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Showing posts with label Salvation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salvation. Show all posts

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2 - Purity 537

 

Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2   - Purity 537

Purity 537 09/29/2021  Purity 537 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roadside meadow and tree line underneath a cloud filled September sky comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to just stop and grab this moment of simple scenic beauty while I was driving through the Westerlo NY area on September 21st, which was if you don’t recall, the last day of summer of 2021.  

I share it for its simple beauty but also because it features a road which represents moving forward and making progress.  It’s Thursday and I share pictures of pathways or roadways of some sort today as a reminder or an encouragement to take the opportunity to step on, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship that is defined by a life walking in the Spirit and which leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit and increasing levels of maturity in our Christian faith.  It just also happens to be the path that leads to freedom. 

I teach am teaching the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries this evening at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and invite anyone local to join us at 6:30pm.  For those not within driving distance of the church, I have already uploaded a podcast version of the teaching for the first three lessons and will be uploading the fourth installment after tonight’s class. So if you want to be encouraged in your faith, to learn something new, or to be equipped with the tools to overcome, or to help others overcome, personal and spiritual conflicts join us for class.

Well yesterday, we started a series in where we started an investigation in to the question of “What is a Christian?” or “Is this person a Christian?” And as the Children’s show “Blue’s Clues” was in the news recently because they celebrated 25 years of programming, I was motivated to channel the inquiring spirit of Blue and that inquisitive theme to help us look at the questions of our faith and to help us examine the “clues” that would tell us if people we encountered were “real” or authentic Christians.   

Yesterday we looked at the significant “clue” of church membership or attendance as a good indicator but not a guarantee of whether someone was an authentic Christian. 

So today when I asked “Blue” (FYI, one source states that Blue signifies the Healing Power of God (https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning-colors/) which “clue” we would be looking for today, in my imagination, “Blue” was holding a small mirror.  

In our dialog, with me asking questions and Blue murmuring as she does, I was able to discern that before we started looking for anymore “clues” about other people’s authentic Christianity,  Blue wanted me to make sure I was a real Christian!  

So I thought about the question? What in my life made me know I was a Christian?  Now while our self-examination may prove helpful to determine whether those around us are Christians, it is the question of our identity as a Christian that is really the most important thing that we can investigate and confirm.  

Blue really turned the tables on us today because while we started to look for “clues” in the outside world about other people, she wanted us to “play fair” and put ourselves to the test too.     

So if someone were to ask you when you became a Christian or how you became a Christians, what would you say, boys and girls?    

Well the “state of grace” that determines whether or not someone is a Christian has to do with whether or not we are “saved” from God’s wrath by having a reconciled relationship with God through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord in Savior.  

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now this verse tells us that we are “saved” only if we confess (agree with) that Jesus is our Lord and that we believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, meaning that we believe that Christ’s dying on the Cross was meaningful, that it paid the cost of our sins, and that Christ’s resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son.  Confessing with our mouths “the Lord Jesus” means we not only publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ as our Savior, but agree to live according to what Jesus taught, to be obedient.  The Apostle Peter, who was able to walk on water when he obeyed Christ’s call to “come” wrote:

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,.

I point to this verse and the fact that our conduct should be changed when we become Christians because many people don’t understand the implications of “confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus” and I wanted to make it clear that there is more than just “saying a prayer” to being a Christian. 

But let’s make first things first.   Although we as Christians are supposed to become holy in our conduct, our entrance into God’s kingdom starts with that verbal confession. We must name and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we can successfully live like a Christian.  

We can’t become holy first, nor are we required to.   That’s like going through boot camp before you sign up for military service.  It doesn’t work that way.  You sign an agreement with the service and then the kind and gentle drill sergeants will train and encourage you to become a soldier.  Like military service, when you sign up to be in Christ’s army you are literally signing your life away.   

So if we are looking in the mirror, and trying to determine if we “look like a Christian”, we should stop and ask ourselves: “Have I honestly confessed the Lord Jesus with my mouth, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead? Did I sign my life away to be saved and agree to make Jesus my Lord?”   

For me, I can point to a specific time and place when I did that. I heard a gospel message on the radio and because of it I really believed “in my heart”, not just intellectually, that God had raised Christ from the dead and that if I made Christ my Lord I would be saved.

So have you ever done that, boys, and girls?

If you don’t believe in your heart that Christ was raised from the dead by God,  that whole idea will just seem like nonsense to you, and you will be hesitant to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

You won’t want to tell your friends, coworkers, or family. You won’t want to tell anyone about this crazy story of how a man dying on the cross has meaning and purpose. That Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is used to cause a reconciliation with an unseen God and man and that it gives eternal life to anyone that names Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, hopefully most of you reading with this will say you have done this. You have confessed the Lord Jesus.  If you haven’t and want to, say this prayer:

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Well if you said that prayer, you just signed “your life away” and joined God’s kingdom as His beloved child.  You are a Christian. You no longer have to fear death because you have been forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life.

From this point forward, because you named Jesus as your Lord, you should endeavor to follow the One who saved you by reading the word of God and applying its teachings to your life, step by step, one day at a time. 

Our Christian faith is not about perfection its about progress.  We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail, we pick ourselves up because God’s forgiven us and is encouraging us to walk into the abundant life that He wants us to experience.

So keep walking and talking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be complicated it just has to be continuous. So rejoice in your salvation and take another step today towards the good things that God has prepared for you.  

        

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

 

Today’s verse teaches us why we should read the Bible and meditate on its truth.  

Well as we may have welcomed some  people into the kingdom today, they may be wondering “Now What?” 

Well the good news is that you can rest.  You no longer have to fear what happens when you die. You have been given eternal life because of God’s grace. You didn’t have to earn it. You should be filled with joy and gratitude for having been shown the truth of the gospel and for receiving forgiveness and new spiritual life.   

The next step? We should learn about the God who gave us mercy and grace by reading His word. Start with the New Testament to learn all about Jesus and pay attention to His teaching to learn how we should behave as Christians.  Think about those truths as you go about your day and try to live according to them.  

That’s what today’s verse is teaching us and motivating us to do. For if we hide the truths of God’s word in our heart, we might not sin against God.”   I like the fact that the verse says might. I like to imagine that God understands that we won’t be perfect in our walk but still encourages us to express our love for Him by reading His word, meditating on it, and doing what it says. 

So if you don’t have a regular practice of reading and meditating on God’s word, start today and commit yourself to a regular practice of drawing close to God by studying His word.   

The Bible is true, and today’s verse encourages us that if we hide its truth in our hearts we just might not sin against God.  So put the word to the test by hiding it in your heart, and experience its power to transform your mind and change your behavior, not because you are trying hard but because you are learning to be the person that God has made you to be and because He has given you the power to become it,

 

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

 

Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Blended Family’s

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

The Blended Family

God's Recipe for Success

by

June Hunt


Introduction

Do you feel that the mix of your family is basically a mess? If you mix flour, sugar, eggs and oil together... it takes some work to get them to blend. But when the mixture is exposed to the heat of an oven for just the right amount of time, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the separate ingredients into a delicious dessert. Likewise, when members of a blended family are subjected to the heat of new living conditions and differing personalities, it takes some work to come together as a connected family unit. Each individual needs to make every effort to promote peace and build one another up so that the family will be bonded in love and in unity.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)


I. Definitions

Blended families, with their many challenges, have been around for a long time. They are formed for different reasons. When a spouse with children remarries after the death of a partner, the situation is difficult. But when the family unit becomes a blend of his children, her children and their children, the recipe for success requires a great deal of understanding and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

A. What Is a Blended Family?

  • The blended family is a family unit in which one or both of the spouses have been previously married and bring a child or children to the relationship.
  • The word blended means "mixed together." It suggests a combining of separate units into an integrated whole.
  • The stepfamily is a family unit in which at least one spouse has a parental relationship with a child based on marriage, not blood.

B. What Is a Nuclear Family?

The nuclear family is a traditional family unit composed of...

  • one husband and one wife
  • one marriage
  • one or more children from one union

C. God's Heart on Remarriage

  • Remarriage is permitted when the marriage covenant is broken by...
    • death
      "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)
    • —defilement (adultery)
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
    • —desertion and divorce (a controversial position)
      Only because of a hardened heart on the part of the one who leaves—God's heart is one of reconciliation.
      "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)
  • Remarriage is not permitted...
    • to an unbeliever
      "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39)
    • to a former spouse who has married another
      "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
    • —to a divorced person whose spouse has not broken the marriage covenant
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
  • Remarriage is not God's preferred state for everyone.
    "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.

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

 

 

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Monday, September 13, 2021

Falling Down and Walking Away – Prophecy of Pain and Loss – Purity 522

Falling Down and Walking Away – Prophecy of Pain and Loss  – Purity 522                                                     

Purity 522 09/13/2021 Purity 522 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an August sunset over Lake Ontario that features the moon comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography.  I am a huge admirer of the work of photographer, Rocco Saya, and periodically share some of his “views”.   The last time I shared a photo of his was of a beautiful sunset on September 4th.  The “title” of my blog that day was “Falling Down and Finding Comfort in His Presence”, referring to a misstep that I had made in my plan for optimal health due to stress.   I had no idea that the association of my title and Rocco’s photo could later be said to have prophetic underpinnings.  

Unfortunately, four days later, on September 8th, while photographing waterfowl on the on the shores of Breitbeck Park, Rocco fell off one of the large boulders there and broke his fibula and had to be rescued by firemen and EMT’s. His injury is quite painful and will require surgery.  So I am asking for prayers for comfort and healing for Rocco during this difficult time.  He injured himself while doing what he loved, and we pray that his recovery is complete, and he is fully restored to return to capturing the beauty of God’s creatures and creation.  

We never know what the next day in our lives will bring and I often try to encourage people to be intentional in the steps they make from day to day and to express the love they have for their friends and family now because we are not promised tomorrow.  

Part of the process of my sharing daily encouragements began when I agreed to be an accountability partner with someone and started sending them daily texts. I eventually started sharing that daily text with a group of men, and later several other individuals.  Even to this day, the message that I put out on the blog 6 days a week, is still texted to  that group of men.  As time has passed, on occasion I will get a notice that someone in the group would like to be taken off the list.  The texts are obviously voluntary so even though I am little disappointed to see people leave the group text, I immediately honor the request and hold no hard feelings towards those who “walk away”.    

On Wednesday, last week I sent out the group text and received an indication from one of the men on the group text that he would like to be taken off the list.  I just gave a “thumbs up” to his comment and the next day didn’t include him the text anymore. 

I just found out this morning that this person is no longer on this earth. They passed away two days ago. They were only 42 years old. I don’t know the details of their death and don’t wish to speculate but I really wish they had reached out to me and taken me up on my invitations to walk through life on the path of Christian Discipleship together.  Christ came to give us a new life and through following Him I know that we are given the power to change who we are. 

God gives us free will to choose to go His way or to choose to walk away.  Many people that I talk to about living out their faith indicate that they would really like to do that “someday”.  Unfortunately, if we keep going our own way and choose to walk away from the love that God wants to freely give, “someday” may never come.   

So, I don’t mean to bum anyone out on a Monday morning, but I want to encourage you today that your current situation could be worse, you could have a broken leg, and for those who are suffering a worse fate than that, you could be dead.   So going to work today might not seem so bad if we think about what has happened to two men who were just going about their business when something unexpected happened to change their course.   

So I encourage you to take care as you walk out into the world today and to appreciate the life and the health that you have.  Look for some beauty in your experience as you spend another day on earth. Appreciate the people and the things you have in your life and enjoy them. 

But most importantly, I would say to draw close to your heavenly Father by confirming or establishing your faith in Jesus Christ. Eternity can be a heartbeat away and if we are not careful the “someday” that we intend to make peace with God, may never come.    

So keep walking and talking with God. Tell the people in your life that you love them and share with them the hope that is found in Christ alone, the hope that will take you from here to eternity and beyond.

 

Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set: 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:2 (NASB)
2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Today’s verse commands us to put our attention on the big picture.  

Considering that people lose their lives every day, we should be greatly concerned with what will happen to us at the hour of our death.  Luckily, Jesus Christ came to earth to warn us of the dangers of being separated from God when we die.  If you read the four  gospel accounts that detail Christ’s earthly ministry in the New Testament, you will quickly realize that “meek and mild” Jesus really taught a lot about hell and the great value of gaining entrance into the kingdom of God.

I don’t mean to put an emphasis on salvation with this verse but let’s be real! Setting your mind on the things above is great but if you don’t secure your salvation by putting your faith in Jesus Christ it won’t matter how much you pondered the mysteries of theology or doctrine.

So first things first, make Christ you Lord and Savior. Okay?  -

Then, with your new and eternal life in Christ, we should really set our minds on things above, meaning that we should ponder how God would want us to live our lives.

Again, it won’t matter how much we think about the things of God, unless we do something with our knowledge about God and our speculations about how to do His will. We need to actually apply them to our lives.  

We’ve all heard the phrase about being so heavenly minded that someone was no earthly good. We don’t want to be that guy. God gives us the revelation of His truth and wisdom so we can put our faith into action.  

So secure your salvation with faith in Jesus Christ and then experience the peace and power of walking in the Spirit by changing your ways of living to God’s ways.  Although we are saved for all of eternity in an instant when we place our faith in Christ, our sanctification – the process of becoming more like Christ- is a progressive process that requires the renewing of our minds and the practice of living according to God’s instructions and principles that are drawn from His word.  

The things of this earth may seem compelling but most of them will pass away or lead us astray from the purpose God has for us. So set your mind on things above and live out your faith everyday by living in the presence of God and according to His wisdom.


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

 

Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

D. What Characteristics Accompany Codependency?

Jeff Gillooly and Tonya Harding . . . their marriage is punctuated with violence, restraining orders, divorce filings, and enmeshment, which continues even after the marriage is over.

Who knows what motivates Jeff to conspire to injure his ex-wife's rival, but codependency seems to characterize his relationship with Tonya. The skater's former agent Michael Rosenberg says Jeff and Tonya are incompatible and others chime in that the couple fight frequently.

James Golden, Tonya's stepfather, observes: "If she looked at someone, he would get mad. He'd manipulate her real easy. He has such a possessive nature and is so jealous of her." In contrast, the Bible describes authentic love. . . .

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

(1 Corinthians 13:4)

Having a "codependent relationship" is being dependent on another person to the point of being addicted to, controlled, and manipulated by that person. It is the natural by-product of having little or no boundaries because it is driven by the lack of personal wholeness and sufficiency.

After all, if we can't depend on ourselves to meet our deep emotional needs, then it seems only logical to look to others to meet those needs—to depend on others to fill our emotional emptiness and to give us a sense of significance and purpose in life.

To be needed by someone is certainly ego-boosting and to meet that person's needs can be exhilarating . . . but to fail can be crushing, and to be rejected can be nothing less than catastrophic!

The problem for codependents is not their dependency but rather the object of their desire. The fact is, we are all dependent creations, but our desire should be for our Creator . . . our only true Need-Meeter . . . and not another dependent creature. As the psalmist wrote...

"I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

(Psalm 73:23-26)

Codependency Is...

  • Marked by an insecure, dependent person spending an inordinate amount of time and energy meeting other people's needs and desires while neglecting personal needs and desires
  • Based on the belief that the subservient helper, the rescuer, the enabler has no inherent value or worth and can gain significance only by meeting the needs of other people
  • Rooted in the premise that one person not only determines the worth of another person but also has the ability to control that person's thoughts, feelings, actions, and the processes surrounding them
  • Identified as a relationship dominated by fear and control where power is exaggerated, misapplied, misdirected, and generally abused in an effort to get inner needs met
  • Established by boundary violators who seek to use a series of tactical maneuvers to get their own way without regard for anyone else's feelings or desires
  • Characterized by the skillful use of manipulation through deception and intimidation, goading guilt, heartrending stories, unsolicited and undesired advice, anger, and even threats

The Bible gives this description of those who are held captive to codependent relationships. . . .

" . . . they loved human praise more than praise from God."

(John 12:43)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

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

 

 

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Have You Been to the Mountaintop?: Eyes on Eternity - Purity 476


 Have You Been to the Mountaintop?: Eyes on Eternity

Purity 476 07/21/2021  Purity 476 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from a friend’s recent trip to Rocky Peak Ridge, the twentieth highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park of New York, The name of the mountain is due to its geology, a rocky ridge to the east of the better-known Giant Mountain which is near St Hubert’s NY.  I just love how the makeshift monument of rocks in this photo contrasts with the mountain peak beyond and how the color schemes seem to naturally flow from the gray rocks to the green fauna of the nearby peak, to a cool blue for the ranges beyond and finally to the white clouds above.     

Its Wednesday and I tend to share something that visually represents a peak to symbolize the midpoint in the work week, but I especially like the contrast that exists in today’s photo of what is made by man and what is created by God, to shift our perspective from the things of earth to the things of heaven.   

As nice as that rock pile monument was put together by the enthusiastic mountain hikers that have gone before us, its pales in comparison to the majesty of the mountains that are on display hear that God created.  

Often in life we become consumed with the life we are trying to build and the day-to-day problems that we have to face, and we run the risk of missing the big picture.  I recently heard the news that another friend’s mother has passed away and I was somewhat shocked to here that they were only 56 years old.  My friend’s family loss reminds me that life can be short and that we need to encourage one another to appreciate the time we have on earth and the people that are a part of our lives.

Considering the cold reality of death, the importance of building our own little empire is put into perspective.   Planning for home improvements, retirement homes, acquiring all the toys that go with them, and amassing large balances in financial accounts won’t matter when you leave the earth.  The investments that will matter are in the relationships we have.  We should be sure to spend quality time with our loved ones and assure them of our love on a continual basis because we really don’t know when we will say our last goodbye.

We don’t know when the Lord will call us into eternity, so it is even more important to have a relationship with Him before He does. God sent Christ to earth to pay for our sins and to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. While putting your faith in Christ will make you an instant citizen of heaven, it also establishes a relationship with the living God here and now. 

Unfortunately, some people have the wrong view of a life of faith. They see religion, a set of restrictive rules and mandates that take away the joy of life.  I personally hate religion and the Lord knows that my dislike of the idea of some authoritarian system of religion that would decide my fate kept me from knowing Him for most of my life, that, and my sin.  

But thankfully, the Lord sent me a message in the form of a radio gospel sermon that told me that a life with Him wasn’t about “doing everything right” or “earning it”.  God’s love for us was shown in Christ and all I had to do to be right with God was to put my faith in Christ’s work on the cross to save me.   When I said “Yes” to Jesus the floodgates of heaven were opened and God’s love was poured out on me.  

I realized that everything I had thought about God was wrong.  He wasn’t some cold hard taskmaster demanding perfection, God is a loving Father who is calling us home.   

So as you go about your day, thank God that you’re alive. Thank Him for your family and friends.  Thank Him for everything you have and after you do let Him know that you appreciate it all and that you want Him to be a bigger part of your life.  

A relationship with God doesn’t take away from your fun. When you follow His lead, the Lord will show you the truth of this world and take you to deeper levels of understanding and new heights of joy and peace.  With God, you are assured a good place in eternity, but your relationship gives you an ever-present hope for life right now.   So seek Him and know that He will never let you down.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Luke 9:27 (NKJV)
27 "But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."

Today’s verse comes from Jesus and His words have an almost immediate fulfillment, can have a present-day fulfillment, and will have a future fulfillment.  

These words of Jesus followed Peter’s proclamation that Jesus was the Christ of God”, Jesus’s prophecy of His impending death and resurrection, and an encouragement for the Apostle’s to take up their crosses and to follow Him..  

As for the wording, of today’s verse, we may wonder what Jesus means about “shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."

If we read the immediate text, the following verses speak of experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, where James, John, and Peter saw Jesus’ face become altered and his robe became white and glistening. And then Moses and Elijah show up! And then God speaks from the heavens saying: “This is my beloved Son. Hear Him!”   Talk about a “mountain top experience.”  

So, considering the context, I would say that James, John, and Peter were those who got to see a glimpse of the kingdom of God before they died.  Considering this happened 8 days after Christ’s words, that’s the more or less immediate fulfillment of His statement.  

In a figurative sense, Jesus’s words can also apply to us today as present-day believers can have “mountain top experiences” in their life of faith. Salvation, sanctification, visions, dreams, miraculous moments, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit can all figuratively qualify as instances where we too can see the kingdom of God in our lives of faith.   

Also as we have been in the “end times”, ever since Christ ascended to heaven over two thousand years ago, it is possible that this current generation can literally see the kingdom of God when Christ returns. 

So, have you seen the kingdom of God in your life? 

While I haven’t seen angels, been taken to the third heaven, or heard God’s audible voice from heaven yet, I can say that I have experienced multiple moments with the Holy Spirit and have been guided by Him in my walk. I can also say that I have seen the goodness of God in my life and in the lives of other believers. 

I can admit that I never saw it before coming to Christ, but since I put my faith in Jesus I have been seeking Him and brother when you continue to seek Him you will see the goodness of God in your life, and you may just have moments in your walk of faith where you can honestly say that you have seen the kingdom of God.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Keep going where He leads you and keep your eyes open.  He’s got wonderful things to show you but if you’re not looking for them, you’ll miss it.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 8.

 As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

4. Satisfaction. Key Concept: Quality

Satisfaction comes from living righteously and seeking to raise the level of quality in relationships, service, and product. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). Do you believe that? If you do, what are you doing? You are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and if you aren't doing that, then you really don't believe it.

What causes you to become dissatisfied with someone or something? It is usually because the quality of the relationship, service or product has diminished. I often ask people if they can remember when they became dissatisfied. Inevitably, they identify the time when the quality of a relationship, a service rendered, or their work diminished.

Satisfaction is a quality concern, not a quantity concern. You will achieve greater satisfaction from doing a few things well than from doing many things in a haphazard or hasty manner. The key to personal satisfaction is not found in broadening the scope of your activities but in deepening them through a commitment to quality.

The same is true in relationships. If you are dissatisfied in your relationships, perhaps you have spread yourself too thin. Solomon wrote, "A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). It may be nice to know a lot of people on the surface, but you need a few real good friends who are committed to a quality relationship with you.

That is what our Lord modeled for us. He taught the multitudes and equipped 70 for ministry, but He invested most of His time in the 12 disciples. Out of those 12, He selected three—Peter, James, and John—to be with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, on the Mount of Olives and in the Garden of Gethsemane. While suffering on the cross, Jesus committed to John, perhaps His closest friend, the care of His mother. That is a quality relationship, and we all need the satisfaction that quality relationships bring.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God - Purity 470


Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God

Purity 470 07/14/2021   Purity 470 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo from atop Giant Mountain, the twelfth-highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in upstate NY, comes to us from a friend’s recent summit of the peak that is also known as "Giant of the Valley” due to its stature looking over Keene Valley and St. Hubert’s to the west.  Our adventurous friend truly made the most of their day as they also summited nearby Rocky Peak Ridge, and then spent the remainder of the day boating on Lake George!  But here up above the clouds on top of Giant Mountain, our friend took a moment to sit and take a rest with their companion to enjoy a bird’s eye view of God’s creation.      

I share today’s photo because of the epic view but also because it reminded me of a couple of phrases from scripture that speak of the peace we have when we come into relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  

Seeing our friend’s companion’s feet stretched out on Giant Mountain with a few wispy clouds below I thought of the phrase in the Bible that refers to Christians as being seated in the heavenlies with Christ. The exact passage is:  

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

When we were dead in our sin and God made us alive through Christ, He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Positionally speaking, we are already citizens of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s royal family.  We have been saved and never need to fear death again. We are assured of a good place with God in eternity because of Christ.  

That realization, and this photo, made me think of Christ’s promise to give us rest. The exact passage I was thinking of is: 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our lives on earth are hard. We have to somehow figure out who we are, what we like, and how we can include those things in the process of deciding how we spend our time and how we provide for ourselves. We also must take all of that into consideration when we choose to leave our original family to establish a life of our own and choose whether or not to have a family of our own.  That’s a lot to figure out and we have to do it all in environment in which everything changes over time, including ourselves.  

A lot of people can look at those last few statements and say that they more or less define our entire lives but there is more to our lives than just the things of this earth. 

God sent Christ to earth to tell us that and to make a way for us to somehow rise above it all with His offer of rest and eternal life.  Figuring out the mysteries of life’s meaning and purpose by our own efforts and reasoning is exhausting and ultimately a fruitless pursuit. 

To find a meaning and purpose in life that is meaningful, we have to ask the One who made all existence what He says. God sent Jesus tell us what life is all about and Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
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.

While we can find some measure of rest from sitting a top a mountain glorying over our accomplishments, or by discovering optimal relaxation in a “sleep number bed”, the rest that comes from being at peace with God is beyond compare.  

So no matter where you find yourself on this “hump” day, remember that if you are in Christ, God has made you to sit in the heavenly places.  You have the assurance of life everlasting with the One who overcame the world.  Remember that and rest.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse calls us to a life of holiness and makes it clear that if we reject this instruction we reject God.    

In today’s seeker friendly churches with their hearts set on not offending those who they wish to bring into the kingdom of God, the preachers of the modern gospel are kind and compassionate but often exclude the message of holiness when they are presenting the benefits of the grace that saves.     

Quite honestly, when I heard the gospel message that saved me I heard about God’s love and forgiveness and was amazed by the grace that saved a wretch like me but I in no way thought, or heard in the message that saved me, that I would be called to change.   

I figured the thing that was so amazing about the gospel was that God knew all about me and accepted me, warts, and all! There was no way that God would expect me to change.  I figured my job would be just to tell people how awesome God was for the rest of my life, and I would just sit quietly in the back of the church praying prayers of thanksgiving and staying out of everyone else’s way.  

But God does call all His Children to holiness.

In the “body of Christ” I would say that there is definitely a sliding scale on holiness that is dependent on each individual’s understanding and convictions.  

The way I look at it the deeper your relationship and knowledge of the Lord is the deeper your conviction and desire to be holy will be. 

Repentance is a dirty word in some circles. I know it was a word that I didn’t want to hear when I first got saved. When I heard it I thought I had been a victim of the old “bait and switch”. 

“You said I was saved! You said I was forgiven of all my sins, even my future sins! So what’s this noise about repentance?! What are you talking about? I don’t need to repent! I did that when I said the prayer! I’m good. Thanks but no thanks! I’ll just be over here chilling with Jesus.”  

The thing is I was actually “chilling with Jesus” and the Holy Spirit too.   And guess what, they encouraged me to read the word of God and I saw the truth that God had indeed saved me and made me His child but although He found me in darkness, He didn’t want me to stay there, and He gave me the power to leave it all behind.

So I began to repent and have been experiencing victory after victory and have enjoyed an increasing freedom in Christ with each stronghold that I overcome.  I leaned on the Lord and took things one thing at a time and walked with the Lord one day at a time and sure enough every step with God took me closer into His light and further from the darkness.        

We are all called to holiness when God calls us into His kingdom. If you accept Christ you are saved but accept the Lord’s call to holiness too. That’s His plan for your life.

The abundant life the Christ promised is significantly different from our lives that we knew before Christ. To experience it, that means we must change from the ways we have always been and start living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

When you reject the call to Holiness, you reject the fullness of the life that God has for you. By rejecting holiness, we are saying we know better than God.  I assure you that no matter how bright or special you may be, that is not the case.  

So humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to help you and guide you out of your former or current darkness and into His light.  Your victory has been given to you already. You just have to trust the Lord and walk into it with Him as your guide.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 7.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

How Can I Turn Bad Goals into Good Goals?

Let me ask you a faith-stretching question: If God wants something done, can it be done? In other words, if God has a goal for your life, can it be blocked, or is its fulfillment uncertain or impossible?

I am personally convinced that no goal God has for my life is impossible or uncertain, nor can it be blocked. I can't imagine God saying, "I've called you into existence, I've made you My child and I have something for you to do. I know you won't be able to do it, but give it your best shot." That's ludicrous! It's like saying to your child, "I want you to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn is full of rocks, the mower doesn't work and there's no gas. But give it your best shot." When an authority figure issues a command that cannot be obeyed, the authority of the leader is undermined in the minds of those who are in submission.

God had a staggering goal for a young maid named Mary. An angel told her she would bear a Son while still a virgin, and her Son would be the Savior of the world. When she inquired about this seemingly impossible feat, the angel simply said, "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Luke 1:37).

You wouldn't give your children tasks they couldn't possibly complete, and God doesn't assign to you goals you can't achieve. His goals for you are possible, certain, and achievable. We need to understand His goals for our lives and then say with Mary: "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Goals Versus Desires

To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire. This liberating distinction can spell the difference between success and failure, inner peace, and inner pain for the Christian.

A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God's purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control. Who do you have the ability and right to control? Virtually no one but yourself. The only person who can block a godly goal or render it uncertain or impossible is you. If you adopt the attitude of cooperation with God's goals as Mary did, your goal can be reached.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have no right or ability to control. You cannot base your success or sense of worth on your desires, no matter how godly they may be, because you cannot control their fulfillment. Some of your desires will be blocked, remain uncertain and eventually prove to be impossible. Let's face it, life doesn't always go our way and many of our desires will not be met.

We will struggle with anger, anxiety, and depression when we elevate a desire to a goal in our own minds. By comparison, when a desire isn't met, you will only face disappointment. Life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to live with them. However, dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier than dealing with the anger, anxiety and depression of goals that are based on wrong beliefs.

Does God make a distinction between a goal and a desire? Yes, I think He does. "'For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the LORD God. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:32). It is God's desire that we would all repent and live, but not all will.

John wrote, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). Certainly, the integrity, sovereignty and success of God is not dependent upon whether or not we sin. God has no blocked goals. It is God's desire that everyone repent, although not everyone will.

Then does God have any genuine goals—specific results that cannot be blocked? Praise the Lord, yes! For example, Jesus Christ will return and take us home to heaven to be with Him forever—it will happen. Satan will be cast into the abyss for eternity—count on it. Rewards will be distributed to the saints for their faithfulness—look forward to it. These are not desires that can be thwarted by the fickle nature of a fallen humanity. What God has determined to do, He will do.

When you begin to align your goals with God's goals and your desires with God's desires, you will rid your life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression. The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.

She may object, "But what if my husband has a midlife crisis or my kids rebel?" Those kinds of problems are not blocking her goal to be the wife and mother God called her to be. Such trials will surely test her faith. If anything, difficulties in the family should further encourage her commitment. If her husband should ever need a godly wife and her children a godly mother, it is in times of trouble. Family difficulties refine her goal of being the woman God wants her to be.

The pastor whose success and sense of worth are based on his goal to win his community for Christ, have the best youth ministry in town or increase giving to missions by 50 percent, is headed for a fall. These are worthwhile desires, but no pastor should deem himself a success or failure based on whether or not they are achieved. His goal is to be the pastor God called him to be. No member of his church or community can block that goal.


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship