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Showing posts with label Repentance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Repentance. Show all posts

Friday, February 23, 2024

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282


 

Red Eye Repentance - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 9 - Purity 1282

Purity 1282 02/23/2024 Purity 1282 Podcast

Purity 1282 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun nestled in the branches of a huge and gnarly popular tree comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene yesterday during my short visit to Lake Eola Park in Orland. 

Well, I’m back home but that was a journey in itself as some renovations at the Philadelphia airport and “no heads up” from the folks at American Airlines caused me to miss my connecting flight to Albany last night, and when they shared the good news that while I couldn’t get a flight to Albany the next day because of the size of our party, they could put us on a flight to Hartford or Worchester.  That unbelievably obtuse suggestion caused me to scramble and arrange for a rental from the good folks at Avis  and a midnight run back to my countryside home.  We made it and it was so late that I decided to wish everyone a good day before I went to bed.  So this message might be a little shorter than normal, but I am happy to be back home and ready to forsake the sweet tweets I ate at Disney World and am ready to repent! You could finally say that I’m giving up sugar-laced snacks for Lent!  Better late than never I guess.  But that’s okay our walk on the path of Christian Discipleship is about progress not perfection and I hope that encourages you that it’s never too late to change – it’s never too late to repent. So this red eye repentance edition of the mt4christ247 podcast is brought to you by American Airlines who I will choose to avoid in the future and Avis rental cars who I am truly thankful for!

Anyway speaking of repentance, making progress, and dealing with things you need to give up, it’s the ninth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 9

YOU ARE TO HONOR YOUR father and your mother.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

First, then, learn what this commandment requires concerning honor to parents. You are to esteem them above all things and to value them as the most precious treasure on earth. Second, in your words you are also to behave respectfully toward them and are not to speak discourteously to them, to criticize them, or to take them to task, but rather to submit to them and hold your tongue, even if they go too far. Third, you are also to honor them by your actions, that is, with your body and possessions, serving them, helping them, and caring for them when they are old, sick, feeble, or poor; all this you should do not only cheerfully, but also with humility and reverence, doing it as if for God.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Honor your father and mother"-this is the first commandment with a promise:: so that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. "And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:2-4

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     To whom is this commandment addressed-very young children or older children with feeble parents who need their help?

Yes – this commandment is addressed to young and older children alike.  Your parents will always be your parents and the Lord commands us to honor them because He used them to give us life.   And just like with any form of repentance – it’s never too early or too late to honor your mother and father. 

     Luther extends the commandment to honor your father and mother to "others in authority." Who are those others? Does it make sense to bring them under this commandment?

Others in authority who are worthy of honor would be mentors, grandparents, or other friends or family who fulfilled the role of father or mother in some aspect of our lives. If we consider them as a kind of mother or father to us, I feel it is appropriate to bring them under this commandment.  Unfortunately, estranged relationships are a problem in our post-divorce culture and while I would never excuse someone from giving honor to their natural mother or father, I certainly wouldn’t prohibit someone from giving honor to someone they feel is a “mother” or father to them in some way.  Admittedly, this is my opinion and I can understand if someone, particularly estranged fathers or mothers would disagree. 

     In what ways does your faith community encourage and support people in keeping this commandment? What more might be done?

Bible-believing faith communities usually encourage obedience to God’s word and that would include the commandment to honor your father and mother.  However, more typically this sentiment is displayed in the church on Mother’s Day & Father’s Day, and not specifically mentioned all that much from recollections in various church congregations.

PSALM FRAGMENT

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.          Psalm 16:5-6

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Meditate on how the commandment to honor your parents might become a spiritual practice for you.

This commandment could come into practice in a variety of ways depending on the circumstances surrounding one’s relationships with their parents.  For myself, I could make honoring my parents a practice by scheduling more time for visits with them and thanking them for all they have done for me and my brothers throughout the years as our parents. 

 

     Reflect on what you have done or are doing for your parents to honor and help them. Were (or are) these duties burdensome to you or a pleasure for you? Explain.

I just recently went to my mother’s church on Ash Wednesday and ended up having breakfast with Mom and Dad and have made tentative plans to get together with them again when all my brothers can be in attendance.  These things are not burdensome, and I feel it is right to give honor to the ones who gave us so much.

     What "others in authority" in your life would you bring under the umbrella of this commandment? Why?

I guess I would bring this umbrella to my mentor, Pastor Bob Costello.  Bob is somewhat of a spiritual father to me and although I don’t really plan visits with Bob whenever I do see him I try to express my appreciation for the time He spent teaching and encouraging me to live as a Christian. 

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

If your parents are still living, pray for strength to continue to honor them. Whether living or dead, give thanks for whatever good they provided you, and pray for the power to forgive them for whatever wrongs they may have done you.

Lord God, I pray for the strength to continue to honor my parents.   I thank you for providing them to me as good examples of faith, hard work, and love. As you know Lord I forgave them for any bitterness I may have held against them due to the turmoil in my life before Christ and pray you bless them continually.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to me, even if I have not honored either you or my parents as I should. Help me to give honor to you and them and show me how to care for the young who need my help.

Amen

 

 

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

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

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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 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 verse comes from the section on Conscience.

1 Timothy 3:9 (NLT2)
9  They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience.

Today’s verse falls under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

3. Hold to the truths of the faith.

Today’s verse tells us that we as Christians must be committed to our faith and live with a clear conscience, presumably because we obey what the word says and try to live a shame-free existence as we become more and more like Jesus.   

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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.

EVENING READING: MARK 14

“She has done a good work for Me.” – Mark 14:6

What a blessed commendation! Such was given in response to the outpouring of the sweet and precious spikenard – a token of true heart love.

The Lord called it a “good work.” Good because it was seen by the Lord from the spiritual side. Man, like those who murmured saying, “Why this waste?” (v. 4), looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. And as He looked, He saw that it was the true expression of unadulterated love. God looked at creation and said it was “very good.” The Lord looked at this woman's heart and saw that His work in her heart was good.

When You look at my heart, Lord,
I pray You find this same quality of love.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

One Change, One Turn Leads to Another - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 7 - Purity 1280


One Change, One Turn Leads to Another  - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 7 - Purity 1280

Purity 1280 02/21/2024 Purity 1280 Podcast

Purity 1280 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of what appears to be a large “hump” of rock and roots raised and ripped into two over strange vegetation comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene of a supposedly alien landscape while waiting to experience flight on the back of a Banshee yesterday during my visit to “Pandora” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Although James Cameron’s 2009, Avatar won Oscars for cinematography, art direction, and visual effects and now is put on display at Disney World, its visual effects could not suspend my disbelief enough not to notice its pantheistic worldview or make me like it. Apparently, my dissenting opinion isn’t unique as other internet scoffers have labeled the most successful movie of all time to be irrelevant and overrated. Shots fired. As visually stunning as Avatar is it couldn’t make me swallow the “Mother Nature vs Imperialistic Man” plot involving intergalactic opportunists oppressing 9 feet tall Blue indigenous pagan people group. Not a favorite, the ride was fun though.

Anyway, I repent of watching Avatar, renounce its pagan worldview as false, reject its profane language, violence, and lust as sin, and cancel any permission the enemy may have had in my life because of watching it or by visiting its attractions at Disney World. I cast out any spiritual forces of darkness that may have gained ground in my life because of my associations with it, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Oof, that felt good. Well, now that I repented of Avatar, I have to announce that I may have finally turned a corner in coming back to the path of self-control and food plan sanity as I today, even though I am still on vacation at Disney World, am committed to making one change that prayerfully leads to going back to my balanced regulated life of healthy eating that has put me in the best physical shape of my life- I am renouncing Disney World’s hot cocoa….

Here at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts, I have unlimited beverages and one of the offerings is Disney’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa which is automatically mixed and brewed via a dispensing machine. It’s delicious! But as I have learned that a Keto food plan leads to my optimal health, it really can’t have a place in my life and so even though I will be at Disney World today and for some of tomorrow, and could continue to indulge myself with its chocolate sweetness,  I am making the choice to “give it up for Lent”.  Yup, I’m going back to sanity slowly but I’m coming back knowing that “one turn – one change – can lead to another.  One small change from a life in the flesh is a victory for the life in the Spirit and can lead to more victories and complete freedom.  So we make this one small change and pray that it will cause us to make more and be completely free from sugar bondage in a couple of days when I return to NY and back to normal.  Well, it’s the season of repentance and so we repent and will continue to do so. And so let’s also continue with our 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther.

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

And so we continue.

Journey Day 7

YOU ARE NOT TO MISUSE the name of your God.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not curse, swear, practice magic, lie, or deceive using God's name, but instead use that very name in every time of need to call on, pray to, praise, and give thanks to God.

With the words, "You are not to take the name of God in vain," God at the same time gives us to understand that we are to use his name properly, for it has been revealed and given to us precisely for our use and benefit. Therefore, since we are forbidden here to use his holy name in support of falsehood and wickedness, it follows, conversely, that we are commanded to use it in the service of truth and of all that is good-for example, when we swear properly where it is necessary and required, or also when we teach properly, or again, when we call on God's name in time of need, or thank and praise him in time of prosperity, etc.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Exodus 20:7

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     Read Exodus 3:13-15. What is God's answer to Moses at the burning bush when asked to give his name? What kind of name is that?

God tells Moses that His name is “I AM”. When Moses asks God what he is to tell about the God of their Father has sent them the Lord replies “I AM WHO I AM”, which honestly makes me think of the cartoon character Popeye, “I y’am what I y’am and that’s all that I y’am – I’m Popeye the Sailor man”  -  but unlike Popeye, God is more than just a mere man. God is the self-existent creator of all things. His Name of “I AM” is pointing to that fact – He IS and Always Was and Will BE – and HE Created all things – and Thus HE and His Name are to be highly exalted.

     In what ways does your community of faith use God's name "in the service of truth and of all that is good"?

My community of faith, the body of Christ, uses God’s name in the service of truth and all that is good through prayer and in all the instances where our words or actions exalt the Lord, share the good news of Jesus Christ, or give God glory. Today’s context is the spoken word so, to be in the service of truth and of all that is good, Christians should not use God’s name in disgust or as a curse, should be true to their oaths and in the promises we make, and be honest, encouraging, and edifying in our speech.

     How might a community of faith actually "misuse" God's name?

A community of faith may misuse God’s name by using it to prop up man-made religious traditions or by using it to control or manipulate others to meet our man-made agendas.  We can misuse it when we make an oath by it and fail to fulfill the conditions of the oath.  We misuse it when we utter it in frustration or disgust.  We misuse it when we use it to judge or curse someone else.   Honoring God’s name is a commandment because we tend to abuse it.  

PSALM FRAGMENT

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord! Psalm 148:13-14

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Meditate on the proper use and misuse of God's name. Make a list in your journal of the ways you properly use God's name. Make another list of the ways you misuse God's name.

I properly use God’s name when I give thanks, praise Him, point others to Jesus, and assure others of His love for them. I misuse God’s name when I fail in my Christian Walk, try to “fix” people, or utter it in frustrating times.

 

     Write a statement in your journal indicating your commitment to increase the proper uses of God's name and to decrease the misuse of God's name in your words and actions.

Lord, I pray to be more self-controlled in my speech, to increase the proper use of your Name,  and to decrease the number of times I misuse Your Name. Help me to see the errors of my ways regarding Your name and help me to turn from them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

     We use God's name properly when we "call on God's name in time of need, or thank and praise him" when things are going well for us. Are asking, thanking, and praising God daily "spiritual habits" for you? If so, describe your experience with them. If not, why not work them into your life?

I am happy to report that asking, thanking, and praising God daily are spiritual habits that I practice.  They are a part of my daily spiritual practice that begins in the morning and continues throughout the day. The instances of my misuse of the Lord’s name have greatly decreased when I made these practices regular habits in my life. With that said, I am still a work in progress.

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Call upon the Lord to help you use his name properly so that those who hear and see you may come to know God better.

Lord, Help me to use Your name properly so that those who hear and see me may come to know you better. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord Jesus, teach me the holiness of your name so that when I call to you it is always to ask for help or to thank and praise you and never to curse.

Amen

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Conscience.

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV2011)
15  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Today’s verses fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Conscience.

1.         Keep a clear conscience.

Today’s verse reminds us that we represent the King and that the best way to do so is to keep a clear conscience by doing what is right according to God’s Word.  We are to have “good behavior in Christ” and when we do those who would speak maliciously against us won’t have much to say.  The reason for our hope is Christ and He is to be the catalyst to a righteous Christian life. Our love for our Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit makes a righteous, pure, and good life possible and as we walk in it, our conscience is made clear. When we confess and repent our sins, we are made right with the Lord and have harmony with Him and can confidently walk through this life knowing that we are living in God’s will for us – in our sanctification.   So keep a clear conscience by following Jesus with the way you live. 

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

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: MARK 12

“And the common people heard Him gladly.”
– Mark 12:37

These were the people who recognized and enjoyed the ministry of the Lord Jesus. A little further down in this same chapter, the Lord admonishes and denounces the Scribes and Pharisees, for though they appeared to be religious or godly, they were absolute hypocrites. The common people were those who not only recognized their need for teaching and healing, but also realized that the Lord Jesus could meet that need. Therefore, He says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).

Surely, it is to the common people that the Lord would have me go. If He could mix with sinners and publicans, surely it is for me to do likewise.

Embolden me Lord, as I seek to share
Your Word to those whose path I cross in
my daily comings and goings.[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

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Hey CHIEF, You Have BEEN Set Free! - Purity 1249

Hey CHIEF,  You Have BEEN Set Free! - Purity 1249

Purity 1249 01/16/2024 Purity 1249 Podcast

Purity 1249 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting on the horizon of a large unknown body of water comes to us from a similarly unknown Facebook friend who shared this serene scene on social media on or around June 22nd, 2023, causing me to save it for today’s use.  If this photo is yours, give me a heads up and I will give photo credit to where photo credit is due by updating the blog after the fact.  

Well, It’s Tuesday and I wanted to clean house by liberating another photo from my phone’s photo gallery, but can I tell you, it’s even more liberating to talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ about experiencing their freedom in Christ by sharing what the Lord has done for me.  

Last night, I hosted the second meeting of the Men’s Freedom in Christ course and although I was encouraged by the return of the faithful who showed up, we had three empty spots on our Zoom screen that were occupied last week.  While the NFL playoff games, busy schedules, and prior commitments could explain those empty spots, I have to wonder if their absences are the product of demonic interference that could subtly suggest that these men didn’t need the Freedom in Christ course, that it was a waste of time, or was something they just didn’t want to go through with.  

In my initial presentation, I didn’t hold back in declaring the full scope of the freedom that was possible when you follow the Lord. I gave testimony of how the Lord set me free from alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, and food addiction (still fighting that one – and despite a weekend indulgence – I’m still winning) and I declared that what the Lord had done for me was possible for them.   

But change is hard and the idea of freedom and the reality of actually walking in freedom can be two different things, and sometimes the enemy will influence Christians to believe that purity or freedom are nice ideas but just aren’t possible in the “real world”.     

Yesterday, we went over the lesson on our identity in Christ, and I attempted to encourage the men to understand that the things on the Who I am in Christ list weren't just doctrinal or theological principles, they are spiritual realities that can manifest in the real world if they accept them in their hearts and minds and decide to live according to the truth.    As compelling as the material is in making the case that Christians are no longer sinners – but are saints, albeit who sometimes sin,  those ingrained beliefs about ourselves can be hard to throw off and even though I thought the lesson dealt with this issue adequately, I quickly learned that the renewing of the mind is a process and these new ideas may take some time to get used to.  

One of the men actually did a “Bill Clinton” on me, by asking about Paul’s statement in

1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV) where He said:
15  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Although Bible scholars point out that Paul is likely referring to his past sins rather than a current degenerate lifestyle (he was spreading the gospel and building churches. He was in prison for his faith – not his sinful life – after all),  This man pointed out that “Paul didn’t say, I was a sinner, he said “I am” a sinner.  

This man’s question was a good one, but if we recall the enemy’s tactics in the garden of Eden (did God say?), I have to wonder where his heart is or where his head is because his question is the devil’s advocate for a permissive attitude toward sin.  

The logic goes like this. Well, Paul is the chief sinner – so sin is okay – or impossible to overcome.  This argument is usually backed up by the “sinners saved by grace crowd” with Romans 7, or

1 John 1:8 (NKJV) that says
8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

But these same Bible verse cherry pickers ignore the fact that the whole counsel of the word of God encourages us to repent and to say no to sin and to become more and more like Jesus – who didn’t sin.  Right?  

Oh and Paul, The Chief Sinner right?  He also said:

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NKJV)
3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

Not only does Paul clearly say that God’s will for us is to be sanctified – to be holy – stop sinning – he is specific to include the sin that trips most people up – sexual immorality.  

Instead of see the big picture of trying to follow Jesus’ sinless example into a lifestyle of progressive sanctification (it progressive for us – we need to walk and grow into it – only Jesus was sinless), this man’s question was about the verb tense of the original Greek word that somehow would create a loophole through which we could be a Chief Sinner -  Nonsense! 

And that’s what happens, when we refuse to FOLLOW the Lord – when we refuse to see our sin as something that needs to stop – or that gets overly concerned with arguments over doctrine. 

“What if someone points this verse out and says they don’t have to stop sinning?”

Well, point to the rest of the book, maybe? Maybe?  Point to Jesus, maybe – the one who was without sin?   Oh and remember, even though we are trying to walk in His footsteps WE ARE NOT JESUS  - so did Paul sin, yes – but nothing from scripture indicates that he was walking in darkness.  This is a big problem amongst Christians – we think we have to be perfect – when we can’t be – that’s why we need Jesus – our best efforts won’t be good enough, ever.  Try as we might but we will sin – either by doing something or failing to do the good we could – which is also sin.   

But gross sins – like sexual immorality and drunkenness – a couple of my favorites -  those can be overcome – they can be repented of, and you can be set free from them, by the Lord’s power in your life.   

So don’t get it twisted and look at verb tenses to excuse your failure to trust in the Lord to help you to repent.   Instead walk in the power of a close personal relationship with God where your motivation to be cleansed from sin comes from the love that you have for the One who was sinless and gave up His life so you could live, not in the darkness of sin and shame, but in the light of life that is pure and peaceful.  

So keep on walking and talking with God and follow the Lord into the progressive life of goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, peace, joy, love, and self-control that you will find from walking in the Spirit.

 

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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 Comfort.

Isaiah 40:10-11 (NLT2)
10  Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11  He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Today’s verses fall under the 19th point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

19.     The Lord tends his flock like a shepherd.

 

Today’s verses encourage us that the Lord is coming in power and He will rule and reign like a shepherd who lovingly provides and cares for His flock.  

These are messianic verses, pointing to Jesus’ millennial reign where he will rule forever and ever, Hallelujah!  

God will punish evil, but He will carry those of us who put their faith in Jesus with love and will lead us in the way we should go.  So until He picks us up, let’s follow the Good Shepherd’s voice that is heard in our spirit and written in the word of God.

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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: MATTHEW 9

“It was never seen like this.” – Matthew 9:33

What a difference the presence and power of the Lord Jesus makes! This chapter, in itself, contains a remarkable record of Christ's miraculous power:

       He cured one sick of the palsy.

       He cured the bloody issue.

       He raised Jairus' daughter.

       He gave sight to the two blind men.

       He cast the Devil out of the dumb man.

This amazing demonstration of power called forth, from the marveling multitudes, the very true statement and testimony: “It was never seen like this.” And yet, there is no limit to the power of the Lord Jesus. It is beyond man's finite comprehension. What He did in each of these five cases recorded here, He can do in the life of any man. In fact, to use the words of another, “It is yet to be seen what God can do with the man … wholly surrendered to Him.”

 

What joy the promise of my Savior:
“You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50).[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