marriage failed. Disillusioned and angry with her parents and husband, Beth developed a deep distrust of God. This attitude led to open rebellion and despair. She dabbled in false religions and adopted a worldly lifestyle.

She was given some of my books and tapes, but for months she was afraid to read them and listen to them. Through loving persuasion, she reached out for help, and she was taken through the Steps to Freedom.

The changes in her life are beautiful. The rebellious spirit is gone, and she said, “I feel like I’m in love.” And she is in love...with Jesus the lover of her soul. Before, she tried to “make things happen” by attempting to control people or situations in the hope that her needs would be met. But she gave up her struggle for self-fulfillment, and now the Lord is filling her with a growing sense of peace and security. She said, “I no longer want the things I used to crave for; I just want to know Jesus better.”

When we attempt to take things into our own hands, we have the feeling of being in control. But what or who are we really controlling? Did we have control of when we were born? To whom we were born? Where we were born? When we will die? Do we have the right or ability to control other people and the circumstances of life so that everything becomes beneficial to ourselves? No, the only real control we have is deciding whom we will serve. Paradoxically, only when we surrender completely to God do we have self-control.90

LIVING UNDER AUTHORITY

The Lord said, “Rebellion is as the sin of divination [witchcraft], and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.”91 Defiance against authority places us in the camp of the enemy and subject to his influences. The god of this world, the prince of power of the air, is roaring around like a hungry lion seeking someone to devour. God says, “Get in ranks and follow Me. You are under My protection if you are under My authority.” Satan was the originator of rebellion, so when we rebel, we are following his lead. If people truly understood the reality of the spiritual world and the choice they are making, they would immediately renounce any rebellion and submit to God.

We live in a rebellious age. Everyone sits in judgment of those who are in positions of authority over them. We go to church and critique the choir or the music instead of entering into the experience of worshiping God. We sit in judgment of the sermon instead of letting the sermon sit in judgment of us. How many times have you heard people coming out of church criticizing the music or the message? We are critical of our president, our governors, our pastors, our teachers, our spouses, and our parents.

We are commanded by God to submit to and pray for those who are in authority over us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”92 God’s desire is that we yield ourselves to Him and demonstrate this allegiance by being submissive to those He placed in authority over us. We surrender our right to rule and trust God to work through His established lines of authority for our good. It is a great act of faith to trust God to work through less than perfect people. Actually you are submitting to their position of authority, not the person.

Scripture does teach that there are times when we must obey God rather than man. When governing authorities require us to do something that God commands us not to do, or try to prevent us from doing something that God requires us to do, then we must obey God rather than man, as did the members of the Early Church in special occasions.93 We also have no obligation to obey people who try to exercise authority outside their jurisdictions. Your employer or school teacher has no right to tell you what to do in your own home. A policeman cannot tell you what to believe or where to go to church, but he can tell you to pull your car over and give you a ticket if you are breaking the law.

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Plan on It and Go – Doing All Things Through Christ - Purity 625

Plan on It and Go – Doing All Things Through Christ -  Purity 625

Purity 625 01/11/2022  Purity 625 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a palm tree lined beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida comes to us from a pastor that shared this photo yesterday wishing all his followers on FB to have a Happy Monday and encouraged us all to make it a great week.  After yesterday’s photo of ice covered shores of Lake Ontario, I decided to flip to a southern climate photo to point out that both of these scenes were captured within days of each other and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or just “hate the cold and the snow” where you live, you can change your situation and go where snow and icy temperatures aren’t likely to be a part of your winters.  

I know of several friends that resided in New York State and have headed west or south and now enjoy winters free of the white stuff that just happens to be in the forecast today in the form of flurries.  So instead of wallowing in misery of a seasonal depression year after year, make a plan and go.  

Now I know that is a huge step that most of us say will do “someday” but I would just like to point out two things: the brevity of life and the fact that the things we don’t plan for rarely happen.   If we don’t plan to make a change and actually do it, “someday” may never come.

As someone who has been set free of addictions, anxiety, and depression I know that to be healed I had to seek it for myself by seeking the Lord’s help and I “made a plan” to receive it by surrendering myself to God’s will for my life. 

When you know that you are not living right or have habits that cause a fair amount of pain in the aftermath of their pleasures and “know” that you should change your life but feel powerless to change, I would encourage you to go to the Highest power who is over and above all creation: God.  

It was only when I sought the Lord and surrendered to His ways that I was able to have victory over my addictions and to change the way I thought about life.  My thinking before coming to Christ told me that life was meaningless, that I wasn’t good or good enough, and that I lacked the things that would make me happy.   But after I started to accept what the Bible said about who I was in Christ I learned that God has a plan for the eternity, God has a purpose for my life, and I didn’t have to perform to be accepted and didn’t have to seek to manipulate my physical circumstances to have peace and joy.   

I have had several acquaintances through the years that I have walked beside to encourage out of lifestyles of addiction or negative mind states and in every instance where they failed to achieve freedom from their burdens there came a time where they walked away from the supportive environments that would encourage them to trust and follow Him the Lord and instead went back to the world and their old ways of doing things.  

This points out the fact that while it is important to make a plan to change your life, you have to preserve in it and that when we reject the Lord’s ways we end up right back where we were again, if not in a worse state.  

