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Showing posts with label Recovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recovery. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Some Drugs and Alcohol – Modern Recovery’s Ancient Lie - Purity 1323


 Some Drugs and Alcohol – Modern Recovery’s Ancient Lie - Purity 1323

Purity 1323 04/11/2024 Purity 1323 Podcast

Purity 1323 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a rocky pathway cutting through an evergreen forest comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on or around April 25th, 2021.  If this trail photo is yours and you would like to be acknowledged, give me a heads up and I will update the blog after the fact. 

Well, It’s Thursday and I share today’s photo as part of my continuing campaign to clean out my I phone’s photo archive and because I can use it to encourage all my friends to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship which very well lead you to walk free of bondages and addictions.  

Wednesday nights I oversee a Christian Recovery Support Group, Celebrate Freedom, at Starpoint Church and when you try to help people walk away from their hurts habits and hangups you have to walk the thin line between compassion and coddling, and truth and lies, as we seek to encourage others to get out of their denial, see the lies they have been believing, and accepting the new life of freedom that the Lord gives to every Christian. 

The number one lie we have to combat in our ministry I think is that “Christianity ( – or Christian Recovery – or Sobriety –) works for some people but not for me”  It’s the false belief that we – individually – are somehow different, too weak, or just incapable and will never be free.   Just this morning I was reading about this lie in Neil Anderson’s “Who I am in Christ: A Devotional and so I will let the good doctor, tell us how:

“We Are All Children of God

One of Satan’s most common lies is that somehow you and I are different from other people. We may think, God accepts these other people but not me. I have researched more than 1, 725 professing Christian high schoolers. Seventy-four percent believed Christianity works for others, but it doesn’t work for them. Is that true? Of course not. But if they believe that, will it affect the way that they live their lives? Yes, it will. In privacy, I have actually had reasonably functioning adults tell me they think they may be aliens. This may sound bizarre, but Satan has done such a number on their thoughts, many have literally believed they are totally different from other people. But it’s not true. All Christians are children of God, fellow citizens with God’s people.[1]

Our lesson last night at Celebrate Freedom taught us that we have to humble ourselves and ask God to change us.  We are not changed by our own willpower or cunning, when we submit to God we receive His strength and guidance that transforms our hearts and minds to give us a new life of freedom and victory over the sins of the flesh that only He can make possible. 

Modern Recovery philosophy goes against this fundamental principle of faith that is still supposedly a part of the 12-step methodology for overcoming addiction.  Because the original Christian core of the 12 Step model was compromised to include people who didn’t have in Jesus Christ specifically early on and instead decided to be “practical” and allow for a non-specific, nebulous, or personally fabricated concept of a “Higher Power” and because our Western society has increasing become Post Christian it should come as no surprise that concept of Recovery is being compromised to “Harm Reduction”. 

While I understand that the idea of Harm Reduction is intended to save lives and address real-life substance abuse problems practically, they are based on hopelessness surrendering to beliefs that state that:

·       Illicit drug use is part of our world, and it is best to manage it rather than condemn and eliminate it. 

·       Drug use is a “complex, multifaceted phenomenon” rather than a simple and deliberate choice of the will.

·       Some ways of drugs are safer than other ways and thus acceptable.

·       Cessation of all drug use is NOT the criteria for success.  

·       Our community should assist those who use drugs to do it safely,

·       Addicts should have a voice in defining public policy to continue the practices of their addictive lifestyle.

·       Affirm that socioeconomic, class, or race factors affect someone’s capacity to get free. (Racist…?).

(https://harmreduction.org/about-us/principles-of-harm-reduction/#:~:text=Harm%20reduction%20incorporates%20a%20spectrum,along%20with%20the%20use%20itself.)

While I certainly agree with the principle of harm reductions that seek to meet the addict “where they are at” and work toward practical and progressive improvement, the overall philosophy perpetuates the problem.    

And please understand, I know how bad it is out there and I know it is only getting worse. I have lost friends to overdose, and I have seen others walk away from addiction alive and well. The ones that are alive and thriving didn’t seek to “reduce harm” by finding an acceptable or safe place for drugs in their lives, they progressively worked to eliminate it from their lives altogether and they did the impractical thing of putting their trust in God through their faith in Jesus Christ to do so.  

Also please hear me, these harm reduction policies are in effect, and they are doing good work, so I am not looking to eliminate them.  Instead advocating for the best life of those who have successfully “reduced the harm” of their addictions by seeking to encourage them to keep going further into their recoveries and to put their faith in Jesus to be completely free. 

I practice harm reduction strategy by encouraging our support program participants to take on one problem at a time, to use medically prescribed treatments to stabilize, and to focus on progress rather than perfection, and to define their own recoveries but at the same time, I will point to the real possibility – that existed at one time in their lives – of being completely free of the need for drugs or alcohol in their lives.  We are all children of God in that we were made in His image, and it is only in the most deranged and dysfunctional environments were babies or children given alcohol or drugs as a means of coping. 

Most of us managed to get to early or late adolescence before our exposure to alcohol and drugs and I believe that clearly demonstrates that alcohol and drugs DO NOT need to be a part of our lives as adults.  We shouldn’t play nice with the poison we should have never taken and instead should have the “childlike” faith that we can live a simple and pure life like we once did as children and that nothing, including the color of one’s skin, their social economic status, or their class makes them less capable of being free from drugs and alcohol.  

So I might encourage you to establish a course of recovery that will be practical and meet you where you were at, but I would encourage you to trust in the Lord to guide you to a full cessation of drugs and alcohol.

 Eric Clapton got off of heroin by going into seclusion and drinking wine, but the legendary guitarist nicknamed “God” or “Slowhand” by some didn’t stay there. Eventfully, Clapton knew alcohol would kill him and instead of living out life just “reducing the harm” of his addiction, he went into treatment and eliminated it, despite many personal tragedies after he was sober. “Eric Clapton is living proof that addictions can be overcome and that people can go on to succeed in life beyond their wildest dreams, even despite losses, obstacles, and the immense challenges of life.” (https://clearskyibogaine.com/eric-clapton-and-drug-addiction/).

While I don’t know Clapton personally, there is an indication online that His victory followed a “Christian commitment” in rehab. I like to believe that is true and that Eric is my brother in Christ because if he is our stories are similar.

I suffered from alcoholism since I was seventeen years old and I was never going to quit, even after I put my faith in Jesus, because I didn’t think I could – that I was “different” or incapable of it.  But in 2015, Pastor Bob Costello began a Christian Recovery Ministry at my local church, and I answered the Lord's call on my heart to trust Him to help me overcome what I thought was impossible. And after a relapse two weeks in, I knew if I wanted to be free I couldn’t play nice with alcohol and just seek to reduce its harm in my life – I had to stop altogether. To be free, I had to actually be free and by the grace and power pf God, I have walked ever since.  

So when someone in recovery tells me they are smoking weed for their anxiety or that they just had a few drinks (is 13 a few?),  I encourage them to keep walking and talking with God because although that is where they are right now, the Lord will encourage and empower them to not stay there if they choose to follow Him.  

Harm Reduction’s lies are ancient ones. The Lord and the concepts of Recovery and Freedom would rightly say that drugs and alcohol have no part in the ex-addict’s life.  Satan and the hopeless extremes of Harm Reduction policy would say you aren’t capable of freedom and it's best just to live with your personal demons and tell your family and the community at large just to help you to do so,  rather than cast them out.  

Don’t believe the lies that would have you compromise with the sins of the flesh. We might have to be practical in how we deal with lifelong hurts, habits, and hang-ups but we should never surrender to them because who the Son sets free can be free indeed.

 

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

Today’s Bible 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 verses come from the section on Death and Eternal Life

Psalm 116:15 (NIV2011)
15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.

Today’s verses fall under the fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

5. The death of the Lord’s saints is precious.

Today’s verse is tough one. Death is precious! No, Lord it’s scary and sad! – You might think,  but look higher brothers and sisters. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ have eternal life and Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us in God’s kingdom.  So death has indeed lost its sting.  The death of God’s faithful servants is precious in His sight because it means that we will be with Him.  Don’t be afraid of death.  Jesus overcame death and the grave to show us He is God and that He can be trusted in to save those who believe in Him.

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

Today we continue sharing from “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.

MORNING READING: JOHN 15

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples.” – John 15:8

The fruit in Chapter 15 of John is the fruit of character – namely, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). The production of these fruits, or better this fruit, is firstly, glorifying to God, and secondly, the expression of true discipleship.

These two great things were the supreme objects of Christ's life upon this earth. He lived and died to glorify the Father. He lived and died as the devoted loyal Bondslave of God.

These two objects can never be achieved without an unbroken fellowship and union with Christ (abiding). This is maintained through constant cleansing by the abiding Word and filling of the Spirit.

Cleanse me and fill me, Lord.
Produce in me Your sweet fruit of character. Amen.[2]

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


[1] Neil T. Anderson, Who I Am in Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001), 79.

Friday, April 5, 2024

A Christian Life Should Never Be Boring - Purity 1318


 
A Christian Life Should Never Be Boring - Purity 1318

Purity 1318 04/5/2024 Purity 1318 Podcast

Purity 1318 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of an outcropping of rock, green treetops, and blue skies comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on or around June 5th, 2021. If this emerging photo is yours, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to photo credit you after the fact. 

Well, It’s Friday – thank God – and there is nothing quite like hiking up a mountain or hilly trail and reaching the place where you can finally see that you have made it to the top – you have arrived and that’s how I feel this morning as I completed the last scheduled freedom appointment for the Online Freedom in Christ course that had its last meeting last week.  I was blessed to lead eight men through the Steps to Freedom in Christ in individual appointment this season and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the body of Christ in this ministry of reconciliation. There is nothing quite like coming alongside others as they seek to be set free of the burdens of the past and to experience their freedom in Christ and as demanding as my schedule can be during “Freedom Season”, I can’t think of a better use of my time. But with that said, part of the joy I have this morning also comes from being able to say “It is finished” as I can take a moment to relish a job well done and go into my vacation this week to rest and to spend some quiet time with the Lord.  

However, I should be clear that I’m not “done”. This path of Christian Discipleship doesn’t end and my ministry will continue – as the Celebrate Freedom Support Group at Starpoint Church is continuous – meeting on Wednesday nights, I am attending Peter Markavage’s – Way of Escape – Freedom in Christ Course on Tuesday evenings through June (https://www.mt4christ.org/2024/03/way-of-escape-freedom-in-christ-course.html), I am attending an online Advanced Encourager’s Practicum tonight and tomorrow, and I have agreed to attend and support Scott Salvadore’s new men’s ministry at Starpoint Church that will be starting in May on Monday nights!  And somewhere in the next few weeks or months, I have plans on finishing my training with Deeper Walk’s School of Prayer Ministry.  My cup is full and running over with opportunities to serve and to be further equipped to serve God’s kingdom and I will be on the lookout for whatever other opportunities that the Holy Spirit guides me into. 

A Christian life should never be boring as we are called to live in God’s presence and to do the good works that He has prepared for us to walk into.  What good works?  That’s for us to find out and to walk into when we walk in the Spirit.  So as happy as I am to have a measure of rest this weekend, and next week “on vacation”, let me encourage you to “DO SOMETHING” that will bring you closer to God as you seek to grow into the person He created you to be and to fulfill His purpose for your life.   A life of walking in the Spirit is a thrilling adventure but you have to be intentional about picking up your cross and following Jesus – where the work is just as likely to be about changing you as it is to be about helping others as we serve the Lord.   We call that a win-win-win situation because we are victorious in Christ. So celebrate the weekend after work today, but also celebrate the relationship you have with the living God, through your faith in Jesus Christ, and rejoice in the freedom and purpose that God freely gives to those who seek Him.  

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

Today’s Bible verse 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 Death and Eternal Life

Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)
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.

Today’s verse falls under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

1. You can face death without fear.

Today’s verse is the call to courage and faith that has been spoken and prayed by many Christians who have faced challenges, trials, and tribulations, and who have suffered loss.  Though we walk through times of darkness and death, we are given courage and peace when we remember that the Lord is there to comfort, guide, protect, and correct us as we seek His way through the pain and fear.  When we draw close to God, He draws close to us for He is near to the brokenhearted and gives strength to the weary.  So keep on walking and talking with God, brothers and sisters, for He is with us, and He will see us through, even through the valley of the shadow of death.

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

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 10

“John performed no sign, but all the things that John
spoke about this Man were true.” – John 10:41

What a testimony to covet! In the light of this one verse, it is clear that John the Baptist was not known:

By the Miracles. That which can be seen with the natural eye or superhuman outward manifestations.

By the Supremacy of Self. For he spoke of another, but he was known by his testimony concerning the Lord Jesus.

Notice, “All the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” He “shunned not to declare … the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27, emphasis mine). He was a true and faithful witness.

May I be known only by what I have to say
concerning You, O Lord. 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

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Ready? Your Body is Meant for the Lord - Purity 1317


Ready? Your Body is Meant for the Lord - Purity 1317

Purity 1317 04/4/2024 Purity 1317 Podcast

Purity 1317 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a dirt path dividing fields of green under blue skies with what I suspect to be the Catskill Mountains in the distance comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on or around May 24th, 2021.   If this pathway photo is yours and you would like to let us know where this is and what your name is, I will update the blog to give you the photo credit you so richly deserve. 

Well, It’s Thursday and as is my habit, I share today’s pathway photo as a visual reminder or encouragement to get on or to keep on walking on the path of Christian Discipleship by surrendering to the Lord’s will for your life and following where the word of God and the Holy Spirit lead you.  

Last night, I was unexpectedly called to co-lead the Celebrate Freedom Meeting at Starpoint Church, and even though I had little notice it felt good to be back in the saddle again as the Lord revealed to me, through the use of some helpful technological tools, that next Wednesday would mark the first 100 days of 2024 and I invited the group members to press into their faith and ask the Lord to help them to “get ready” to make a positive change or to develop a positive habit that they could add to their life beginning next week.  The “100 days” thing came to me as I reflected on last year’s ministry, which began on May 10th. As I have stated when I began leading Celebrate Freedom, I was content that, with my victories over drugs, alcohol, and sexual addiction being continuous, I didn’t really have anything to work on.  However, the truth is that we are all works in progress and the Lord has plenty of things He can clean up in your life and He will help you to overcome them, if you would just take the problem to Him and work with Him to conquer it.   And last summer I had quite a lot of “cheat days” and binges of comfort eating to convict me of my admitted “food addiction” that I still hadn’t overcome. So on August 18th, I surrendered to the Lord and asked Him to help me to overcome it and I utilized the basic tools of awareness and accountability to help me fight the good fight – to finally actually treat my food addiction as an addiction.  And that span of time from May 10th to August 18th was, guess what, that’s right 100 days…. 

So I don’t know what that means, if anything, but after 100 days of going through the motions last year, I asked God for help and made a commitment to change, and He helped me to accomplish a breakthrough in the war against the flesh.  We “got ‘em on the run now” but recently have been compromising with my adherence to my food plan and being aware of what or how much I am eating.  I have been self-correcting of course – no fall can’t be put back on track – with keto it only takes three days – but if you fall every week or two which I have been doing since my trip to Disney in February, you stop making progress and just plateau.

So last night, I decided that I would press into my faith and make some positive changes in my life to launch into a new breakthrough for 2024 and I realized that 100 days into the year was as good as any place to start.    And so I encouraged others to do so.  

One of the things I started doing recently has been reading Neil Anderson’s “Who I Am in Christ: A Devotional” to stay grounded in my identity in Christ.  Even though I recite the “Who I Am in Christ” list as a regular spiritual practice, I know that living from your identity in Christ is the game changer for our walk of faith and so even though I had some resistance to getting that book, because I “already know that”, I have been blessed in reminding myself or learning again – more about what I already know. 

One of the aspects of our faith walk that is often overlooked is the role our bodies play in our faith walk and this morning I read the following passages from Anderson’s book, that I felt moved to share. Neil Anderson writes:    

What to Do with Your Body

The Bible is very clear about what we are supposed to do with our physical bodies: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:11–13). We don’t have to work at becoming dead to sin; we simply accept it as being so. In Christ Jesus we are alive to God, so we are already dead to sin.

However, we do have the responsibility to safeguard our mortal bodies from sin and keep them from being instruments of unrighteousness. Failing to do so would be to violate the unity we have with the Lord and our spiritual oneness with Him. If we use our bodies as instruments of wickedness, we will allow sin to reign, actually rule, in our mortal bodies, and we will end up obeying its evil desires even though we don’t have to.

Your Body Is Meant for the Lord

Let’s look at one of the biggest problems in the Church, which is sexual sin. According to 1 Corinthians 6:13, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Verse 18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” And, I would remind you, sinning against your own body involves sinning against the One with whom you are united.

Scripture seems to set sexual sins in a class all by themselves. For one reason, it is impossible to commit a sexual sin and not use your body as an instrument of unrighteousness. The moment you do, you allow sin to reign in your mortal body.[1]

I love how Anderson presents this fundamental truth about our faith. We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies and thus sexual purity and “holy sex” (between a man and woman in a marriage covenant) are the only options for our sex lives as Christians.  When we do anything else – with others or by ourselves – we sin, and we disrupt our harmony with God and give a foothold to the enemy to torment us.  

I would extend this to how we steward our bodies as well.  If we eat unhealthily or eat too much, are continually lazy, or don’t get enough sleep we are in essence “missing the mark” of the proper care and maintenance of our bodies and in a sense are sinning against our bodies.  And we all know this inherently – the diet and exercise industry are built on this conviction – and thus we should not exclude our bodies from “getting right with God” – and we should “use our bodies as instruments of righteousness” by getting them, as much as it depends on us,  in good physical condition.  We can’t control everything that may afflict our flesh, but we can control what we do with them and what we put in them, and if we determine to “crucify the flesh” and restore ourselves to good health and ask God for help – His wisdom and guidance – He will undoubtedly bless our efforts.  

So next Wednesday is 100 days into 2024 and let me encourage you to pray about a way that you can give glory to God by “doing what is right” and turning from bad habits and establishing a good one to replace it.  

This is our walk of faith and let’s not tire of trying to optimize our harmony with the Lord by surrendering our hearts, minds, and bodies to become instruments of righteousness to give Him glory.

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

Today’s Bible verse 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 21:26 (ESV)
26  All day long he (the sluggard) craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Today’s verse falls under the twenty-seventh and final point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

27. The righteous will be ready to give liberally, rather than to be covetous.

Today’s verse highlights the dichotomy of covetousness and giving.  Psalm 23:1 tells us that the Lord is our shepherd and we “shall not want” (NKJV) and that means that we will not lack or be in need, but it also can be seen as an instruction to be content – and not be “wanting” in a covetous manner.  Coveting is a sin and Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:8 – that freely we have received and thus we should freely give.  Everything we have comes from God’s blessings and when we are in a “right spirit with God” we won’t be “craving and craving” like the sluggard, we will instead give and not hold back.   So look at your heart and determine if you are “wanting” or if you are content with what you have and are ready to give from the treasure that the Lord has given you – both materially and spiritually. God has given us everything for life and godliness and when we realize that we stop the cravings for things that ultimately won’t satisfy us anyway and we can find peace.

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

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.

MORNING READING: JOHN 9

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me
while it is day.” – John 9:4

The true principle of all real service for God underlies this statement of the Lord Jesus. And since He was the perfect Servant when upon this earth, He made this principle the basis of His loyal service to God.

The Obligation of True Service. The Lord Jesus said, “I must work.” The obligation of loving and loyal service to His Father compelled Him to work. Yes, right from the beginning (remember the temple when He was twelve years old?) to the end.

The Occupation of True Service. There is only one great occupation in true service – it is doing God's will. I must work the “works of Him.” “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me,” said the Savior (John 4:34).

The Opportunity of True Service. “While it is day.” Now is the acceptable time … “Time is short” (1 Cor. 7:29).

I can do nothing else but serve You, Lord, all of my days,
For it is a privilege and an honor – yes, even my duty![2]

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



[1] Neil T. Anderson, Who I Am in Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001), 47–48.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Rejecting the Lie That: “I Missed It - Purity 1315


Rejecting the Lie That: “I Missed It - Purity 1315

Purity 1315 04/2/2024 Purity 1315 Podcast

Purity 1315 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of lilacs and other flowers in the foreground as the sunsets in the distance over a mountain range that I suspect to be the Catskill Mountains comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on or around May 7, 2021. If this photo is yours and you’d like to be recognized for it, give me a heads up and I will update the blog to give you the photo credit after the fact. 

Well, It’s Tuesday and I am sharing today’s photo to continue my campaign of “cleaning out my closet” of unused photos “borrowed” from social media and to highlight the fact that it is indeed actually springtime. My personal electronic assistant who will remain nameless confirmed to me that the first day of spring in 2024 was March 19th – two weeks ago – and even though we had some snow that may have caused us to doubt what season we are in – the meteorological circumstances, and our feelings, don’t change the fact that it is spring. That’s the truth.

As an advocate for a lifestyle of Christian discipleship that is grounded in experiencing our freedom in Christ through repentance and affirming the truth of who we are in Christ,  I often encourage Christians to honestly look at the beliefs they are holding on that cause them to stay stuck in sin or negative mind states such as anger, anxiety, or depression.  When you ask people who are earnestly seeking freedom or a breakthrough to review their family and personal history, and if you listen carefully to what they are saying, they will reveal things they believe about themselves, God, or in life in general – that may be supported by the circumstances of their life experience – that contradict what the word of God says.  If you give people a space in which they can safely tell their story, they will tell you the lies they believe.   

One of the lies that I have heard from a few different people over the years has to do with regrets from the past where they believe that they “missed” their calling or purpose in life, or their opportunity to be used by God, or their chance at happiness.  

In recovery circles, these narratives are described as the “Only If’s” – or :If Only’s.”    

As in “If I had only asked _________ to marry me instead of __________”

OR IF Only I had never _____________ or IF Only, I had __________ done x,y,z.

OF If Only they had _____

Regrets cause us to second guess our life’s path and contribute to the false belief that we “Missed IT” – our chance at happiness or purpose or fulfilment.  And while we can look at our lives and think of several points where things could have been different, it is a lie to believe that we “missed it” when it comes to “God’s plan for our lives” or for our personal happiness.

The Freedom in Christ course defines happiness as “wanting what you have” – as being content – and no missed opportunities in the past can stop us from being content with what we have today – but dwelling on the thoughts of regrets from the past t certainly can!

While we can’t fix the past, through prayer and repentance, we can resolve and move beyond the conflicts of the past that affect our present and get in the way of looking toward the future with hope.

The serenity prayer touches on how we “do this” when we pray:  

“…to accept the things I cannot change,
 the courage to change the things I can,
 and the wisdom to know the difference.
 Living one day at a time
,
 enjoying one moment at a time;
 accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
 taking, as Jesus did,
 this sinful world as it is,
 not as I would have it;
 trusting that You will make all things right
 if I surrender to Your will
;
 so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
 and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

So reject the lie that you “missed it” and instead accept the things that happened in the past. Forgive those who have hurt you and seek the forgiveness of those you have hurt (when doing so will not harm them or others) to move past any bitterness or guilt you have been holding on to.  Forgive yourself – meaning you accept God’s forgiveness and let it stick – there is no condemnation – and move forward in the peace that the Lord wants you to live in.  

As for the missed opportunities and broken relationships, accept that they are in the past and gone, and endeavor to start living today to be right with God, to be the person He created you to be, and to step out in faith and hope to see what God wants to do with the rest of your life.  All that stuff in the past has prepared you for today, and we can either learn from it and move on wiser from it, or we can dwell on things we can not change and be consumed by feelings of shame, guilt, and regret and stay stuck in our negative feelings and listlessness. God has forgiven us and call us to a new life, but we have to accept it and move forward with Him to experience the freedom and abundant life He has given us.  If we know Jesus, we didn’t “miss it” but we have to follow Him into the life He wants us to live to be free. 

So, seek the Lord and the truth of who you are in Christ. Live from the identity that God gives you when you put your faith in Jesus and learn to walk in His ways.  Walking in the Spirit leads to peace, love, joy, and other good things so step out in faith and follow the Lord into the life He has for you and take the opportunities that come your way to give thanks to God and to share the good news of the life and peace that only comes through Jesus.

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

Today’s Bible verse 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.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT2)
18  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Today’s verse falls under the twenty-fifth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

25. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Today’s verse encourages us to look beyond current troubles and to focus on the unseen things that can give us hope and inspire us to endure and persevere through trials. Christians are assured that God is moving all things together for our good and regardless of what we may suffer in the here and now we have the promise of eternal life to keep us buoyed by hope. We know God will never leave us and forsake us – even if we die – and when we can hold on to that unseen truth – we can handle anything this world has to dish out.   Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, literally – that’s a fact – and that fact and the testimony of scripture tells us of the spiritual realm the exists beyond this mortal coil and the hope that God’s kingdom will come and restore this world broken by sin when Jesus returns.   These are all unseen, but they are promised and true and they can cause us to live lives free from fear and full of joy.

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

Today we continue sharing from “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.

MORNING READING: JOHN 7

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
– John 7:37

There are three steps in this verse. Each one is as important as the other, and all lead to true satisfaction in Christ.

Rapacity – a greedy desire or craving for the Living Water. “If anyone thirsts.” There must be this earnest desire if the soul is to be satisfied, for the Word says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6).

Request – “Let him come to Me.” This is request, for it includes the two parties: he who thirsts coming to the One who satisfies. That coming is the request of the soul.

Reception – “Drink.” Here is the personal deliberate reception of the gift of satisfying water. “To drink” implies the receiving into oneself.

Satisfy my soul now, O Lord,
until I overflow with Your blessing.[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