Labels

Showing posts with label Prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prayer. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2024

What do you want me to do Lord? - Purity 1314

What do you want me to do Lord? - Purity 1314

Purity 1314 04/1/2024 Purity 1314 Podcast

Purity 1314 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a tree branch and clear blue skies over the brown fields located beyond the clearing at the end of “Freedom Road” comes to us from yours truly as I decided to capture this moment as I enjoyed the stillness, quiet, and the view while sitting on a stone and mortar cornerstone foundation which all that remains from a building, a barn or a house, that is no more than a small pile of rubble and a distant memory of days gone by. 

With the 40-Day Journey with Martin Luther series on the blog and the online Freedom in Christ course that I was facilitating having been concluded on Saturday when I got to the end of Freedom Road with my canine pal, Harley along for the walk, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do next. Part of walking in the Spirit, is seeking the Lord’s guidance through listening prayer. So when I say I walk and talk with God or “ask the Lord something”, I mean that quite literally. Before I was born again I used to talk to myself but now I talk to God. 

Although I still have a few responsibilities and requirements to meet (2 freedom appointments this week– one today) to finish the work I started with this season’s Freedom in Christ course and last year’s school of prayer ministry with Deeper Walk International, the future seemed to be wide open during my walk on Saturday and I wasn’t just asking the Lord what was next, as much as I was asking Him what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life. With different ideas about what I would like to do, what I could do, and what I would probably do concerning my personal, professional, and ministerial life swirling around my heart and mind, I just wanted some assurance that, even though I don’t have much that appears to be certain, I wanted to be certain that I was walking with God in the right direction.  Admitting that I didn’t really know where I was going, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life and didn’t have to wait long for a response.

What do you want me to do Lord?

Tell people about ME…

Although there were a few follow-up questions and concerns about exactly how I should do that, the “word” that the Lord put in my heart and mind – no, it wasn’t a booming voice or even a quiet audible whisper, gave me peace, assurance, and joy that even though I am perplexed or vexed quite often over “what’s next” on this path of Christian discipleship, the Lord is with me and has given me a desire to do His will – I have been trying and will dedicate the rest of my life to doing just what the Lord said – to tell people about Him. 

So even though much is still to be determined in what I will do and where I will go and live, I was able to rest on that block of mortar and stone at the end of Freedom Road knowing that I had nothing to worry about and could just enjoy my freedom and life in Christ for the wonderful adventure that it is. 

Well, Its’ 's Monday, and although it’s not “Spring Break” for me, and I have to go to work today, and lead a brother through the Steps to Freedom tonight, I will rest and rejoice in the Lord and our mission for my life – to tell others about Him- all the same. 

God is good. He loves you. He calls you to put your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and invites you to Come and See what a life lived in His presence feels and looks like.  I know from experience that it’s the best life you can have because it just happens to be the life you were created to live but are free to reject or accept all the same. 

So let’s not worry about where we will be next year or in the distant future, or even tomorrow – for as Jesus said.

Matthew 6:34 (NLT2)
34  “…don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

And when we keep walking and talking with God, we can know that there are no troubles that we will face today, that God and us can’t handle. Let’s go and let God lead us and tell those we meet along the way about just how good He is.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 verses come 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 verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the twenty-fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

24. The primary goal in life must be to fear God and keep his commandments.

Today’s verse is really what our lives in Christ are all about – seeking God’s kingdom – His presence and His purposes- and His righteousness – The Person of Jesus and His ways for living. When I shared Matthew 6:34 above, I honestly didn’t know 6:33 was the verse of the day – but God knew – and He wants us to know the way to not worry about tomorrow is to seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  This is what we do as Christians.  So keep seeking the Lord, His kingdom, and His righteousness, and reap the fruit of the Spirit that will grow in your life when you walk with 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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: JOHN 6

“It is I; do not be afraid.” – John 6:20

What grand words! How they strengthen, cheer, and comfort the heart. It is true that these words were uttered at a dark moment in the experience of the disciples, but these same words are still the words of the Lord Jesus, and therefore continue to carry with them their ancient power.

He says, “It is I, do not be afraid.” There is no need to fear when He is near. He is the perfect Love which casts out fear. Moreover, He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), and with the Hebrew writer, I reply “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What man can do to me?” (Heb. 13:6). “It is I” (John 6:20) – “If God is for [me], who can be against [me]?” (Rom. 8:31).

Lord, in these uncertain times,
Your Word brings comfort and peace.[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 YouTube 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

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Beyond Pleasure-Dome – Escaping Snack Culture - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 37 - Purity 1310

 

Beyond Pleasure-Dome – Escaping Snack Culture - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 37 - Purity 1310

Purity 1310 03/27/2024 Purity 1310 Podcast

Purity 1310 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of green fields and an old grain silo, with the Hudson River in the distance, under pleasant blue skies, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this seen during a “worship hike”  at Harrier Hill Park in Stottville NY back on June 5th, 2021. 

Well, it’s Holy Wednesday, or Spy Wednesday, the day we are to remember that Judas Iscariot made a pact with the Jewish authorities to betray Jesus – a dastardly deed for sure but one that was used for His purposes to save all who would one day put their faith in the Christ, the one who suffered and died an unjust death to pay for our sins. Regardless of the outcomes though betrayal is something we don’t easily forgive and something we would be wise not to forget.  

When people betray us, it teaches us an important lesson about human nature and relationships, and it instructs us to be wise and discerning about the company we keep. If we have associates who reveal that they lie, steal, or cheat in different areas of their lives and that they are morally a little shady, we shouldn’t be surprised if they lie, steal, or cheat with us. 

But it is not just people that can betray us, we have relationships with the objects of our addictions. Alcohol and drugs and I had an exciting romance and even though I knew from the start they weren’t good for me; I ignored the truth about them and got in deep with them and wasted years of my life trapped in a toxic relationship with them. But the Lord called me out of the darkness of my life without Him and it caused me to see the bondage I was in, and eventually, led to my freedom.  

Similarly, I have had a long-standing relationship with food that has not always been healthy – my addictive tendency to overindulge was unchecked and it resulted in my being overweight, and technically obese – let’s call it what it is -for most of my life.  I believed the lie of “yummy in my tummy”, “comfort food”, “time for a snack”, “fat and happy”, and I “just can’t control what I eat” for most of my life.  Those slogans were my reality, but they didn’t have to be, and the lie was that I was powerless to live any other way. 

Since I have fighting food addiction in earnest over the past year, I have had various eye-opening paradigm shifts that reveal the dysfunctional relationship with food – the latest being that I have been a “slave to preference” – (I want the food that tastes good – I can’t control myself when I eat the food that tastes good – ouch – a painful admission when it hits the heart – it really is an addiction) and that I live in a corrupted world system that I have come to think of as “snack culture” – which supports and dispenses that false belief that we can’t be satisfied with just the three traditional meals of the day and that we NEED small mini-meals between meals to survive or thrive and that pushes for the concept of “food for pleasure” or food for comfort.  

While these ideas and concepts certainly exist, the paradigm-shifting realization that I have come to understand is that they are not necessarily true:

I don’t NEED meals between meals.

Food may not have been designed to be COMFORT.  Isn’t the Holy Spirit the COMFORTER?

It is not necessarily true that PLEASURE should come from food. – a preference for sure but not a fundamental truth – which is proven by the subjectivity of those preferences – there is no inherently “good food” – tastes vary so one man’s delight is another man’s aversion.  “Good food” is a lie…. Wow. 

But one of the concepts that was brought home to me for a short time that I have rediscovered is the idea of “Food is fuel”. The Optavia plan sells this idea along with the LIE of snack culture -  as they prescribe 5 snacks and 1 meal a day… because they run with the lie that WE MUST eat throughout the day… We must, huh? And even though they try to teach self-control by staving off hunger with a “snack” every 3 hours, they don’t teach any wisdom about what you eat and instead design calorie control versions of sweet treats or normally carb-laden snacks… They basically teach that you don’t have to change what you eat (as long as you buy our expensive especially engineered version of the foods you like) and just have to change the amounts and ways you eat. The plan actually works but it is financially taxing, and I found it not to be sustainable because of the cost and the realization that although I was losing weight I wasn’t learning anything.  

So I’m changing my mind again to remember that food is fuel and that I don’t NEED “GOOD FOOD” – those tasty treats that I lose all control over when I eat them. 

Freedom from the object of our addictions comes from eliminating them, not allowing them into our lives.  Its sucks to learn that you can’t drink alcohol like others can, but the alcoholic comes to the realize. n that they can’t drink and maintain sanity or peace for long. 

Similarly the food addict has to look at the object of their addiction and start to eliminate the things that keep them in bondage and cause them to lose control.  Joyce Meyers was wrong when she told you to “Eat the Cookie and Buy The Shoes” if you are a food addict or shop-aholic.  You can’t “give yourself permission to lighten up” if you are an addict and want to be free. 

Instead, we have to “present our bodies as living sacrifices to God” (crucify that flesh- we have control over it) and “be transformed by the renewing of our minds”. We have to see and  think differently and expose the deceptions and temptations around us and choose to walk a different way- The Way of the Spirit – that is defined by its peace, joy, patience, and (oh yes) self-control.  

If you lose control with certain things… that’s the flesh… and even though we have the freedom to do as we please and as  

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NKJV) tells
12  All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

We shouldn’t be controlled by our preferences to the point we lose control.  We have to go beyond “Pleasure-dome” and not be in bondage to the desires of the flesh. As

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) tells us, we are to:
1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

There is no better time to stand in the freedom than we have in Christ than right now, the season of Lent, and speaking of Lent:

It’s the thirty-seventh day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 37

Amen.

What is this?

Answer: That I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to and heard by our Father in heaven, for he himself commanded us to pray like this and has promised to hear us. “Amen, amen” means “Yes, yes, it is going to come about just like this.”

The efficacy of prayer consists in our learning also to say Amen to it- that is, not to doubt that our prayer is surely heard and will be answered. This word is nothing else than an unquestioning word of faith on the part of the one who does not pray as a matter of luck but knows that god does not lie because he has promised to grant it. Where there is not faith like this, there also can be no true prayer.

Biblical Wisdom

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. James 5: 13-16.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       What is the difference between praying “as a matter of luck” and praying as a matter of faith?

Praying as a matter of luck is impersonal and selfish usually, whereas praying as a matter of faith is earnestly seeking the Lord and His presence to know His will for our lives – petitioning in a personal way that accepts no for an answer.

·       Why is faith necessary for true prayer?

If you don’t really have faith in a God who cares, you are just making wishes. If you don’t know God is real, you are magically thinking.

·       Is God a liar if your prayer does not appear to come true? Why or why not?

No, God is not a liar, The word tells us that in Numbers 23:19.  His “blessing” us in the way we think we should be blessed should not be a condition of our faith in God. His ways are higher than our ways and His knowledge is perfect. We can earnestly pray for things that would destroy us or things that are unwise or unhealthy or that are sinful. Trusting in God means that we trust Him to do what is right even if we can’t understand it. All things will be revealed to be a part of His grand design and we need to accept that we may not always get what we want but it doesn’t mean that God is a liar or is not in control.

Psalm Fragment

But truly God has listened; He has given heed to the words of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me. Psalm 66:19-20

Journal Reflections

·       Meditate on the word “Amen”. What do you understand by the word? What feelings does the saying of this word after prayer evoke for you?

To me, I think Amen means – “Yes, I agree.” With God or with someone who speaks something that is true- Amen? (Do you agree?” I feel that the Amen affirms our faith and trust in the Lord and His wisdom and ways. It gives me peace knowing I can trust in and surrender all things to Him and His care.  

·       Journal about how you understand the “efficacy” of your prayers. Make a list of prayers that you know have been answered and note how they were answered. Be specific. Were they always answered in the way you hoped or expected?

My prayers have been answered so many times. For Freedom, for a new home, for healing, for purpose, for a faithful Christian wife.  My prayers have been “efficacious” – as they produced a desired outcome – but not all my prayers were answered in the ways I had wanted. The answer to some has been “No.” and I feel that with others I have been told to “wait” or to keep going. And that’s okay too.  

·       Remember a time when your prayer was answered in a way other than how you had hoped. Write about the experience. What did you learn?

I wrote a book once based on the preaching of a local pastor who agreed in principle to have it published. I prayed for that outcome and was over the moon when I got that initial response. I thought I was on my way to being a published Christian author and that would elevate me into a life of full-time Christian service!  But shortly after his acceptance, the pastor demurred because of the vast copyright issues and permissions we would have to pursue because he quoted so many other sources in his preaching.  The conversation about publication just abruptly ended and shortly after this, I noticed a determined effort by this pastor to acknowledge the sources he used when he preached. I may have been used by God to bring conviction, maybe, but I still think it would have been a good book to encourage people to seek the Lord… but I have moved on, and that pastor is essentially retired. I grew in the process all the same.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you can say Amen to your own prayers, trusting and believing that God will grant your prayer.

Lord, I pray that I can say Amen to my prayers – that I can trust and believe that you will grant the petitions that I make when they don’t go against your will for my life.  I pray for you to turn things around in a certain area. AMEN and AMEN!

Prayer For Today

Dear Jesus, you are the Amen of my prayers. Help me to believe truly in your word and in the promise of God that our prayers will be answered.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 verses come 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 verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)
17  Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls--
18  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19  The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Today’s verses fall under the twenty-first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

21. Habakkuk was content with God’s way and trusted him even when things looked very hard.

Today’s verses instruct us to REJOICE in the Lord regardless of outcomes, to never let go of the joy of our salvation, and to find our strength and guidance from God. This passage is a disciple's anthem really. I WILL FOLLOW YOU LORD – NO MATTER WHAT- and I WILL REJOICE IN YOU!.  When we have a covenant relationship with God through faith in Jesus, we really have everything we need. We have life eternal and the grid of our faith if properly understood and practiced – and our heart connection to the Lord – can help us to persevere through and or overcome all the troubles of life.  Our salvation means everything, and it should be a continual source of joy and inspiration for our lives. So press into the joy of your salvation and receive the strength and joy for living that God has given us in Christ.

-----------------------------------------------------------

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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: JOHN 2

“Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” – John 2:17

The Lord Jesus is the perfect example in all departments of life. With that fact in view, it is instructive to notice His perfect behavior in reverence for and interest in the House of God.

In light of the above verse, it would seem that His holy zeal burned at its highest when the House of God was the object of particular interest. Of course, His Holy zeal always burned at its highest. But it is the phrase “Eat me up,” that makes one use comparative language. John Nelson Darby translates it “Devours me.”9 What a zeal He had for the interests and work of God's House.

Father, give me a zeal for Your house
like Your blessed Son's. Amen.[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 YouTube 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


Monday, March 18, 2024

The Spiritual Practice of “It Could Have Been Worse”… 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 29 - Purity 1302

The Spiritual Practice of “It Could Have Been Worse”… 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 29 - Purity 1302

Purity 1302 03/18/2024 Purity 1302 Podcast

Purity 1302 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun’s light emerging through the cloud-filled blue sky over an otherwise unremarkable and perhaps bleak late winter/early spring upstate NY landscape comes to us from yours truly as I capture this scene from the clearing at the end of “Freedom Road” last Wednesday. 

Well, It’s Monday and while today’s photo may not look like much I took it because I was thanking God for the mild winter we have had thus far in both the “real upstate” and my place down by the River, knowing that it didn’t necessarily have to be this way and while we may have had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks, I have thanked God for that too because I know it could have been snow!

That’s the spiritual practice of “it could have been worse” coupled with gratitude that can cause a low mood to be raised to baseline contentment if not raised to the heights of joy.  “It’s grey and raining! Isn’t this great!!!”   It’s better than it could have been because it could have been worse, and I have lived through days when it has been worse – which I survived through, mind you, thank you Lord, and so I will rejoice… I will rejoice and be glad!

The state of the weather doesn’t have to affect the state of our minds if it can be seen from its proper perspective.  Circumstances don’t give us peace or joy. True joy and peace are fruit of the Spirit and so they only come through abiding with and following the Lord, so walk in it.  

It just happens to be the season to walk with the Lord – to repent and believe in the gospel – it’s the season of Lent, and speaking of Lent…   

It’s the twenty-ninth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 29

May your kingdom come.

How does this come about?

Whenever our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that through his grace we believe his Holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eternity.

(God) desires nothing more from us than that we ask many and great things of him. And, on the contrary, he is angered if we do not ask and demand with confidence. Imagine if the richest and most powerful emperor commanded a poor beggar to ask for whatever he might desire and was prepared to give lavish, royal gifts, and the full asked only for a dish of beggar's broth. He would rightly be considered a rogue and a scoundrel, who had made a mockery of the imperial majesty’s command and was unworthy to come into his presence. Just so, it is a great reproach and dishonor to God if we, to whom he offers and pledges so many inexpressible blessings, despise them or lack confidence that we shall receive them and scarcely venture to ask for a morsel of bread.

Biblical Wisdom

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Luke 12:32-33.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       Why is it “a great reproach and dishonor to God” when we “lack confidence” that God will provide for us and fail to ask for all that we are commanded to ask for?

It’s a great reproach and dishonor to God when we lack confidence that He will provide for us or fail to ask Him for all that we are commanded to ask for because it shows a lack of trust and faith in Him to provide for us or to bless us.  While I can understand the hesitancy to make “prosperity gospel prayers” and to put all of our faith in receiving their fulfillment, God does not want us living in the fear that we won’t be provided for or to doubt that He can’t or won’t bless us with good things in life.  When I was picking up the pieces of a life broken by divorce I would have been content with a “shack” for a new home and confessed as much to my pastor at the time, Jaron Halsted, professing that I didn’t need anything fancy and that I could be content with a “dump”. To which Jaron corrected me about being specific in prayer and to trust God for good things by simply stating “If you pray for a dump, you’re going to get a dump.”  So trust the Lord to provide and ask for good things, because my prayers for a good house that would meet my family’s needs (and not be a dump), came my way and it just happened to be the first real estate transaction that any of the agents sitting around the closing table had in the early days of emerging from the pandemic in 2020… God is good so ask Him for good things.

·       Jesus speaks of the Father’s “good pleasure”? Luther talks about God’s anger.  How would you put these two emotions together in your picture of God?

God is complex, surprise… He is, but seriously, God is holy, and His “good pleasure” is to bless those who seek to know Him and who honor Him with their love and obedience.  However, God has given us the free will to choose to reject Him and live contrary to His word – to be rebellious and to do evil in the sight of the Lord. We are free to do that, but a just and Holy God can and will make us accountable for the things we say and do that go against His purposes.  His anger is an appropriate response to the evil rebellion that some of His creatures freely choose to live in and thus we can know God by His “good pleasure” or by His anger, it depends on our understanding of and relationship with Him.  

·       Why is the beggar who demurs from asking God for anything not living a “godly life”?

A beggar who demurs from asking God for anything is not living a “godly life” because He is not trusting God and not giving himself completely to God by refusing to be “obligated” to the Lord for the things God provides. By asking for just enough we limit our relationship with God, we are not putting our whole heart in our trust of the Lord, or we are living in disbelief – we don’t think God can do it. Also if the beggar receives an abundance, he may feel obligated to surrender to the Lord abundantly and so he holds himself back and is not “godly”.

Psalm Fragment

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want. The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:8-10.

Journal Reflections

·       Reflect on a time when you acted more like the poor beggar in your relationship with God, asking only for a little when you really wanted much more. Why did you refrain from asking more?

As I stated above when talking about praying for a new home in 2020, I was being beggarly.  I was looking at houses that were “dumps” and was ready to buy one but was saved by a wake-up call from the Lord who used my pastor, a building inspector, and common sense to think and pray again. I wanted more but didn’t think I was worthy or able to get something good.  But God used my hard work and willingness to “go and see” the house in Stuyvesant that didn’t look so good online only to discover much to my delight – that “this could work!!!” and then had the Lord confirm to me in prayer that “This is the place – and this will happen,”  So don’t refrain from asking for more, the Lord wants to bless those who follow Him and you never know what you can receive unless you ask God to help you. So ask and receive, knock and let the door be opened to what God has for you.

·       Meditate on your image of God and how that affects your prayer life.

The image of God… Getting “an image” of the Father or Holy Spirit can be difficult – they are Spirit after all, but that doesn’t stop me from speaking to them. The best image of God is to imagine Jesus and the picture of Him that is painted in the pages of the Bible – the same goes for the Father and the Holy Spirit of course. It is the robust picture I get from Scripture of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit that informs me about God and drives me to trust Him and to follow His will for my life. God of course is real and active in the world and in my life specifically and it is through all of this that I love God and go to Him in “prayer” and walk and talk with Him, literally, every day.

·       Does it surprise you that your failure to ask for everything from God is a reproach or dishonoring of God? If so, reflect on how you might learn to honor God by presuming more from God.

This does surprise me a little I suppose.  We think that God wants us to be humble and content but our failure to ask God for more could be seen as our not trusting Him to provide for or bless us… So let’s trust Him and ask Him to bless our socks off! He has already blessed us by saving former sinners like us, we are saints now.  so why not see what else the Lord has in store and ask for more?

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Think of some things you have wanted from God but did not dare ask for. Think of another who might also have the same timidity. Pray that you both will be given the grace to overcome your fear.

Lord, I have dared not to ask You to bless my ministry or to provide me with a full-time ministry that would allow me to retire from my current day job and spend my work hours in service of You but I am now asking You to supernaturally bless me with that now, In Jesus name.   I also pray for my brother in Christ, Rafe, that you would bless his heart’s desire to have a business that will provide for Him and that would give you glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Good and gracious Lord, you are rich and I am poor. Send your Holy Spirit to befriend me so that I dare to come to you and ask for all things.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 verses come 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 verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Proverbs 23:4-5 (ESV)
4  Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.
5  When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

Today’s verses are the first of three passages of scripture that fall under the fifteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

15. Don’t wear yourself out to get rich.

Today’s verses teach the truth about the ability for wealth to leave us as quickly as it comes. In my life, I have had times when an abundance of financial windfalls has come my way only to see those funds vanish into the ether as my spending or unforeseen expenses made the money “fly out of my pockets”!

So don’t toil for riches because they don’t ultimately satisfy us and unless you submit to the Lord and be a good steward of your finances, the money you gain today will be flying away like an eagle toward heaven tomorrow.

-----------------------------------------------------------

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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: LUKE 18

“See, we have left all and followed You.”
– Luke 18:28

Peter must have had a poor conception of his Lord when he said these words. No doubt, the words were true enough, humanly speaking. But when compared to the preciousness of the blessed Lord, such words should never have been uttered. “We have left all.” What was the all anyway, when compared with “all the spiritual blessings … in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, KJV)? He obviously had not risen to the experience of the apostle Paul when he could say: “I count all things … as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8). Or again, “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil. 4:19).

O Lord, grant that I shall never consider
that I have given anything up for You.
For You have become ALL the world to me.[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 YouTube 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