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Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts

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


Monday, January 17, 2022

Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Repent? Say What? - Purity 630


Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Repent?  Say What?  -  Purity 630

Purity 630 01/17/2022   Purity 630 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a boat cruising beneath a setting sun and waves rolling into one of Florida’s beaches comes to us from a friend who shared an abundance of photos of their recent 12 day holiday get away where they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time.   That sun, those waves, that beach and that completely cloudless blue sky makes me want to take a walk along the beach with my shoes off!  

Well, it’s Monday again, and the weather in upstate New York doesn’t really bode well for barefoot walks along the coasts of nearby bodies of water. In fact even in the relatively safe confines of the Hudson Valley that tends to not get as buried as the areas to the east, west, and north, we have what seems to be 3 inches of snow on the ground at my riverfront homestead. 

When I saw the forecast on Friday I had the presence of mind and good fortune to be able to use a vacation day to take the day off from work today. So I won’t be rushing out the door for my regular commute, but I will have to spend some time today clearing our driveway.   My upstate neighbors to the north, east, and west will undoubtedly be dealing with a few more inches than me so I feel blessed even though I have a burden to bear.    

In my years of experience of dealing with situations unskillfully and being negatively affected by every passing circumstance, I was blessed by the Lord to discover His way for living that directs us to: 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
16  Rejoice always,
17  pray without ceasing,
18  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

So even after or during a snowstorm, we are able  to give thanks, rejoice, and keep communicating with God in prayer.  When we stay grounded in our identity in Christ and know the reality of being set free from sin and death, we can face each new day with joy and peace instead of worry, anxiety, fear, or anger.  

In Christ we have found the answers to the big questions in life and when we abide in Him, by communicating with the Lord in prayer and Bible study and by following His guidance from His word, we have the answers to the “small problems” that can seem so big.   

The problem in America and the world at large is that the cultural and societal  Christianity of denominational church systems created a paradigm where clergy are the only ones who studied the word of God and the laity would just attend worship services resulting in a system of spiritual materialism where the laity would try to “follow the rules” by trying to “be good” and “go to church” and felt no obligation to do anything more to build their knowledge of or relationship with God and the clergy was this exalted and isolated sect who felt forced to portray an image of piety making them more unrelatable and unapproachable to the people they were entrusted to serve.    

Within this system, sin and superstitious beliefs based on the traditions of men, grew like wildfire sometimes resulting in disillusionment, oppression, and abuse.  Eventually, there was a rebellion and the societal pressure to be a part of a church relaxed resulting in nearly empty churches across America today.  These systems didn’t work because they didn’t encourage the authentic faith of a Christian disciple who actively seeks to know God more and apply God’s teachings to their lives. Or those systems unwittingly catered to the sinfulness of men who refused to attempt to truly repent and who were content just sitting in a pew and suffering through a church service before getting back to the “real world” and their fulfilling their fleshly appetites.

Arthur and Suzanna Cincotti, my wife, and I did our weekly Bible Study podcast on repentance yesterday and one of the listeners asked about my comment that instructed that after we sin we are to repent.   

Their concern apparently was that I was saying that salvation was lost with every sin.  This belief is a product of church systems or pastors that teach a mixed gospel of works and grace when the Bible teaches that it is through faith in Christ alone that we are saved.  

I explained that if we have truly made Jesus our Lord and Savior we are forgiven of all our sins, past, present, and future, and we are saved, and nothing can separate us from the love of God.  

I was speaking on our relationship with God as His children and pointed out that God understands that we will be “saints who sin” who will need to be both forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness continually as we walk out our lives as Christians.   As

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) says
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This verse points to repentance. We aren’t just to confess our sins and go on our merry way in a life of sin. We are to agree with God and turn to His way of living to be cleansed of all unrighteousness.  

Arthur Cincotti’s outline yesterday cited several scriptures where Christ preached repentance and the injunction to “go and sin no more.”   So there is an expectation for the Christian to grow in their faith and forsake their worldly ways.  

But this is not some oppressive system that wants to whip you into shape. This is your relationship with the God that loves you, forgives you continually, and encourages you to leave the darkness of sin behind and He does so for you good.  

The confession of sins for the disciple of Christ is not a means of regaining the salvation that they already have. The confession of sin for Christ’s disciples is to re-establish the harmony of your relationship with God and to restate the commitment to follow Him.  So yes, we should repent every time we are made aware that we sin to eliminate the sin that would condemn us and leave a foothold for Satan in our lives.  

The Christian faith isn’t supposed to be a theological system of weekly meetings that condemn you for your weaknesses. The Christian faith is supposed to be a personal dynamic interaction between us and God where we are drawn closer to Him because of His love for us that will motivate us to become more like Him.  

To experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we are not supposed to have some anointed clergy man say a prayer for us while we stay uninvolved in the building up of our own faith or be a matter where we expect to receive blessings because we sat in a pew for an hour each week.   

To experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control from the Holy Spirit, we are supposed to take responsibility for our relationship with God and endeavor to grow in our faith.  To gain the fruit of the Spirit we have to walk in the Spirit. 

For those in Christ, our salvation is a settled matter. Let’s not fear losing what God has already given us. Instead let’s pursue the abundant life that Christ has already given us and that is merely waiting for us to discover.  

So keep walking and talking with God. If you have sin in your life, repent of it and turn to God’s ways for your life where you can rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 10:9 (NLT2)
9  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Today’s verse is one of the lynch pins that declare that we are saved by faith in Christ alone.  

We highlighted Romans 10:9 very recently to be used as a proclamation of our “saved” status.  I directed those who doubted their Christian standing to use Romans 10:9  to examine their experience compared to the truth of this verse by reading it and asking themselves if they met “God’s requirements” for salvation.  By asking:

Did I confess with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord?

Do I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead? 

If the answer to those two questions is “Yes”, the conclusion is that “you will be saved”. 

The phrase “will be saved” obviously points to our ultimate entrance into God’s eternal kingdom at the hour of our physical deaths or when Christ returns, whatever happens first.   But don’t worry about that “will be” as some uncertain destiny for other scriptures declare that Christians “are saved” or “have been saved” to cover both the past, when you made Christ your Lord and Savior, and the present.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (NKJV)
1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.

These verses point to the past, present, and future tense of our salvation.  It is a done deal, a present reality, and will be ultimately fulfilled with our entrance into the eternal kingdom of God. 

But 1 Corinthians 15 points out that we are to hold fast to the gospel of grace because there is a spiritual reality of the possibility of “believing in vain” which points to false converts: those who say they believe in Christ but who fail to follow Him, reminding us of possibly the two scariest passages in the Bible. 

Luke 13:25-27 (NKJV)
25  When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26  then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.'
27  But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.'

Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
21  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Here Christ’s words condemn false converts whose fruits are “lawlessness” and “iniquity”. These false converts tried to talk the talk of a Christian but didn’t have a heart for God and whose fruit was either absent as in Luke 13 or false or “in vain” as in Matthew 7.  

So stand on Romans 10:9 to assure yourself of your salvation but hold on to that gospel of grace and follow the Lord so you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ is your Lord and Savior, and you are a child of the most high God.    

 

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 conclude 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.

DEVELOP AN IDENTITY LIST

As you work through your list, it can be very helpful to make a “before and after” identity chart. Take a clean piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the page. At the top of the left column, write the words “Old Identity.” Under that column write down every negative thing you said about yourself or was said about you. At the top of the right column, write “New Identity in Christ.” Write down what is really true about yourself in Christ.

Recall the words that describe your beliefs about yourself as a result of abuse. In the left-hand column, record such words as “dirty,” “unloved,” “abandoned,” “not worth anything” and “can’t do anything right.” Especially record those words associated with the people of influence in your early years (mother, father, siblings, etc.). Such labels influenced your belief system and behavior patterns.

When you go to a store and buy a can or package of food off the shelf, it has a manufacturer’s label describing the contents. As you go through life—the bad experiences, the things done to you, the things said to you, the wrong things you were involved in—Satan is there with paper and pencil writing a label for your life. Now that you are alive in Christ, you are no longer a product of your past; you are a product of the work of Christ on the cross. All the old labels of the world don’t describe the contents of who you are anymore. Renounce the lies and choose the truth. Some examples are as follows:

For those who have been betrayed by a parent and transferred that mistrust to their heavenly Father: “Lord, I renounce the lies I’ve believed about You because of the way my earthly father treated me. I announce the truth that You are not like my earthly father. You are perfectly loving and faithful.”

For those who think they are responsible for holding their dysfunctional families together and for being a parent’s emotional support: “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am responsible for being a savior to the people around me or that I must always be responsible for others by being the strong one. Thank you, Lord, that it’s all right for me to be honest about my own need. Thank you that when I am weak, You are strong within me.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:9, TLB.)

For those who have been constantly put down by the authority figures in their lives: “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am unworthy and insignificant. I announce the truth that I am your special child and I am precious to You.” Or “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am a helpless victim as I felt when I was a child. I announce the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (See Philippians 4:13.)

 

SEEKING FORGIVENESS FROM OTHERS

Some are reluctant to forgive others because they believe they have to go to those people. The prospect of facing their abusers is too traumatic to even consider. To forgive others, you only need to go to God. Don’t confuse the issue of forgiving others with the need to ask for forgiveness, which is called for in Matthew 5:23-26. The Lord requires us to go to others before we go to Him and seek reconciliation if we know that someone has something against us.

The important thing to remember is that if we have hurt someone else, we need to go to that person first before we go to church. But if we have been hurt by others, we need to forgive them by going first to God. Forgiveness must precede reconciliation. Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men,”87 but it doesn’t always depend upon you. You cannot be reconciled with someone who doesn’t want to be reconciled. The goal is for you to be free from past abuses and abusers. Reconciliation may come, but only if the abusers will own up to their abusive ways and honestly seek forgiveness. The freedom of the abused is never contingent upon whether the abuser will own up to it. You must be willing to forgive from your heart regardless of what the abusers do. If you make your willingness to forgive others contingent upon them, then you will be controlled by abusers all your life. You may protest, but you don’t know how bad they hurt me. They are still hurting you. Forgiveness is how you stop the pain. Forgiving others from your heart is a draining experience, but a major conflict has been resolved between you and God. Satan has no right to torment you anymore. It is normal to feel exhausted, but a brief break, a good stretch, a glass of water, and you are ready to go on to the next Step. But before you do, finish this Step with the following prayer:87

Lord Jesus, I choose not to hold on to my resentment and bitterness. I relinquish my right to seek revenge, and I ask You to heal my damaged emotions. Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of bitterness and free from my past experiences. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

CHAPTER FOUR: OVERCOMING

THE BONDAGE OF BITTERNESS


65. Romans 12:19

66. Proverbs 14:10

67. Colossians 2:18

68. 2 Corinthians. 10:5

69. Hebrews 12:15

70. Job 42:6

71. 2 Corinthians 5:21

72. Matthew 26:38

73. Luke 23:34

74. Romans 6:10

75. Ephesians 4:31, 32

76. 2 Corinthians 2:10,11

77. Ephesians 4:26, 27, 31, 32

78. Romans 6:23

79. Titus 3:4, 5

80. Ephesians 2:8

81. Luke 6:36

82. 2 Peter 1:4

83. 1 John 4:8

84. John 13:35

85. Romans 8:1

86. Hebrews 12:15

87. Romans 12:18

 ---------------------------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

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Immediately Answer the Call and “Get ‘er Done” - Purity 620


 Immediately Answer the Call and “Get ‘er Done” -  Purity 620

Purity 620 01/05/2022  Purity 620 Podcast

Good morning, 

Today’s photo of a sliver of a crescent moon and the fading blues and pinks of sunset over the Hudson River comes to us from yours truly as I was blessed by this sight upon arriving home last evening.   The sunsets in our area of upstate NY have been amazing the last two evenings and the fact that we get to enjoy these sights periodically should fill us with wonder and the urge to praise and thank the Lord for all that He provides.  

