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Showing posts with label Practice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Practice. Show all posts

Thursday, July 6, 2023

God Won’t Drag You Kicking and Screaming into A Transformed Life– Purity 1087


God Won’t Drag You Kicking and Screaming into A Transformed Life– Purity 1087

Purity 1087 07/06/2023 Purity 1087 Podcast

Purity 1087 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining through the tops of trees lining a sides of a forest pathway going into the distance comes to us from a presently unknown FB friend who shared this scene from a recent hike in upstate NY, I am fairly certain, on social media back on or around June 3rd.   If this is your photo and you would like credit, give me a heads up and I will update the blog post after the fact.  

Other than my faulty recollections, I am also hobbled by an inconsistent internet connection that has limited my ability to confirm what I think I know. I have two suspects in mind for today’s photographer but I can’t confirm or deny either one, and have been known to have gone on wild goose chases before looking for the friends whose photos I have saved and forgotten about later.  

A massive thunderstorm blew through my neck of the woods Tuesday night causing downed and utility lines up and down State Route 9J and as I sat down to write today’s message my generac generator was finally given a rest this morning as Grid has restored our power, but Spectrum still hasn’t opened up the information super highway yet and I will be uploading the message on the road again.   

But as a disciple of Jesus Christ who walks by the Spirit, I have learned to be content with what is and have learned to adapt and overcome with the Lord’s help, facing situations as they are but with a mind and heart to solve problems and accomplish what needs to get done. As the serenity prayer states, I seek the:

the serenity
 to accept the things I cannot change
,
 the courage to change the things I can,
 and the wisdom to know the difference.

And that may not always be easy, but we keep walking and talking with God to receive His strength and guidance to follow the path He would have us take.  

When the opportunity to lead a “recovery growth group” was offered to me by my pastor at my local church, I sought the Lord’s guidance in prayer of what to do and all “signs” – those spiritual leanings or intuitions that I have come to know as the Holy Spirit’s guidance – told me to “do this” and almost immediately I received the “confirmation” of having Debbie Deyoe agree to lead the women’s discussion group, and Scott Salvadore volunteered to lead the men’s group.  While we may have to walk the path of Christian Discipleship solo during various times and seasons, the Lord will also put faithful people on the path with us to encourage us as we go.  

And last night, the certainty of the call to lead the Celebrate Freedom Growth group at Starpoint church was further confirmed as our attendance was at all time high as we were able to welcome more new comers and welcome back a few “regulars” who had missed last week.  Our little growth group has become a community and the community is getting larger as the Lord is strengthening and guiding those who have decided to trust Him with their hurts, habits, and hangups.  The group members testified of increased ability to manage problems and find peace through what they have experienced and learned during their time at Celebrate and I know that the Lord will be faithful to keep on helping and guiding those who continue to follow where He leads them. 

Last night I decided to share a couple of photos of myself in the past to demonstrate the difference the Lord could make in your life, I shared the first photo of me at my “largest” from 2008, and shared a photo of me when I got my associates degree in Biblical Studies in 2015, shortly after I started recovery, to show that while I had improved from one to the next, I still wasn’t where I was today to show that:

A.    Faith makes a big difference

B.    God will Transform Us

C.   Our Walk is Progressive 


MT Fall 2008


MT June 2015

 

MT July 4 2023

I also presented a thought from Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart, where he said something to the effect of “God is not going to drag you kicking and screaming into a transformed life.” But I encouraged that if we are faithful to follow Him, the Lord will bless our efforts and lead us to become the people He created us to be.  

We just have to keep on walking with God and “practicing our faith”.  I shared the graduation photo to show that even though I had some Biblical knowledge, I still had to “practice” repentance – to live according to who I am in Christ, renew my mind, and repent of my former behaviors and ways of thinking.    

I had shared my virtuous cycle model of walking in the Spirit and pointed out that while “Truth” at its center, we, personally, had to pursue and stand in God’s truth – to know it and to apply it to our lives, and keep doing that, if we wanted to experience the fruit of living in the Spirit.  

And last night’s lesson on Inventory complimented these thoughts, as I presented one of the purposes of the “Moral Inventory” to be a way of acknowledging the truth of our past lives of brokenness as “that was then” and setting the intention to live a new life “now”.  

The members of the group are learning to walk in the Spirit and the transformations have begun but I know that diligence to the path that the Lord has guided them to is required to experience the lasting freedom and victory of an abundant life that the Lord has for them.  I was faithful to answer the call to lead the group but now it is up to the members to decide how much they will surrender and how far they are willing to go into the life the Lord calls every Christian to know.  

I am truly blessed to be a part of it and because of the transformation the Lord has worked in me I have no choice but to tell others that the Lord will do it for them too. So where ever you are, keep walking and talking with God and watch your whole world change as He changes you from inside out.  


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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Adultery:

Proverbs 22:14 (NASB)
14  The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.

Today’s verse fall under the 7th point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on adultery, 7. “The adulteress’s snare is a deep pit.”     

Today’s verse indicates that the seductive and deceptive speech of an adulterous woman is a deep pit or a “dangerous trap” (NLT) that we may fall into when we are “on the outs with God” (MSG) or under His wrath (NIV) or curse. This pithy verse from proverbs 22 is one of many verses that indicate the negative consequences for behaviors that ignore the Lord’s wisdom and indicates that falling into sin may be a consequence of the Lord’s judgement for those not in a harmonious relationship with Him.  

The Lord reveals His wisdom in the word of God and through the natural consequences of cause and effect relationships in His creation and the today’s verse provides possible insight of why some fall into sin and why some avoid it.  When we heed God’s wisdom and have an engaged relationship with Him, we not only know what is good and evil, we also understand sin to be “against God” and the nature of sin and addiction shows us that once we choose to ignore God’s counsel and go our own way the more we go into darkness. When we open the door of doing evil in one area of our life, suddenly going against God’s word in other areas doesn’t seem quite as unthinkable as it once was.

Our actions have consequences in the spiritual realm and our decision to not follow the Lord may result in our being more susceptible to temptation.

Romans 1:28 (NKJV)
28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

When we forsake the Lord and His wisdom, the word indicates he allows us to go our own way, giving us over to a debased mind that is primed to sin, and vulnerable to the “deep pit” of the adulteress woman.   

So follow the Lord. When we pray to Him to lead us not into temptation, He will deliver us from the evil one, and avoid His wrath, His curse, and keep us out of the deep pits of adultery.

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)  

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

12 - The Spirit Enlightening

Enlightenment Presupposes Turning from Self

“It is true that many a carnal man is ravished to think that God loves him, and will save him; but in this case, it is not the true character of God which charms the heart: it is not God that is loved. Strictly speaking, he can only love himself, and self-love is the source of all his affections. Or, if we call it ‘love’ to God, it is of no other kind than sinners feel to one another: ‘for sinners also love those that love them’ (Luke 6:32). The carnal Israelites gave the fullest proof of their disaffection to the Divine character (in the wilderness), as exhibited by God Himself before their eyes, yet were once full of this same kind of ‘love’ at the side of the Red Sea” (Joseph Bellamy).

My reader, the mere fact that your heart is thrilled with a belief that God loves you, is no proof whatever that God’s true character would suit your taste had you right notions of it. The Galatians loved Paul while they considered him as the instrument of their conversion; but on further acquaintance with him, they turned his enemies, for his character, rightly understood, was not at all congenial to them. If God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” and cannot but look upon sin with infinite detestation (Hab. 1:13); if all those imaginations, affections, and actions which are so sweet to the taste of a carnal heart, are so infinitely odious in the eyes of God as to appear to Him worthy of the eternal pains of Hell, then it is utterly impossible for a carnal heart to see any beauty in the Divine character until it perceives its own character to be infinitely odious.

There is no spiritual love for the true God until self be hated The one necessarily implies the other. I cannot look upon God as a lovely Being, without looking upon myself as infinitely vile and hateful. When Christ said to the Pharisees, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?” (Matthew 23:33), those words determined His character in their eyes. And it implies a contradiction to suppose that Christ’s character might appear lovely to them, without their own appearing odious, answerable to the import of His words. There was nothing in a Pharisee’s heart to look upon his own character in such a detestable light, and therefore all the Savior’s words and works could only exasperate them. The more they knew of Christ, the more they hated Him; as it was natural to approve of their own character, so it was natural to condemn His.

The Pharisees were completely under the power of “darkness,” and so is every human being till the Spirit quickens him into newness of life. If the fault were not in the Pharisees, it must have been in Christ; and for them to own it was not in Christ, was to acknowledge they were “vipers” and worthy of eternal destruction. They could not look upon Him as lovely, until they looked upon themselves as infinitely odious; but that was diametrically opposite to every bias of their hearts. Their old heart, therefore, must be taken away, and a new heart be given them, or they would never view things in a true light. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).[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/@MT4Christ247

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

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

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

Friday, February 24, 2023

Borrowing from Bonhoeffer - The Importance of Morning Prayer – Purity 975


Borrowing from Bonhoeffer  - The Importance of Morning Prayer – Purity 975           

Purity 975 02/24/2023 Purity 975 Podcast

Purity 975 on YouTube: 


And here is 60 seconds of video of that last sunset: 




Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun sinking into the horizon over a darkened beach and the breaking waves of the Atlantic comes to us from yours truly as this was the last photo I took of last night’s sunset on my last day vacationing in Myrtle Beach.  

Well, It’s Friday and I know of a few people who would have liked it to stay Thursday forever, but time marches on and so will I as I will be traveling to not so sunny suburbs outside of Baltimore, Maryland today as I know my limitations and have a reservation at an Embassy Suites to stay at tonight as I break my return trek to chilly upstate NY into atwo day journey. 

So no 13-14 hour marathon drive for me. I prefer to fly and when I am not flying I prefer to drive in the day time and so I hope to get to my pit stop before sunset, with time to possibly take a swim, and to enjoy some snacks at the manager’s reception.  The great white north can wait a day.  

But because of my desire to “get ‘er done” – as in to hit the road this morning without delays from “over-blogging”, I have decided to enlist some help with today’s post from an old friend, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  

As I stated yesterday, my intent for Lent is to go through the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer that is being offered from BibleGateway dot com, the link is on the blog again if you want to join the journey.  (https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-day-journey-dietrich-bonhoeffer/2023/02/23)

Yesterday I played catchup while in my hotel room by going through days 1 & 2, so if you are keeping score at home we are on Day 3 of Lent.  The way it works is there are 40 days of Lent, but they are not necessarily sequential in the way you may think.  Basically, the countdown begins on Ash Wednesday and we count each day as a “Lent Day” except for the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter, If you count all those weekdays and Saturdays between Ash Wednesday to Easter if actually works out to 40 days!  I did it twice.  

Anyway because I plan to be on the road at 6am today, I have taken the liberty of preparing this message in advance on Thursday night, and decided to do the third Day of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer as the material for the post and to demonstrate how a morning devotional is done.  

It turns out that the subject of the “devo” is the importance of morning prayer, so without further ado I present Day 3 from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and with my responses.   

 

From – 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer (https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-day-journey-dietrich-bonhoeffer/2023/02/25)  - go to Biblegateway dot com to sign up.

Day 3

Bonhoeffer writes:

"This order and discipline must be sought and found in the morning prayer. It will stand the test at work. Prayer offered in early morning is decisive for the day. The wasted time we are ashamed of, the temptations we succumb to, the weakness and discouragement in our work, the disorder and lack of discipline in our thinking and in our dealings with other people all these very frequently have their cause in our neglect of morning prayer. The ordering and scheduling of our time will become more secure when it comes from prayer."

Biblical Wisdom

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

Questions to Ponder

  • In what ways might “prayer offered in the morning” be “decisive for the day”?

M.T. Clark: Morning prayer can set a foundation for the day as we come before God to connect with Him relationally to give thanks, make supplications, and seek guidance.  Morning prayer can be “decisive for the day” as it can be used by the Lord to give use strength and guidance to accomplish His will for the day. Morning prayer can be where we make the decision to be faithful to follow the Lord and to be open and available for Him to use us each day.

·       Do you agree that many of the problems we encounter have “their cause in our neglect of morning prayer”? Why, or why not?

M.T. Clark: I agree that many of the problems we can encounter could have their cause in our neglect of morning prayer because without the regular practice of morning prayer we start our day outside of the comfort of the peace of the Lord’s presence which would make us subject to spiritual attacks from the spiritual forces of darkness or we could simply “forget who we are in Christ” as our intention to live as Christians is undermined when we fail to practice what we preach. 

  • How can prayer lead to the “ordering and scheduling of our time”?

M.T. Clark – Prayer is a great way to bring our problems and concerns before the Lord to receive His wisdom and guidance to order our lives. When we are intentional about establishing a scheduled time of prayer each day it should naturally follow that we seek to resolve problems and accomplish our goals in a ordered and scheduled way, to do what is right according to and for God.

Psalm Fragment

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
   give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
   my King and my God,
   for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
   in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. 
Psalm 5:1-3

Journal Reflections

  • Write about how you usually spend your mornings. What do you do before work or school?

M.T. Clark: Besides Sundays, I schedule approximately 4 hours for my daily spiritual practice that includes: physical exercise, prayer, Bible Study, and jounraling/blogging daily.

  • Are you satisfied with the way you spend your mornings? If not, how would you like to spend your mornings?

M.T. Clark: Overall, I am satisfied with the way I spend my mornings because my morning prayer and other disciplines have provided me with the time with and wisdom from the Lord that I need.

  • How is prayer presently a part of your morning? Any changes you would like to make?

M.T. Clark:  I pray every morning but have struggled at times with shallow prayers or with distractions during prayer. If I could change anything, it would be for my focus to be on the Lord and for me to discern the Lord’s will for more effective prayers.

Prayer for Today

Lord, show me a time in the morning when I can listen to you for the day ahead and when I can talk to you for the day ahead.

M.T. Clark: IN Jesus’ Name Amen!

 

Okay, well that is how you do a morning devotional for Lent! I would like to thank the Lord, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the folks at BibleGateway dot com for providing this resource.  If you would like to join the 40 Day Journey with Dietrcih Bonhoeffer for Lent go to the link for Day 1 and sign up: (https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-day-journey-dietrich-bonhoeffer/2023/02/23) 

Well, the devo provided us with some food for thought, some encouragement, and some Bible verses so because of that and because I am traveling today, I will skip the Bible verse of the Day, and I may choose to share Day 4 of the 40 Day Journey with Bonhoeffer as I will be travelling on Saturday as well.  But just like many things on the path of Christian Discipleship, I guess, we will see what will happen when we get there.  

Until then I ask for your prayers for safe travels and encourage you to continue in or to develop a scheduled time for morning prayer because it really can be “decisive for the day” and lay the foundation for a lifestyle of “walking and talking with God".  

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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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER SEVEN

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND THE HUMAN WILL

3. The Impotency of the Human Will concludes

The superficial work of many of the professional evangelists of the last fifty years is largely responsible for the erroneous views now current upon the bondage of the natural man, encouraged by the laziness of those in the pew in their failure to “prove all things” (1 Thess. 5:21). The average evangelical pulpit conveys the impression that it lies wholly in the power of the sinner whether or not he shall be saved. It is said that “God has done His part, now man must do his.” Alas, what can a lifeless man do, and man by nature is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1)! If this were really believed there would be more dependence upon the Holy Spirit to come in with His miracle-working power and less confidence in our attempts to “win men for Christ.”

When addressing the unsaved, preachers often draw an analogy between God’s sending of the Gospel to the sinner, and a sick man in bed with some healing medicine on a table by his side: all he needs to do is reach forth his hand and take it. But in order for this illustration to be in any wise true to the picture which Scripture gives us of the fallen and depraved sinner, the sick man in bed must be described as one who is blind (Eph. 4:18) so that he cannot see the medicine, his hand paralyzed (Rom. 5:6) so that he is unable to reach forth for it, and his heart not only devoid of all confidence in the medicine but filled with hatred against the physician himself (John 15:18). O what superficial views of man’s desperate plight are now entertained! Christ came here not to help those who were willing to help themselves, but to do for His people what they were incapable of doing for themselves: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isa. 42:7).

Now in conclusion let us anticipate and dispose of the usual and inevitable objection—Why preach the Gospel if man is powerless to respond? Why did the sinner come to Christ if sin has so enslaved him that he has no power in himself to come? Reply: We do not preach the Gospel because we believe that men are free moral agents and therefore capable of receiving Christ, but we preach it because we are commanded to do so (Mark 16:15); and though to them that perish it is foolishness yet, “unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25). The sinner is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), and a dead man is utterly incapable of willing anything, hence it is that “they that are in the flesh (the unregenerate) cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).

To fleshly wisdom it appears the height of folly to preach the Gospel to those that are dead, and therefore beyond the reach of doing anything themselves. Yes, but God’s ways are different from ours. It pleases God “by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). Man may deem it folly to prophesy to “dead bones” and to say unto them, “O, ye dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord” (Ezek. 37:4). Ah! but then it is the Word of the Lord, and the words He speaks “they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Wise men standing by the grave of Lazarus might pronounce it an evidence of insanity when the Lord addressed a dead man with the words, “Lazarus, Come forth.” Ah! but He who thus spake was and is Himself the Resurrection and the Life, and at His word even the dead live! We go forth to preach the Gospel, then, not because we believe that sinners have within themselves the power to receive the Saviour it proclaims but because the Gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, and because we know that “as many as were ordained to eternal life” (Acts 13:48) shall believe (John 6:37; 10:16—note the “shall’s”!) in God’s appointed time, for it is written “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Psa. 110:13)!

What we have set forth in this chapter is not a product of “modern thought”; no indeed, it is at direct variance with it. It is those of the past few generations who have departed so far from the teachings of their scripturally-instructed fathers. In the thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England we read, “The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us (being before-hand with us), that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will” (Article 10). In the Westminster Catechism of Faith (adopted by the Presbyterians) we read, “The sinfulness of that state whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the wont of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually” (Answer to question 25). So in the Baptists’ Philadelphian Confession of Faith, 1742, we read, “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto” (Chapter 9).[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/@MT4Christ247

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 149–151.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Beyond the “Church Game” – Daily Spiritual Practice - Purity 959


Beyond the “Church Game” – Daily Spiritual Practice - Purity 959

Purity 959 02/06/2023 Purity 959 Podcast

Purity 959 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of Harley running free over the white farmland tundra underneath the blazing February sun comes to us from yours as I decided to “let him go” as we made our way up Waite Rd just before noon on Saturday.  The sun may have been shining but don’t light that bright light fool you! Just like the  devil can be disguised as an angel of light, this past Saturday afternoon may have had clear skies and sunshine but I can assure you that the suns rays did little to dissipate the polar vortex like cold that had descended across the land that sent the temperatures below zero degrees.

Well, it’s Monday again and I am happy to report that the cold spell that started Friday and lasted throughout the day on Saturday lifted yesterday with temperatures in the high 30’s. And it looks like that’s where we will stay, temperature wise, for today, even though I am currently 156 miles away from where I would usually find myself at the beginning of another work week.

Yup, like Willie Nelson, I am “On the Road Again” as my employer has sent me to Syracuse NY to learn a new set of skills for work and in case you are curious, no, I didn’t volunteer for the trip.  

So, It’s “training day”, I guess and this morning I am extremely grateful for the my daily spiritual practices of exercise, prayer, Bible study, and writing this blog as these disciplines start my day off right and they are the only thing that is familiar as I find myself in my new home for the next 8 business days.

Really? Not 10 days, as in a full two weeks of training?

No, let’s have him travel back home, in the middle of the week at the end of the work day on Wednesday and have him return to two days of his regular work on Thursday and Friday!  

Pardon my questioning the scheduling of this assignment. I’m sure it makes perfect sense to someone.   Apparently 1 week of training isn’t long enough but a full two weeks would just be insane!

Anyway, it is in the times of changing circumstances and in the moments of stress caused by the cognitive dissonance of trying to figure life out, that our relationship with the Lord and the spiritual practices of the path of Christian Discipleship in which we adide in His presence are proven to be the most important thing about us. Our relationship with God and the ways we draw close to the Lord confirm who we are by reminding us of “whose we are.”  And when we know “whose we are”, we instinctively become aware “what we do” because we follow the example of Christ and do what the word of God says.   

As I have stated before on the blog, when I became a “born again” Christian back in 2010, I had a deep desire to be authentic in my faith and sought to know God more and to live my life according to His desires, according to His will – not my own.  And as hard as one might think that it is to live a Christian life in these modern times, I discovered that it is surprisingly simple, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy.   

From my liturgical Christian background, I knew that Christians went to church but that’s really all I knew and I knew that wasn’t enough.  I had played the “church game” in my former life and although there were a few times throughout my life that I would say my faith was probably genuine, for the most part I would say I was a member of  a religion more than I was in a relationship with God. Religion was cold comfort because it was powerless to change me and so I experienced a lot of guilt, shame, confusion, and anger when I used to play the “church game”.  

So when I finally heard the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and made the decision to put my faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I knew that “church” would not and could not be all there was to my new relationship with the Lord.   I also knew that my old liberal church, with it’s homosexual clergy – a fact, would not be a part of my new life in Christ. So until I found a conservative  “church where the Bible was taught” I was on my own. And frankly, I wasn’t ready to run out into some fundamentalist cult where the religion was just a different flavor of the day. 

My faith in Christ was something new but I decided that I would be very discerning in how I followed the Lord because I didn’t want just another “church game”, I wanted to be a “real Christian”.   

From those early days of my “born again experience”, I knew that I had to know God more. I had a deep desire to read the Bible and I did, dusting off the Bible that I had received when I was confirmed as an Episcopalian and highlighting all the passages that caught my attention.  If I was going to walk by faith I knew that I knew that I needed to know the Bible for myself. 

It turns out that this approach was recommended by nearly every “bible believing evangelist” that I was becoming familiar with through Christian radio and podcasts.  My initial research revealed that the basics of a Christian life beyond worshipping at a church and doing good works,  included regular, if not daily, Bible Study and prayer.

So even though they were new practices to me, I began praying, reading the Bible and tried to live by what I learned.  

It turns out that “this is it” – this more or less is what encompasses a Christian life:    Talking to the Lord in prayer, Reading the Bible, and doing what it says.  Like I said it sounds pretty simple, but actually doing it and doing it consistently is where we learn to grow as Christians.   Biblically, the Apostle Paul summarized what we are to do in

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

We are to present our bodies for God’s service – to actually surrender ourselves to God and to live for Him – and we are to change the ways we think, by renewing our minds with God’s wisdom, His word, and to be transformed – our new lives will be different as we seek to do God’s will increasingly and progressively as we go.   

At first these practices can be hard to establish as we really do have to renew our minds to the habits themselves and to the Lord’s ways of thinking and living, to live in the context of the kingdom of God and to dwell in the Lord’s presence.  

However, with time, our daily spiritual practices become a part of our regular routine and we discover that they are actually quite effective to cause us to be transformed and to allow the fruit of the Spirit to flourish in our lives.  

So this morning, even though I am a “fish out of water” in having to adapt to “hotel living” and being in a strange environment for work,  I arose and immediately went to my daily spiritual practices even though the landscape was different and I needed to make some modifications to how I did them in my temporary home.   

I running a little late but I “got ‘er done” in terms of physical exercise, prayer, and Bible study and am now finishing this report that I hope will encourage anyone who  listens or reads this message to either establish or to continue in your “quiet time with God” each morning because it is through these practices that we draw close to our heavenly Father and live out our identity in Christ.  

So, keep walking and talking with God.  This is not a church game and the more you walk with Him and draw close to Him through a daily spiritual practice you will discover that the Christian life is something you can really live and that when you keep following the Lord the transformation is real too.   

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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:

Proverbs 25:11 (NLT2)
11  Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the loveliness of timely advice.  

There is a saying that you hear at airport that says “if you see something, say something”.  In the post 911 world of global terrorism, we have to be on guard against the threat of terrorist attacks by keeping our eyes open for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary that may indicate that something is not right.  If we see something, we should say something because it could be a matter of life and death!  

The timely report that saves someone’s life is beautiful because it prevents tragedy.   

In medical circles, a regular check up can reveal a disease, that if caught early, can be cured.  So if we suspect something isn’t “right” with ourselves or our loved ones we should say something and get it checked out.    

Likewise in the spiritual realm, when we see someone living without Jesus in their life or someone who is far from God in the way they live, we should say something.  

Our encouragement to others to put their faith in Christ may save their souls.  

Our encouragements to Christians to repent and follow the Lord may rescue them from bondage.   

So let me encourage you to say the “awkward thing” and encourage others to come to Jesus and to follow the Lord in the way they live.   We never know when our words will be “timely advice” but we have to trust that the Lord wants to use us to do His work on the earth.  So if you feel moved to speak, speak because like today’s verse tells us “timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in silver basket” to those who need to hear it.

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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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER FIVE

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN REPROBATION continues

 

Second, the doctrine of Reprobation does not mean that God refuses to save those who earnestly seek salvation. The fact is that the reprobate have no longing for the Saviour: they see in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. They will not come to Christ—why then should God force them to? He turns away none who do come—where then is the injustice of God fore-determining their just doom? None will be punished but for their iniquities; where then is the supposed tyrannical cruelty of the Divine procedure? Remember that God is the Creator of the wicked, not of their wickedness; He is the Author of their being, but not the Infuser of their sin.

God does not (as we have been slanderously reported to affirm) compel the wicked to sin, as the rider spurs on an unwilling horse. God only says in effect that awful word, “Let them alone” (Matt. 15:14). He needs only to slacken the reins of providential restraint, and withhold the influence of saving grace, and apostate man will only too soon and too surely, of his own accord, fall by his iniquities. Thus the decree of reprobation neither interferes with the bent of man’s own fallen nature, nor serves to render him the less inexcusable.

Third, the decree of Reprobation in nowise conflicts with God’s goodness. Though the non-elect are not the objects of His goodness in the same way or to the same extent as the elect are, yet are they not wholly excluded from a participation of it. They enjoy the good things of Providence (temporal blessings) in common with God’s own children, and very often to a higher degree. But how do they improve them? Does the (temporal) goodness of God lead them to repent? Nay, verily, they do butdespise His goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering, and after their hardness and impenitency of heart treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath” (Rom. 2:4, 5). On what righteous ground, then, can they murmur against not being the objects of His benevolence in the endless ages yet to come? Moreover, if it did not clash with God’s mercy and kindness to leave the entire body of the fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4) under the guilt of their apostasy still less can it clash with the Divine perfections to leave some of fallen mankind in their sins and punish them for them.

Finally, let us interpose this necessary caution: It is utterly impossible for any of us, during the present life, to ascertain who are among the reprobate. We must not now so judge any man, no matter how wicked he may be. The vilest sinner, may, for all we know, be included in the election of grace and be one day quickened by the Spirit of grace. Our marching orders are plain, and woe unto us if we disregard them—“Preach the Gospel to every creature.” When we have done so our skirts are clear. If men refuse to heed, their blood is on their own heads; nevertheless “we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are a savor of death unto death; and to the other we are a savor of life unto life” (2 Cor. 2:15, 16).[1]

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

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

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

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

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

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 108–109.