Labels

Showing posts with label Renovare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Renovare. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Imagine That – Faith Like A Child - Purity 1273


 

Imagine That – Faith Like A Child - Purity 1273

Purity 1273 02/13/2024 Purity 1273 Podcast

Purity 1273 on YouTube: 




Good morning,

Today’s photo of twin waterfalls spilling over rocks and emerging from a dense green rainforest comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography)  who shared this scene along with the following thoughts on social media back on February 6, 2024. Dave wrote:

“That moment when you hear the water while hiking to a waterfall and you begin to imagine the scene. I have a good imagination, but I never quite match the reality that appears before me when reaching the waterfall. This is Horseshoe Falls at Mt. Field National Park. One of many beautiful waterfalls all across the amazing island state.”

Yeah our imagination sometimes can’t conceive of the wonders that the Lord has in store for us in our lives. Sometimes our imaginations run wild and build things up to epic proportions and we get disappointed and other times we go into an experience imagining the worst only to be pleasantly surprised.  Before coming to faith in Christ, I was super reactive to those disappointments of failed expectations but now since walking in the Spirit for a while, and when I am keeping in step with the Spirit, I can find joy and peace regardless of what I encounter, because I try to live in the context of God – you could say “I imagine God is with me” but when you know the truth of who He is, how He is a good, good Father who loves you and cares for you, and how He will never leave you, you know that His presence is not just the wild imaginations of an unbalanced mind but is reality itself and it is only when we fail to see Him in our lives are we deceived.

Well, It’s Tuesday and I took a report from the higher-ups in my corporation seriously yesterday and took a preemptive day off from work today but the predicted “snow-magedon” of 7-13 inches hasn’t shown up yet.  No matter, I don’t like traveling or working in the snow and if it comes later doesn’t come at all, I am not disappointed and will use the day off today to pack my suitcase and pray for clear skies on Friday morning as I will prayerfully take a flight to Orlando and a Disney World vacation.  

I’m not like a super “Disney guy”, although I have been to Disney World three times in my 51 years on earth, and really didn’t have plans on returning to the Magic Kingdom, but when the Lord blessed me with an unexpected windfall and I realized that I could bless my wife and two youngest step-children (whose previous family vacations amounted to extended day trips to local county fairs and camping excursions that rarely, if ever, left the Empire State) with a Disney vacation, I decided to “book it, Dano!” The Lord has given us one life to live and invites us into the adventure of living and it's up to us to answer the call to see what’s out there and to give God glory through our joy. 

As the Lord would have it, during this season where I will spend some time reflecting on the joys from my childhood in the “happiest place on earth”,  I am being invited to examine my life through the awe, wonder, play, and imagination of a child as I am enrolled in Renovare’s Book Club and am currently reading Lacy Finn Borgo’s “Faith Like a Child” and while I have had found some of the book's concepts and ideas to be cringe-worthy to my theology and practical sensibilities, overall I love how it invites us to “play” and see our relationship with the Lord with the awe, wonder, imagination, and reverence that can so easily be lost and forgotten while we try to “grow up” in our faith.     

God wants us to be delighted in our lives and in our relationship with Him and engaging in “play” and using our creative imaginations as part of our walk of that are being shown to be “childish things” that should not be left behind as we mature with the Lord.  

A.W. Tozer famously said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”, to which I have retorted back in “What we do with what God’s word says about us, is the most important thing about us.” And while I think we may both be on to something here, whether we just think or do, both processes are going to require our imagination. Imagination is important in spiritual formation – we can’t grow into progressive maturity and freedom if we never imagine it’s possible.  That’s why I blog – to inform people with the fact that the abundant life in Christ is possible and to inspire them to “seek the Lord” with their imaginations to find the life of peace and purpose that He has for them.  

And as we try to walk into this life of the Spirit, we need to flow in the joy of the Lord with an inquiring and playful spirit.  Play is important for our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Play not only relieves stress but can also address some of the root issues that cause us to be stuck.   I read the following passage in Borgo’s book this morning about the simple game of “peak a boo” and share it here to share what I have learned:

“Child psychologists tell us that this form of play is essential for children, whose greatest fear is abandonment. The repetitive play of “Where is Mama?” and then “There she is!” confirms the child's fear indirectly through play and reinforces confidence that the parent will return. Absence is not permanent. Absence is perception, not lasting reality. Perhaps play in the spiritual life looks like this too. Through play, the Spirit accompanies us as we indirectly face our fears. We learn that God is never absent from us.

Could it be similar to our experience of what Saint John of the Cross and others called the dark night? In this “dark night”, God's presence seems to go missing, and our connection with God and reality shifts. We struggle to hear, see, or feel God. We wonder, Where has God gone? Our sensory experience tells us that God is not present, but as the psalmist reminds us, there is no place that God is not (Psalm 139).  When the dark night recedes, we notice that our trust in God has deepened, our picture of God has shifted, and we will never be the same. The great monster of abandonment has been tamed, and now we know that while our senses do dial us into God's presence, they aren't the anchor of reality. The reality of God's love, we learn holds us even in silence and absence.”  (Faith Like a Child, Borgo, Page 86, 2023).

I love how even the “dark night of the soul” is shown for what it is – a misperception, a game where we falsely believe that our heavenly Father is gone, when He never really leaves us at all, and it is only for us to “play hide and go seek the Lord” if we ever want to find Him and where we eventually discover that we were the one who was hiding from Him all along.

I love how my Heavenly Father plays with me – how He invites me to find Him and how He guides me into new things that will challenge me to trust Him and to grow into who I was always meant to be – a child of God with a simple faith of a child that comes from knowing he is safe, accepted, cared for, and loved.  

I think it’s sort of ironic that I’m reading this stuff as I will be invited to revisit some of the joys of my childhood and to play and experience it all a new but this time even though I will be older than I ever was, I will be experiencing it as a man who knows he is a child of God and that no matter where he goes in life his Heavenly Father is always with Him. 

So I got the day off – snow or no snow – I’ll be packing my bags in joyful anticipation of all that the Lord has in store for me, with this trip to Disney, and all the days that lie beyond.  So use your imagination if you must, but let’s play a game of follow the leader and you can follow me as I follow Christ and keep on walking and talking with God.

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

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 Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 29:19 (ESV)
19  By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.

Today’s verse is the fourth of five passages of scripture that fall under the eleventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

11.     Do not hurt your neighbor by gossip or careless talk; control your tongue.

Today’s verse indicates that words alone won’t be adequate in disciplining a servant and that even though he understands the words coming out of your mouth, he will not respond. Similarly, You can draw a horse to water but you can’t make him drink – so likewise the disobedient servant won’t do what you say and the unbeliever will not choose to follow the Lord even though that will claim to fully understand what you are trying to tell him to do or about the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I understand the truth of this verse – mere words are not enough – the spirit of a man must be touched in order for him to comply.  Our faith in Jesus comes by the grace of God not by the words we speak- but God will use our words sometimes – so say what needs to be said and keep talking because even the most disobedient servant will occasionally obey after a multitude of words and even the hardest heart can be softened when the Lord’s will and the “right words” – the ones used by God – are spoken.

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

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: MARK 5

“The woman, fearing and trembling, knowing
what had happened to her, came and fell down
before Him and told Him the whole truth.”
– Mark 5:33

Nothing is hidden from “the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13). All things are open and naked. This woman was conscious of this fact, so she told Him the whole truth. This confession brought her heart peace and she went away happy. The only real secret of peace lies in the unburdening of the heart to God.

Acts 5 records the story of two who “kept back” that which they professed before man to have given to God (v. 2). Man might have taken it as the whole truth, but not so God. The result of this deceit was death.

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Lord, help me to be honest and open before You.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, October 2, 2023

“An Astounding, Almost Miraculous Life” - Purity 1161

“An Astounding, Almost Miraculous Life” - Purity 1161

Purity 1161 10/02/2023 Purity 1161 Podcast

Purity 1161 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of fallen leaves floating on the surface of the pond at the East Greenbush Town Park under a blue cloudless sky comes to us from yours truly as I decided to enjoy the spectacular October weather outdoors yesterday afternoon.  Although I had planned on an early return to River house yesterday a delay in my grocery order suggested that I do something with the time between the 11:30 am service at Starpoint Church and my 3:00 pm grocery pick up and because the weather was sunshiny and bright I chose to visit East Greenbush’s Town Park for the first time where I found a picnic table near the park’s “Red Barn” to sit and enjoy the autumn view and the opening passage’s of Thomas Kelly’s “The Eternal Promise” which is the first selection of the Renovare Book Club.  

Renovare (https://renovare.org/) is a Christian non-profit organization engaged in Christian spiritual formation whose stated mission is “to resource, fuel, model, and advocate more intentional living among Christians and those wanting a deeper connection with God.”  I discovered the Renovare through Dallas Willard’s teachings there and because I am always pursuing a deeper connection with God, and because I am always looking for “what’s next” in that pursuit, and because my Deeper Walk SOM training concludes in December, I joined their Book Club to try something new on the path of Christian Discipleship and Kelly’s “The Eternal Promise” seems like a good guide for appreciation and growth.

Thomas Kelly was a Quaker and theological professor of some renown but what makes him famous in Christian spiritual formation circles are his writings about his experiential spiritual upheaval – which he described as “an astounding, an almost miraculous Life,” in the reality of God’s presence, writing: “There you will find rest for your souls, and power, and peace, and joy unspeakable and full of Glory.”   While I am cautious about those who refer to themselves as “mystics” and have never sat in on a Quaker’s Friends meeting, in reading Kelly’s work, I recognized a brother who had an experiential knowledge of God that was similar to mine which filled me with joy, awe, and wonder as I sat in the October sun enjoying the weather, my life, and my God yesterday afternoon.  

When you know, you know and when you have had a life-changing experience with God and put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord as well as Savior, you know that there is no other Way but His and although you may stumble, fall down, and run into the occasional dead end in trying to follow His lead, you are compelled to keep going and staying in step with Him the best you can.   On God’s path there are trials and sufferings but there is also freedom, peace, and joy and just when you feel that you may have “arrived” at some knowledge of the truth or some level of sanctification, you realize that there is more to know and more to surrender to grow even more.

When you’re on this path that never ends, you don’t look to finish, you look to see what is next because there is more light to allow into your darkness and more love to experience and share.  

So as we go into a new month and a new work week, let me encourage you to always seek the Lord and to find what He has for your life. In His presence, there is power, peace, and “an astounding, almost miraculous Life” but you have to keep walking and talking with God to find it.

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

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Anger, Hot Temper.

Galatians 5:22-25 (NASB)
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Today’s verses fall under the eleventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Anger, Hot Temper

 11. Good news! Through the Spirit you can overcome the sin of a hot temper!  

Today’s verses are the first of two passages of scripture that our resource provides to encourage us with this good news. And rather than presenting them all at once, we are doing them “one at a time, one day at a time

Today’s verses present the fruit of the Sprit and while it doesn’t specifically state that they are a cure for a hot temper, the implication is that a life of “walking in the Spirit” requires a “crucifixion of the flesh and its passions” that results in peace, gentleness, patience, and self-control which are more or less the opposite attributes normally associated with a “hot temper”.  

Through His word, the Lord clearly states that He is the Creator, Healer, and Sustainer of all things and if we are willing to walk in His ways there is nothing that we can’t overcome.  Renewing our minds with His truth and adopting a lifestyle consistent with His ways leads to the cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit. 

So if your temper is hot and anger is a problem, walk in the Spirit and discover the pathway past anger and that promises patience, love, joy, and 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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

27 - The Spirit Transforming

Summary

For the benefit of clarity we will give a brief digest of our previous exposition of 2 Corinthians 3:18, which is a verse that supplies a comprehensive summary of the Spirit’s work in the believer. The “we all” are those that are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The “with open face” signifies with minds from which their enmity against God has been removed, with hearts that are reconciled to Him. “Beholding” is a repeated act of the soul, which is the effect of its having been supernaturally enlightened. “As in a glass” refers to the revelation which God has made of Himself in the Law and in the Gospel. The “glory of the Lord” connotes His character or moral perfections. “Are changed into the same image” tells of the transformation which is effected in the believer by the Spirit. The “from glory to glory” announces that this great change of the heart’s reformation and conformation to the image of God is produced gradually.

When the Spirit deals with an elect soul, He first brings him face to face with God’s Law, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). He reveals to him the perfections of the Law: its spirituality, its immutability, its righteousness. He makes him realize that the Law is “holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12) even though it condemns and curses him. He shows that the Law requires that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves; that it demands perfect and perpetual obedience in thought, word, and deed. He convinces the soul of the righteousness of such a demand. In a word, the one with whom the Spirit is dealing beholds “the glory of the Lord”—His majesty, His holiness, His justice—in the glass of the Law. Only thus is the soul prepared and fitted to behold and appreciate the second great revelation which God has made of His moral perfections.

Next, the Spirit brings before the soul the precious Gospel. He shows him that therein a marvelous and most blessed display is made of the love, the grace, the mercy, and the wisdom of God. He gives him to see that in His eternal purpose God designed to save a people from the curse of the Law, and that, without flouting its authority or setting aside its righteous claims; yea, in such a way that the Law is “magnified and made honorable” (Isa. 42:21) through its demands being perfectly met by the believing sinner’s Surety. He unveils to his wondering gaze the infinite condescension of the Father’s Beloved, who willingly took upon Him the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. And the Spirit so works in his heart that, though the Cross be a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness unto the Greek, it appears to him to be the most wondrous, blessed, and glorious object in the universe—and by faith he thankfully rests the entire interests of his soul for time and eternity upon the atoning sacrifice which Christ offered thereon unto God.

Not only does the Spirit give that soul to behold “the glory of the Lord” as it shines first in the “glass” of the Law, and second in the “glass” of the Gospel, but He also causes him to be “changed into the same image,” that is, He begets within him corresponding principles and affections, to the one and to the other. In other words, He brings his heart to a conformity to the Law and to a compliance with the Gospel. He causes the believer to “set to his seal” (John 3:33) to the whole Truth of God. He brings him to a full acquiescence with the Law, consenting to its righteous claims upon him, and working in him a desire and determination to adopt the Law as his rule of life or standard of conduct. So, too, the Spirit causes him to gladly embrace the Gospel, admiring the consummate wisdom of God therein, whereby the perfect harmony of His justice and mercy are blessedly exhibited. He brings him to renounce all his own works, and rest alone on the merits of Christ for his acceptance with God.

“Beholding as in a glass” is literally “in a mirror.” Now the mirrors to the ancients, unlike ours, were not made of glass, but of highly burnished metal, which reflected images with great brilliancy and distinctness, corresponding to the metal. If the mirror was of silver, a white light would be the result; if of gold, a yellow glow would be suffused. Thus an opaque object reflected the rays of the sun, and so became in a measure luminous. Here the Apostle makes use of this as a figure of the Spirit’s transforming the believer. The Law and the Gospel display various aspects of “the glory of the Lord,” that is, of God Himself, and as anointed eyes behold the same, the soul is irradiated thereby and an answerable change is wrought in it.

As the soul by faith, with broken heart (and not otherwise), beholds the glory of the Lord, in the mirror of the two Testaments (and not in the New without the Old), he is by the continual operations of the Spirit in him (Phil. 1:6) “changed into the same image.” The views thus obtained of the Divine character excite answerable affections in the beholder. Rational argument may convince a man that God is holy, yet that is a vastly different thing from his heart being brought to love Divine holiness. But when the Spirit removes the veil of enmity and prejudice from the mind and enables the understanding to see light in God’s light, there is a genuine esteem of and delight in God’s character. The heart is won with the excellence of His moral perfections, and he perceives the rightness and beauty of a life wholly devoted to His glory. Thus there is a radical change in his judgment, disposition and conduct.

In the glass of the Law there shines the glory of God’s holiness and righteousness, and in the glass of the Gospel the glory of His grace and mercy, and as by the Spirit’s enablement the believer is beholding them, there is wrought in him a love for the same, there is given to him an answerable frame of heart. He cordially owns God as righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works. He acknowledges that God is just in condemning him, and equally just in pardoning him. He freely confesses that he is as evil as the Law pronounces him to be, and that his only hope lies in the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb. Christ is now “The Fairest of ten thousand” to his soul. He desires and endeavors to exercise righteousness and truth, grace and mercy, in all his dealings with his fellows. Thus a personal experience of the transforming power of the Law and the Gospel brings its subject into a conformity to their temper and tendency.

This being “changed into the same image” of the glory of the Lord, is but another way of saying that the Law of God is now written on the heart (Heb. 8:10), for as we have said previously, the Law is a transcript of the Divine nature, the very image of God. As the Law was written in indelible characters on the tables of stone by the very finger of God, so at regeneration and throughout the entire process of sanctification, views and dispositions in accord with the nature of the Law become habitual in the heart, through the operations of the Holy Spirit, according to the measure of grace which He supplies. The genuine language of the soul now becomes, “How reasonable it is that I should love with all my heart such an infinitely glorious being as God, that I should be utterly captivated by His supernal excellence. How fitting that I should be entirely for Him and completely at the disposal of Him who is Lord of all, whose rectitude is perfect, whose goodness and wisdom are infinite, and who gave His Son to die for me!”

This being “changed into the same image” of the glory of the Lord, is also the same as Christ being “formed” in the soul (Gal. 4:19). It is having in kind, though not in degree, the same mind that was in the Lord Jesus. It is being imbued with His Spirit, being brought into accordance with the design of His mediatorial work, which was to honor and glorify God. In a word, it is being at heart the very disciples of Christ. This being “changed into the same image” of the glory of the Lord, is to be “reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). Previously, we were at enmity against Him, hating His sovereignty, His strictness, His severity; but now we perceive the surpassing beauty of His every attribute and are in love with His whole Person and character. No greater change than this can be conceived of: “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). This great change is to “come unto” God (Heb. 7:25), causing us to diligently seek daily supplies of grace from Him.[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



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