It’s Wednesday and as we make it to the midweek point and seek to get over the hump, I would encourage you to face the problems that surround you and if you can deal with them, immediately.  

It’s not always easy but I like to practice what I preach and sometimes you are put to the test when your day just begins.  This morning, I was greeted with a problem upon waking.  As I slept my children messaged me with the news that they are concerned that there is a wasp’s nest somewhere in our home as they have both been stung by wasp and seen a total of 5 wasps in our home in the past month. 

While part of me felt tempted to text back a pithy reply like “Deal with it” or with an exasperated question like “What do want me to do about it?”, I instead took their concerns seriously and used part of my morning to examine the woodwork in the basement to see if I could see any signs of wasp infestation.  So armed with sealing compound, bee spray, and a flashlight, I went about the task of trying to address this problem.  

If nothing else I sealed up a few holes where cold air was coming in but in truth I did discover one hole that seemed new which received a healthy dose of bee spray in addition to a sealing compound plug.  So I advised my kids via messenger of my efforts and asked them to remain diligent in reporting any future instances of wasp activity.  

This morning’s task brings to mind my philosophy on dealing with problems that I have arrived at after years of suffering the consequences of procrastinating (which is just word that means doing nothing), denying a problem exists, or just hoping a problem will go away on its own.  My philosophy is to address and try to solve problems as soon as possible as they arise, as in immediately.

While waiting on the Lord will be absolutely necessary as part of our faith walk, God created man to “tend to the Garden” and be stewards of the things that He has entrusted us with.  So if something goes wrong and the problem needs to be addressed or a task needs to be performed, I have learned that it is best if we do so immediately.  

Putting things off for another time may be wise in some instances, as we can discern what the situations at hand require, but I know that I have a penchant for forgetting things so if I can, I deal with problems as they come because I have learned that in this world broken by sin, another problem or task to be done is right around the corner. 

So “get ‘er done and get ‘er done now” is sort of my problem solving philosophy of life and actually is the disposition that we are to take when walking in the Spirit.  When a problem arises or a call from the Lord comes, we should take action immediately.  

I did a quick word search of immediately at Blueletterbible.org and found that many of the uses of immediately either describe people taking action or people being miraculously healed.  

Matthew 4:19-20 (NKJV)
19  Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20  They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

Acts 16:10 (NKJV) says
10  Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

 

Immediately, they left their nets! Immediately, they sought to go!  Move it. Move it.  

 

Our lives of walking in the Spirit are directed by the Holy Spirit, so if we get an intuition to do something that is out of the ordinary and seems to be good, I have learned to obey “the call” immediately.   I have been “directed by the Spirit” to pray for people, to do good deeds, perform work, and to make decisions that I later wondered where I got the wisdom from and in every instance it has resulted in good and left me with no regrets.   

As for the appearance of immediately in the Bible regarding the healing, scripture indicates that God heals miraculously in an instant.  If a healing miracle is to be claimed today, it should only be applied only to instances where the person received immediate, complete healing. 

Before you say I don’t believe in miracles because of that strict classification drawn from scripture, I would say that I believe that all healing comes from God, miraculous or otherwise as God also heals through His providence.

As Creator and Sustainer of all things and Sovereign King over His creation, the Lord sets the conditions and grants healing providentially through non-miraculous means.  Why does one treatment work for one person and not the other? Why do so people get sick and die and others get sick and recover?  God’s will, grace, mercy, and providence all play a hand in our experience in ways we can’t understand or direct.  His will, rather than our will, will be done.    

But God does set those conditions in our world that we can learn from and adhere to be healed.  We can take steps to live a healthy lifestyle and deal with problems immediately that will cause stress or suffering if they are not addressed. The “healing” that we can receive is the peace we can have knowing that we have fulfilled our roles as stewards over what we have been given and then trust the Lord to help us knowing that He is faithful to do what is right.   

We can’t control everything, and we can’t demand that the Lord will bless us as we wish, but we can be faithful to answer His call on our lives and to be responsible stewards over what we have received.  

Walking in the Spirit is supposed to be a dynamic interaction with the Lord in which we are actively seeking His presence, wisdom, guidance, and strength as we try to discern His will for our lives and skillfully deal with the situations that arise in our lives in a way that solves problems and represents Him on the earth.   

So rather than putting off to tomorrow what you could do today, consider doing it immediately.  Sometimes we can cultivate the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy by being responsible and taking action to maintain, to fix, or to perform the things that God has given us in our lives.  So keep walking and talking with God, and when you do keep your eyes open to be aware of what situations need to be dealt with and when you should take care of them. And don’t be surprised, if the Lord encourages you to do them immediately. 


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NLT2)
3  But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Today’s verse speaks of the reality of the Lord’s care and the clear and present danger of the enemy.  

One of the popular worship songs being played currently is “Promises” by Maverick City Music. The chorus of that song resounds with the declaration of “Great is Your faithfulness to me” speaking of God’s care, guidance, and presence in our lives echoing today’s verse’s simple truth that the Lord is faithful and He will strengthen us and protect us from the evil one.  

The evil one is Satan, the enemy who lives to steal, kill, and destroy.  His tactics include deception, accusation, condemnation, and temptation to lead us astray. He can also influence others to do his will and harm us.  

So we not only have to be steadfast to monitor what is going in our thoughts and what we are putting before our eyes that may lead us into temptation, but we must also be wise and discerning when it comes to the company we keep.   

The implication of today’s verse is that when we follow the Lord and His ways for our lives we will receive His strength and His protection.  That protection and strength doesn’t only have to come in some miraculous or providential way.  By following the Lord and living according to what the Word of God says, we are shielded and armed for battle to resist and defeat the enemy.   

The Lord provides to those who ask, seek, and knock.  So seek the Lord by faithfully applying His word to your life and you will be strengthened and be guarded from the attacks of the evil one.  

 

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 3.   

 

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.

GOING THROUGH STEP TWO

In Step One you dealt with counterfeit guidance. In Step Two you will determine if you have been deceived. Scripture teaches that Christians can fall away from the faith by paying attention to deceiving spirits.64 We can also be deceived by the world, deceive ourselves, and wrongly defend ourselves. We need God’s help to determine whether deception has occurred, so ask for God’s guidance as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the truth, and I desire to live by faith according to Your truth. The truth will set me free, but in many ways I have been deceived by the father of lies, the philosophies of this fallen world, and I have deceived myself. I choose to walk in the light, knowing that You love and accept me just as I am. As I consider areas of possible deception, I invite the Spirit of truth to guide me into all truth. Please protect me from all deception as You “search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23, 24).

In the name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

Prayerfully consider the lists in the three exercises below, using the prayers at the end of each exercise in order to confess any ways you have given in to deception or wrongly defended yourself. You cannot instantly renew your mind, but the process will never get started without acknowledging mental strongholds or defense mechanisms, which are sometimes called mental flesh patterns.

Ways you can be deceived by the world:

·       Believing that acquiring money and things will bring lasting happiness. (Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:10)

·       Believing that excessive food and alcohol can relieve my stress and make me happy. (Proverbs 23:19-21)

·       Believing that an attractive body and personality will get me what I need. (Proverbs 31:10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4)

·       Believing that gratifying sexual lust will bring lasting satisfaction. (Ephesians 4:22; 1 Peter 2:11)

·       Believing that I can sin and get away without any negative consequences. (Hebrews 3:12, 13)

·       Believing that I need more than what God has given me in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15)

·       Believing that I can do whatever I want and no one can touch me. (Proverbs 16:18; Obadiah 3; 1 Peter 5:5)

·       Believing that unrighteous people who refuse to accept Christ go to heaven anyway. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

·       Believing that I can associate with bad company and not become corrupted. (1 Corinthians 15:33, 34)

·       Believing that I can read, see, or listen to anything and not be corrupted. (Proverbs 4:23-27; Matthew 5:28)

·       Believing that there are no consequences on earth for my sin. (Galatians 6:7, 8)

·       Believing that I must gain the approval of certain people in order to be happy. (Galatians 1:10)

·       Believing that I must measure up to certain standards in order to feel good about myself. (Galatians 3:2, 3; 5:1)

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have been deceived by (confess the items you checked above). I thank You for Your forgiveness, and I commit myself to believe only Your truth. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Ways to deceive yourself:

·       Hearing God’s Word but not doing what it says. (James 1:22)

·       Saying I have no sin. (1 John 1:8)

·       Thinking I am something I’m really not. (Galatians 6:3)

·       Thinking I am wise in this worldly age. (1 Corinthians 3:18, 19)

·       Thinking I can be truly religious but not bridle my tongue. (James 1:26)

·       Thinking that God is the source of my problems. (Lamentations 3)

·       Thinking I can live my life without the help of anyone else. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have deceived myself by (confess the items checked above). Thank You for Your forgiveness. I commit myself to believe only Your truth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

·       Ways to wrongly defend yourself:

·       Denial of reality conscious or unconscious

·       Fantasy (escaping reality by daydreaming, TV, movies, music, computer, or video games, drugs, alcohol)

·       Emotional insulation (withdrawing from people or keeping people at a distance to avoid rejection)

·       Regression (reverting back to less threatening times)

·       Displaced anger (taking out frustrations on innocent people)

·       Projection (attributing to another what you find unacceptable in yourself)

·       Rationalization (making excuses for my own poor behavior)

·       Lying (protecting self through falsehoods)

·       Blaming myself (when not responsible) and others

·       Hypocrisy (presenting a false image)

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have wrongly defended myself by (confess the items checked above). Thank You for Your forgiveness. I trust You to defend and protect me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The wrong ways we have employed to shield ourselves from pain and rejection are often deeply engrained in our lives. You may need additional discipling or counseling to learn how to allow Christ to be your rock, fortress, deliverer, and refuge. The more you learn how loving, powerful, and protective God is, the more you will trust Him. The more you realize His complete acceptance of you in Christ, the more you’ll be released to be open, honest, and vulnerable (in a healthy way) before God and others.

The New Age movement has twisted the concept of faith by teaching that we make something true by believing it. That is false. We cannot create reality with our minds; only God can bring something out of nothing into existence. Our responsibility is to face reality and choose to believe what God says is true. True biblical faith, therefore, is choosing to believe and act upon what is true, because God has said it is true, and He is the Truth. Faith is something you decide to do, not something you feel like doing. Believing something doesn’t make it true; it’s already true, therefore we choose to believe it! Truth is not conditioned by whether we choose to believe it or not.

Everybody lives by faith. The only difference between Christian faith and non-Christian faith is the object of our faith. If the object of our faith is not trustworthy, then no amount of believing will change that. That’s why our faith must be grounded on the solid rock of God’s perfect, unchanging character and the truth of His word. For two thousand years Christians have known the importance of verbally and publicly declaring truth. Read aloud the following Statements of Truth, and carefully consider what you are professing. You may find it helpful to read the words aloud daily for several weeks, which will help renew your mind to the truth.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship