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Showing posts with label Sabbath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sabbath. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Finding Rest and Keeping it Holy – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther- Day 8 - Purity 1281

Finding Rest and Keeping it Holy – 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther- Day 8 - Purity 1281

Purity 1281 02/22/2024 Purity 1281 Podcast

Purity 1281 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a small white dot of a full moon over relatively huge palm trees and the hazy glow of the electric lights of Disney World’s  Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort comes to us from yours truly as I paused for a moment to capture this scene before going inside the main registration building to compose this message this morning.  

Well. It’s Thursday and although this isn’t much of a pathway photo, it was a scene along my path this morning and I share it to encourage my friends to get and see some of the world, and to be sure to take the Lord with you when you go.  Although a trip to Disney World is a tough sell as a spiritual pilgrimage, my faith has gone with me and even though I relaxed the restraints on my food plan this week, I haven’t let go of the Lord and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to help me keep things in the perspective of a Christian worldview, with awareness, spiritual discernment, kindness, compassion, and lots and lots of patience.  

Oh brother, the crowds, long lines, and barely contained chaos of herd mentality at Disney have given me lots of opportunities to practice patience, bridling the tongue, and adjusting my heart as I repeatedly shifted my mental assessments from “enemy mode” – viewing others with contempt or hostility – to seeing the other people around me for what they are people made in God’s image doing their best in life, with what they have, to find some fun with their family and friends. Even though I can tell that there are lots of differences between me and the others that I have seen in passing here at Disney World, I can see that we all have something in common – we all are trying to love one another to some degree and all need Jesus. We all need the Lord.  

And hey, I know I got Him- I have faith in Jesus and I have the Holy Spirit within me, but I also know that unless I believe in God’s word, live according to it, and stay in continuous contact with God through my daily spiritual practice and by “walking and talking with God”, I could easily lose the peace and joy that the Lord gives me.  It is in Christ alone that I have hope and find peace and so I do my best to abide in God’s presence, one day at a time, regardless of the location, through the different seasons of all the days of my life. And that brings us to our current season, Lent, which is a great occasion to recommit ourselves to growing in our faith and to growing ever closer to the Lord.

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

And so we continue.

Journey Day 8

YOU ARE TO HALLOW THE day of rest.

What is this?

Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God's Word, but instead keep that Word holy and gladly hear and learn it.

What is meant by "keeping it holy"? Nothing else than devoting it to holy words, holy works, and holy living. The day itself does not need to be made holy, for it was created holy. But God wants it to be holy for you. So it becomes holy or unholy on your account, depending on whether you spend it doing something holy or unholy. How does such sanctifying take place? Not when we sit behind the stove and refrain from hard work, or place a garland on our head and dress up in our best clothes, but... when we make use of God's Word and exercise ourselves in it.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath. " Mark 2:27-28

SILENCE FOR MEDITATION

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

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

     Luther states that the sabbath should be devoted to "holy words, holy works, and holy living." What does that suggest to you about how we should spend Sunday?

Luther’s words suggest that we spend Sundays worshipping the Lord and doing our best to reflect our love for the Lord with the things we say and do. Beyond going to a church service, reading the Bible, praying, and singing the Lord’s praises, Luther indicates that what we do and how we live should be holy too. The way we behave should reflect the fruit of the Spirit of peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.

     In what ways is sabbath-keeping countercultural?

Keeping anything “holy” is countercultural. Setting aside time to thank and worship the Lord is countercultural.  In our postmodern increasingly atheistic society, the emphasis is usually placed on personal happiness and that quest is put over and above any considerations for God or the principles of faith and morality that are revealed in the Bible.  

     What does it mean to "exercise ourselves in God's word"? How does your community of faith encourage and support such "exercise"?

To “exercise ourselves in God’s word” is to practice what we preach – to be authentic Christians – to actually live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit by applying the wisdom of God’s word to our lives.  Exercising ourselves in God’s word would include spiritual practices of reading God’s word, praying, worshiping God, and giving thanks to the Lord but it also includes showing we know what God’s word says by repenting of our sins and by living a holy and righteous Christian life.

PSALM FRAGMENT

How lovely is your dwelling place, 0 LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Psalm 84:1-2, 4

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

     Reflect on the Sundays of your childhood. Write about your favorite memories. Did your family observe the sabbath? How? What did it mean to you? What does it mean to you now?

 I spent most of my childhood on Sundays, or Saturday afternoons, going to our local Roman Catholic church, St. Mary’s, in Hudson NY, by my mother.   Mom wasn’t much of a Bible reader, at all from my observations, but she was extremely faithful in bringing my brothers and me to Mass each week and making sure we were raised and confirmed in the Catholic Church.  While my penchant for the sins of the flesh conflicted with a devout and holy life later in life, I have mostly fond remembrances of going to Mass with my family.  The liturgy was familiar and comforting and the atmosphere at St. Mary’s caused me to think of it as a “holy place” where the Lord was to be honored with our worship, prayers, and reverent silence.  Church was serious business but there was peace to be found amongst the pews and even though I have major issues with the institution and doctrinal stances of the Roman Catholic Church, I don’t have a problem with the people who go there to be close to God and pray that they put their faith in Christ alone to be saved. Unfortunately, my times on Sunday in the Roman Catholic church meant religion – rules and regulations - and fear of going to hell but now that I have separated myself from its errors and gone directly to God and put my faith in Jesus – and have full assurance of my salvation – my life of faith in Jesus means everything to me. My faith in Jesus forms my identity and gives me peace as well as my purpose for living.

 

     Sabbath, or rest, is important to the rhythm of our lives. Is there anything you might do to give your life a better balance between work and rest? Between secular pursuits and holy pursuits?

I would say that the balance that I have between work and rest is right where it needs to be. I only give myself to “work” for the 40 hours a week I get paid and even during those hours I am “resting in the Lord” as I talk to God throughout the day.  Other than doing what I need to do during my day job to get paid, I don’t have any secular pursuits. I spend the rest of my time trying to follow the Lord and try to love my wife, family, and friends the best I can while trying to encourage others to seek the Lord with the way they live their lives. I have found new life in Christ and I’m going to live it.  The Lord has given me a great gift and I’m going to enjoy it.

     Have you ever "longed for the courts of the Lord"? If so, write about the feeling of longing. If not, can you imagine such longing?

Yes, I have longed for the “courts of the Lord” in several different ways, I suppose.  I have had longings for Sunday and church to come. I have longed to enter into full-time ministry, some way and some how ( Lord, call me, maybe?). I have longed for Jesus to return – Your kingdom Come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – today is as good as any Lord, so Come Lord Jesus.   So yeah, I have longed for the courts of the Lord because that’s where true meaning and peace are found.  I long for the day that we all know the “Lord’s courts” where Christ will rule and reign forever and ever.  Until then I will spend time at the local assemblies of believers I go to now, I long to be back there this Sunday.

 

PRAYERS FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH

Pray that you and your family will take the time to hear God's word and keep it. Pray for someone you know who needs both rest and the refreshment that comes from hearing God’s word.

Lord, I pray that I and my family take time to hear Your word and to keep your sabbath holy. In this season of rest, I pray for the people I know who so desperately need the rest and refreshment that comes from hearing Your word and from knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.  Help them to see the truth and to long for the rest and peace that is found in Christ alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord Jesus, You made the sabbath for me to rest in you. May the day become holy for me through the use and exercise of Your word.

Amen.

 

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

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

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Conscience.

Acts 24:16 (ESV)
16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

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

2.    Keep a clear conscience before God and men.

Today’s verse comes from the Apostle Paul as he tried to convince those in authority that even though the gospel he preached was turning the world upside down, he always took pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 

As Christians, we are to put God first but also are to be concerned with doing what is right in our dealings with our fellow man, whether they agree or disagree with us when it comes to matters of faith.  Although we are not to shy away from telling the truth that has been revealed to us through the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ,  we are to share that truth in love and to treat our neighbors as we would want to be treated.  While we can’t get anyone to believe in Jesus or convince anyone to follow Him (that’s the Lord’s work), our consciences can be clear of any worries when we know that we have told others the truth of the gospel and treated them with the dignity and respect that someone who is made in God’s image deserves.  Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, and gentleness are fruits of the Spirit that tell us how to treat our fellow man so let’s practice those with others and be sure that our conscience is clear with God and man.  

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

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

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

MORNING READING: MARK 13

“For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
– Mark 13:11

What a promise to claim before setting forth to preach the Gospel! It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to present and reveal Christ. So that if it is He that speaks through me today, how fruitful will the ministry be!

The essentials are: Cleansing, Emptying, Filling with the Holy Spirit, Absolute Reliance upon Him for speaking, praying, and all service. Such reliance is vitally important if I am to be genuine when I preach Christ.

Then empty me, Lord. Cleanse me by Your precious blood.
Now fill with me the Holy Spirit. I take the fullness,
and thank You. Control me in all I do and say,
that You might be glorified today. 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

 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Ready to Wave the White Flag? - Purity 1172


Ready to Wave the White Flag?  - Purity 1172

Purity 1172 10/14/2023 Purity 1172 Podcast

Purity 1172 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a beautiful fall sunset over the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as Rocco Saya shared this masterpiece on social media back on October 6th.  

Well, it’s Saturday, and as we move into the last lap of the second week of October, I want to encourage all my friends to enjoy the weekend and to get some rest so you can be restored and ready to face the challenges of another week come Monday. The Lord thought getting rest was so important that He instituted the observance of the Sabbath as a holy day of rest in the Ten Commandments.  The Lord knew that we would face challenges in a world broken by sin and tried to encourage our worship and rest to give us the motivation and energy to keep going in life.

The idea of rest is especially precious to me this morning as I was up a little later than usual last night and my shifted work schedule is making a traditional – Saturday - Sabbath rest  - not an option.  I have to work today but look forward to the day’s end as I will be reunited with my beloved wife and observe a holy day of rest on Sunday, the New Testament – or Christian Sabbath – as we follow the Apostle’s lead who worshipped on Sunday – the day Jesus was resurrected – the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) but have the freedom, really to make any day our “Sabbath” as the Apostle Paul laid out in

Romans 14:4-5 (NLT2) where He wrote to the church…
4  Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.
5  In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable.

So whether you choose to rest and worship on Sunday, Saturday or any other day of the week – as long as you are fully convinced and resting and keeping the day holy it is acceptable.  So whatever day you want to worship the Lord and rest in honor of His commandment of a Sabbath is fine, I guess. How about that freedom in Christ! 

However, most Christians gather as a corporate body to worship on Sunday and as we are called not to forsake the assembly of ourselves as Christians in Hebrews 10:25, it would probably best to make Sunday your “Sabbath” and the day you can meet with the body of Christ to meet both of these provisions at once. 

It is good to come together as the body of Christ and the reason I am tired this morning is because I attended a gathering of Christian men at Starpoint Church’s Man Up event last night where we were entertained by some NASCAR themed activities and encouraged by NorthStar Church Pastor Mike Linch who came all the way from the Atlanta Georgia to deliver a message on never giving up. 

Utilizing the faithful example of Nehemiah, Pastor Linch’s message encouraged the men last night to keep building “their wall” – to continue to work on their personal calling and purpose in life – and to not wave the “white flag” – to quit or give up.  Linch shared how troubles in his congregation back in 2012 had brought him to the brink of waving the white flag on his work as a pastor.  But through the Lord’s help. who used faithful men and women to encourage Linch through the “desert season from 2012-2014, he endured and experienced a wealth of personal and spiritual blessings since then that he would have never known had he “waved the white flag” and walked away from ministry.  

After Linch’s message, the men were directed to share “the white flag” moments they had walked through during their lives in small groups, to encourage one another that they too had endured, or if they were currently going a “white flag” season, they could receive the encouragement and strength from one another and from the Lord as we were directed to pray for one another.

We don’t forsake the assembling of the saints because we are stronger together than we are by ourselves.  The only “white flag of surrender” we should wave is to mark our decision to surrender to the Lord’s will and ways for our lives because only God can provide us with the strength, guidance, and wisdom that will help us to navigate through life and to persevere in the work of “building our walls”, whatever projects the Lord is calling us to work on.  

So if you are blessed with a full weekend off – I encourage you to make Saturday or Sunday – or both days – your “Sabbath” rest or “if you have work to do on your “wall” – just pick one and use the other to “get ‘er done”.  

I know too well what “white flag seasons” and work mean and let me encourage you that when you go through them with the Lord, you can somehow make it and accomplish far more than you ever thought you could when you keep walking and talking with God!

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV2011)
31  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Today’s verses fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Bitterness, Resentment, & Hate.

 1.  In the power of the Holy Spirit every Christian can and must get rid of bitterness and hatred and become a kind, compassionate, forgiving person.

Today’s verse commands us to give what we have received – forgiveness – as a remedy to overcome “all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and every form of malice”.  As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus and to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving people to be more like Him. 

But as today’s verses indicate, the key to becoming kind and compassionate is to forgive from the heart.  Recognizing all that we have been forgiven of, we should be humbled to forgive other their offenses against us and thus diffuse and remove any bitterness or anger from us.  

So practice forgiveness, and do away with the anger, bitterness, and hate that represents the world, and follow the example of our kind and compassionate Lord and Savior instead.

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

30 - The Spirit Fructifying

Cultivating Christlikeness

The Holy Spirit not only imparts life and holiness, but He sustains the same in the soul; He not only communicates heavenly graces, but He cultivates and develops them. “That they might be called Trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified … For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isa. 61:3, 11). Yes, the same One who “planted” those “trees of righteousness” must also “cause them” to “spring forth” to grow and bear fruit. While the tendency of the new nature is ever Godwards, yet it has no power of its own, being entirely dependent upon its Creator and Giver. Hence, that fruit which is borne by the believer is expressly called “the fruit of the Spirit” so that the honor and glory may be ascribed alone unto Him. “From Me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8).

“For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses” (Isa. 44:3, 4). Just as surely as a drought brings famine, so the absence of the Spirit’s working leaves all in a state of spiritual death; but just as heavy rains renew a parched vegetation, so an outpouring of the Spirit brings new life. Then shall it indeed be said, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isa. 35:1), which is expressly interpreted for us by the Spirit in, “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isa. 51:3). We have purposely added Scripture to Scripture because the spiritual meaning of these passages is commonly unperceived today, when carnal dispensationalists insist on the ignoring of all figures, and the interpreting of everything “literally.”

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19)—that which the Apostle did ministerially, the Spirit does efficiently. This is how the Spirit makes the Christian fruitful, or rather, it is how He first fits him to be fruitful: by forming Christ in him! The metaphor is taken from the shaping of the child in its mother’s womb, so that as its natural parents communicated the matter of its body, it is then framed and shaped into their likeness, limb for limb, answering to themselves. In like manner, the Spirit communicates to the heart an incorruptible “seed” (1 John 3:9) or spiritual nature, and then conforms the soul unto Christ’s image: first to His graces, and then to His example: “That ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you” (1 Pet. 2:9)—which we could not do unless we had first received them. Ah, my reader, this is a solemn thing: we pass among men for genuine Christians, but the only coins which will pass the eye of God are those which bear stamped upon them the image of His Son.

In other words, then, the Spirit’s fructifying of the believer is the conforming of him unto Christ, first in his heart, and then in his life. By nature we are totally unlike Christ, being born in the image of Adam and dominated by Satan; or, to revert to the figure in the opening paragraph, so far from resembling a beautiful and well-kept garden, we are like a barren desert, where nothing but useless shrubs and poisonous weeds are found. “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down” (Prov. 24:30, 31). That is how we appeared unto the holy eye of God in our unregenerate state! It is only when a miracle of grace has been wrought in our hearts that Christ begins to be formed in us, and that we (in our measure) reproduce His graces; and this is due solely to the sovereign and effectual operations of the Holy Spirit.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



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