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Showing posts with label Proverbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Proverbs. Show all posts

Saturday, January 15, 2022

It’s Oh So Complicated! – One Choice to Simplify it All: God - Purity 629

 

It’s Oh So Complicated! – One Choice to Simplify it All: God -  Purity 629

Purity 629 01/15/2022    Purity 629 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a canine friend of mine under blue skies and a blazing January sun over the frozen tundra of Easton NY comes to us from yours truly as I took a walk to enjoy the sun and the crisp air last weekend.  The pace was somewhat dog driven as Harley would periodically want to run a bit and then stop as he either needed to do his business or became intensely interested in a scent on the ground that arrested his progress as seen here. 

Well, It’s the weekend again and it is my prayer that all who hear or read this message take some time this weekend to recognize and enjoy all the good things they have in life.  Be it our homes, automobiles, family, friends, or even our pets if we think about our lives there is always something to be thankful for.  I prescribe a daily practice of gratitude to all that I encourage so they can have a balanced view of their circumstances and so they can go deeper with their relationship with God by thanking the Lord for all that He has provided them with. 

This close relationship with God is very important for our wellbeing. When we are living in ways that are foolish or are outside of the guidelines of the Lord’s will for our lives, we will suffer. 

Sometimes our actions lead to situations that are a complicated mess of bad habits, work stress, financial mismanagement, and relationship issues where the problems surround us and overwhelm us causing us to do more of the things that led to the situation that got us into this mess in the first place which only make matters worse!

This cyclic mess of living unwisely and not learning from our mistakes and continuing in them proves Henry Ford’s adage of:

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins later rephrased it to say:  

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

And the wisdom was so striking that seemingly countless others have reworded it, added “keep on” into the mix, or flipped the script by encouraging others to keep on doing what they are doing if they are getting positive results.   

The thing is I’m sure someone came up with this “common knowledge” idea before Henry Ford and somehow his name is given credit because mass media wasn’t what it was before his time. Human experience teaches this truth, but it isn’t just true because of our experience its truth it was created and is confirmed by the highest authority, God. 

This “you get what you do” principle is known in the Bible as “you reap what you sow”.  Openbible.info shares 100 verses on “Reaping what you Sow” and I am sharing the link for it on the blog if you want to check it out: (https://www.openbible.info/topics/reaping_what_you_sow).  Their list goes from Genesis to Revelation and shows this is a basic principle of God’s created order. I’ll share the first verse on their list of 100:

Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
7  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
  

So yeah as someone who has only recently emerged from a complicated situation that involved consequences of bad habits, financial problems, and relationship issues that resulted in me having me to find new home while encumbered by huge financial debt, I can understand what it feels like to feel like the whole world is falling in on you and you are all alone in your suffering and struggles.    

To paraphrase, Hosea 8:7 you have “sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind” and now you don’t know what to do. While we could turn to advisors and institutions to help us, and we may have to, we first need to stop and confess our mistakes and inadequacies to the One who will never leave you no matter what you have done and the One who will help you to make things simple: God.  

If you have made a complicated mess of your life, unfortunately there are most likely no instant solutions.  You have entered into the “shadow of the valley of death” and the only way out is to surrender to the Lord’s will and walk out of it step by step and bit by bit.

The bad news is that it won’t be easy, and it may take a good deal of time to start to see the light beyond this present darkness, but the good news is that when you take your problems to the Lord, ask for His help, and commit yourself to follow Him, you will have His presence with you and the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth.  

So first surrender to God, then make a plan.  Oh yeah that’s right, God is most likely not going to “miracle” you out of your mess, but He will guide and advise you if you are walking with Him.

So listen for those intuitions, that may seem daring  or “outside of the box” and are typically something you wouldn’t do, but that will only indicate that maybe this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  But be wise and discerning as well, sometimes we might think something that pops into our heads is divinely inspired only to discover later that the actions involved some sort of worldly way or sin which proves that Satan delights in leading us astray.   

But these intuitions don’t come every day, so in the meantime you are going to have to use the mind, body, and will that God gave you, and all the resources you have at hand, to figure out a plan to change things and work to accomplish it.  In my struggles to gain freedom, that meant going into a recovery program, working a second job, and sacrificing retirement savings in order to put me where I am today. Oh and guess what, the journey didn’t happen overnight. We are talking a sum total of five years before my “complicated situations” were resolved.    

Now do not get me wrong, I am not claiming that I dug myself out all by myself. Through it all I remained diligent to follow the Lord and communed with Him daily. It is only by the grace of God that I was able to leave that complicated mess behind and that is why I am such a loud advocate for a life of Christian Discipleship.  

That question of “Oh look at this mess I’m in what am I going to do?”  can only be answered by me with the simple reply “Seek God, repent, trust and follow Him.”  

When you do that the complicated becomes simple. Instead of having a complicated number of worldly solutions, you have one choice: God’s way.  

If you commit yourself to His care and adopt His ways of righteousness to your life, you will stop making the same mistakes you always make, and you will become a good steward of all He has entrusted to you. 

And yes, you will have to face the music and deal with the negative consequences of your actions but if you are with Him, you will not fear and accept the “whirlwind” you have created and be at peace knowing that no matter what comes in this world you have a right standing with God, and He will ultimately lead you to good.  

So here’s the deal, to get out of your complicated mess, start doing all you can to change it today and pray for God to help you.

Evaluate the heap of problems you have and prioritize them according what needs to be dealt with now and what can wait and also by what ones are going to be easy to resolve and what ones will be harder to resolve.  Then start working on the immediate problems and the ones that are easy to resolve.  Dealing with the immediate takes the pressure off and resolving the easy ones will give you a sense of victory and purpose.    

Make every day an exercise in turning things around by being committed to the Lord and to changing your situation.  And guess what: you can only do what you can do so don’t condemn yourself for not being able to fix everything right away.   You can do what you can do and then surrender the rest to the Lord and ask for His help continually. 

If you keep walking and talking with God, you will steadily walk out of the darkness of your complicated mess and slowly find yourself basking in the light of freedom and victory.    

Psalm 23:4-6 (NKJV) says
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

When you are with the Lord you will walk out of that valley of the shadow of death, so hold onto His hand and allow Him to shepherd you through to the abundant life that lies just beyond where your eyes can see.  

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 28:14 (NLT2)
14  Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

Today’s verse tells us about the consequences that await us depending on our choices and actions.   

Again, I love it when the Holy Spirit is moving.  This morning I sat down at prayer with no idea what to write and speak on but then I happened to see a friend’s email describing a messy situation, so the previous portion of the blog is my response to that, and it speaks about reaping what you sow and having to adapt and overcome by trusting and following the Lord. 

And today’s verse echoes that theme because it speaks about the consequences of our wise or foolish and head strong decisions.  

Those who fear to do wrong, and presumably don’t do it, are blessed!

Those who are stubborn, to that wisdom to not do wrong,  are headed for serious trouble.  

The book of Proverbs is part of what is called the “wisdom literature of the Old Testament”  and verses like today’s verse show us it’s simple wisdom, and the blessed results that come if we would only listen to it and apply it to our lives.  

So fear doing wrong and don’t do it because as today’s verse clearly states if you are stubborn and decide to do what you know is wrong you are headed for serious trouble.  


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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

AS THEY PRAY

One young lady said, “I can’t forgive my mother. I hate her!” Now she can! The Lord isn’t asking you to like those who have offended you. You can’t deny or play with your emotions that way. The Lord wants you to forgive so you can put a stop to the pain you have experienced.

Some are reluctant to forgive others for the wrongs they have done because they think they are judging people by forgiving them. When a young anorexic girl came to her father on the list, she said, “I feel like I need to ask him to forgive me.” I told her, “Maybe you do, but that is not what we are dealing with here. We are dealing with your pain.”

Sometimes people are torn between feelings of love and loyalty for their parents and the need to face the pain they caused. Forgiving your parents for being something less than perfect is not condemning them. We do not blame our parents for their imperfections; they had parents who were imperfect, too. But facing the truth and forgiving your parents is what stops the cycle of abuse that continues on from one generation to another.81

As you work through your list, make sure you stay with each person until you have dealt with every painful memory that God brings to your mind. Many people have tried to shove these painful memories down into their subconscious. Such suppression is considered a conscious denial. Others cannot honestly recall what happened to them. The Lord has allowed that to happen. The pain was too great to deal with at the time, so the Lord has made it possible for them to dissociate. He will reveal it at a later time when there is enough maturity, adequate support, and the means to resolve it. The Lord frequently brings back repressed memories during this process. Some attempt to deal with their pain by denying that anything bad ever happened or by pretending that it didn’t really bother them. Denial and cover-up are never God’s way.

EMOTIONS VARY

Forgiving from the heart will be an emotional catharsis for many, while others may remain emotionally blocked and unable to feel anything. A missionary lady looked at her list and slowly pushed it away. Then she pulled it back, and then pushed it away again. She said, “My counselor has been trying to get me to cry for three months.” I had said nothing about crying. Finally, she took the list and started with the first name. “Lord, I forgive...” and collapsed in tears. Years of emotional pain surfaced as she forgave one person after another.

Some may work through their lists rather stoically. That is because people have different temperaments. Shedding tears is not the only way of expressing grief and pain. Some consciously and deliberately come to terms with their abuses and painfully choose to forgive from their hearts without shedding a tear. However, you may have never identified the true sources of your pain. Ask yourself, “How did that make you feel at the time?” or “When you think about it now, how does it make you feel now?” You may experience a flood of emotions unleashed. Some may forgive without showing any emotion until they come to a particular name, and then the release comes.

FACING THE PAIN AND MOVING ON

The primary objective is to face the truth, acknowledge the pain, forgive the offenders and move on. For many, this may be the first time they have ever acknowledged, understood or faced the root of their pain. Allow yourself to experience the pain and express your emotions. You may have chosen to stuff your feelings and live in denial for the fear of that happening, but that is exactly what must happen. You can’t be right with God and not be real.

 

Some people were taught not to express their emotions, especially negative ones. “Real men don’t cry,” they have been told, or “Being emotionally expressive is wrong and a sign of weakness.” Were you ever told that it was wrong or weak to express your emotions? What happened to you when you were emotionally honest in your home? Do you believe it is wrong to be emotionally honest? To be free in Christ, you must forgive those who trained you and renounce the lies you have been taught concerning your emotional nature. The one who is free in Christ will be emotionally free as well.

One woman had never been able to feel emotional sadness for herself but could weep for others. Her father had molested her when she was a child, and to guard his secret, he threatened her with more harm if she ever cried or told anyone. When this memory surfaced while going through forgiveness, she was encouraged to renounce the lie that she should not feel her own emotions and announce the truth that God created her with the emotional ability to experience joy, sorrow, laughter, and tears. As she did that, a tear began to form in the corner of her eye. Immediately she began to weep, and she continued to sob for some time.

Some people are like bananas—the peel is removed and all their problems are resolved the first time they go through The Steps. Not everyone, however, can cover their entire past in one session. Some are like onions. The first time through, they will take off the outer layer. They may feel a great sense of joy as though a weight has been lifted. They dealt with all they knew, but they may recall other things in the coming days. Now they will know what to do when painful memories surface or new offenses take place. You must resolve what you do know. If there is more, the Lord will surface it at the right time. When He does, there will always be someone to forgive and/or something to renounce.

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Friday, January 14, 2022

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit - Purity 628


 

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit -  Purity 628

Purity 628 01/14/2022  Purity 628 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a roaring fire on what was a 16 degree night last weekend comes to us from a friend who did the uncommon thing of having a campfire meal of steak and local vegetables on a January night where few would follow his example. But the company of their significant other and the heat of the fire seemed to enough to warm their bodies and hearts as they felt cozy with what they called “low key relaxation”.  I would have said it was low degree relaxation.  But seriously,  I have a lot of respect for people who do the uncommon thing and don’t let their surrounding circumstances prevent them from enjoying their lives.  

Well, it’s Friday and we can thank the Lord for the day and the weekend ahead and I invite you to consider doing something with your weekend that isn’t common.

Last night I had the honor of leading a Zoom meeting with a group of men who have all decided to do what has become an uncommon thing.  They have decided to follow the Lord’s will for their lives by trusting Him to help them to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts to experience their freedom in Christ. They begun the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries and although we are only in our second week, one of the participants already has given a testimony of achieving a victory over a personal struggle because they put into practice what they learned from the course.   Before ending the meeting last night I encouraged all the men that they could experience their freedom and have similar victories if they would apply the teachings, which are based on the word of God, to their lives.  

I also encouraged them with the knowledge that when they came to faith in Christ they received the Holy Spirit, and He communicates with us in three ways:

1.    Communion – When we come to the Lord in prayer, worship, or Bible Study and we feel the presence of the Lord or especially close to God the Holy Spirit is manifesting His presence and moving us into closer relationship with God by revealing things about God that we didn’t fully grasp or understand. 

2.    Conscience – After coming to Christ, sinning ain’t like it used to be! Our consciences tell us that our sinful behaviors are in opposition to who we are in Christ. And if we commit ourselves to follow the Lord, we have a heightened sensitivity to sin and have a motivation to forsake it. The Holy Spirit is the one that is convicting our consciences to turn to God’s ways.

3.    Intuition – Who ever said that our faith walk was one sided communication?  If we are walking in the Spirit, we will receive intuitions that will lead us to do good works or do uncommon things like talk to someone about Jesus or to pray for someone.  The leadings of the Holy Spirit never lead us into sin. They lead us to do good things or to impart knowledge to others and when we follow the Spirit’s lead we never regret it because we have the assurance that, regardless of the results, we were faithful to the Lord’s call. 

I encouraged the men that although the choice to follow the Lord may result in negative responses from the world, and even family and friends, their choice to agree with the Lord about how they should live and actually apply it to their lives may be uncommon but it will be the choice that leads to the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. 

To end the meeting we read through the Who I Am in Christ resource (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf)  that is a list of statements that proclaim the truth of God’s word about our condition of being accepted, secure and significant when we are in Christ.  I read the scripture references for each statement and discovered that for many of the verses there was a condition to the promises that God would fulfill. The condition was to be faithful and to live according to the Lord’s ways. The condition was to follow Him.   

Many times Christians live mostly in the world and rest on God’s forgiveness of their sins and remain unchanged and struggle with the same things they did before coming to Christ.     

Christian Counselor, J.E. Adam’s note on Proverbs 28:9  provides some hard truth regarding seeking the Lord’s favor in prayer when your heart is not His or if you are not following Him. He writes:  

“It does no good to urge an unbeliever to pray about his problem. Because biblical counselors seek change that pleases God, nothing that an unbeliever does (short of repentance) will be accepted by Him (cf. 2:14b, 22; Rm 8:8). The prayer of rebellious believers is likewise ineffectual (1 Pe 3:7).”

I hate to be blasé about this but to quote the NY State Lottery: “You have to be in it to win it.”   

So in order to experience the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live, we have to do the uncommon thing and stop living for ourselves and start to live according to our new Identity in Christ.  

So light the fires, and kick the tires, and make a decision to follow the Lord every day, It doesn’t have to be complicated, It starts with the decision to surrender some of our time to draw close to Him in prayer and Bible study and to continually meditate on who we are in Christ to shape our thoughts and our behaviors to be conformed to the image of Christ. 

When we do that we will experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control that the Lord has already poured into us with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We just have to start living like we should as a child of God to see those fruit grow in our lives.  