God gives us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ that means our relationship with God never ends and there is an expectation on his disciples to repent and become conformed to the image of Christ.   We as Christians are to meet that expectation and be transformed in the process.   God doesn’t want you to stay in the same condition that He found you in when you first got saved. He wants you to enjoy an abundant life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit but in order to make those fruit grow in your life you have to continue to follow Him and grow. 

So as our Pastor friend encouraged us that we had the power “to make it a great week”, I would encourage you that God gives you the power to “make it a great life”! If you want it you have to plan for it and then do it. The way to get there is to get the power that comes through God to strengthen and guide you out of your current situation into where you always wanted to go but never thought you could. 

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Whether it’s moving out of the snowy weather, or out of addictions and negative mind states, you change your situation but the way you do it is not through your own strength.  You can do a lot but to have long lasting victory and freedom you have to pursue your goals and freedom through Christ who strengthens you.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 8:34 (NLT2)
34  Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Today’s verse tells us that Christ Himself is at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us and making us free from any condemnation.  

As we stated yesterday, the world, the flesh, and the devil will accuse us, and it works the same way with condemnation.  Low self esteem is the mental health pandemic that is an unseen killer.  Our nation is becoming more and more obese due to people seeking comfort in food rather than seeking the comfort that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

As someone who has had a small measure of victory in the “battle of the bulge” and is still in the process of transitioning to achieve my goal for optimal health, I can tell you that while some eating is mindless habit a lot of it is done to make us feel better because there is a mental dialog going on in our heads that tells us things are hopeless with our weight and that we “don’t care because we are all going to die anyway”.  

These thoughts are the product of low self esteem and are most likely demonically inspired as the enemy loves to condemn people with thoughts that they are “no good, useless, or never going to succeed”.  

But as today’s verse tells us, no one, including ourselves, can condemn us.  If we are in Christ, those condemning thoughts and negative mental dialogs we are running through are lies. We are accepted in Christ. 

And if we are feeding ourselves on condemning thoughts, we will receive negative consequences that affect our emotions and our bodies, just like when we over eat.   

Christ Himself advocates for us and brings us into the kingdom of God. When we get there we have to believe and receive the freedom he gave us by rejecting all accusations and condemnation that come against us and instead stand on the truth of who we are in Christ and live according to God’s ways.  

John 8:36 (NKJV)
36  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

You are free indeed and the best way to experience that freedom in your life is by rejecting all condemnation that may be a mental record you have always been playing in your head or could be the enemy’s repeated attacks.  So renew your mind to agree with who you are in Christ and experience the freedom that comes from a life without condemnation.  

 

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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

RELEASING BITTERNESS TOWARD GOD

Bitterness toward God is far more common than most people would care to admit. But when they become honest about their anger toward God, another stronghold begins to crumble. They believe God has been unfair and let them down...by failing to answer an important prayer...by allowing them to suffer and not rescuing them...by not endowing them with certain blessings, looks, gifts, abilities, success or financial security.

Obviously, God doesn’t need to be forgiven, because He cannot commit any sin of commission or omission. But we need to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” and take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”68 Satan’s scheme is to turn us against God by raising up thoughts against Him. These deceptive thoughts often sound like God doesn’t love me. He isn’t going to do anything to help me. They cause us to rebel against His Lordship. Satan is defeated when we release God from our own false expectations and stop blaming Him for our own failures and the failure of the Church to adequately equip the saints so they can live a liberated life in Christ.

People don’t always forgive others because of what others did to them; people forgive others for what they think others have done to them. Bitterness isn’t always rooted in reality. It is rooted in their perceptions. Some people put their pastor’s name on their lists for silly reasons like not answering the phone when they called. But the pastor wasn’t home or he would’ve answered the phone! The pastor didn’t do anything wrong, but the person thought he did, so the person needed to forgive him. Roots of bitterness spring up and many are defiled69 because of misunderstandings.

THOUGHTS RAISED UP AGAINST GOD

That is why it is not blasphemous to “forgive” God— because the bitterness is not based in reality but in thoughts raised up against the knowledge of Him. God understands that concept much better than we do because He alone knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. The only way to overcome bitterness is to forgive.

When people have worked through their bitterness toward God, they immediately acknowledge the fact that God hasn’t done anything wrong. It won’t help you to overcome your bitterness toward God by defending Him. First of all, God doesn’t need to be defended. Second, forgiveness starts where people are at. Telling others they shouldn’t feel the way they do toward God or anyone else is futile. They can’t change the way they feel. We’ve participated in a subtle form of rejection when we won’t accept or acknowledge their frustration and pain. If you find “forgiving” God uncomfortable, or if you think it is absolutely wrong, then you might try praying, “Lord, I know You haven’t done anything wrong, but I want to repent of the anger I have against You for....” Angry feelings must be dealt with, or it won’t do much good to go on, because God is your only hope.

Most people won’t submit to God if they are bitter toward Him or think they can’t trust Him. I can only tell you from experience that working through the bitterness toward God brings tremendous healing and restoration. Job is a good example of a believer who repented of anger toward God: “Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”70 Forgiving others is not a self-righteous activity nor a blaming exercise. It is a humbling and healing experience that faces the hurt and the hate, and then chooses the way of the Cross.

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship