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Showing posts with label Purity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purity. Show all posts

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Active Helpfulness - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 28– Purity 1000


Active Helpfulness - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 28– Purity 1000

Purity 1000 03/25/2023 Purity 1000 Podcast

Purity 1000 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the Northern Lights over Lake Ontario comes to us from SUNY Oswego student meteorologist, Tommy Cerra, who captured this heavenly scene on Thursday evening and was kind enough to share it with the school who passed it along to all of us on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=585347503626557&set=pcb.585347573626550) As a proud alumni of SUNY Oswego, I wish Mr. Cerra Al Roker levels of success, and give him my thanks for capturing a wonder that I never had the pleasure to experience during my days at the college on the lake and sharing it for all to see.  

Well, it is Saturday and just like Mr. Cerra felt that he couldn’t keep the amazing thing he saw to himself, I too feel that part of my purpose is to share the hope and the beauty of the new life that we can all find when we put our faith in Christ and decide to actually follow Him too.   And today is a milestone of sorts in that purpose for me as today’s “Purity” message is the 1,000th encouraging word that I have shared.  If you would like to see that first message that is on the blog as well today: https://www.mt4christ.org/2023/03/the-sexual-purity-encouraging-text-that.html  

But since I did that time is short, so let’s celebrate the 1,000th encouraging word, by continuing our current series as we enter into the 28th day of Lent and Day 28 of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too. 

You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) . 

Day 28

Bonhoeffer writes:

“The other service one should perform for another person in a Christian community is active helpfulness.

To begin with, we have in mind simple assistance in minor, external matters. There are many such things wherever people live together.

Nobody is too good for the lowest service.

Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously.

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.”

Biblical Wisdom

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Questions to Ponder

  • What are the forms “active helpfulness” might take in a community of faith?

M.T. Clark: One of the things I stress when I encourage or disciple Christians is that as “servants” sent by God to share the good news of Jesus Christ, we should also actually serve people and be known as people who solve problems.   We are to be actively helpful. The way we can do that in a community of faith is by serving in the church, volunteering to active ministries in that body, and by lending a helping hand to people in and out of our faith community.  While we are not saved or approved by God by our works, after we receive our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we really are called to “DO SOMETHING” – to walk into the “good works that God has prepared for us.”  So be active in helping others, and also solving the problems in your own life so you can be available to help others with the problems in theirs.

  • Is it true that: “Nobody is too good for the lowest service”? Why, or why not?

M.T. Clark: Yes, it is true that nobody is too good for the lowest service. As Christians, we are wretched sinners that were made saints through faith alone. That should humble us and make us grateful to do service for God’s kingdom and to accept whatever task, no matter how lowly, that we are asked to do.  Doing lowly works in itself can be a good practice in humility and so  doing things “beneath us” can actually benefit us as we are to not think of ourselves more than we should.

  • How does taking their own work too seriously tempt people to undervalue the real needs of others?

M.T. Clark: Work is a double edge sword. As much as it can be used to give God glory it can also cause us to be prideful! Most of our work on this earth will fade away with time. The only work that truly matters is the work we do for God. So our “really important” work that we do to support ourselves or expand our careers might not be as important as we think.  Our being too busy or “working hard” can make us “unavailable” to help others and thus our pride in our work could cause us to undervalue the needs of others.  We have to be aware of our prideful tendencies and try to have a balance in our life where we can support ourselves and thrive but also be available to walk into those helpful works that would give God glory.

Psalm Fragment

For he [the ruler] delivers the needy when they call,
   the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
   and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
   and precious is their blood in his sight. 
Psalm 72:12-14

Journal Reflections

  • Reflect on specific instances in which you were “interrupted by God” in the form of someone in need of help who crossed your path. What did you do? How did you feel about it?