So do the uncommon thing and keep walking and talking with God.  People might think you have gone off the deep end but, brothers and sisters can I tell you, that’s where the living waters of the Holy Spirit really flow and they will move you to the abundant life you always wanted but never thought you could have.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 28:13 (NLT2)
13  People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Today’s verse tells us of the mercy we receive that comes to us from God when we confess them to Him. 

Brothers and sisters, if you are new to the Bible and want to take a crack at the Old Testament, I would recommend reading the Book of Proverbs. It is loaded with pithy spiritual nuggets of truth that are definitive about the way we should go if we want to live in harmony with God.

No matter how rich and famous you may be, if you conceal your sins and do not confess them and bring them under the atoning work of the cross by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, you will not prosper.

The verse for evangelism, John 3:16, is a beloved promise for the believer but is a harsh warning for those who don’t. 

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

That one word, perish, says it all.  If you conceal your sins, or don’t believe in sin, it doesn’t matter, you ultimately will not prosper; you will perish.  

But as today’s verse points out, God has made a way for us to receive mercy.   By putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are forgiven and are mercifully given a place n God’s eternal kingdom as an adopted child of God.  

This verse also has real life application as well. Hey, we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t.  If we hide what we have done we will be tormented by guilt, shame, and fear but if we confess what we have done we may receive mercy here on earth.  

Confession, as we taught yesterday, means to agree with God.  So in our daily lives, if we mess up or do something stupid we need to throw ourselves under the bus, rat ourselves out, and tell the truth with the full knowledge that we may have to suffer some negative consequences, but if we do that we will be honoring the Lord’s will for our lives to repent and we can have the conviction and motivation to forsake the ways that led us astray.   

But there is a way not to suffer.  Don’t do anything you will need to conceal or confess! There is great freedom when you have nothing to hide and nothing to confess. So follow the Lord and know how good His mercy feels when you apply His wisdom to your life.


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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

GETTING TO THE EMOTIONAL CORE

As you pray through your list of names, stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what he or she did, how he or she hurt you, how he or she made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.). This process is important because facing specific issues is what enables you to get to the emotional core, where the damage was done and the healing takes place. Forgiving superficially results in superficial freedom and healing.

Many people have sincerely tried to forgive but weren’t able to because they didn’t understand the real source of their bitterness and the subsequent lies they have believed about themselves. Feelings of abandonment would fit into this category. Forgiving someone for hurting you may only be dealing with the symptom. You may need to ask yourself, “What specifically happened to me?” “How did I respond at the time?” and “How has it affected me today?” Anger, sadness, and depression are only the emotional consequences of what happened.

Physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse can also severely damage your self-concept. Your identity becomes wrapped around the abuse. A rape victim may feel like a whore, and the emotionally battered person may feel worthless. Forgiving the person for making her feel like a whore or feeling worthless will not get it done. She would need to forgive like this: “I forgive that man who raped me, for forcing me to have sex with him against my will, and for violating my body, which is a temple of God, when I wanted to glorify God in my body. And I renounce the lie that I am a whore or that my body is dirty.” (More will be said about this kind of renunciation in Step Six.) Or you may need to pray,

 “I forgive my mother for saying I will never amount to anything and for constantly putting me down by saying ___________________ (be specific), because it made me feel ___________________ (state how it made you feel, i.e. incompetent, inferior, worthless, etc.). I renounce the lies that I have believed about myself. I am not the terrible person my mother said I was; I am a child of God, and I choose to believe what God says about me.”

Hurtful experiences in early childhood shape our self-perceptions. It is common to hear people tearfully pray: “Lord, I forgive my father (or mother) for beating me, for never caring about what was happening in my life, for not believing me when I told him about the sexual abuse. I forgive him for what he said and did that caused me to feel dirty, unloved, and worthless.” Such negative programming contributes to a distorted sense of self. Forgiving others connects them to a loving Father who sees them as His children, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Mental strongholds are torn down as people forgive those who have offended them. They have lived under the condemnation of those labels for years. For the liberated Christian, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”85 Lies are exposed so they can live according to the truth of who they really are in Christ.

PREPARING YOUR HEARTS

Bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die. It is to the soul what cancer is to the body. If you knew that you had a form of cancer that could be removed by surgery, wouldn’t you say to the doctor, “Go for it! Get it all!”? Bitterness, like cancer, affects every part 

of your being. Forgiving from your heart those who have hurt you is God’s way of removing the cancer.

Tragically, this cancer of the soul is a communicable disease that can be spread to others. That is why the Word of God says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”86 Entire families and churches can be defiled by roots of bitterness.

God may bring to mind offending people and experiences you have totally forgotten. Let Him do it even if it is painful. Remember, you are doing this for your sake. God wants you to be free. Don’t rationalize or explain the offender’s behavior. Forgiveness is dealing with your pain and leaving the other person to God. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing yourself from the past is the critical issue right now.

Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive” because He is already helping you. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive” because you are bypassing the hard-core choice to forgive, which is your responsibility. Stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what they did, how they hurt you, how they made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.).

Are you ready to forgive the people on your list so that you can be free in Christ and so that those people and your past no longer have any control over you? If you are ready, then for each person on your list pray aloud as follows:

Lord, I choose to forgive ____________________

(name the person) for_______________________

(what they did or failed to do), which made me feel

________________________________________

(share the painful memories).

 

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Silent Mornings Can Make Us Appreciate the Silent Night- Purity 608


 Silent Mornings Can Make Us Appreciate the Silent Night- Purity 608

Purity 608 12/22/2021  Purity 608 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blue sky and blazing sun over a glistening ice frosted forest comes to us from a friend who was gracious enough to share this view that they captured while they were presumably hiking on Hogsback Mountain near Marlboro Vermont on Monday.  To be honest the pickings of cool views from my friends has been scarce lately and I was thrilled to see my friend’s beautiful photo. So if you should be out and about and see something worthwhile, take a quick pic and share it, for your friends would love to see it.   

Today is the hump day before Christmas and all through the house not a creature is stirring because I get up before the crack of dawn to connect with my heavenly Father through prayer and meditation to thank Him for the life that He has given me and to remind myself of just how amazingly blessed I have been to discover who I am in Christ.  

Over the last few days, I had been slacking in my quiet time with the Lord as I felt the urge to prepare for a discipleship counseling session I had on Monday evening and decided to unpack quite the personal testimony yesterday to commemorate the birth and life of my beloved son, Brennan.

When you walk in the spirit on a continuous basis, sometimes you feel led to abandon your regular routine to attend to other matters. In my experience, following these leadings has always led to me being prepared for the Lord’s service or gives Him glory in some way.  If you are going to follow the “Mighty Rushing Wind” of the Holy Spirit, you will discover that there can be quite a bit of spontaneity in your life as you answer His call to be used by God to grow and encourage and serve others.   

However, after the wind blows you all about, you will feel the joy that comes from your daily spiritual practice when it isn’t circumvented by other matters that the Spirit draws you to.  In the aftermath of serving and taking care of things that pop up, you can find rest and comfort in just another “normal” day in the Lord’s quiet still presence where your reflection on things past, present, and future just gives you peace.    

In one of my discipleship relationships, a brother in Christ always asks me about my “quiet time with the Lord” and sometimes the question really convicts and annoys me because I realize that I have neglected the study of God’s word or have been short in my times of prayer and meditation.   He asks the question because he knows it is important to spend time connecting with the Lord personally and just how easy it is to neglect it. 

When I am questioned and feel I have been lacking in seeking the quiet time of the Lord, I will get annoyed and start to think of a response in which I will defend myself by saying something like : “I’ve got important things to do!” or “You don’t know all I’m doing for the Lord already!” or even worse will have a temptation to point the question back at my friend as an accusation:  “What about you?  What are you doing for the kingdom?”  

When those responses come up in my head, I know that I have strayed from what I should be doing and realize that my pride has been activated.  When your pride rises up, you should stop and remind yourself of John 15:4-5, where Jesus tells his disciples:

John 15:4-5 (NKJV)
4  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

So as we are on a collision course with that Silent Night of Christmas Eve, in just two days, and maybe scrambling to make everything “just right”, try to stop and take some time to connect with the Lord through reading His word, by just taking a few moments to rest and reflect on Him in prayer, or by having an impromptu conversation with God. 

Walking in the Spirit is just a matter of living in God’s presence from moment to moment where we take our lives and put them in His hands and listen for His wisdom to guide us in the way we should go.  

Once you establish a habit of “walking and talking with God”, you will realize that you have entered into a spiritual dimension of life that few of those who surround you are experiencing.  You will come to see the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, and peace grow in your life and you will realize that without Him we can do nothing.  

So draw close to God, abide in His presence, and share the love that God pours into you with the people that He has brought into your life.  The Christmas Spirit isn’t about running around like a mad man being obnoxious and boastful about the magnificent decorations that you have put on display to scream Merry Christmas, it is about reminding others of the reason for the season that began when God came to earth in the flesh and the heavens were invaded by angelic heavenly hosts on a silent night to proclaim the peace that only comes through Jesus Christ.        


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT2)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Today’s verses should be memorized and held in your heart because you will be able to stand on these verses every day a

I am more familiar with the NKJV version of these verses that says:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

I mean, this is our prescription. In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him by saying in effect that His ways are better than our ways and that we not only recognize that intellectually, but we also truly acknowledge it by trying to conform to His ways of thinking and by changing our behaviors to align with His word, experientially.  

The Christian life is to be lived out every day. The benefits of our faith are not just for eternity. They are for here and now. Our lives are transformed when we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our worldly understanding and instead endeavor to allow Him to direct our paths.   

Our walk, our relationship, with God is supposed to be interactive.  We acknowledge His ways and examine our ways and try to adjust our thoughts and behaviors to be more like His.   Because this is a spiritual relationship, it is not just about following a list of rules it is about thinking about our experience and communicating with God to receive His feedback and blessings that flow as a consequence of stepping onto His path for living.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Memorize these verses and use them to remind you who God is, who you are, and which way you are going in this life.  His ways are higher than our ways and when we walk with Him we invariably rise up out of the darkness and confusion of this world and find a life where we can say with assurance: it is well with my soul.

 

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. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 26 as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 26

LIFE AND LIGHT TO ALL HE BRINGS

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

JOHN 8:12

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 JOHN 1:5

Here is the wonder of the nature of God: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. This is the wonder of life and light: the Scriptures mix up and do not try to keep separated light and life. “Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.” When that was written, theology was written, for life and light are one. This means that eternal life is also the light, the light of every man that cometh into the world. And I suppose that there is something deeper than morals here.

A great German theologian a generation ago wrote a book that has become very famous in learned circles. And in that book he declares that the idea of holiness goes back to personality. That you think of the holiness of God as a strange thing before you think of the person of God. I think he is right. I am quite sure he is right, and he says that the idea of purity is not the first idea of holiness. The first idea that comes to the mind, or that came to the mind, when the word holy was suggested was not the thought of being pure, but the idea of being greater than, higher than, other than, beyond, different from—in its self-sufficiency, uncreated substance of life. It is that without a pronoun, that without a personal pronoun, that—and then we attribute purity and holiness to God.

So when God says, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1: 16 NIV), He’s talking about moral purity, He’s talking about spiritual cleanness. But beyond that, in the back of that, and prior to that is the solemn, indescribable something that cannot be put into words: that there exists a nature, a substance in the universe that is life and light, and it is a thing, and it is that. But it also has personality and, that personality is God. And the wonder of this passage in John is the nature of God. God is light. God is life. And in Him is no darkness at all.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship