Showing posts with label Rest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rest. Show all posts

Friday, May 26, 2023

Rest and Reflect. Are You Ready for a Reset? – Purity 1053

Rest and Reflect. Are You Ready for a Reset?  – Purity 1053

Purity 1053 05/26/2023 Purity 1053 Podcast

Purity 1053 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s photo a roaring campfire in the foreground of a nighttime view of Indian Lake comes to us from Katie Fisher MacVeigh as she captured this scene from a “perfect midweek reset” on social media back on May 11th.  

Well, It is Friday, it really is, thank God and I am looking forward to the end of my shift at work because I will be headed north tonight to be reunited with my wife at our countryside home before we embark on our own wilderness Memorial Weekend “reset”.  Apparently, I was really looking forward to today because my wife informed me that I said it was Friday on the podcast yesterday.  So I apologize to anyone I may have confused and fully realize, now, that yesterday was Thursday, and today is Friday and it is my prayer that all my friends who read or hear this message have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.   

My wife and I are hiking to a cabin in the Merck Forest and Farmland Center grounds in Rupert Vermont where, as of this writing, we believe it will just be the two of us for a weekend retreat – two nights of no electricity and just one another’s company in a rustic cabin’s accommodations.   I have never gone backpacking before and my camping experience has been limited to overnights in the backyards or at RV campgrounds during my childhood and with my kids when they were growing up so although it is only a 2 ½ mile hike to the cabin, this will be a first for me in many ways and while I am a little weary of the lack of electricity and indoor plumbing, I am looking forward to “getting away from it all” and the relative silence and solitude I hope to find in the woods near Nenorod Cabin.   

While I try to find moments of peace every day during my times of prayer and Bible study, I feel I really can use this rest.  The beginning of 2023 has been very eventful thus far as I have had to travel for work, was trained in a new job function at work, got a new foreman, and have adapted to what seems to be an ever changing schedule as I have just surrendered to the fact that I don’t know what kind of work I will be doing from one day to the next. And that’s just work.  

2023 will also be known as the year that I began, and prayerfully will finish the process of becoming educated, trained, and certified in Deeper Walk Prayer Ministry. Thus far I have found the program to be “as advertised” as it was described to be “an intensive, interactive, hands-on, heart-focused discipleship training program in practical ministry skills” where “you will gain the ministry tools needed to help hurting people experience freedom, understand their identity in Christ, walk in the Spirit, and live in heart-focused (hesed) community”.  Last night was the final meeting  of our cohort until August as we finished the second module of four, on Spiritual Warfare and I can testify that the program is “intensive” as the expectations is to not only learn the material that is presented but to also put it into practice each week with our colleagues in “break out rooms”.  Although the course work keeps you busy, the material is so rich and rewarding that I feel my decision to get this education and certification was definitely “meant to be” as I have already incorporated some of the things I have learned to me personally and to the “recovery growth group” – Celebrate Freedom – that I am now leading at my local church.   

Yup, 2023 has had even more in store!  That was work and “school” but Let’s not forget about Ministry.  As soon as I finished facilitating an 11 week online Freedom in Christ Discipleship Men’s group in early April, where I led six men through individual sessions of the Steps to Freedom in Christ, I was approached by my pastor with the request to begin a “recovery growth group” and on May 10th, we dusted off our old Celebrate Freedom Lessons and the Lord blessed me with two dedicated and faithful volunteers to start the process of forming a community where Christians could overcome their “hurts, habits, and hang ups.”  But even though I have done “recovery ministry” before, this Celebrate Freedom is a NEW creation as I am incorporating all that I have learned from my walk and my latest studies to put the emphasis of this group on “building joy”, “walking in the Spirit” and knowing who we are in Christ.  And the results of my attempts seem well received as one of the participants thanked me this week for “my vision” and another shared on social media that this week’s meeting was “amazing” but before I go patting myself on the back let me assure you that I know that I am only sharing what others have taught me and that the “vision” is how the Lord see us and the amazing things we are experiencing is only because we are drawing close to Him.    

So we have been busy, but we have been blessed and although it may be challenging to keep “in step with the Spirit” at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

But with that said, I am happy to have a “break” from school for a while, and that I get to kick it off with what I hope to be a peaceful weekend in the woods and with a few days off this week as I only have to work Wednesday, because although I had the vacation this week, I have made plans to go to Deeper Walk international’s 35th Anniversary conference in Indiana in October and had to give up a day of what would have been a whole “week off”.     

That’s right as we draw into the 6 month of the year next week, we will rejoice this weekend over where the Lord has brought us thus far, remember the servicemen who died to keep our country free, rest, and reset for what should be an eventful 2nd half of another year of walking in the Spirit.  

So, as we gear up for the end of the first half of 2023, it is my prayer that you take some time this weekend to rest, “reset” and reflect on the freedom we have in Christ and the freedom that we enjoy in this county because of the men and women in the armed forces that paid the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed was worth protecting and that they were willing to die to uphold.  God bless you all.


For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .


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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT2)
1  Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2  Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
4  He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5  He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!


Today’s verses show us what a man with a heart set on God does – he praises the Lord continually and he never forgets the good things that the Lord does for Him. He remembers that the Lord has forgiven him of all his sins and has brought him through all the illnesses and trials he has suffered in life.   He remembers how the Lord has blessed him with His presence, love, and all the tender mercies he has received in life recognizing that they all came through a sovereign God who is always in control.  He looks at the good things in his life and knows they come from God and his spirit is renewed because he praises the Lord.  

So give thanks to God. Sing his praises with all your0020heart. And do this: EVERY. DAY.  and you too will know what it is like to be continually renewed.


As always, I invite all to go to 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 (  

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit  

4 - The Deities of the Holy Spirit

Concurrence in the Trinity

The Holy Spirit is designated by a great many names and titles in Scripture which clearly evince both His personality and Deity. Some of these are peculiar to Himself, others He has in common with the Father and the Son, in the undivided essence of the Divine nature. While in the wondrous scheme of redemption the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are revealed unto us under distinct characters, by which we are taught to ascribe certain operations to one more immediately than to another, yet the agency of each is not to be considered as so detached but that They cooperate and concur. For this reason the Third Person of the Trinity is called the Spirit of the Father (John 14:26) and the Spirit of the Son (Gal. 4:6), because, acting in conjunction with the Father and the Son, the operations of the one are in effect the operations of the others—and altogether result from the indivisible essence of the Godhead.

Titles Used in Scripture

First, He is designated “The Spirit,” which expresses two things. First, His Divine nature, for “God is Spirit” (John 4:24); as the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Episcopal Church well express it, “without body, parts, or passions.” He is essentially pure, incorporeal Spirit, as distinct from any material or visible substance. Second, it expresses His mode of operation on the hearts of the people of God, which is compared in Scripture to a “breath,” or the movement of the “wind”—both of which adumbrate Him in this lower world; suitably so, inasmuch as they are invisible, and yet vitalizing elements. “Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (Ezek. 37:9). Therefore was it that in His public descent on the day of Pentecost, “suddenly there came a sound from Heaven of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).

Second, He is called by way of eminency “The Holy Spirit” which is His most usual appellation in the New Testament. Two things are included. First, respect is had unto His nature. As Jehovah is distinguished from all false gods thus, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods; who is like thee, glorious in holiness” (Ex. 15:11); so is the Spirit called Holy to denote the holiness of His nature. This appears plainly in Mark 3:29, 30, “He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness; because they said, he hath an unclean spirit”—thus opposition is made between His immaculate nature and that of the unclean or unholy spirit. Observe, too, how this verse also furnishes clear proof of His personality, for the “unclean spirit” is a person, and if the Spirit were not a Person, no comparative opposition could be made between them. So also we see here His absolute Deity, for only God could be “blasphemed!” Second, this title views His operations and that in respect of all His works, for every work of God is holy—in hardening and blinding, equally as in regenerating and sanctifying.

Third, He is called God’s “good Spirit” (Neh. 9:20). “Thy Spirit is good” (Ps. 143:10). He is so designated principally from His nature, which is essentially good for “there is none good but one, that is God” (Matthew 19:17); so also from His operations, for “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth” (Eph. 5:9).

Fourth, He is called the “free Spirit” (Ps. 51:12), so designated because He is a most munificent Giver, bestowing His favors severally as He pleases, literally, and upbraiding not; also because it is His special work to deliver God’s elect from the bondage of sin and Satan, and bring them into the glorious liberty of God’s children.

Fifth, He is called “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) because sent by Him (Acts 2:33), and as furthering His cause on earth (John 16:14).

Sixth, He is called “the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 8:29) because He possesses Divine authority and requires unhesitating submission from us.

Seventh, He is called, “the Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14). “Among the names and titles by which the Holy Spirit is known in Scripture, that of ‘the eternal Spirit’ is His peculiar appellation—a name, which in the very first face of things, accurately defines His nature, and carries with it the most convincing proof of Godhead. None but ‘the High and Holy One, inhabiteth eternity,’ can be called eternal. Of other beings, who possess a derivative immortality, it may be said that as they are created for eternity, they may enjoy, through the benignity of their Creator, a future eternal duration. But this differs as widely as the east is from the west, when applied to Him of whom we are speaking. He alone, who possesses an underived, independent, and necessary self-existence, ‘who was, and is, and is to come,’ can be said, in exclusion of all other beings, to be eternal” (Robert Hawker).

Eighth, He is called “the Paraclete” or “the Comforter” (John 14:16) than which no better translation can be given, providing the English meaning of the word be kept in mind. Comforter means more than Consoler. It is derived from two Latin words, com “along side of” and fortis “strength.” Thus a “comforter” is one who stands alongside of one in need, to strengthen. When Christ said He would ask the Father to give His people “another Comforter,” He signified that the Spirit would take His own place, doing for the disciples, what He had done for them while He was with them on earth. The Spirit strengthens in a variety of ways: consoling when cast down[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at 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 ( ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to :     

“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.).


Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Balance of Walking and Resting - Purity 827

The Balance of Walking and Resting - Purity 827

Purity 827 09/03/2022  Purity 827 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining high above and sparkling on the waters of Portsmouth Harbor in the United Kingdom comes to us from a pastor friend who enjoys paddling and praying as he enjoys the glory of God’s creation while being active noting that his aquatic hobby was “perfect way to end the day” as we sail into :Labor Day Weekend.  Brits don’t celebrate Labor day so all the more reason to make the most of a Friday afternoon by heading out paddling I guess.  

Well, we don’t have to paddle to make it to the weekend any longer, we made it! And as much as yesterday’s post was about taking care of unfinished business, and I encourage that if you are able to put somethings in order over the weekend, but let’s face it not only is it Saturday today, it’s Labor Day weekend in the States and a lot of people and business have checked out and won’t be doing anything until Tuesday, so I just wanted to say that it is perfectly fine to just take a deep breath and “let it go” for the weekend and rest! Big exhale…. And breathe in… Ahh. 

Okay, in order to maintain our peace and purpose on the Christian path of discipleship, we need to try to establish balance. While the path requires discipline, this walk isn’t just some legalistic attempt to do everything right every single minute of every single day.  Because of God’s grace, the truth is that we don’t have to work for our approval or acceptance. God loves us and accepts us for who we are.  However, He does invite us to follow Him into all He has for us so our faith isn’t stationary.

So another paradox of our Christian Faith, is as shown in Mathew 6, is that walking or our (burden to follow) and resting.   

Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
28  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Christ didn’t want us to “labor” to be approved. Putting faith in Jesus, gives us salvation! We can rest in the assurance that in Him we have new life.  

Christ also wants us to rest from the burdens that the world, the flesh, and the devil have put on us.  

The burden we have to bear, which is comparatively “Easy” and “light”, is in living out who we are in Christ and by forsaking the ways of the world.   The reason Christ could say the business of repentance, turning to His ways, is “easy” or “light” is because our victories are won by faith, by believing what God’s word says about us in Christ and living according to our new identity in Christ, we can overcome.  

The paradox of repentance of course is that, yes, we are in a battle or a struggle to leave old patterns behind that will require discipline and a concerted effort to change, but the battle is won not by the sweat of our brow but by the mental, emotional, and spiritual acceptance of the spiritual reality that we are new creations in Christ.    

The renewing of our mind with the word of God, our volitionally setting our wills on living out our new lives in Christ, and our mental and behavioral decision to say no to our old ways of thinking and acting to live out who we are, are all a part of the transformation process – that makes what has already happened to us spiritually a living and breathing reality. 

In this life of faith the Lord will bring new insights into how we live to show us areas that we have overlooked that He invites us to change to lessen the burden that the world, the flesh, and the devil are bringing to our experience.  The Lord’s goal for us is to be sanctified and to enjoy the abundant life He has for us. His word encourages us to drop every weight that is holding us down.  

So as we go on this victory parade of increasing freedom, we will discover that there are new challenges to face and victories to win.  But we have to address the challenges in a balanced way. We need to persist but not burn out.  

As much as I am geared up about the latest challenge in my life to resolve the last remaining problem from my divorce, I have to be patient and realize that this could be a long process before things are finished. So instead of keeping it at the forefront of my mind and stressing over it, I have to recognize when to “let it go” but at the same time be determined to not quit.  

Balance, right?  I am formally, and may still be to some extent,  a person who goes to exteremes.

Oh, Let’s get this taken care of?  Okay, LET”S FIGHT! TO THE DEATH! NOW! NOW! NOW!

Oh let it go? Okay, no problem, let’s just quit. I didn’t want to do it anyway.    

As you can see, there has to be an “in between”.  We need to stay true to our convictions to resolve our conflicts or change our behaviors but at the same time be able to have peace and not so much peace that we decide to give up the cause and remain in bondage to the things we overcome.   

So examine your situation and see what you can do, and whether or not it is a time to press in or it is a time to rest.  This fluctuation between walking and resting is a key the path that leads to progress and victory.  We work at it and give ourselves periods of rest to maintain our peace and to eventually accomplish what we set out to do.  And every step of the way from here to there, we stay in the presence of the Lord to receive His love, comfort, guidance, and strength.  

Our Christian life isn’t just a set of battles to be won or a list of things to accomplish. Our Christian life is a relationship with God where we abide in His presence and seek to please Him and ourselves by accepting His wisdom and will for our lives.   

So it’s Saturday and Labor Day weekend. You know your situation better than I do but some basic options for the next couple of days are:  take care of business, enjoy the last blast of summer before school starts, or just rest.   Of course, you could come up with a balance of all three but I will only suggest you keep walking and talking with God and work that out for yourselves.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

James 5:16 (NLT2)
16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Today’s verse encourages us to confess our sins to one another and to pray to be healed with the assurance that the earnest prayers of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.    

There is really so much to say about this short verse. 

First, why do we have to confess our sins to each other since we have been forgiven of our sins by putting out faith in Jesus?  

Well, that’s why we keep reading, the verse tells us to do that and to pray, so that we may be healed.  

And of course there is two ways to go with that!

We could be “healed” of our sin, meaning our confession and prayer could lead to genuine repentance and victory as we are set on a course to never repeat the sins we have committed.  This is a possibility. We are not condemned to continue in our sins. Romans 8 confirms that we have been set free of the power of sin and it really is up to us to believe that and live according to it. We can be “healed” of our sins, specifically and progressively.  Believe this.  Don’t worry after you have victory over one set of sins, you will discover others work on.  

We could also be “healed” physically as some diseases are a physical consequence of our sin or a chastisement from the Lord for sinning.  

The sin of addiction to alcohol, aka drunkenness, has the physical consequences of hangovers. If we confess our sin and pray for healing, we could receive the strength and motivation to stop drinking and be “healed” of our addiction and all the aches and pains that come from it.  

Also if God is allowing disease to come into our life, granted in ways we don’t understand, and we confess, pray, and repent, God can allow healing to come into our life. 

On this note, God is our creator and His sovereign will is done in our lives. No one gets sick and dies on God’s watch without His approval.  Why does medicine work for some and not for others?  I don’t know but God does. So because of God’s role as Creator and His sovereign will, all healing comes from Him. So pray for healing.  

Did you know according to, 75% of doctors believe in miracles?  It’s because they have seen things that defy science that they can’t explain. So if you get sick confess your sins and pray.  If nothing else, you will receive a guilt free conscience and peace as you face your health crisis.

And that’s where the “righteous person” has great power, in their harmonious relationship with God.  Not for nothing, but as I have become a Christian and continue to keep short accounts with God by confessing my sins periodically and stay in constant communication with God through prayer, and walking and talking with God, some pretty amazing things have happened in my life.  

So while we may not receive everything we want in prayer, when we live a righteousness life of faith in Jesus Christ, we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living and wonderful results from our life of faithfulness.  

So don’t look for some “righteous person” to pray for you, become that righteous person by confessing your sins to others and by praying to God to be healed.



As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Conclusion: Contending with the Powers

In the last three chapters we have examined the reality of the powers of darkness and seen how they operate. It now remains to consider how to respond to these hostile opponents. Frequently Christians have turned to the Gospels for learning how to detect demonic influence and how to deal with it (based on the exorcism accounts). I have attempted to show that the apostle Paul’s letters also speak to this issue in a relevant manner. Here is a suggestive summary of the relevance of Paul’s teaching on the powers of darkness stated in a prescriptive way for the church today.

Re-evaluate Your Own World View in Light of Scripture

Many evangelicals remain skeptical about the actual existence of the powers of evil. For some an overly narrow theological tradition or an atmosphere of doubt in their churches perpetuate disbelief. For everyone the skepticism can be traced to the constraints of our rationalistic post-Enlightenment age.

Although my own early theological nurture and training was not in a church (or a theological tradition) that denied the real existence of the powers or their work in day-to-day experience, my secular education, the influence of my peers, the media and many other sources have had their effect on my views in this area. It has taken a concerted effort on my part to rethink reality apart from the world view I inherited from society.

What is your perception of reality? Does it include the conviction that evil spirits are working behind the scenes to promote evil, or do you think of evil in purely abstract terms? To what extent do you see the powers of darkness at work in prompting lust? In influencing thoughts? In sickness? In church strife? In the exploitation of the poor? In civil unrest and war?

Having opened the door to sensing the reality of the demonic and seeing its influence on many levels, we need to sharpen our sense of discernment. We need to avoid the “swing of the pendulum syndrome”—that is, the tendency to move to the opposite extreme. We should seek a balanced approach to life and ministry. For instance, not every sickness can be attributable to direct demonic attack; it may represent merely the natural constraint of possessing a decaying body that is heading for eventual physical death.[1]

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

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

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 210–211.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Take a Break? Free to Follow, Free to Rest – Purity 751

Take a Break? Free to Follow, Free to Rest – Purity 751

Purity 751 06/07/2022 Purity 751 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a group of palm trees on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale comes to us from a friend who enjoyed a long weekend getaway to the Lago Mar Resort and Club back on May 27th.  

Full disclosure, I did take some creative liberties with the photo by cropping out my friend’s resting feet at the edge of this photo in the shade of an unseen palm tree, to give their feet privacy?, and to highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation. 

Well, it’s Tuesday, and even though it is only the second day of the first full work week in the month of June, I was moved to spontaneously take a nontypical break from my normal morning discipline of exercise and instead caught a few extra z’s and some restless rest before my nonnegotiable time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study.  

As we have committed ourselves of a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit we have chosen to be a disciple of Christ and that is a path that requires discipline.  If you didn’t know it, the root word of discipline is “disciple” and the root word for disciple is “student”.  So in our choice to be a disciplined disciple of Christ we have decided that we will seek to learn from Jesus and be determined to apply his wisdom to the way we live our lives.  

But unlike, the other “disciplines” of the world, our membership to the body of Christ is not based on our rigid adherence to a moral code or based on our performance, our adoption into the family of God is a product of God’s grace. It’s a free gift of love from the Creator of the universe and once you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love or take you out of His royal family.  

We can do nothing to earn our salvation and status as a child of God and there is nothing we have to do to maintain it.   

What? Are you serious? I thought being a Christian was all about “doing stuff”, that if I become I become a Christian I inherit a long list of “gotta’s” as in:

“I gotta go to church”

“I gotta be good”

“I gotta read the Bible”

“ I gotta do this, I gotta do that” 

And I thought it included a whole list of “can’ts”

As in “I can’t do this or I can’t do that.”  

Unfortunately, this is how most people view being a Christian. Ignorance and some legalistic church cultures have led to this view but it’s an immature understanding of who we are in Christ and what being a Christian is all about.  This view of “gotta’s” and “can’ts” is looking at our Christian faith as a religion, not at what it actually is: a relationship with God.   

Unlike human relationships and memberships to certain worldly clubs or disciplines, our relationship with God is not performance based. It is not something that can be lost through our failure to perform . 

When God invites you into His family, it is with no conditions and it only requires your humble surrender to the Lordship of Christ. When we become Christians.  we stop relying solely on our abilities and decide to put our faith and trust in Christ to save us and to guide us through life.  

Our faith is an acknowledgement of the truth of who Christ is: the Messiah, the Son of God, and God the Son, and it includes our decision to follow Him.  Like the original Apostles call, we are invited to follow Christ, but we are still free regarding how we choose to follow.  

That’s the amazing thing about grace, it’s God’s unmerited favor to us and for us. Unmerited means we didn’t earn it and since we didn’t earn it we can’t lose it. Our position in Christ is steady.

But the harmony of our relationship and the peace we enjoy will depend on how much we abide in Christ and depend on how we relate to God.  

If we approach our relationship with God as a list of requirements and that is something that is based on our performance, rather than a relationship that is permanent and based on love, we will struggle with the acceptance of our identity in Christ and will be an emotional mess as we will cycle between anxiety, anger, and depression by trying to meet the perfect standards of attitudes and behavior that we feel we need to have in order to be accepted by God.  

But the thing is, we were completely accepted by God, the moment we placed our faith in Christ.    

If we are anxious, angry, or depressed about our performance as a Christian, we have wrongly taken God’s invitation to relationship and turned it into a religion where we separate ourselves from the Lord based on our performance.  

The joy of our relationship with God comes from knowing that we are free to follow Him in the way we choose.  

But the thing about being in God’s family is that you quickly discover that your old worldly ways and sins don’t really match up with who you are now in Christ and when we behave in our old ways it doesn’t feel right anymore and the more we push to stay in our old ways the more pain it causes us.  

When we decide to obey and follow God’s call on our lives, we begin to discover that the gospel is true, we really are new creations in Christ. But our old patterns of thinking and behaving, and the world, the flesh, and the devil, beckon us to stay in the darkness because those shadows are familiar, and the light of Christ is bright and good but when we approach it there is no place for our sins to hide. 

God sees us for who we are and loves us anyway. He loves us so much that He doesn’t us to stay in the confusion, ignorance, and pain of our sin and gently beckons us to trust Him and to come into the light of our new lives in Christ.  

But He doesn’t force us to go, and we are free to stay in the shadows even though God, and we, ourselves, know it would be better to go His way.   But God doesn’t force us to march in obedience to Him, Christ came to give us rest.  When we decide to follow Him, we discover that His burden is light because His path is the path of righteousness and blessings. 

The old adage of “choose to sin, choose to suffer” is so true. But the opposite is also true, when we choose to obey, we choose to prosper in the riches of God’s grace, mercy, and love.”

The amazing thing about grace is that, we don’t have to obey perfectly to receive the benefit of our relationship with God.  The more we put in the more we get out of our relationship with God but God knows us and realizes we are not perfect, so He allows us to follow Him at our own pace, and by God, He even gives us the option of taking a break! He will even call us to rest or to wait on Him.  

So this morning, as much as I thrive in my normal morning discipline of exercise, it was okay to rest. It was okay to take a break and to do so with the full assurance that God wouldn’t love me any less.   

I could have taken a break from my normal Bible study and prayers too, but I have come to know the benefits of drawing into God’s presence and while I am not 100% in anything I do, those means of communication with the Lord are about as “non-negotiable” as I can get.  They are something I simply don’t want to take a rest from, normally.

But guess what, sometimes I don’t sit down and do my normal prayers or read the Bible, and that’s okay too. Because I do it all to draw close to God, not to be accepted by Him. 

But I have to admit that there isn’t a day that passes where I don’t at least take a moment to thank the Lord for who He is or for what He has done in my life. Because of His grace, I know His love and His rest and that causes me to thank Him, and love Him a little more each day.

So, don’t beat yourself up for not following perfectly, or for not doing all the gotta’s, or for not forsaking all the cant’s, that God’s word indicates are a good idea or practice for His children.  We are not accepted by our performance.  

But keep walking and talking with God, because even though our acceptance, significance, and security as a child of the King is assured, the measure of the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives does depend on how much we are enjoying God’s presence, how much we are learning about Him, and how much of His wisdom we are applying to our lives.  

So take a break, take a rest. It’s okay. But after you rest, jump up and rejoice because God never leaves you and is always there waiting to walk and talk with you again,   


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NLT2)
10  Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.
11  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

Today’s Bible verse talks of how, because of God’s grace, we can continue to build on and allow others to build on the foundation that we have in Christ.  

As Christians, the foundation of our new lives is faith in Christ alone! Our faith in Christ saves us and brings us into God’s royal family through the forgiveness of our sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.   We are new creations the moment we put our faith in Christ. That saving faith is a solid foundation that we can stand on from here to eternity, to infinity and beyond!

This passage in Corinthians describes the process of growth in our Christian faith.  With Christ as our foundation, we can build a life of a Christian disciple. We can allow others to teach us what they have learned from God’s word and from their walk of faith. We can allow them to help us build up our life as a Christian.  

So that is good news, and it indicates that we are to be in a Christian community where others can help and encourage us in our maturation. We are not in this by ourselves. We have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the word of God, and we have the body of Christ to help us build our lives as disciples of Christ.  

But as today’s verse also warns us, we have to “be very careful” and be discerning in who we choose to build on the foundation of our faith.   We must know the word of God for ourselves because the enemy would like to like to lead us astray and may send false teachers and counterfeit brethren into our lives to build lies into our faith.  

Christian cults, society at large, false religions, and those who push legalism or licentiousness are all out in the world looking to push us to extremes and would love to build lies upon our Christian foundation.  

Syncretism (the blending of faiths), the belief that there is more than one way to God, disrespect for God’s word, and moral compromises are all bricks that the enemy would love to put on top of our pure foundation of faith in Christ.  

So we must be very careful to reject what is false and only build up our faith with the wisdom that is confirmed by the word of God.

Hey, we are all works in progress and if we know the word of God we will know “what’s up to code” and what’s not. We can recognize counterfeits by being familiar with the real.  If we measure by the word of God twice, we’ll only have to cut once with the way we live our lives. And we can be assured that we are building on the pure foundation of our faith in Christ, with only that which is good, pure, and holy.



As always, I invite all to go to 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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

Ponder the Amnesty Offered to the Nations. Take a Retreat

The point of that fragmentary list is to simply illustrate whole populations living in rebellion against the true God and cut off from the only One who can reconcile them to their Maker. This means destruction for the unbelieving and dishonor to Christ. He owns this world, and the allegiance of every person is his right. Every soul and every state is his. Abraham Kuyper put it memorably: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ” Christ has come into this mutinous world, which he made for his own glory, and paid for an amnesty with his own blood. Everyone who lays down the weaponry of unbelief will be absolved from all crimes against the Sovereign of the universe. By faith alone enemies will become happy subjects of an everlasting kingdom of justice and joy. Advancing this cause with Christ is worth your life.

No, you don’t have to be a missionary to admire and advance the great purposes of God to be known and praised and enjoyed among all peoples. But if you want to be most fully satisfied with God as he triumphs in the history of redemption, you can’t go on with business as usual—doing your work, making your money, giving your tithe, eating, sleeping, playing, and going to church. Instead you need to stop and go away for a few days with a Bible and notepad; and pray and think about how your particular time and place in life fits into the great purpose of God to make the nations glad in him. How will you join the great global purpose of God expressed in Psalm 67:4, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy”?

The Meaning of Your Discontent

Many of you should stay where you are in your present job, and simply ponder how you can fit your particular skills and relationships and resources more strategically into the global purpose of your heavenly Father. But for others reading this book, it is going to be different. Many of you are simply not satisfied with what you are doing. As J. Campbell White said, the output of your lives is not satisfying your deepest spiritual ambitions. We must be careful here. Every job has its discouragements and its seasons of darkness. We must not interpret such experiences automatically as a call to leave our post.

But if the discontent with your present situation is deep, recurrent, and lasting, and if that discontent grows in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work. If, in your discontent, you long to be holy, to walk pleasing to the Lord, and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life, then God may indeed be loosening your roots in order to transplant you to a place and a ministry where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied. It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation; but when he deploys you from one place to the next, he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship. God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace.

Should I Go on Being a Pastor?

I try to take stock of my own ministry in this way. Every year at our church we have a “Missions Week.” I preach on missions; we have guest speakers. The challenge is given. People move toward missions, make commitments, and join the pre-missions nurture program. And every year I reexamine my life as a pastor at this church. I look at what I am doing in the light of God’s global purpose, and in view of the incredible spiritual darkness and misery of the unreached peoples of this earth. I ask myself, Is this the most strategic investment of my life for the sake of God’s purpose to make the nations glad in him? I ask my wife, “Noël, are you sensing any tugs to move closer to the front lines of the unreached peoples?”

Our church mission statement puts the world “spread” in the dominant position: “We exist to spread a passion for God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.” So I ask, Am I fulfilling this mission best in the role I now have? When the Lord calls me to give an account of my ministry in the last day, will I be able to say, “Lord, I stayed at Bethlehem because I believed I could be most instrumental there in accomplishing your purpose to make a name for yourself among the nations, and to gather your sheep from all the peoples of the earth”? When I can no longer say yes to that question, then my leadership here will be finished.

And You?

And so it is with many of you. Big issues are in the offing. May God help you. May God free you. May God give you a fresh, Christ-exalting vision for your life—whether you go to an unreached people or stay firmly and fruitfully at your present post. May your vision get its meaning from God’s great purpose to make the nations glad in him. May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 177–179.