M.T. Clark: I remembered one instance at work where I had a job that turned out to be the “customer’s problem”, meaning that their issue went beyond my company’s responsibility and technically I didn’t have to help them with their problem. I could just walk away and be totally in “the right”. But the customer was elderly and the solution to their problem seemed to be a burden they would not be able to bear because of their financial situation and their physical and mental capacities.  So I believe the Holy Spirit compelled me to “do what it is right” and so I went above and beyond what was technically my responsibilities to help this person and alleviate their problem.  It felt good to do this and I have done this for more than one customer as the Holy Spirit seems to really compels me to do “what is right” all the time now!

  • Write about your degree of willingness to be “interrupted by God.”

M.T. Clark: OOOF! My “degree of willingness” could use some work! Part of me still doesn’t like to volunteer thing for anything, but that part doesn’t stand a chance if the Holy Spirit puts a word in. So yeah, I will hem and haw and try to avoid helping people initially but then I find myself turning around and helping them anyway because the leading of the Holy Spirit springs me into action because I know if I don’t answer the call I won’t have peace. So, I “do what its right”, and have become a little more willing in that regard but could be a little more help in being  “actively helpful”. 

  • What might the “lowest service” be in your community of faith?

M.T. Clark: That’s a matter of opinion. What one man would think of being lowly service can be someone else’s delight.  Some could think that any of the tasks in the community of faith could be low service. Grounds keeping, children ministry, recovery ministry, hospitality, or ushering could all be seen to be “beneath us” by some but that is why God made the body of Christ – to have people with individual talents and dispositions to meet all the functions of the body. And as long as the service we do brings glory to God, there really is no “lowest service”

Prayer for Today

Lord, as I go about my business today, don’t hesitate to interrupt me, and give me the grace to notice the interruption.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

 

(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)

***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.*** 

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

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 ELEVEN

DIFFICULTIES AND OBJECTIONS continues

 

In 2 Peter 2:5 we read of “the world of the ungodly.” If then, there is a world of the ungodly there must also be a world of the godly. It is the latter who are in view in the passages we shall now briefly consider. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33). Now mark it well, Christ did not say, “offereth life unto the world,” but “giveth.” What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is “offered” may be refused, but a thing “given,” necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not “given,” it is simply proferred. Here, then, is a scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) “unto the world.” Now He does not give eternal life to the “world of the ungodly” for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to “the world of the godly,” i.e., God’s own people.

One more: in 2 Cor. 5:19 we read “To wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” What is meant by this is clearly defined in the words immediately following, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Here again “the world” cannot mean “the world of the ungodly,” for their “trespasses” are “imputed” to them, as the judgment of the Great White Throne will yet show. But 2 Cor. 5:19 plainly teaches there is a “world” which are “reconciled,” reconciled unto God because their trespasses are not reckoned to their account, having been borne by their Substitute. Who then are they? Only one answer is fairly possible—the world of God’s people!

In like manner, the “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, for every other passage in the New Testament where God’s love is mentioned limits it to His own people—search and see! The objects of God’s love in John 3:16 are precisely the same as the objects of Christ’s love in John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His time was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” We may admit that our interpretation of John 3:16 is no novel one invented by us, but one almost uniformly given by the Reformers and Puritans, and many others since then.[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), 214–215.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

You Are The Salt – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 16– Purity 988

You Are The Salt – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 16– Purity 988

Purity 988 03/11/2023 Purity 988 Podcast

Purity 988 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a little bit of Caribbean paradise comes to us from Lisa Sharp who shared this view from her recent vacation to Secrets, Wild Orchard Resort, in Montego Bay Jamaica on social media earlier this week.  

Well, we have made it to the paradise known as the weekend and as awesome as this scene of tropical splendor and the idea of experiencing some “Salt Life” can make us envious of island life, I have to remind us all that these vacation spots may be a nice place to visit but they obviously don’t compare to the comfort we find at home.  So I encourage all who read this to plan whatever get a way that may be on your heart but to also try to be content with what you have here and now.

I hate to burst your bubble but I have been to Jamaica and yes the weather is awesome and the beaches and Dunn’s River Falls are beautiful but there is also a great deal of poverty and brokenness there that isn’t easy on the eyes or heart that reminds you that what our homes may lack in tropical splendor is more than made up for by the stability and security of a first world economy. 

Similarly, the Christian life with the prohibitions against sin may not seem as exciting as a licentious lifestyle of reckless abandon and unadulterated satisfying of the flesh of a secular life, but when we consider the stability and security that comes from doing the right thing according to God’s word and having our faith in Christ to give us eternal life, we realize that we have it much better off right where we are in God’s kingdom than we could ever be trying to satisfy ourselves with what the world has to offer.  

As Christians we have seen the truth and know that the glitz and glamour of this world can be enjoyed for a time or a season but we should never forget that we have found that our home is in Christ and nothing else compares to life with Him.

So, let’s keep walking and talking to God and draw close to Him in this season of Lent  as we continue with our current series as we walk into Day 16 of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation for the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too. 

You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) . 

Day 16

Bonhoeffer writes:

“ “You are the salt” not “You should be the salt”!

The disciples are given no choice whether they want to be salt or not. No appeal is made to them to become the salt of the earth.

Rather they just are salt whether they want to be or not, by the power of the call which has reached them.

You are the salt not “you have the salt.”

It would diminish the meaning to equate the disciples’ message with salt, as the reformers did.

What is meant is their whole existence, to the extent that it is newly grounded in Christ’s call to discipleship, that existence of which the Beatitudes speak.

All those who follow Jesus’ call to discipleship are made by that call to be the salt of the earth in their whole existence.”

Biblical Wisdom

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Matthew 5:13

Questions to Ponder

  • What are the qualities of salt that make it an apt metaphor for Jesus’ disciples?

M.T. Clark: With a little help from a quick Google search of “Salt purifies”, I was reminded by the folks at www.bibletools.org that Salt is a symbol of:

-        Preservation

-        Permanence

-        Incorruptibility

-        Durability

-        Purity  

-        Covenant (as salt had a part in many ancient covenantal rites) 

Obviously there are entire studies on why Christ would use this metaphor of salt for His disciples. Our covenant with God, through our faith in Jesus, not only “preserves” us but it also is meant to “purify” us as our new life in Christ is to cause us to repent and increasingly grow in our sanctification, individually. But the Great Commission reminds us that as the “Salt of the Earth” we are to take the share the gospel and to teach what we have come to know about living a pure and holy life from God’s word and from the example that Christ gave us, to all the world.

  • If Christ’s call to discipleship changes our whole existence, in what ways should the disciple’s life be different from those who have not heard or ­accepted the call?

M.T. Clark: The Christian Disciple’s life should be different from those who have not heard or accepted the call of Christ in the way they worship the Lord and the way they live their lives. While the world is permissive with its ethics, religions, and philosophies based on situations, cultures, or current events, the Christian Disciple would live according to what God’s word says. Perhaps the biggest distinction that causes the disciples to be different from those who haven’t received the call is their convictions that the Bible is true, Jesus is the Savior, and that sin is sin. A disciple not only believes these things intellectually, they live according to them and are not shy in sharing the truth that they know.

  • Is there any area of a disciple’s life that is exempt from the call to be the salt of the earth? Explain.

M.T. Clark: The phrase above that states that “discipleship changes our whole existence” makes it clear that there are no areas of a disciple’s life that is exempt from the call to be the salt of the earth.  We are to be representative of God’s kingdom and although we will need to continually grow in our sanctification and maturity as we make the daily decision to follow Christ, we are not exempt in any area of our lives to not be conformed to the image of Christ.

Psalm Fragment

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
   and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
   for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
   and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
   give me life in your ways. 
Psalm 119:34-37

Journal Reflections

  • How does it feel to understand yourself as the salt of the earth?

M.T. Clark: To understand that I am the “salt of the earth” gives me an identity with meaning and purpose. It means that I have been chosen by God to live with Him forever and that I am to repent and to be more like Christ. It also means that I have the mission to take God’s message of life and hope to the world.

  • How salty are you?

M.T. Clark: While the world defines “salty” as slang for being “angry, irritable, or hostile, Christ’s idea of “salty” would be pure and perhaps as being hostile to sin.  While I am still a work in progress, I am a lot purer that I used to be and I would hope that what I write in this blog demonstrates that I am “hostile” to any ideology that denies the exclusivity of Jesus Christ to save or that goes against the word of God. While I try to be balanced in sharing the truth in love, I guess I could be considered to be pretty “salty”.  

  • List the ways in which you are salt in your family, workplace, and community.

M.T. Clark: I am “salty” in all of these areas of my life by the way I live and by what I stand for. I worship the Lord daily in Bible study and prayer. I worship the Lord corporately and serve at my local church each Sunday. The ministry of my daily blog and podcast encourages Christian Discipleship “24/7” as share an encouraging word 6 days a week and share a Bible study on Sundays.  I have publicly prayed for people at my place of work.  I try to represent God’s kingdom in all that I do, but admittedly could do more. God’s call on my life has given me freedom and victory and I feel compelled to speak because of His love for me.

Intercessions

Think of places in your community where “salt” is needed. Pray for your community of faith that it may be up to the call to be salt in those places.

M.T. Clark:

Lord God,

I can’t think of anywhere in this world where “salt” is not needed! I pray for the community of faith to answer the call that you have put on our lives to be the “salt of the earth” by going into all those places and sharing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging the world to repent. 

In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.

Prayer for Today

Lord, in response to your call, I want to be who you have made me, the salt of the earth.

M.T. Clark: In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

 

(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)

***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.*** 

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

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 NINE

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND PRAYER continues

 

In the second place, prayer is appointed by God for our spiritual blessing, as a means for our growth in grace. When seeking to learn the design of prayer, this should ever occupy us before we regard prayer as a means for obtaining the supply of our need. Prayer is designed by God for our humbling. Prayer, real prayer, is a coming into the Presence of God, and a sense of His awful majesty produces a realization of our nothingness and unworthiness. Again; prayer is designed by God for the exercise of our faith. Faith is begotten in the Word (Rom. 10:7), but it is exercised in prayer; hence, we read of “the prayer of faith.” Again; prayer calls love into action. Concerning the hypocrite the question is asked, “Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always calls upon God?” (Job 27:10). But they that love the Lord cannot be long away from Him, for they delight in unburdening themselves to Him. Not only does prayer call love into action but through the direct answers vouchsafed to our prayers our love to God is increased—“I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications” (Psa. 116:1). Again; prayer is designed by God to teach us the value of the blessings we have sought from Him, and it causes us to rejoice the more when He has bestowed upon us that for which we supplicate Him.

Third, prayer is appointed by God for our seeking from Him the things which we are in need of. But here a difficulty may present itself to those who have read carefully the previous chapters of this book. If God has foreordained, before the foundation of the world, everything which happens in time, what is the use of prayer? If it is true that “of Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:30), then why pray? Ere replying directly to these queries it should be pointed out how that there is just as much reason to ask, What is the use of me coming to God and telling Him what He already knows? Wherein is the use of me spreading before Him my need, seeing He is already acquainted with it? as there is to object, What is the use of praying for anything when everything has been ordained beforehand by God? Prayer is not for the purpose of informing God, as if He were ignorant (the Saviour expressly declared “for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him”—Matt. 6:8), but it is to acknowledge He does know what we are in need of. Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of need. In this, as in everything, God’s thoughts are not as ours. God requires that His gifts should be sought for. He designs to be honored by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.

However, the question still returns on us, If God be the Predestinator of everything that comes to pass, and the Regulator of all events, then is not prayer a profitless exercise? A sufficient answer to these questions is that God bids us to pray, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). And again, “men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1). And further: Scripture declares that “the prayer of faith shall save the sick,” and “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:15, 16); while the Lord Jesus Christ, our perfect Example in all things, was preeminently a Man of Prayer. Thus, it is evident, that prayer is neither meaningless nor valueless. But still this does not remove the difficulty nor answer the question with which we started out. What then is the relationship between God’s sovereignty and Christian prayer?

First of all, we would say with emphasis, that prayer is not intended to change God’s purpose, nor is it to move Him to form fresh purposes. God has decreed that certain events shall come to pass through the means He has appointed for their accomplishment. God has elected certain ones to be saved, but He has also decreed that these shall be saved through the preaching the Gospel. The Gospel, then, is one of the appointed means for the working out of the eternal counsel of the Lord; and prayer is another. God has decreed the means as well as the end, and among the means is prayer. Even the prayers of His people are included in His eternal decrees. Therefore, instead of prayers being in vain they are among the means through which God exercises His decrees. “If indeed all things happen by a blind chance, or a fatal necessity prayers in that case could be of no moral efficacy, and of no use; but since they are regulated by the direction of Divine wisdom, prayers have a place in the order of events” (Haldane).

That prayers for the execution of the very things decreed by God are not meaningless is clearly taught in the Scriptures. Elijah knew that God was about to give rain, but that did not prevent him from at once betaking himself to prayer (Jas 5:17, 18). Daniel “understood” by the writings of the prophets that the captivity was to last but seventy years, yet when these seventy years were almost ended we are told that he “set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes” (Dan. 9:2, 3). God told the prophet Jeremiah “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”; but instead of adding, there is, therefore, no need for you to supplicate Me for these things, He said, “Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you” (Jer. 29:12).

 Here then is the design of prayer: not that God’s will may be altered, but that it may be accomplished in His own good time and way. It is because God has promised certain things that we can ask for them with the full assurance of faith. It is God’s purpose that His will shall be brought about by His own appointed means, and that He may do His people good upon His own terms, and that is, by the ‘means’ and ‘terms’ of entreaty and supplication. Did not the Son of God know for certain that after His death and resurrection He would be exalted by the Father. Assuredly He did. Yet we find Him asking for this very thing: “O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine Own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5)! Did not He know that none of His people could perish? yet He besought the Father to “keep” them (John 17:11)![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), 180–183.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Miracles – God Breaks Through to You - Purity 493

 

Miracles – God Breaks Through to You

Purity 493 08/10/2021 - Purity 493 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment yesterday to look up and appreciate the day that God had made.  I honestly think I got a tap on the shoulder from the Holy Spirit because I was somewhat consumed with finishing the task at hand and although I had taken a short break to hydrate and cool off I wasn’t really looking to “rest in the Lord”.  

But as I was seated in the passenger seat of my van I got an impression to “look up” so I did and I took in the scene before me. It was just some undeveloped land on Capricorn Lane in Delmar, NY  but the skies were blue, there was a slight breeze in the air and there was that one cloud, in the center here, that just seemed to remind me that God was with me.  It reminded me of the “cloud by day” that the Israelites followed through the wilderness, and it reminded me of the fact that we are to seek God’s presence and follow His guidance. 

I worked hard yesterday but it was a “great day” as I my day was full of purpose and peace. The purpose was the simple work at hand. The peace was provided by my being absorbed by it and being reminded of God’s presence in my life and in others as I finished listening to Eric Metaxas’ audiobook “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” while I worked.    

The way we build our faith is to never leave it. I encourage people to continually seek the Lord because He is always there for us and there simply is no end to depths in which we can learn about Him and deepen our relationship with Him.  And yesterday as I listened to the amazing testimonies of God’s interactions with others, I realized that my listening to this audiobook was a purposeful leading from the Lord. He wanted me to be reminded of how He can touch our lives.   So as I have listened to this amazing book since last week, I have not only rejoiced over the miracles that He has worked in other people’s lives, but I was also reminded of how He has worked in my life and continues to be with me.    

When we walk in the Spirit, the Lord leads us beyond doctrinal stances and a set of beliefs.  He shows us that He is real, alive, and present in our lives.  Our walk of faith becomes an epic journey that is akin to an ongoing drama that has “new episodes” every day. “New characters” and “storylines” are introduced all the time. “The show” of our lives of faith is so good, and frustrating at times, because the drama is continuous and compelling, but you don’t know really where the “show” is going. 

Some characters come in and you think that they are going to be “on the program” and play a major part in future events and then they “exit stage left”.  News about characters from the past, that have been “off screen” come in sometimes announcing blessings and other times announcing death.  

And through it all, a life of faith has the most compelling character of all: God, who can do amazing things but who is confident enough in Himself to allow us to be our own writers and directors of our actions and dialog and just when we think that we are running our shows “solo” we are reminded that our little program is only a part of the epic “entertainment universe” that the Lord is continually producing and directing with His divine care and vision.  

So direct your life as you see fit, but I encourage you to build your relationship with the Creative Genius who “runs the studio”.  He not only can inspire you to make your life the best show it can be, but He also knows where “all this” is going and on occasion He will provide “special effects” like no one else, filling your heart with wonder, awe, and joy.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NLT2)
6  Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.

Today’s verse gives us direct guidelines for our conduct and warns of the consequences for stepping out of bounds.      

I committed the NLT version of this verse to an index card because I love how the NLT made the sentiments expressed in this section of scripture very clear.  The previous verses in this text specifically state that the will of God is “your sanctification” and tells us to abstain for sexual immorality (verse 3) .  The Apostle Paul then waxes poetically a little bit, talking about possessing his “own vessel in sanctification and honor” and not to “defraud his brother in this matter” in the NKJV version of this verse .   Today’s verse in the NKJV says:

1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NKJV)
6  that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

As amazing as it may seem I have seen commentators say “defraud” refers to business dealings.  While we should be honest with all people in any of our business dealings, verse 3 and verse 6 are part of the same sentence and the “business” that Paul is talking about is sexual immorality.   So the NLT makes it clear that the “vessel” we are to keep in honor is our “bodies”.  Don’t be putting your vessel next to someone else’s vessel.  This is a simple instruction to be pure sexually and not to commit adultery.  

What is also important here is that Paul, who understands that our sins can not take away our salvation or separate us from the love of God, still warns of the negative consequence of sin, saying that God will avenge it. 

Just because we are forgiven of our sins, doesn’t mean we are free from suffering the consequences of it. Broken families, broken relationships, shame, financial loss, loss of employment, illness, freak accidents, injury, and death are all possible consequences that we face under the rule of a sovereign God. These calamities of experience are possible for all of us regardless of our activities.  The question is do you want to possibly invite God’s chastisement and vengeance upon your life by violating yourself and someone else in sexual sin? 

Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Obviously this verse is used to draw people to put their faith in Christ, but I feel it should also warn us of the severity of sin as bringing “little deaths” into our lives such as disrupting our harmony with God and all those possibilities of chastisement.  

Sexual ethics are at the fore front of our Christian faith. That is why Christian groups separate men and women and only encourage accountability relationships and close friendships to be between Christians of the same sex.  

The 80’s movie “When Harry Met Sally” discussed the impossibility of men and women being friends with no sexual interest.  The movies premise was proven as Harry and Sally eventually had sex and became a couple.    

As Christians, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we should take great care in keeping other Christians of the opposite sex at arm’s length as men and women will be tempted to emotional and sexual intimacy.   Close friendships should be with same sex brothers or sisters in Christ.  Married Christians should keep a hedge of protection around their spouses and be accountable to one another and be aware of each other’s relationships.   

I have had several friends fall into sin when they made “friendships” with members of the opposite sex.  I have seen friendships broken when one party falls in love with the other. I have even seen lives torn apart when single “Christians” pair up and are so caught up in each other that they walk away from God causing an epic disaster of their relationship and their faith. 

I have seen married Christians show a lack of judgement by pouring affection and attention into single or other married Christian of the opposite sex, blind to the disruption it is causing in their marriage and how it appears to other people. I have seen Christian displays of affection last a little too long.  I have seen “massages” that are simply inappropriate and that are sending a wrong message.     

So love your neighbor but keep your distance from neighbors of the opposite sex and keep your hands to yourself.  Seek friendships with members of the same sex and make your brothers and sisters in Christ accountable by giving them a “heads up”  when their behaviors or relationships seem to be taking a fleshly or intimate turn into a direction they shouldn’t be going. 

We have hearts to love one another but we are only human and if we don’t embrace the Lord’s call to be sanctified and abstain from sexual immorality we could slowly be pulled into temptation, sin, and the negative consequences that result from being foolish.

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 11.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Bad Things Do Happen to Good People

Your story may not be as severe as Cindy's, but all of us have some hurtful, traumatic experiences in our past that have scarred us emotionally. You may have grown up with a physically, emotionally or sexually abusive parent. You may have been severely frightened as a child. You may have suffered through a painful relationship in the past: a broken friendship, the untimely death of a loved one, a divorce. Any number of traumatic events in your past can leave you holding a lot of emotional baggage. Those experiences are buried in our memories and available for instant recall.

For example, you reacted emotionally to the topic of rape when you read Cindy's story at the start of this chapter. If you or a close loved one have been recently raped, just reading the story sent you soaring to an eight or nine on an emotional scale of ten. You immediately felt a surge of anger, hatred, fear or righteous indignation. However, if you have only read about rape victims but have never been one, met one or counseled one, your response was be more like a two or three on the emotional scale.

Something as simple as a name can prompt an emotional response. If your kind, loving grandfather was named Bill, you probably have a favorable emotional reaction to other people named Bill. However, if you had a teacher named Bill who was a tyrant or if the school bully was named Bill, your initial reaction to the Bills in your life is probably negative. If your spouse suggests, "Let's name our first child Bill," you might react, "Over my dead body!"

I call the residual effect of past traumas primary emotions. The intensity of your primary emotions is determined by your previous life history. The more traumatic your experience, the more intense will be your primary emotion. Notice the sequence of events:

Previous Life History

(Determines the intensity of primary emotions)

Present Event

(Triggers the primary emotion)

Primary Emotion

Mental Evaluation

(The management stage)

Secondary Emotion

(The result of your thought process and primary emotion)

Many of these primary emotions will lie dormant within you and have little effect on your life until something triggers them. Have you ever started a topic of conversation that upset someone and sent him storming out of the room? What set him off? you wondered. He was set off by the topic of your conversation. You touched the "button" that connected him to his past. Just touching the emotional core may bring tears to a person's eyes. The trigger is any present event that can be associated with past conflicts.

For instance, a lady once told me, "Every time I hear a siren, I freak out!"

"How long has that been going on?" I asked.

"About 10 years," she responded.

"What happened 10 years ago?" I asked.

"I was raped," she said.

Obviously, she heard a siren when she was victimized and 10 years later the sound of a siren triggers an emotional response.

Most people try to control their primary emotions by avoiding any people or events that trigger them. "I'm not going to go there if he is going to be there." "I can't watch that kind of a movie because it comes too close to home." "I don't want to talk about that subject."

The problem is, you can't isolate yourself completely from everything that may set off an emotional response. You are bound to see something on TV or hear something in a conversation that will bring to mind your unpleasant experience. Something in your past is unresolved and therefore still has a hold on you.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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. 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship