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Showing posts with label Philip Hand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philip Hand. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Sun Still Rises - Purity 851


The Sun Still Rises - Purity 851

Purity 851 10/01/2022 Purity 851 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s original artwork, which I am entitling “The Sun Still Rises”, is of the sun rising over the horizon shining on a solitary tree on a hill, illuminating the sky and landscape with all the colors of the rainbow, comes to us from “across the pond”  as this is the latest creation of the artist, the poet, and our friend in the UK, Philip Hand. Philip shared it with me just this morning along with a Bible verse to encourage and inspire me in my walk.  Philip shared:

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Think on these things, indeed.  In this world that often points to the things that are wrong, our brother Philip is reminding us of what the Apostle Paul told us, the Church, to do through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good.  

When we encounter negative interactions with others or disappointing circumstances in the world the enemy would love for us to focus on the bad things in life and to forget about just how blessed we are, even in the midst of a disastrous situation like Hurricane Ian, that has now reportedly been responsible for the deaths of 23 persons in Florida, landed in South Carolina  yesterday as a Post Tropical Cyclone, category 1 storm, and will continue to affect the weather as it will continue to move north today through North Carolina and into Virginia by mid-day today and is even may result in significant rainfalls in my neck of the woods, New York today and tomorrow.

So today we pray for the lives lost and affected by the damages of this latest storm to rage up the east coast of our country, and we will be wise to consider its course as it weakens in regards to our activities this weekend, but we also continue to praise the Lord and think on the things  that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good.  

The spirit of loving our neighbors is being seen in the relief efforts that are rushing in to restore power and order to the devastated areas hit by Hurricane Ian and in the concern that we have for our friends and loved ones that were in it’s path, as we rejoice over every new report from friends reporting that they are “safe” on social media.   The love of God is being manifest in us when we see people love and care for one another in storms like Ian.

I’m calling Philip’s latest piece, “The Sun Also Rises” because I am reminded of Solomon’s contemplations of the hard realities of life in the book of Ecclesiastes and even though he expressed how much of life was “vanity” or chasing after the wind, He came to the conclusion that while we were to fear God and obey His commandments because everything we do will be judged by Him, he also encouraged us to enjoy our lives recognizing that all we have is a gift from the Lord and that to follow the Lord’s ways for living was to demonstrate  an understanding of the highest wisdom.  

But Philip’s piece also reminds me of  Jerimiah’s passages in Lamentation, another “heavy” book in the Bible that acknowledges the reality of sufferings and afflictions in life.  After admitting to the suffering, Jerimiah speaks of the hope that comes from contemplating the Lord in our lives. 

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NKJV)
21  This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22  Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24  "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"

 

So that’s the deal, when we think of “these things” that are listed in Philippians, if we keep thinking, whatever “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good” things our minds can come up with we will discover that they all point to the ultimate “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good” One, the Lord God all mighty!  And that our peace and our hope is found in Him because His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness!

In his comments to me this morning, my friend Philip said that he feels peaceful when he is drawing but when he sought to share the “product of his peace”, he also felt moved to share encouragement from the word of God by including Philippians 4:8 when he shared his artwork.  

I told Philip that his story (his artwork, his finding peace of mind from negative mind states through it and his faith in Jesus Christ) is an ongoing testimony of the goodness of God and how the gifts that we receive from Him can be used to touch the hearts of others.   

So wherever you find yourself in the world this weekend,  whether you are walking in victory or struggling to find peace in a storm, let me encourage you to think upon those things that the Lord directed us to think about and to find your hope in Him. When we walk and talk with the Lord, we will discover the peace in the storm, and we will praise Him for His goodness, mercy, grace, faithfulness, and love.

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

This morning’s meditation verse i:

Romans 7:4 (NLT2)
4  So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.

Today’s Bible verse encourages us that we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God because we have died to the power of the laws of sin and death when we died with, and was raised to life anew with Christ.   

As I have shared previously in other blog posts, when we consider Bible verses like today’s verse and

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) which says
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

We should understand the word “law” as “authority”.  Instead of some lifeless legal code, we should understand the “authority” or power under which we once lived and how that has dramatically changed when we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and receive a new and eternal spiritual life.   

So by the “authority of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, The Lord now declares you to be free from the “authority of sin and death”!

Death’s authority would render us dead in our trespasses and sins and make us subject to God’s wrath!  

But the authority of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus gives us peace with God and new life in God’s kingdom as His adopted children.  

The authority of sin would make us incapable of saying “NO!” to sin and powerless to change our sinful habits and lead us to despair and hopelessness.  

But the authority of The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from sin’s authority by giving us a new identity in Christ and giving us the power to say “No! to sin, not as an act of will, but as an act of faith as we align our thoughts and behaviors with our new identity in Christ and draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome of worldly ways for a new life in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.  

Well that’s great! So what happens next now that I have this freedom from the “law” since I have died, and been resurrected, with Christ?  

As today’s verse tells us, we discover our new purpose as a child of God, we produce a harvest of good deeds for God.  

In Christ we have been set free and given a new life.  We have received power over the “authority” of sin and death and we also receive our purpose: to do good deeds for the glory of God, because of who we are in Christ and because of our love for our Father. 

We receive everything in Christ: a new identity, power, freedom, victory, purpose here on earth and with God in His kingdom forever. 

It’s the first day of October 2022, so let’s go out there and reap a harvest of good deeds for the glory of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit who have given us freedom, power, and life everlasting.    

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

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

Chapter Five

Discipleship and the Individual

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

Jesus’ call to discipleship makes the disciple into a single individual. Whether disciples want to or not, they have to make a decision; each has to decide alone. It is not their own choice to desire to be single individuals. Instead, Christ makes everyone he calls into an individual. Each is called alone. Each must follow alone. Out of fear of such aloneness, a human being seeks safety in the people and things around them. Individuals suddenly discover all their responsibilities and cling to them. Under their cover, they want to make their decision, but they do not want to stand up alone in front of Jesus, to have to decide with only Jesus in view. But at that moment neither father nor mother, neither spouse nor child, neither nation nor history cover a person being called. Christ intends to make the human being lonely. As individuals they should see nothing except him who called them.

Jesus’ call itself already breaks the ties with the naturally given surroundings in which a person lives. It is not the disciple who breaks them; Christ himself broke them as soon as he called. Christ has untied the person’s immediate connections with the world and bound the person immediately to himself. No one can follow Christ without recognizing and affirming that that break is already complete. Not the caprice of a self-willed life, but Christ himself leads the disciple to such a break.

Why must that be so? Why can there not be an unbroken growth, a series of slow sanctifying steps out of the natural orders into the community of Christ? What sort of annoying power comes here between human persons and the God-given orders of their natural lives? Is not such a break legalistic “methodism”? Is it not the same as that unhappy contempt for God’s good gifts, which has nothing in common with the “freedom of the Christian”?[5] It is true, there is something which comes between persons called by Christ and the given circumstances of their natural lives. But it is not someone unhappily contemptuous of life; it is not some law of piety. Instead, it is life and the gospel itself; it is Christ himself. In becoming human, he put himself between me and the given circumstances of the world. I cannot go back. He is in the middle. He has deprived those whom he has called of every immediate connection to those given realities. He wants to be the medium; everything should happen only through him. He stands not only between me and God, he also stands between me and the world, between me and other people and things. He is the mediator, not only between God and human persons, but also between person and person, and between person and reality. Because the whole world was created by him and for him (John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2), he is the sole mediator in the world. Since Christ there has been no more unmediated relationship for the human person, neither to God nor to the world. Christ intends to be the mediator. To be sure, there are plenty of other gods which offer immediate access and, in fact, the world tries by all means to relate to persons immediately. But herein lies precisely its hostility to Christ, the mediator. Other gods and the world want to tear away from Christ what he deprived them of, namely, the ability to relate immediately to human persons.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 92–94.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Bridge Over Troubled Waters – A Path from mother to Our Father - Purity 819


 Bridge Over Troubled Waters – A Path from mother to Our Father - Purity 819

Purity 819 08/25/2022  Purity 819 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s artistic offering comes to us from our friend in the Manchester, England, Philip Hand, who shared this “bridge over troubled waters” back in March with a poem of fond remembrance of his departed mother that I have no other choice but to share.  Philip wrote:

Beautiful Mother

Beautiful Mother of the morning

From loves first breath, life’s dawning

Love embracing innocence,

Face to face in perfect unity

 

the way mother and child are meant to be.

 

Thank You for having me

I’d be nothing without you

 

Even though you are not here,

My love will reach the stars.

Sweet memories I cherish

Forever deep within my heart.”

-Philip Hand

I just love this process of writing that the Lord has put me on with this blog because I literally don’t know where the Lord will take me and what will have to be said from day to day. 

It’s Thursday so this morning I was looking for a photo a pathway on my phone that I could use to represent the “pathway of Christian Discipleship” to encourage my friends to walk in the Spirit, as I do on the fourth work day of week because I traditionally would lead or teach on Thursday nights, that my habit that’s what I do: share pathways on Thursdays to encourage people seek the Lord and to follow Him with their lives.  

But I am on vacation this week, so I didn’t feel pressed for time and went back a little further in my photo archive to try to find something when I came a across Philip’s drawing.  I liked it and since it had a bridge in it I decided that was enough of a pathway to satisfy my Thursday criteria.  And as I examined his work, I tried to make sense of it. I knew it was a bridge, and most likely a stream, but shape of the water resembled a brooding mountainous “Jabba the Hut” like face, and I thought “Bridge over Troubled Water”, perfect. So I figured I had enough and should go to Philip’s page to see the origin to discover, his beautiful poem reflecting a troubled but loving heart paying tribute to his departed mother.

And then I decided to look at the lyrics to Paul Simon’s song, and discovered that the phrase “Bridge Over Trouble Waters” was inspired by Simon listening to the southern gospel group Swan Silvertones’ 1959 song “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep,” in which one particular line rang out to Simon,— I’ll be your bridge over deep water / If you trust in my name—which helped Simon finish “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and its more gospel elements. (https://americansongwriter.com/the-meaning-behind-bridge-over-troubled-water-by-simon-garfunkel/).   

Although rather vague, Our heavenly Father’s care and concern for us and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, can be easily imagined in Simon’s lyrics:     

“When you're weary

Feeling small

When tears are in your eyes

I'll dry them all

I'm on your side

Oh, when times get rough

And friends just can't be found

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

When you're down and out

When you're on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

I'll take your part

Oh, when darkness comes

And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down”

(https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/simongarfunkel/bridgeovertroubledwater.html)

If you didn’t know it Simon’s song was written in 1969 when “America was in a state. Vietnam was in motion, Richard Nixon was president, and the country was still coping with the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, who were both assassinated in 1968. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” spoke to the turmoil of the times and continues to adapt to more recent times, used as an uplifting anthem around more tragic events.”  (https://americansongwriter.com/the-meaning-behind-bridge-over-troubled-water-by-simon-garfunkel/).   

So what do I do with all of this? I think our times continue to be pretty troubled. I don’t think the reality of continuous tragedies or the media’s penchant for highlighting will allow us to imagine our times as anything but troubled. Whether it’s the perceived trouble in our country or very personal pain, trials, and tribulations in our present, or in our past, we could easily admit to some troubled waters in our lives.

So I guess the question is: Will you take that “Bridge” over the troubled waters?

Will you accept the comfort and presence of the Lord in your life when “times get rough, when friends can’t be found, when darkness comes, and pain is all around?”   

Will you move on from the apron strings of your earthly mother and take the path that was laid down for you by Jesus that leads to your Heavenly Father?  

I can only assume that all of this is coming to me this morning because God wants us to know that He knows our heartaches and He knows the trouble in our lives and He wants us to know that He will never leave us or forsake us and He is inviting us to walk with Him and that He will carry us over the troubled waters in our lives.  

So brother and sister, let’s go man. Let’s take that bridge. And let’s keep walking and talking with God until we discover the meaning, purpose, and peace that He has for us.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 93:4 (NLT2)
4  But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore— the LORD above is mightier than these!

Today’s verse tells us that the Lord above is mightier than the violent raging seas and the breakers on the shore. 

Okay, I can’t make this stuff up.  Is it any wonder why I continually encourage others to “walk in the Spirit”?

So I just happen to write about “troubled waters” and this is the verse of the day? 

“Violent raging of the seas”, I’d say that qualifies as troubled waters!

But what does this verse tell us? It’s tells us “the Lord above is mightier than these”!

We should never forget that when we put our faith in Christ, our lives are saved and we have a the mightiest ally imaginable to help us move through this life and to overcome or to endure whatever waves or storms that this world broken by sin has to offer.  

So be encouraged. The Lord is WITH US and He is more than mighty enough to see us through. 

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

The Issue of Responsibility

If we are duped, exploited or driven to do something by a powerful supernatural opponent—“the devil made me do it”—does that not lessen the level of our personal responsibility? Some theologians fear that this is the case. They are concerned that the belief in a literal devil and evil spirits may lead people to remove responsibility from themselves and locate it somewhere outside of themselves.

When three high-school boys in Carl Junction, Missouri, claimed that the voice of the devil prompted them to kill one of their companions as a sacrifice to Satan in 1987, the courts held the boys responsible and sentenced them to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Is there a possibility that such a ruling was unjust? If a power much greater than themselves compelled them to bludgeon the victim, how could they be held responsible?

It is important to reaffirm that Paul, and the entire testimony of Scripture for that matter, always held people accountable for their decisions and actions. Although Satan can tempt and deceive, God will judge people on the basis of their actions: At “the revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” he “will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom 2:5–6 NASB; see also Ps 62:12 and Prov 24:12).

Nevertheless, there is another sense in which the powers determine the lives of people, indeed all people. Paul envisioned humanity as being enslaved by the evil one and in need of redemption. Held in tension with this concept is that every person has the opportunity to respond to the liberating message of the gospel. When a person believes in Christ, he or she is divinely rescued from the captivity of Satan and made a child of God. In a sense, Paul presented life as a choice between lordships. One can serve Satan and the powers, or one can serve God. This fundamental choice is all-important at the final judgment. Paul explained that Christ will “punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thess 1:8–9).

Christians have the ability to resist Satan’s temptations to do evil. The ability to resist is mediated to them through their dependence on an all-powerful Lord who strengthens their innermost beings through the presence of his Spirit. For this reason Paul can enjoin his Christian readers to resist the devil (“do not be deceived”) and to desist from all kinds of evil practices.

In Paul’s view non-Christians do not have the ability to withstand the appeals of the devil. This does not mean that every person consistently engages in the grossest forms of moral evil; each individual still bears God’s image (albeit ever so tarnished) and is capable of high standards of morality. Nevertheless, Paul ardently believed every person has violated the ultimate standard of morality, God’s law as revealed in the Old Testament.

Furthermore, in spite of Satan’s compelling solicitations, Paul argued that each person is accountable to God on the basis of their behavior (Rom 2:1–11). He warned of God’s impending judgment: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Rom 2:9). There is a sense then in which a person can legitimately appeal to the argument “the devil made me do it.” God, however, still holds people responsible for their actions. And people have a choice to obey God’s law based on their nature as people created in his image; or better, they can respond to Christ’s offer of redemption and then base their lives on Christ’s ethical demands and appropriate his power to fulfill them.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 189–191.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Imagination and Creativity – In His Image – Purity 697


Imagination and Creativity – In His Image  – Purity 697

Purity 697 04/05/2022  Purity 697 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s original piece of art featuring what I think of as a “pink bonsai” tree on a cliff of similar hues overlooking clouds and either a blue sky or ocean or lake below, comes to us from our friend in the UK, Philip Hand.   Dendrophiles and arborists will have to forgive my classification of Philip’s creation if it isn’t technically correct but that is one of the things that is great about art: it allows us to utilize our imaginations and to have our own interpretation of what we see. 

Phillip utilizes his creative talents to recreate sights he has seen or to create original pieces to simultaneously bring delight to others, provide himself with a sense of peace, and also gives God glory by pointing to the Lord’s magnificent creation out in the world and inside of Philip!

When we look at a magnificent piece of art and admire the person who created it, we should also take one step further and recognize that the artist, his work, and the entire context of their creation was all put in place by God in the earth and that all the galleries and all the museums in the world contain wonderful creations from men who were all given life by the Grand Artist that spoke the world into creation.  

Whether the painter, sculptor, architect, or craftsman recognizes that fact that the part of their artistic talents that “just came naturally” to them were given to them by God or not,  God rightfully should be recognized as “an inspiration” for every creative work of man because He not only provided the raw materials and the setting for the work by creating the universe, He also shaped the course of history to create the environment in which the artist was given life and felt moved to work their craft.   

Our ability to appreciate art, to imagine and think about abstract concepts, to “create” the things we imagine, to recognize that truth of a Creator above us, and to begin the search to know  the ultimate meaning of life that can lead us to know the Lord is the evidence that we are different from the rest of the living creatures on this planet.  

Although man can be wickedly savage and depraved, our capacity for creativity and to love show us that the Bible is telling the truth when it reveals that mankind was made in God’s image.  

But unfortunately, our creativity and imagination can be short sighted and be used for our own selfish means and we can willfully deny that there is a God that provided us with all that we have.   

That’s why the Lord sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. God sent Jesus to teach us that there is a God who loves us and who calls us to use our talents for good and who wants us to be reconciled with Him.  

Christ revealed Himself as God in the flesh through His creative works. Christ’s miracles of healing disease, multiplying limited resources to provide a meal for thousands with the loaves and the fishes, making water into wine, walking on water, casting out demons, and raising the dead to life were done so we could recognize that this Son of Man was God the Son.  And what was this “creative genius”, this artist, this miracle worker trying to tell us?  What was His message?  Jesus said in:

John 6:38-40 (NKJV)
38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39  This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
40  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

God created the universe and made mankind to have dominion over it. God wanted us  to freely live and create a life for ourselves with the gifts that He gave us to give Him glory. But Adam, although admittedly tempted and deceived, imagined a life independent of God and His good counsel leading to the fall of man and the broken world of sin that we live in now.  

But The Lord imagined a way to bring sinful mankind back to Him. He sent Jesus Christ to create a way where we could be forgiven of our sins, have peace with Him, and live with Him eternally.   Through faith in Christ we can be set free from the guilt of our sin and experience a new and eternal life with which we can contribute to the creative works of God’s kingdom.  

Through living according to God’s ways, our transformed lives can be a thing of beauty in and of themselves but they can also inspire others to come to Jesus and to become a part of God’s magnificent tapestry of love.   

So keep walking and talking with God. Everyday is another opportunity to create another “good work” that will give God glory.  Through loving our neighbors as ourselves and by conforming ourselves to the image of Christ, we contribute to the masterpiece of God’s kingdom.  We may not have skill with paints or the other implements from the world of art, but our very lives can be the form of expression we can use to bring joy and peace to other people’s lives and that will reflect the love that the Original Artist has for His creation.     

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Romans 3:24 (NLT2)
24  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God declares us righteous through Jesus Christ and that it is through His kindness that we are forgiven and freed from the penalty of our sins.    

Okay, if you’ve got a déjà vu feeling, you are not the only one .  Rather recently the Bible Promise book from men shared Romans 3:22 & 23  and I gave a commentary that included the context and the content of today’s verse.  

Honestly, when I came across today’s verse I thought I may have lost my spot in the book and was going over old ground causing me to have a small moment of panic. I was momentarily worried that I was going to be redundant and it may annoy someone.  

But you know what?  

I think that the truth of what today’s verse is sharing is something that we can benefit being reminded of. 

The fundamental doctrine of grace is counterintuitive to everything the world teaches us about being self sufficient and earning our own way through life.  

So it is good to be humbled by the fact that it is God who declares us righteous. We don’t earn it.  Christ paid the cost and it is only through our simple faith in Him that we avoid the penalty of our sins and are set free. 

Unfortunately this is something that we can take for granted. “Yeah I know, Jesus paid for my sins. I’m forgiven. Can I go now, I got work to do.” 

Simple phases like that reveal that we have let the world steal our joy.  The fact that we are forgiven should be a great relief and be used as a continual source of peace. 

Because it is based on what Christ did, we can’t screw it up! That’s good news! Because man, I screw up things all the time! To minor errors to colossal blunders, I have the potential to really make mistakes and could condemn myself.  

But I’m forgiven.  I can try to fix the mistakes I make in life and may or may not succeed in those efforts. My mistakes can result in the loss of finances, relationships, and the good opinion of others but whether or not I can fix my mistakes, be reconciled to others, or regain a good reputation in this world ultimately it doesn’t matter!  Because at the end of the day and at the end of my life here on earth, I am forgiven and am declared righteous by God. 

If nobody loves me because of the messes I make or the silly things I can say at times, God still loves me and He will never leave me or forsake me. He forgives me and declares me righteous because of His undeserved kindness.  

When they tell you to put on the whole armor of God, remember that all of those metaphorical pieces of armor merely point out that you are in Christ and you are forgiven and made righteous.  With these assurances from God, nothing can “touch us”.  Nothing and no one can separate us from His love or prevent us to from being the people that He created us to be.   Thank you God, Thank you Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit!  

 

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation.  

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

G. How to Grab Good Food “On the Go”

We’re all tempted … and too often we succumb.

We’re standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, surrounded by racks of candy bars, chips, and all other kinds of products dripping in saturated fats and sugar. As the cashier totals up the cost of our asparagus, bananas, and ever so lean chicken … plop … a big, fattening candy bar winds up in the mix. How did I let that happen?… we later lament.

Besides planning ahead and predetermining not to “give in” to unhealthy foods, the following tips can help when those cravings crash upon us outside the home. And by committing our desires and goals to the Lord, Scripture tells us we will find success.…

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

(Proverbs 16:3)

Plans for the Road

     Avoid ordering “junk food,” which is high in fat and low in nutrition.

     Don’t eat at restaurants without planning ahead.

     Eat at restaurants that offer a variety of healthy foods.

     Keep a small cooler in your car with healthy snacks.

     Predetermine the best foods to order when eating out (fish, turkey, chicken, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.).

     Take healthy foods with you when you are away from home (fruit, nuts, white cheese).

As you consider your strategy for eating on the go, remember that both planning and implementing are necessary for success. And remember that you are not alone in making plans because the Lord Himself makes and carries out His plans.…

“ ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

Reducing Body Fat

Question: “Should I eat only once or twice a day in order to lose weight?”

Answer: No! You can optimize your body’s fat burning ability by eating five times each day: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Keep portion sizes no larger than your fist. Remember, caloric intake for women will be slightly lower than for men because women have a naturally slower metabolism.

The priests serving God’s chosen people were to follow strict instructions concerning the fat of offerings, as recorded in the Bible.…

“They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.”

(Leviticus 4:31)[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 35–36.