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Showing posts with label Podcast. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

A Rebel’s Surrender and Care of the Temple - Purity 805


A Rebel’s Surrender and Care of the Temple - Purity 805

Purity 805 08/09/2022 Purity 805 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a “Cotton Candy Sunset” over Lake Ontario comes to us today from Celestial Blue Photography who captured this scene in Oswego NY back on August 5th.  I just love how God lights up the sky to keep our gaze upward and to lead us to ponder the origin of our existence, a search that if pursued logically will lead to the conclusion of a self-existent Creator and if coupled with God’s grace will lead us to our surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  

So many ponder the vastness of the universe and know that there must be a God but they stop short of pursuing the truth in the Bible that would lead them the rest of the way to the answer of life and death.  Some hear the truth and lament that they “wish” they could believe but they refuse it claiming a variety of reasons that merely mask their rebellion to surrender the authority of their life to God.  

I get it! Oh brother, all my life I questioned authority and although I wasn’t a known troublemaker, I was too smart for that, I was positively anarchistic in terms of defying standards, rules, and regulations in my heart because all I needed to see was one drop of hypocrisy or one iota of self interest or a desire to control and I would see that those in authority didn’t know what they were doing or were doing it for selfish reasons. 

Ironically, these insights in my youth should have led me to the perfect government of God’s kingdom and to embrace the measures He ordained to establish and maintain the limited amount of good, justice, or stability that we have on earth, rather than inwardly screaming “Anarchy!” and seeking to defy authority in anyway I could that would give me the personal satisfaction that “I knew better” or “I was in control of me!” A nine inch nail song’s lyric, summed up my secret heart: “I’d rather die than give you control!!!”

Well, the good news is I did die! It is only through my faith in Christ, and dying and being raised to life with Him that I am not currently hung over and angry about having to face another day working for “The Man”.

I never should have been a rebel because of the imperfections of mankind to establish God’s peace on earth. Instead of trying to tear things down, I should have used my insights to make things better. I should have been a reformer rather than a rebel.  But boy am I glad I didn’t.

What? Yeah, if I had taken that path I would have really been full of myself, and my self-righteousness was bad enough as a rebel. Could you imagine how inflated my ego would have been if I had sought to be “good” in my own strength and with my atheistic /secular humanist bent would have been even more convinced that I didn’t need God.  

But oh well, if we understand reality and God’s grace, we have to understand that we shouldn’t “Monday Quaterback” our lives, even on a Tuesday. We got one life to live. We can’t go back. We made our choices and we can’t choose a different path way back when in the past, to even contemplate these ideas is in truth a tremendous waste of time, but instead we can choose to follow a new path, prayerfully God’s path, today.  

But even if we do play “Devil’s advocate” and contemplate “what if” with our pasts, we have to realize that if God wanted us in His kingdom, no choices we would have made would have made a difference in terms of coming to Christ. Thank you God!   So if you do that “what if” stuff, stop supposing and start living, starting now.   

Anyway, as I was working out today an older, not that old, worship song came on and it reminded me of the earlier days on my walk and how I need “more faith” because even though I did believe, I still struggled with sin and unbelief. 

The song was “Give me Faith” by Elevation worship. I am sharing a link to a lyric video on YouTube on the blog if you want to check it out (https://youtu.be/N9w6284vC1w).   Any way the lyrics say:

“I need You

To soften my heart and break me apart

I need You

To pierce through the dark and cleanse every part of me

 

All I am, I surrender

 

Give me faith to trust what You say

That You're good and Your love is great

I'm broken inside, I give You my life

 

I may be weak but Your Spirit's strong in me

My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will

( https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/elevationworship/givemefaith.html)

This is an awesome song to proclaim over your faith walk.  But to live it requires that surrender and as the lyrics indicate it is a total surrender.

Do you understand the implications of a life surrendered to God’s will and ways? 

Well, let’s just say they are far reaching and the depth of which know no limits. 

If you are ever “bored” in your Christianity, it is because you haven’t answered the call to repent, to follow the Lord, and to totally surrender your life to God’s will.  

One of the things we see in any faith system is a division between clergy and laity and with the laity there are those who practice their faith devoutly and those who don’t.  

All these division are man made for the most part. God calls us all to be a royal priesthood, but I get it some are called to l’sad, or serve different functions in the body and some aren’t.  So very well, clergy, God word actually ordains it in terms of teachers, pastors, overseers, and deacons.  So I understand leaders and different functions within the body of Christ, the term I prefer over “church” because of the confusion surrounding that word because of our “church” traditions and cultures. 

I teach Freedom in Christ and encourage a lifestyle of discipleship, following Christ, and although we will all have different levels of spiritual maturity, unlike the clergy division, there really shouldn’t be a division between Christians who practice their faith and Christians who don’t. 

Christians who don’t practice their faith should truly worry about their salvation, I know I did when I was a member of a liturgical church.  I might have been in the church building but I don’t know, pretty sure I wasn’t, in the Body of Christ until 2010 when I put my faith in Christ alone and began surrendering my life to God’s wisdom and ways.  

When we surrender, not only do we discover that our life in Christ causes us to reduce or abandon our obvious sins, all at once or little by little, it can also cause us to pursue good works or to do service for God’s kingdom.

Okay, stop evil, do good right?   

But as we walk this surrendered life out we will discover that Holy Spirit will give us a heightened sense of “goodness” – a fruit of the Spirit – which will spill into the ways we view things and choose to live.  Things that aren’t “good” for us are increasingly exposed by our maturing spiritual discernment and our hearts desire will be to increasing do what’s “right” in all kinds of areas of our lives.  

I’ve shared that one of the areas that this has poured into my life is the care of my body, specifically in terms of trying to be a healthy weight and to not experience pain from my poor choices.   It also includes getting enough sleep.   I’m increasingly learning and repenting from my health “sins”. 

My job takes me all over the capital district and I am often called to do install or repair of telephone service in nursing homes.  As I have said before, it’s not how you start but how you finish, and if you want to be convicted about the importance of your health go to a nursing home or rehabilitation center and look at the consequences of poor choices played out over time.  

Not only do we have to foster our mental and spiritual health on this path or discipleship, we have to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have to care for our bodies.  

The other day I was walking through a nursing home and a woman was in a wheel chair with her feet elevated. It easy to see that her feet were in rough shape and she was crying and literally calling for “God in heaven” to help her as she was calling out to anyone who walked by to cut her toe nails, which were huge. Yup, including me. I couldn’t help her of course and it was heartbreaking.

I had foot surgery a few years ago to get rid of growths, mitosis, and after that experience I decided to take care of my feet and used lotion on the every morning for quite some time but as things got hectic with the blog and podcast, I stopped doing it. 

But not anymore, after seeing this woman’s pain, I am more convicted to take care of my body so I be healthy and be used by God to give Him glory for as long as He gives me on the earth.  

So as part of my faith walk, I am lotioning my feet again. I want to be good steward of what God has given me and be fully surrendered to Him in everything I become aware of. 

I may never be perfect in my walking and talking with God, but if I see something in my journey that indicates I should change, I will try to be diligent to surrender it to the Lord and use His strength and guidance to change it.  

So Lord, give me faith to trust what you say, because You’re good, and Your love is great, although I have been walking with you for sometime now, there are still parts of my life that are broken. I give you my life. I may be weak but Your Spirit is strong in me, my flesh may fail but my God, You never will. 

I surrender.

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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:

Hebrews 8:12 (NLT2)
12  And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Today’s verse reminds us that God forgives our wickedness and promises to never again remember them.  

Of course I have to point out that God’s knowledge is perfect and today’s verse doesn’t tell us that God has forgotten our sins. His “never again remembering our sins”, means that He has truly forgiven us and He won’t hold them against us.  

God calls you to be a saint, His adopted child.  He doesn’t call you a sinner.  

So if you call yourself a “sinner saved by grace”, I recommend you agree with God and give yourself a break and “never again remember your sins” if they will cause you to feel condemned or shy away from proclaiming the gospel. 

Yeah you sinned, you messed up. Guess what? Everyone has.  But in Christ we have forgiveness and a new life with victory over sin,  so instead of beating yourself up about your old life, before you died,  mourn it and rise to life by following Christ and living differently. 

There is no condemnation for those in Christ, so believe it and live your new life where God will lead you in the way you should go.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

Spiritual Warfare As Proclamation

Spiritual warfare is not only defensive; it also takes the offensive. Paul called the soldiers of Christ to advance on enemy territory by proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ Just as Christ bound the strong man in order to plunder his house, so too the body of Christ plunders Satan’s kingdom by proclaiming the promise of divine rescue to captives in the kingdom of darkness.

There is one part of the soldier’s gear that is not a weapon, but it is a furnishing that enables the soldier to take an offensive posture in the battle—good footwear. A typical soldier would journey for miles as his army advanced to the battlefront and then pursue the enemy (This was certainly true when Xerxes led his armies all the way from Persia in an attempt to conquer Greece!). The footgear of the Christian needs to be “the readiness to announce the Good News of peace” (Eph 6:15 TEV). Believers need to be prepared to share the good news of Christ wherever God may lead them.

Many commentators have correctly observed that the only offensive weapon in the entire panoply is the sword (Eph 6:17). While it is used as a part of a believer’s resistance, it is also a weapon of aggression. The Word of God and the work of the Spirit are the means by which the people of God step out in defiance of Satan and rob his domain. They are the means by which God draws people to himself, transforming their lives and bringing them into relationship with himself.

Thus, according to Paul, the primary aggressive action the Christian is called to take in the world is to spread the gospel—the good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ. The gospel represents “God’s power to rescue people from [the devil’s] tyranny.”

The whole course of Paul’s ministry is a model of this aggressive proclamation. The church should follow Paul’s lead. Luke seemed to understand this point and wrote his account of Paul’s missionary outreach in a way that would inspire zeal and courage among the believers who read it. At the same time, Luke did not minimize the amount of conflict Paul faced in his proclamational mission. Luke interpreted much of this conflict, as described in chapter one, as powerful demonic opposition. Yet the Christian who depends on God’s power, as Paul did, will overcome enemy hostilities, and the gospel will continue to advance, with more and more people being saved out of the dominion of darkness.

Even here, in the context of Ephesians, Paul personally was concerned with the mission of the church in spite of his imprisonment. He wanted God’s enabling power to be imparted to him through prayer, not necessarily for a demonstration of the gospel’s supernatural character through miraculous events. He sensed a need for God’s touch so he could proclaim it fearlessly and boldly! Even after all the years of successful preaching, Paul still felt a great need for a divine infusing of power to give him the nerve to proclaim the gospel fearlessly. He pleads, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph 6:19–20). Paul’s incessant readiness to proclaim the good news was a hallmark of his life. Likewise, it should be of paramount importance to believers in subsequent generations. This is the mission of the church![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), 156–158.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Free to Leave - Purity 804


Free to Leave - Purity 804

Purity 804 08/08/2022 Purity 804 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the public beach at Schroon Lake comes to us from yours truly as I spontaneously found myself further north than I would have ever dreamed Saturday and decided to make the most of it.  

Shortly after reporting Saturday that I didn’t have any “have to’s” to take care of on Saturday, I received word  that the Word of Life Inn & Conference Center in Schroon Lake was sold and the organization were giving away furniture and “other things” away to the public. Imagining Christian resources, books!, wall hangings, and usable furniture for the taking, my curiosity, and the lack of any other plans got the best of me and launched me into action and on a spontaneous journey an hour north of my already northern countryside home.

There was quite a bit of traffic going into and coming out of the Lodge by the time I got there so the pickings were slim but in the spirit of the frenzy I was influenced to “grab something” and ended up grabbing a blue armchair that I will imagined I could use in my bedroom to read, relax or watch t.v. in. 

I tested it out yesterday afternoon and although it takes up more space that I would like, it will meet it’s imagined purpose and it could give my wife a place to sit in my room other than my bed, as I only had a single office chair in the room before.   

Although I got the chair, I was disappointed because there was nothing else like I imagined. The only books they were giving away were Bibles that had been in each room in the inn, and I have plenty of Bibles already.  Yeah my imagination of Christian resources was a false expectation as I discovered that the Lodge was more a less a hotel and the offerings would be what you would expect from any hotel giving away its old furniture: beds, night stands, lamps, arm chairs, low height dressers, but I didn’t know that when I left at a moments notice and went barreling up I-87 to get there.  

So now that I realized that I was at Schroon Lake with nothing else to do, I decided to make the most of my hour and fifteen minute long drive and googled public swimming. I carry a bag in my car with a towel, swim trunks, and other clothes to be prepared for spontaneous fun or unexpected trips or overnight stays so I was ready for some spontaneous swimming fun and discover the public beach would be opening at 11 and was only a short drive a way. 

So I got there at about a quarter of 10 and figured I would read or something until the beach officially opened but shortly after I parked I saw other people setting up their beach chairs and then go into the water! So even though there were no lifeguards and the beach wasn’t officially opened, I headed down the grassy embankment that encloses the small beach and set up shop on the grassy plateau that over looks the beach. I’m not crazy about sand and my elevated position on the grassy plateau gave me a little privacy and distance from the beach below and gave me a nice view of the whole scene. After I set up my camp chair that I also keep in my car at all times for spontaneous fun,  I was soon loving my decision to make the most out of my impromptu trip as I immediately “broke the rules” and was enjoying the cool but not cold waters of Schroon Lake.  I had never been there before and I would definitely recommend it to my friends, but I would encourage you to follow my example and go early because the beach is small and it filled up pretty quickly aftre 11 AM.  

I would also recommend being careful if you decide to follow my example and decide to stay on the grassy hill that surrounds the beach.  There is a reason why not many people joined me on the perfectly level grassy plateau. 

After my maiden swim and an hour of reading and enjoying the sun, I got thirsty so I made the trek back up to my car to get some water I had left behind.  There was a sun bather nearby so I decided to take a different route up the hill and was shocked to discover what appeared to be cat or small dog poop all over the grassy hill side! I was disgusted and wondered what kind of people would be so thoughtless to let their pets relieve themselves in a public park to such an extent that the grassy hillside was a veritable mine field of poop!

So although I did go back to my spot and went swimming a few more times and stayed another hour, the growing crowd, suddenly appearing flying insects, and the fact that I now knew that the entire hill was covered in animal feces all combined to cause me to leave.  

After telling my wife of my misadventures at Schroon Lake, she shared her knowledge of living up north and shared that what I took for pet droppings left by irresponsible owners or strays, was in actuality goose poop! Apparently, unlike most birds that I am familiar with, geese poop is much larger.  

Anyway,  I guess I share all of that to encourage my friends to be spontaneous in life, to make the most of your opportunities to experience something new, but to also be aware of their surroundings!  Apparently there is always something new to learn and sometimes the lessons we get aren’t always pleasant!

And another thing that I would point out from my experience is that we can have good experiences in less than ideal circumstances, but when we discover the unpleasant truth about the place we are in, it doesn’t mean we necessarily have to stay there!  

As the circumstances surrounding my “beach day”, started to go south, I had a decision to make, I could “get over myself” and stay and decide to just “focus on the good” or I could leave! And I did leave!

For me maintaining the peace and joy of my life wasn’t “beach centered”, it’s God centered and the great thing about God is that He goes where I go. The beach had given what I needed to experience and I decided to go when the going was good.  

As someone who encourages others to experience their freedom in Christ, one of the lesson I teach is that we are free to leave negative circumstances, places, and people behind as we follow the Lord.    When we decide to follow Christ, not everyone will be walking with us and the Lord may call us to “go” rather than to endure.  

Yes, a good deal of living as a disciple of Christ involves being good, kind, faithful, gentle, and patient as we endure through bad situations and deal with difficult people but make no mistake, who the Son set free is free indeed and as we walk with Him we will discover that the Lord calls us to leave situations, people, and places behind to answer another call or to maintain our life in the Spirit.  

From the beginning, Abraham was called to leave His family and all he knew to follow the Lord,  Moses lead the nation Israel our of Egypt, and Christ told his disciples to shake of the dust of a town that did not receive His word.   So listen to what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do, but it’s “time to go”, go.   

So as we enter into a new work week, fight the good fight of faith and try to live peacefully where the Lord has brought you as you answer His call on your life to be the best “worker, parent, manager or whatever” that the Lord made you to be.  

But if you discover that the circumstances have gotten to be untenable, remember that the Lord has also given you the freedom to leave.  And if we decide to leave, we necessarily have to scream from the roof tops just how unpleasant things were on the way out the door.  

As much as I may have been tempted to scream “Hey, that hill is covered in poop!”

I didn’t because:

I didn’t want to point out the negative

I didn’t want to take away someone else’s joy

And just like when we share the gospel, often people don’t hear or understand what we say, or don’t listen to us anyway, and somethings we have to experience for ourselves.  

So keep walking and talking with God, and keep pursuing the meaning and purpose He has for your life, that may call you to stay or may call you to exercise your freedom to go.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT2)
17  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Today’s verse testifies to the spiritual reality of a brand new life that comes to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  

The biggest stumbling block to experiencing our new life in Christ is our failure to pursue the life we have been given.   Instead of being transformed by the renewing our minds with the word of God as the Bible directs us, we continue to stay where we are and do the things we have always done. 

If you are perplexed about why you don’t “feel like a new creation”, it is probably because you have misunderstood the gospel that tells us that there is “nothing to do” but put your faith in Christ to be a child of God and decided that there was “nothing to do” with your new life in Christ and thus have remained doing what you have always done.  

When we are saved, we are saved from God’s wrath.  

But what are we saved “to”?  We are made children of God to represent His kingdom and to give Him glory.  

What exactly in your life before Christ was doing that?  Probably not much.   

So if you saw the need for a Savior for your salvation, why would you assume that the way you were living before you came to Christ was “just fine”?

The call from Christ is the call to everlasting life but it is also the call to repentance.  We are made new the moment we make Christ our Lord but that doesn’t mean that nothing needs to change.  A Christian life is a transformed life.  

So if you don’t feel like you have been transformed, you need to believe that you are and make the transformation a reality in your life by changing the way you think and live to be in line with God’s word.  

So rejoice over your new life in Christ, and seek His wisdom and ways to see it manifest more and more as you make the daily decision to follow Him. 

______________________________________________________________________

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.

Spiritual Warfare As Resistance

Four times in the passage Paul used the word stand/withstand (same root in the Greek: Eph 6:11, 13, 14). In the larger context of Ephesians it is clear Paul did not want believers to “give a place to the devil” with excessive anger, lying, stealing or succumbing to any other temptation to moral impurity (Eph 4:27). Paul described the devil and his powers as working in concert with the flesh and the world (Eph 2:2–3—see above) to promote sin among Christians and hinder the progress of the gospel. For this reason the Christian needs to appropriate God’s enabling power in order to live with moral integrity.

Spiritual warfare is therefore resistance. It is a defensive posture. It involves recognizing the supernatural nature of temptation and being prepared to face it. It also implies appropriating God’s power to progress in eradicating moral vices that already have a place in one’s life.

The first two spiritual weapons Paul named are “truth” and “righteousness.” There appears to be two sides to these weapons. On the one hand, they need to be understood as divine endowments for the task of spiritual warfare. On the other hand, they are to be regarded as virtues that need to be cultivated in the lives of believers. This understanding is quite natural in that the gospel brings with it implications for Christian conduct. Paul saw the gospel as “truth” (Eph 1:13) and as the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). In contrast, the devil is the archadversary who uses many schemes designed to misrepresent, deceive and trick. Believers need to be convinced and assured of the gospel’s truth and what it affirms about them as God’s children. By implication, believers need to conduct their lives in a manner consistent with the truth of the gospel. Lying and deceit can have no place in a believer’s life; they are an affront to the God of truth. Consequently, in Ephesians, Paul told each Christian that he or she “must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Eph 4:25; see also 5:9).

One of the most remarkable parts of the salvation that God provides is the gift of “righteousness.” After informing the Romans that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10), Paul elaborated on the wonderful news that “this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22). This righteousness means that those who believe in Jesus have been acquitted of all guilt before God. They are completely forgiven and reconciled to him as friends, better yet, as sons and daughters. The devil and his malicious powers would certainly like Christians to believe otherwise. The powers strive to convince people that God could not possibly forgive them for some of the horrible things they have done in the past. Such a notion could not be further from the truth. Christians have indeed been pardoned through Christ’s blood, and as such, can live boldly and confidently, not with guilt, fear and timidity.

Possessing God’s righteousness, however, brings responsibility. The apostle admonished his readers to strip off the old self and put on the new self, which is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). The development of personal holiness and integrity is part of the preparation for engaging in victorious spiritual warfare. Conversely, a lack of integrity and personal holiness will certainly hinder a believer’s ability to resist the onslaught of Satan’s minions successfully.

Another very important aspect of a believer’s resistance is “salvation,” which is linked to the helmet as the fifth piece of armor (Eph 6:17). Salvation needs to be understood as Paul explained it in the larger context of the letter. In Ephesians 2:5–10, Paul twice reaffirmed to his readers that “by grace you have been saved,” eloquently describing the concept of salvation. These two occurrences are the only occasions in all of Paul’s letters where he used the Greek perfect tense to refer to salvation. The perfect tense stresses the results of a decisive action in the past Paul wanted his readers to be very secure in their identity in Christ. They are people who are saved and enjoy the benefits of being saved.

Paul clarified what he meant by salvation in that same context with three powerful thoughts: (1) believers have been made alive with Christ, (2) they have been raised up with Christ, and (3) they have been seated with him in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:4–6). For Paul it is vitally important that believers know who they are in Christ in order to resist the influence of Satan and his forces on their lives. Only through their salvation and union with Christ will they be able to resist

Finally, the believer is given a “sword” to fend off the attacks of the evil one. The sword is linked with the Spirit and the Word of God. Just as Jesus used Scripture to resist Satan’s temptations while he was in the wilderness (Mt 4:1–11), Paul called on believers to use God’s Word to resist the devil in their own situations. This is not to be understood as a semimagical use of Scripture, quoting it out loud as a means of thwarting the devil. It involves gaining a thorough familiarity with Scripture and an accurate understanding of its relevance for any given situation. When Jesus was tempted, the devil applied Scripture inappropriately and out of context; Jesus responded to the devil by applying Scripture appropriately and according to its proper intent in conveying the mind of God on specific matters. The thorough, systematic study of Scripture on a regular basis is vital for all believers. It is an integral part of engaging in effective spiritual warfare.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 154–156.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - God is Good! - 08/07/2022


 Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 08/07/2022

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: God is Good Podcast!

Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube: Coming Soon!


God is Good!

 

         “Truly God is good to Israel,

           to such as are pure in heart.     Ps. 73:1

 

God is good all the time and all the time God is good, is a Christian cliche that we often invoke when it doesn’t really feel like God is good.

 

We really must engage this notion of goodness to fully understand the simple truth that God is good.

 

Mk. 10:17, “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’ So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.’”

This account is told in all three synoptic gospels.

         Mt. 19:16-22, Mk. 10:17-22, Lk. 18:18-23

 

In the Mt. telling Jesus sneaks in an interesting word; “perfect” vrs.21

         Eph. 4:13, “...unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the             stature of the fullness of Christ.”

         Phil. 3:15, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be this            minded…”
         Col. 1:28, “teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may                 present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

         Jas. 1:25. “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of                          liberty…

         Jas. 3:2, “...the same is a perfect man…

This word, “teleios” means: completeness, full of age

If perfection were through the Levitical priesthood...what further need was there that another priest should rise…” Heb. 7:11

Where did the man in our gospel accounts get this notion of good or that perfection was attainable?

 

Ps. 14:3 and 53:3 say the same, “There is none who does good, No, not one.”

 

Our sense of good is compromised because of the fall. Man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and therefor attained it, but because of the fractured relationship with the source of good (Jas. 1:17) he/we can handle it. Good is a moving target, as our young man in the gospel discovers.

He thinks he’s got it mostly figured out, but senses that he lacks something. Mt. 19:20, “...What do I still lack?

My favorite is the Mark account because vr. 21 says, “The Jesus, looking at him, loved him…”

 

The desire in us to be good, by doing good, should draw us to the source, but as said, good is a confusing concept, especially in today’s culture. Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…” Is. 5:20

 

         Jesus interrupts the young man saying, “No one is good but One, that is God.”

         At the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17) there is an invitation to know evil. They already knew Good.    Remember how Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You…”

Joshua set a similar choice before the children of Israel, “...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” Jos. 24:15

 

         Satan invites us to know him, and makes that seem somehow good. Jesus likewise gives and invitation to the man in our gospel. He chose poorly. The same invitation is ever before us on our pilgrimage.  I have decided, to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back!!!



-----Join us for another Bible Study Next Week -------

or

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


Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Peace of No “Have To’s” and Psalm 139 - Purity 803

 


The Peace of No “Have To’s” and Psalm 139  - Purity 803

Purity 803 08/06/2022    Purity 803 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of sunrise over the Atlantic comes to a us from a friend who decided to spend a week of his time off from work this year to lead a group of high school students from his local church to Harvey Cedars Bible Conference Center in New Jersey for a weeklong Summer Camp. Not only did he spend a week encouraging his youth group’s faith, but he took advantage of the ocean side facilities at Harvey Cedars and seized the opportunity to show the kids the glory of God’s creation with a 5 am wake up call to see the sun rise.  

Well it’s Saturday and the while it is still dark out as I write this, I have a peaceful, easy feeling this morning because I am at my countryside home with my wife for the sunrise of the first weekend in August.

I don’t have much to report this morning and in a way that is sort of great. Although I don’t have any epic plans for the day, I don’t have any pressing problems or concerns either. I don’t have any “have to’s” that I can think of. While I can think of a couple of things I could do, nothing is urgent that has to be done “Now!” and I am free to choose where I decide to let the day take me.  

That’s a big switch from where I was a couple of years ago when I was working two jobs and trying to find a new house. In the summer of 2020, I worked Saturdays every week and had to be super intentional about finding fun when I could, so this morning I am remembering that and am just so thankful for where God has lead me since then.

Other than encouraging all my friends to have a great weekend and to remember to keep walking and talking with God, I don’t have much to say today other than “Thank You Lord!”  

Yesterday my Bible study included Psalm 139 and so I think I will share that because it highlights so many wonderful things about our relationship with God.  

Psalm 139:1-24 (NKJV)
1  O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
3  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
4  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10  Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
11  If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me;
12  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.
14  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
18  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
19  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20  For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21  Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22  I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.
23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
24  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

  So many good things in that Psalm. God knows us, is with us, and leads us to be fiercely loyal to His truth and ways because He made us and through Christ forgave us and rescued us from sin and death.

So whether you have lots of “have to’s” to do today or whether you have epic plans to seize the day or just epic plans to relax, remember that the Lord loves you and when you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, there really is nothing to worry about anymore. He has always been with us and now we are with Him and we can rest and rejoice in the simple fact that no matter where today or the future takes us, the Lord’s love for us will never change and He will be with us every step of the way as we go from here to eternity. 

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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 4:7-8 (NLT2)
7  “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
8  Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.”

Today’s verses remind us of the unending joy that we can have as Christians over the fact that, through Jesus, our sins are forgiven. 

The joy of our forgiveness should really never run dry because we are not perfect and will invariably “miss the mark” of God’s standards somewhere as we walk through life and we will need God’s forgiveness again somewhere down the line.  

That was one of the most amazing things that struck me in my soul and brought me to surrender my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ: the fact that all our sins would be forgiven if we put our faith in Him. All our sins! Our past sins, our current sins, and the sins we haven’t eve n done yet are covered, are forgiven, because of our faith in Jesus!  

Although, I had a big misunderstanding about grace and thought I could just freely continue in my sins unabated because of what Christ did for me, when I first came to Christ, something funny happened.   Although anything I did would be forgiven because of Jesus’s work on the cross, I increasingly felt convicted to change how I lived and repented of my sinful ways.  Even though there was nothing I could do that wouldn’t be covered by the blood of Jesus, I felt less and less drawn to my sin and felt more and more drawn to walk in the ways of the One who saved me.  

I am by no means perfect but I sure am not the sinful man I used to be as I have victory and freedom over many of my sinful habits that had kept me in bondage.  

And that victory and freedom was born out of the joy that God loved me enough to send Christ to die for my sins and to forgive me and to accept me into His kingdom. 

In God’s accounts, my slate has been wiped clean and instead of feeling guilty and condemned over the things I have done in the past, I have joy because I know I have been forgiven and given a new life to draw close to God and to be the righteous person I always wanted to be but never felt I could be.   And its all because of Jesus, through faith in Him we receive forgiveness for our sins and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to give us the power over sin.  

So rejoice, our sins have been forgiven and the Lord has set us free! That’s good news!

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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 Nature of Evil Influence

In Ephesians Paul was at pains to point out that people cannot respond to life’s decisions neutrally. They are deeply affected by a set of evil, determining influences. These influences led people on a path that is directed toward death—life apart from God. In Ephesians 2:2–3, Paul described these influences in terms of the environment (“the age of this world”), an inner inclination toward evil (“the flesh”) and a supernaturally powerful opponent (“the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit”).

By drawing attention to these three forces, Paul established the inescapability of death for non-Christians and their resultant need to experience God’s redemptive work. But an understanding of these three evil influences is also important for Christians as they seek to spread the gospel and live according to its ethical standards. These influences continue to make themselves felt even after someone is saved. A Christian is not automatically immune to temptation, the world’s influence or Satan’s direct assault.

Although these three influences continue to operate, there is a decisive difference for the Christian. The believer lives in union with the risen Christ and may draw on Christ’s power—his victory over temptation, his resistance to the world’s allurements and influences, and, above all, his victory and resultant authority over Satan and the powers of darkness. This passage thus forms the essential background to an appropriate understanding of why an orientation about the Christian life as warfare is essential.

The Christian Life As Warfare

The spiritual warfare passage represents the church as facing intense attack by the devil and his powers of evil. Paul used an extended metaphor of a soldier who puts on the appropriate pieces of armor to heighten this image. In this case the soldier puts on a belt, a breastplate, footgear, a shield and a helmet, and then takes up a sword. The main point of this imagery is that Christianity should be understood as warfare and believers should prepare for this warfare just as any soldier would prepare for battle. It is really unimportant to decide whether Paul has a Roman, Greek, Jewish or Persian soldier in mind. Most of the imagery comes straight from the book of Isaiah (see Is 11:5; 52:7; 59:17). Furthermore, one needs to exercise caution in reading too much into each of the material images, such as emphasizing that the helmet protects the brain and the breastplate the vital organs. Paul felt free to vary the spiritual truths he attached to military imagery. For example, whereas the breastplate represents righteousness in Ephesians 6:14, it represents faith and love in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In verse 12, the use of the word struggle describes a scene of conflict. In the first century this word was commonly used, not in the context of warfare, but as the typical term for the sport of wrestling. It even occurs on inscriptions in western Asia Minor in reference to the wrestling event of the various games held in the regional cities. As such, Paul probably used it to heighten the closeness of the struggle with the powers of evil. The use of the words evil and darkness also indicate the character of spiritual warfare. The world rulers (kosmokratores) are depicted as ruling over “this darkness” and as being “evil.” The whole setting is cast “on the evil day,” which probably refers both to the fact that “the days are evil” (Eph 5:16) and that there will be intense times of demonic attack. Finally, the devil is depicted in extremely vivid terms as launching flaming arrows at the church (Eph 6:16). The whole tenor of the passage is designed to convey the feeling of extreme danger.

The danger posed to Christians by these organized powers of darkness can be overwhelming—left on our own. Christians, however, are not alone. They are united to the exalted Lord who defeated the forces of evil and now imparts his power and authority to the church. Throughout the letter the apostle has emphasized God’s power and its availability to believers. This emphasis now reaches a climax when Paul says “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Eph 6:10). He strung together three power-denoting terms (endynamō, kratos and ischys) that have a combined effect of bringing the almighty power of God into bold relief especially in contrast to the weaker powers of darkness.

Paul further defined and clarified God’s power by specifying various ways God bestows his power on the church and by relating the means through which God’s enabling might is imparted. Paul enumerated seven spiritual weapons. Five of these are objective endowments from God (truth, righteousness, the gospel, salvation and the Spirit/the word of God) and two stress our responsibility (faith and prayer). Our responsibility is also implicit in the five gifts from God (see also the chart at the end of the chapter). While this list of spiritual resources (“weapons”) does not exhaust all divine bestowments available to Christians, it represents the essence of all that is vital to waging successful warfare against the powers of darkness.

The nature of spiritual warfare, as Paul portrayed it here, is primarily concerned with Christian conduct and spreading the gospel—not with exorcism or eradicating structural evil. The heart of spiritual warfare could best be summarized as resistance and proclamation.[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), 152–154.