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Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2024

Total Solar Eclipse, End Times, and If Today Was You’re “Last” Day- Purity 1320

 

Total Solar Eclipse, End Times, and If Today Was You’re “Last” Day- Purity 1320

Purity 1320 04/8/2024 Purity 1320 Podcast

Purity 1320 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sunrise from Preacher’s Rock in near Suches. Georgia comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this photo on social media Saturday. Fred hasn’t let the moss grow fat on his rolling stone of a life since retirement a few years back and is actively living his life to the fullest, recently doing back-to-back endurance hikes of the Fire Creek Rim Trail in the Nantahala National Forrest in North Carolina. I suspect that if he was suddenly called into eternity, Fred would be pleased with how he spent his last 48 hours, doing something he loved in the splendor of God’s creation.

Well, It’s Monday, April 8th the day of the big eclipse, and as the moon and sun will converge to give us a moment to pause and consider our life’s path through time and space, I am considering our “last day” and the possibility of Jesus coming back “soon” and unexpectedly as He told us in:

Matthew 24:44 (NLT2)
44  You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

And He told us.

Revelation 22:12-13 (NLT2)
12  “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

So is today the day that we will see Jesus coming on a cloud and will have his faithful followers to meet Him in the air as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?  

Let’s just say, I’m ready! Come Lord Jesus Come! How cool would that be?

But honestly, my middle name is Thomas, and when it comes to end times predictions I am filled with doubt over whether Jesus Christ’s return will happen in my lifetime here on earth, let alone later this afternoon to coincide with today’s solar eclipse.  Although I believe Jesus will return to reclaim and rule the earth for 1,000 years and eventually usher in a new heaven and a new earth as the Bible tells us, I’m doubtful it will start today…. But it could.

For those curious about what Christians should actually believe about the end times – based on what the Bible says, Check out a couple of links I am sharing from gotquestions.org on the blog today if you “got questions” about the “millennium kingdom” (https://www.gotquestions.org/millennium.html) and the new heavens and new earth (https://www.gotquestions.org/new-heavens-earth.html ) . 

If you check out those links, you will probably be a lot less scared about the future, that is of course if you have made peace with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, of course.   Truly, the only way we can have peace about the end times, or the end of our time here on earth – our deaths, or any given day really, is to have the assurance that you are “safe” and have the guarantee of eternal life that is only found in Christ alone. 

If you don’t have Jesus, you should be afraid. Not only could you die at any moment in any number of unexpected ways, which would not be cool, if you haven’t been forgiven of your sins and welcomed into God’s kingdom as His beloved child, you would die in your trespasses and sins. Your independence from God and disbelief in the person and finished work of Jesus will be seen as rebellion and rejection of God’s gracious invitation to life with Him.  If you die without faith in Jesus, you will be rightfully judged for your sins and face God’s wrath and go to the dark place that Jesus warns us about. 

To quote a 2017 article from the Gospel Coalition’s Leslie Schumucker: (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-uncomfortable-subject-jesus-addressed-more-than-anyone-else/#:~:text=He%20says%20it%20is%20a,16%3A19%E2%80%9331).)

“Jesus doesn’t only reference hell, he describes it in great detail. He says it is a place of eternal torment (Luke 16:23), of unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43), where the worm does not die (Mark 9:48), where people will gnash their teeth in anguish and regret (Matt. 13:42), and from which there is no return, even to warn loved ones (Luke 16:19–31). He calls hell a place of “outer darkness” (Matt. 25:30), comparing it to “Gehenna” (Matt. 10:28), which was a trash dump outside the walls of Jerusalem where rubbish was burned and maggots abounded. Jesus talks about hell more than he talks about heaven, and describes it more vividly. There’s no denying that Jesus knew, believed, and warned about the absolute reality of hell.”

So if today’s solar eclipse has you a little nervous about “what will happen” or has you wondering about the universe, you, and the big questions of life and death, grab a hold of the answers the Bible gives us and grab a hold of the eternal hope and new life that you can have by making the decision to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  

You don’t have to be afraid of an eclipse. You don’t need to be afraid of your mistakes in life. And You don’t have to worry about how or when you will die.   If you put your faith in Jesus, you will be safe and you will live with God forever.   Jesus said in

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25  … "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

For many reasons, I know the Bible is true, Jesus is who He said He is, and I do believe this and although I’m not going to attempt to fly into heaven to meet Jesus today or run head long into the jaws of death to see Jesus sooner (I have to share this good news), I know that no matter what happens, I will one day be safe and alive in God’s kingdom forever.  

And I believe, that if you believe what Jesus said and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. You can be there too. 

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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 verse comes from the section on Death and Eternal Life

John 14:1-4 (ESV)
1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the second point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Death and Eternal Life.  

2. The believer will dwell in God’s house forever.

Today’s verse cements what I didn’t realize was “today’s topic”- eternal life and safety through faith in Jesus Christ). Jesus tells us to believe in God – to believe in Him and that He prepares a place for those who put their faith in Him. So add these words of Jesus to the other verses that assure us of the need to make a decision to believe in Jesus and to follow Him and be at ease knowing that the way Jesus goes is the way we want to go.

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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: JOHN 12

“Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard,
[and] anointed the feet of Jesus.” – John 12:3

This act of Mary expresses three things:

Her Faith. Faith had revealed to her that Jesus was none other than the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. Thus, she took the pound of oil, breaking it upon Him in anticipation of His atoning death.

Her Hope. Hope had carried her beyond death and the grave. Had she thought that Christ would not rise, she would have kept the oil until the burying for embalming.

Her Love. Above her faith and hope shines forth her love in this act. For in that expensive gift was expressed her unstinted, unreserved love. Love is only measured by the sacrificial gift; and the breaking of the vessel of spikenard upon Him meant the sacrifice of her all. No wonder the room was filled!

O, that my life would be as Mary's oil –
a sacrificial, unreserved gift to my Lord.[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, March 11, 2024

Our Future Hope - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 23 - Purity 1296


 Our Future Hope - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 23 - Purity 1296

Purity 1296 03/11/2024 Purity 1296 Podcast

Purity 1296 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blue sky ocean view comes to us from an unknown FB friend who originally shared this scene from the end of a dock or pier on social media on or around February 19, 2021. If this “crystal blue” vision is yours, give me a heads up and I’ll update the blog to give you the photo credit you so richly deserve.

Well, It’s Monday and I share scenes like today’s photo to encourage my friends to go out and enjoy their lives and to remember the moments of joy they had to help them make it through the times that weren’t so good.  When you are going through trials it’s good to remember moments of joy from our past for two reasons.  1.  They tell us that life hasn’t always been as bad as the problems we are currently experiencing. And 2. They give us the hope that someday in the future we can have similar joy-producing moments where our current problems are things we have overcome and left in the past. 

Similarly, and more importantly, when we are going through trials we can remember when God has helped us in the past and we can put our faith in His promises that assure us that He is working all things together for good and, if we are in Christ, regardless of the outcome of the particular situations we are moving through, we are assured of a “good end” in that we will one day experience what it means to live with God.   The promise we have for eternity is spoken of in:

Revelation 21:3-4 (NKJV) where we are assured:
3  … "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

No more, death, sorrow, crying, or pain…. Oh brother and sister -that’s our destiny. Let’s not forget that and rejoice right now because when we hold on to that truth nothing and no one can take away our hope for better days to come. We just have to keep on walking and talking with God until we get there.  

And what better time to draw close to the Lord than right now in the season of Lent? And speaking of Lent….

It’s the twenty-third 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 of 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 23

I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.

Because holiness has begun and is growing daily, we await the time when our flesh will be put to death, will be buried with all its uncleanness, and will come forth gloriously and arise to complete and perfect holiness in a new, eternal life. Now, however, we remain only halfway pure and holy. The Holy Spirit must always work in us through the Word, granting us daily forgiveness until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness. In that life there will be only perfectly pure and holy people, full of integrity and righteousness, completely freed from sin, death, and all misfortune, living in new, immortal, and glorified bodies.

Biblical Wisdom

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 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

·       If, as Luther suggests, both the capacity to believe and the content of our faith are pure gifts of grace given by the Holy Spirit, what if any is the role of human effort in our relationship with God?

Although we are saved by the grace of God and given the ability to repent by the power of the Holy Spirit, the role of human effort in our relationship should not be dismissed. God brings us into his kingdom but after we are saved He invites us to do our part in our relationship with Him by actively renewing our minds with His word and making efforts to align our lives with His principles for living by repenting of our former ways and crucifying our flesh to abstain from sin and to do good works for His kingdom.  Any Christian knows that although they are given the joy of their salvation after putting their faith in Jesus, they still have free will and can still be led into temptation and sin. So it is our responsibility to make the daily decision to forsake our former ways of thinking and acting and choose to follow God with the way we live.  The degree to which we choose to follow is our decision and the more effort we put forth to know God and to represent the kingdom the more that God will teach us, bless us, and lead us into becoming the people He created us to be.  

·       Why is the daily forgiveness of sins so central to the work of the Holy Spirit?

The daily forgiveness of sins is so central to the work of the Holy Spirit because we are imperfect sons and daughters of God who still sin and we need the assurance of our forgiveness and the comfort that the Spirit brings to us so we will not condemn ourselves and instead will persist in our efforts to become more and more like Jesus, to grow progressively in our sanctification and in finding our purpose in Christ.

·       What does it mean to say that “the Holy Spirit must always work in us through the Word”?

The Holy Spirit must always work within us through the Word because it is by the wisdom of the Word of God that we learn what our new lives are supposed to look like. The word renews our minds by causing us to know the truth about who we are and how we are to live. The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures, so the word convicts us and enlightens us. The Holy Spirit encourages and empowers us to repent based on the wisdom of God’s word.

Psalm Fragment

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12.

Journal Reflections

·       Have you experienced a longing to be “perfectly pure and holy”? If so, describe the longing in your journal. How has this longing impacted your life? If not, Can you imagine what it might be like to have such a longing?

I have experienced the longing to be perfectly pure and holy. You don’t forsake sexual sin unless you have that desire and amazingly the Lord will bless your efforts to be pure and holy by giving you the power to overcome the sins of the flesh if you ask Him for help, lean on His strength, and follow Him into righteousness.  This longing has changed my life – can you honestly say, “no sexual sin in my life”? I can. And it is only by the grace and power of God that I can do so, While I have victory in that one area, there is still room to grow – food addiction is an ongoing struggle, frustration and it driving me into swearing is a real present concern, but I can imagine that if I continue to surrender to the Lord, He will help me to grow in these areas too.

·       How often do you read the Bible and spend time in prayer? Does it feel like enough time?

I would normally say I read the Bible every day because I normally do. Ironically, this 40 Da Journey with Martin Luther and my current “March Madness” as the Freedom in Christ Course I am leading is coming to a close has gotten in the way of my normal Bible study but in truth I am getting lots of scripture through that. As for my prayer life, I spend 15-20 minutes in dedicated prayer every morning and have an ongoing conversation with God throughout my days.  And no, I don’t think I will ever feel that I have enough time for these two spiritual disciplines.

·       Do your devotional practices sharpen both your sense of sin and your joy in God's forgiveness?

Yes, my devotional practices convict me in areas where I need to grow, and they cause me to rejoice over my relationship with God and the fact that I am forgiven and free in Christ.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that your congregation will faithfully preach Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that more will be called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified in the one true faith.

I pray that my church will faithfully preach Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that more will be called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified in the one true faith.  Show us the truth and lead us in holiness, O Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer For Today

Come, Holy Spirit, enliven my faith today, show me the depth of my sins and the glory I receive in the forgiveness of my sins.

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 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 Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Today’s verses fall under the tenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

10. Do not lay up earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.

Today’s verses are the word of Jesus and He teaches us to value the things we do for the kingdom of God rather than the things of this world . This should impress upon us the importance of following the Lord with the way we live.  Although this world may judge us by the wealth we have and the things we own, God values the things we do for His kingdom. So let’s not be obsessed with the material things but concern ourselves with the spiritual treasures that come from the things we do for and with 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.

EVENING READING: LUKE 12

“Do not seek what you should eat or what you should
drink, nor have an anxious mind.”
– Luke 12:29

What a message for today! When men and nations in the world are very nearly beside themselves with anxiety.

“Do not seek,” said the Lord, “what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.” And previously, “Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap … and God feeds them… . Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass … how much more will He clothe you” (Luke 12:24-28)?

To live in anxiousness is a definite sin. For it is rank faithlessness and what is not of faith is sin.

Father, give me the faith of the raven and lily.
Amen.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Having a Vision for the New Life God Has For You - Purity 1245


Having a Vision for the New Life God Has For You - Purity 1245

Purity 1245 01/11/2024 Purity 1245 Podcast

Purity 1245 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the view of what was to become my backyard down by the River comes to us from April 17, 2020, and yours truly as I decided to take a look back into my phone’s photo archive and decided to share this scene from my first visit to the property that was to become my home, and eventually be called River House.  To those of you who may be admiring those manicured levels that go up the hill toward the back of my property,  I regret to say that my thumb isn’t as green as the previous owner’s and I only clear that first level beyond the big tree to the right.  And that big evergreen bush in the foreground and that quaint white bed frame sticking out of the ground? – They’re gone. I’m somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to yard work and because I had no intention of maintaining a “flower bed” – that metal bed frame was extracted and recycled and that big bush was an annoyance and was ripped up by the roots.  Just because something has been there for years, doesn’t mean they have to stay and if they serve no purpose or get in your way what you want to do, there is no reason to continue to work to maintain them or to keep someone else’s dream alive.  

Well, It’s Thursday and I normally share pathway photos to encourage us to get on or to keep walking on the path of Christian Discipleship but I decided to share this one because it represented a destination, a dream, a hope, and when we start walking and talking with God, we should have a vision for where we want to go. 

On that day back in 2020, I was doing a walk through of the property at 1788 State Route 9J alone because of Covid 19 restrictions and looking to see if it could serve as an adequate home for me and my children to go to as the terms of my divorce agreement called for the selling of our former home.  I looked at the property with a critical eye but I loved the view of the River, the garage, the backyard, the basement, and the first floor and although I recognized that there would have to be some renovations to change the layout upstairs to suit my children’s needs– I was overcome with the realization that “this could work” and that I wanted it and was going to make an offer immediately.   

I was working two jobs at the time and after that initial visit I changed my commuting route to my second job in Hudson to drive past what I hoped would be “my house” every time I went to work.  Each time I rounded the bend of State Route 9J and drove past the house, I was filled with hope that someday it would be mine and I saw each and every drive by as an act of faith that was declaring my belief that it would be.  My offer was accepted, I made arrangements with a contractor to do the work to make repairs and renovate what needed to be done to make the house what I needed it to be after the sale was final.  And on June 22, 2020, the closing was completed, and the house was mine.  My contractor finished the work a few days later and I moved into my new home on June 25th – my birthday and rejoiced.   Things may have changed a little bit since 2020 but the house at 1788 State Route 9J in Stuyvesant is still mine and it continues to fill my heart with joy when I think about how it all came to pass and how it became my house “down by the River” and how my wife, TammyLyn later named it River House.

It was my hope, and it became my reality, and it represents overcoming and freedom. It required hard work, sacrifice, faith, and the Lord’s blessings but it came to pass.  When we follow the Lord, we can hope for good things, we can hope for a new life, and we can hope for freedom.  So although we walk with the Lord day by day and just try to do our best to follow Him, remember to pick your head up and to have a vision for where you want to go.  Things don’t have to stay the same just because they have been that way for years. You don’t have to live according to someone else’s demands or dreams that keep you in bondage.  Jesus came to set us free and to change the things that aren’t right and when we trust in Him and set our eyes on the life that He has for us, nothing is impossible. 

So keep walking and talking with God and He will empower you and guide you to live the life that you always wanted to live but didn’t think you could.  We have a good, good Father in the Lord and He gives good gifts to His children and rewards those who repent and diligently seek Him.  

You can be free of your bad habits, character defects, addictions, and bad relationships but you have to have a vision for the life you want, and you have to follow the Lord’s ways to make sure you’re on the right path to find it with peace, love, and joy!

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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.

Revelation 21:1-4 (NASB)
1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
2  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
4  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

Today’s verses fall under the 15th point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

15. One day this life of suffering will be over and all will be made new.

 

Today’s verses tell us about the culmination of the coming of God’s kingdom in the future and it speaks of a hope that we can hardly imagine.  No death, no mourning, no crying, and no pain – how can this be?  God the creator of all things – who has always existed – will make it so and only those who have been blessed by His grace to put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior will experience the eternal glory of life with Him. How’s that for a vision?  

I don’t know what its going to be like but I have had some close encounters with the manifest presence of the Lord with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and His Spirit’s infilling at times and I can tell you that a few moments in His presence where heavy with the abundance of His love and filled me with euphoric experiences of joy that have been unmatched by anything this world has to offer.  Scripture gives us scenes of God’s throne room in Revelation 4 and the creatures and people there are depicted as giving God continuous praise with the resounding chorus that proclaims:

Revelation 4:8 (NLT2)
8  … “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

And

Revelation 4:11 (NLT2)
11  “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”

No pain, no death, and eternal glory with the Lord is the destiny of all who put their faith in Jesus – so let us rejoice now because our names are written in heaven and no matter what trials we may face on earth, God is with us and nothing can separate us from His love and His plan to give us a new, eternal, and abundant life. Praise God for He is worthy, He is holy, and He is SO good!

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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: MATTHEW 4

“It is written …” – Matthew 4:4, 7, 10

How wonderfully the Lord Jesus wielded the sword of the Spirit on this occasion!

There is obviously great significance in the fact that Christ met this temptation (and the tempter) with the Word of God.

The apostle John, in his first epistle, writes to the young men because they were strong, the Word of God abode in them, and they had overcome the wicked one.

Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him [the Devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

Here, in Matthew, are three instances at least where the Word of God is definitely regarded as the only successful weapon against the Devil (notice also Ephesians 6).

The blood of the Lamb, of course, is the only basis upon which the Word can be rightly used.

 

Lord, may the Word abide in me.
Amen.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Friday, December 22, 2023

Satisfying Gifts and “What We Believe” – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1228


Satisfying Gifts and “What We Believe” – Wisdom from Dr. Neil Anderson - Purity 1228

Purity 1228 12/22/2023 Purity 1228 Podcast

Purity 1228 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a headlight-illuminated Waite road and the silhouettes of trees, barns and farmyard buildings of the Allen Waite Farm comes to us from yours truly as I stopped my car to try to capture the magic moment of experiencing twilight on the shortest day of the year yesterday, the winter solstice.

Well, It’s Friday, Thanks Be to God!, and even though yesterday was the shortest day and longest night of the year, there’s good news, from now on the days become longer and the nights become shorter – in this Christmas season where we Celebrate the Light of the World – light is now increasing! Which only makes sense, the closer we get to Jesus the brighter, lighter, and better things get.  

Wednesday, I hosted the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church where I surprised the people who attended with Christmas gifts. I had an idea of who would attend and wrapped up gifts specifically for a few of them, but I also prepared extra wrapped gifts for the people who would show up that I didn’t expect. Truth be told, I had extra stores of the materials I gifted, just in case, I ran out of wrapped gifts. 

I appreciate the people who come to Celebrate Freedom and I try to express that each week by trying to tell each person as they arrive that I am happy to see them. The “C” of the ABC’s of Celebrate Freedom that we try to stress in our group is “Connections”. For the people who show up, we connect relationally as we encourage and support one another as we try to overcome those pesky “hurts, habits, and hang-ups” and grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in our faith. And because we are a Christian group, I stress that beyond one another the most important connection we can make is with the Lord. No matter who come to the group our for however long our group will last here on earth, the connection we have with God is forever and just happens to be the most important thing about us – our relationship with God – as it will determine our eternal destiny.  

So what do you give when you want to share a connection with our Heavenly Father? You give the gift of God’s love and try to give someone the possibility of experiencing their freedom in Christ, of course!   

So I wrapped up a framed copy of Mindful of Christ’s “Biblical Affirmations Poster” (which is a free resource available at https://mindfulofchrist.net/freebies/ ), along with a copy of the Freedom in Christ Ministries “Participants Guide to The “Freedom in Christ Course”, and a copy of the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  My wrapped presents were three gifts in one designed to give the recipient something to affirm their identity in Christ, give them teaching to help them grow in their faith, and give them a tool that could resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts.  

And even though I was given thanks from everyone who received a gift, yesterday one of the recipients reached out via FB messenger to thank me again and express his joy over receiving it and being a part of Celebrate Freedom. I was truly touched by his reaching out and encouraged him to ‘dig in” to the material and expressed how glad I was that he had made his way back to us after an extended absence.   Unbeknownst to me at the time, he also shared his gratitude for the gift I gave him publicly with a Facebook post and I was delighted to see that he was using it as he declared that he had read 30 pages of the Freedom in Christ Participant’s Guide already!  

At Christmas, you really want to give gifts that people like but you are really touched when you see them enjoying and using them and it is my hope that the three gifts I gave to the people at Celebrate Freedom will bring them to better the receive the gift that God freely offers to all of us, peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only gift that can truly satisfy us and if we look for satisfaction in anything else we will be eventually disappointed.   Do you believe that?  It’s true. And to bring that truth home a little more I am sharing a short message from Dr. Neil Anderson that I received as a daily devotional email back on December 9th. Anderson writes about the importance of what we believe,  and how it relates to our overall satisfaction and joy in life and I think it's appropriate for the Christmas season because many will be looking for satisfaction from what’s under their Christmas tree when they should be looking for it from the gift that comes from above.

Dr. Neil T. Anderson writes:

“WHAT WE BELIEVE

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder (James 2:19).

We all have some beliefs about the world we live in. Whatever we think will make us happy, satisfied, successful, etc. is what constitutes our belief system. We are walking right now by faith according to what we already believe. Be assured that the world system we were raised in didn't establish a biblical belief system in our minds.

Because we came into this world separated from God, we learned to live our lives independently from Him. We were conformed to this world. Unless we were raised in a perfect Christian home, much of what we learned to believe didn't reflect biblical truth. If you believe that you will only be satisfied by possessions, then you will probably never be satisfied. Jesus revealed that satisfaction does not come from materials things: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6).

If you believe you are successful because of status or the amount of toys you accumulate, you will certainly be at odds with Scripture. God has a different standard by which we are to evaluate and achieve success. Joshua 1:8 states, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." We can't make up our own definitions of satisfaction or success or determine what we want to believe. Faith must have an object, and for the Christian, that object is God and His Word.

The only difference between Christian faith and non-Christian faith is the object of our faith. To think that we will get what we want if we believe with all our hearts is a faith based on selfish desires. It originates within ourselves and depends on our own definition of faith. It's a form of religious self-hypnosis. It's like the Christian who says, "I don't know the Bible, but I have faith." For that person, faith is a substitute for knowledge and a compensation for ignorance.

Lord, I choose to believe today that You are the source of everything I need in life. I place my faith in You alone.

Neil Anderson”

I thank Dr. Neil Anderson for his work. It has been used by the Lord to help me, and many others, to experience their freedom in Christ, and I hope that today’s message will encourage you to be specific in what you put your faith in and where you seek everything you need in life. 

I’ll give you a hint it comes from God and His Word and is fully realized when you put your faith in, and decide to follow, Jesus.  So thank God it's Friday and keep walking and talking with Him, as you continually put your faith in, and follow, Jesus.

 

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

Today’s Bible 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 Church Discipline.

Revelation 2:14-16 (NLT2)
14  “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin.
15  In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching.
16  Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Today’s verses fall under the eleventh point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church Discipline

11. Jesus rebukes the church that does not discipline.

Today’s verses show us that the Lord cares about what we listen to and that there will be consequences for being “wrong” in what we believe if we don’t repent.

Historically, the Nicolaitans may have taught a “syncretistic” Christianity, with elements of Judaism, paganism, and occultism mixed in, where Christian theology and morality would have been compromised – as one of Balam’s claim to fame was leading the nation of Israel to intermingle with their pagan neighbors through sexual immorality and mixed marriages.  

The fact that Jesus says He hates them (verse 15, NKJV) shows us that what we believe and what we do matters and that we can’t be complicit with other religions or practice things that go against God’s world.  Regardless of what we may profess to believe, what we allow ourselves to listen to and what we do will reveal what we really put our faith in – and if that’s anything other than Jesus and God’s Word – there may be hell to pay on judgement day as, those who aren’t committed to follow Christ only will be told by Jesus – “I never knew you”.  

So be steadfast to know what we believe, why we believe it, and don’t allow any outside influences to drive you away from the Truth, The Way, and the Life – Jesus Christ.

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK FOUR – INCARNATION

DAY THREE

Christmas, Fulfilled Promise

Moses died on the mountain from which he was permitted to view from a distance the promised land (Deut. 32:48–52). When the Bible speaks of God’s promises, it’s a matter of life and death.… The language that reports this ancient history is clear. Anyone who has seen God must die; the sinner dies before the promise of God. Let’s understand what that means for us so close to Christmas. The great promise of God—a promise that is infinitely more important than the promise of the promised land—is supposed to be fulfilled at Christmas.… The Bible is full of the proclamation that the great miracle has happened as an act of God, without any human doing.… What happened? God had seen the misery of the world and had come himself in order to help. Now he was there, not as a mighty one, but in the obscurity of humanity, where there is sinfulness, weakness, wretchedness, and misery in the world. That is where God goes, and there he lets himself be found by everyone. And this proclamation moves through the world anew, year after year, and again this year also comes to us.

We all come with different personal feelings to the Christmas festival. One comes with pure joy as he looks forward to this day of rejoicing, of friendships renewed, and of love.… Others look for a moment of peace under the Christmas tree, peace from the pressures of daily work.… Others again approach Christmas with great apprehension. It will be no festival of joy to them. Personal sorrow is painful especially on this day for those whose loneliness is deepened at Christmastime.… And despite it all, Christmas comes. Whether we wish it or not, whether we are sure or not, we must hear the words once again: Christ the Savior is here! The world that Christ comes to save is our fallen and lost world. None other.

Sermon to a German-speaking church in Havana, Cuba, December 21, 1930

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Luke 1:26–33

DAY FOUR

The Great Turning Point of All Things

What kings and leaders of nations, philosophers and artists, founders of religions and teachers of morals have tried in vain to do—that now happens through a newborn child. Putting to shame the most powerful human efforts and accomplishments, a child is placed here at the midpoint of world history—a child born of human beings, a son given by God (Isa. 9:6). That is the mystery of the redemption of the world; everything past and everything future is encompassed here. The infinite mercy of the almighty God comes to us, descends to us in the form of a child, his Son. That this child is born for us, this son is given to us, that this human child and Son of God belongs to me, that I know him, have him, love him, that I am his and he is mine—on this alone my life now depends. A child has our life in his hands.…

How shall we deal with such a child? Have our hands, soiled with daily toil, become too hard and too proud to fold in prayer at the sight of this child? Has our head become too full of serious thoughts … that we cannot bow our head in humility at the wonder of this child? Can we not forget all our stress and struggles, our sense of importance, and for once worship the child, as did the shepherds and the wise men from the East, bowing before the divine child in the manger like children?

“The Government upon the Shoulders of the Child,” Christmas 1940

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Romans 8:31–34

DAY FIVE

God Became a Child

Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6) is the name of this child. The child in the manger is none other than God himself. Nothing greater can be said: God became a child. In the Jesus child of Mary lives the almighty God. Wait a minute! Don’t speak; stop thinking! Stand still before this statement! God became a child! Here he is, poor like us, miserable and helpless like us, a person of flesh and blood like us, our brother. And yet he is God; he is might. Where is the divinity, where is the might of the child? In the divine love in which he became like us. His poverty in the manger is his might. In the might of love he overcomes the chasm between God and humankind, he overcomes sin and death, he forgives sin and awakens from the dead. Kneel down before this miserable manger, before this child of poor people, and repeat in faith the stammering words of the prophet: “Mighty God!” And he will be your God and your might.

But now it is true that in three days, Christmas will come once again. The great transformation will once again happen. God would have it so. Out of the waiting, hoping, longing world, a world will come in which the promise is given. All crying will be stilled. No tears shall flow. No lonely sorrow shall afflict us anymore, or threaten.

Sermon to a German-speaking church in Havana, Cuba, December 21, 1930

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14[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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 54–59.