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

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Fields of Gold - The Art of Life and the Hope of Heaven - Purity 791

Fields of Gold  - The Art of Life and the Hope of Heaven - Purity 791

Purity 791 07/23/2022  Purity 791 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a painting of a child walking through almost colorless waves of grain while adoring the light of the heavens that illuminates just the tops of the wheat comes to us from Dave Baun Photography who captured this scene back on July 13th while traveling through Kimba in South Australia. Dave shared this photo on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) with the following comments: “Today’s images are of the silo art at Kimba. We were rolling into town just before sunset so the golden hour light and the colour of the sky really made this one a keeper. I love how these little “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of towns have these beautiful paintings on the silos.”

Me too, Dave. I love the fact that someone had the vision and artistic ability to transform what could have just been something common, ignored, and missed while driving through a small town and made it a thing of beauty that speaks of the simple beauty of life in their rural community.

I spend my weekends at my countryside home in rural Easton NY and I although I was born in raised in a small city-town, I am continually surprised how I have found peace with “Country living”. I thoroughly enjoy my short walks with the dog where I can enjoy the beauty of the fields, the quiet,  and the big sky that covers it all. I love it.

I also love how that through social media I can have friends that I have never met in person from all around the world and how they expand my vision to see things I simply would never see. Although one would think that these Facebook friends are more like acquaintances, I know that they are actually my brothers and sisters in Christ and that although we are separated by vast distances we have been introduced to one another because we all have the love of art, nature, and the Lord Jesus in common.  

Just yesterday my friend in the UK, Philip Hand spontaneously shared the following Bible verse and original poem with me, and so I share it with you:  

Matthew 5:4 (KJV)
4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

“Tender”

“When the touch of love’s sweet tender hand gently slips away.

When the bittersweetness in my heart is pulled apart again.

The wonder of you as I remember helps me face another day.

The tender kiss of time will wash away the pain.

 

Till heaven gently beckons and angels call my name.

I know the touch of love’s sweet tender hand will gently guide me home.

Cherishing the tender memories.

I will dance and sing in love forever more before God’s throne…”

-Philip Hand

 

Philip is mourning the loss of his beloved grandad who after 93 years on this earth “went to heaven to be with his wife”. Philip’s grandparents had been married nearly 70 years when his grandmother passed in September of 2020 and now Philip’s grandfather has joined her, having gone into eternity earlier this month.  Philip is assured of their destination and reunion in eternity because they were “the most amazing beautiful Christian people” Philip has ever known and have been a blessing to Philip his whole life.   So while Philip is still feeling the pain of the loss, he is comforted because of the memories of the love he experienced from his grandparents and because he knows that his loved ones have eternal life because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

As I considered, Dave’s photography and Philip’s testimony and poem, I thought of Sting’s song: Fields of Gold and the sweeping beauty of the images and feelings that the lyrics “paint” of a couple’s love for one another among the fields of gold and how it endured through the years. The song concludes, saying: 

“Many years have passed since those summer days

Among the fields of barley

See the children run as the sun goes down

Among the fields of gold

 

You'll remember me when the west wind moves

Upon the fields of barley

You can tell the sun in his jealous sky

When we walked in fields of gold

When we walked in fields of gold

When we walked in fields of gold…” (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sting/fieldsofgold.html) )

 

I am sharing a link of the song on YouTube if you want to check it out (https://youtu.be/-jMAIuqnFEI)



I always thought that song was beautiful but how it was also sort of winsome and sad, because it was incomplete.  It tells a beautiful story of love between a man and a woman “among the fields of barley” that endured through the years but it sort of indicates that the lovers who “walked in fields of gold” have been separated as the “west wind moves”, leaving one alone to “remember” the other and the days when they walked through fields of gold.   

But as Philip’s testimony indicates, the love story doesn’t have to end.  When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we have eternal life and although death may temporary separate us  we can rejoice as we walk on streets of gold in God’s future kingdom, as Revelation 21:21 assures us.  

But you have to follow the One who will bring you there. You have to follow Him alone. You have to follow Jesus Christ, the One who said: 

Matthew 13:44 (NKJV)
44  "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Jesus came to earth to show us that He was the only way to God the Father. He is the only way to have peace with God and to be adopted into His eternal kingdom. 

As we walk through the fields of gold on this earth, the seasons change, we age, and one day our life will be called into eternity and only the ones who have found Christ will have life with God for all eternity. 

Christ has shown us that He is the treasure hidden in a field. It is only Christ that can give us an abiding peace on earth and an entrance in the kingdom of heaven.

The question: is will you surrender everything you have to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to experience it?

Through the word of God, my life experiences on this path of Christian Discipleship with the manifest presence of the Lord, and from the testimony of other Christians through out the ages and who are still alive today, I know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that truth has set me free and given me the assurance of my place in eternity with God. 

So enjoy your walk through the fields of gold and all the beauty that surrounds us on this earth, but put your faith in Christ, and in Him alone, to have the assurance that your journey through life will have a meaning, a purpose, and a glorious final destination.  

So start, or keep walking and talking with God, study His word and pray to get to know Him more and to be transformed into a person of peace that has the hope of heaven and the words that lead to eternal life in your mind, heart, and soul that will point others to the treasure that is Christ alone.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 14:15-16 (NLT2)
15  “If you love me, obey my commandments.
16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.

Today’s verses are Christ’s instructions to His apostles and His promise of the Holy Spirit to all who submit to His Lordship and obey.

The Advocate spoken about here, of course, is the Holy Spirit. Although the third person of the godhead -the trinity – and who thus has the attribute of God’s omnipresence, The Holy Spirit is somehow present everywhere but somehow also takes up residence in everyone who makes Jesus their Lord and Savior!    

Before the work of Christ on the cross, the Holy Spirit only came upon select individuals to empower them for God’s special purposes. But after the power of sin and death was broken by Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross, and after He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in heaven, The Holy Spirit has been given to empower every person who obeys God’s call to repent and to put their faith in Christ.

Jesus’s instructions are clear “If you love me, obey my commandments”: Not anybody else’s commandments or philosophies of life, His commandments, His way.

As the only person who ever lived who never sinned, Christ is our example. He was encouraging His disciples to live the way He lived.

That may seem to be a tall order…

But the fantastic news is that, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we have all been empowered to be able to follow Christ’s example.  When we “abide in Christ” through continuous communication, worship, and service to the kingdom of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk and live the Christian life.  

So show your love for Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to obey His commandments. Christ’s burden is light and because the Holy Spirit is with us forever it is a burden we can bear.    

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

The Threefold Nature of Evil Influence

In this book the focus on the theme of principalities and powers could lead one to believe Paul gave a demonological root to all evil. That is not the case. Paul’s view of the nature of evil influence on people is very balanced.

In Ephesians 2:1–3, Paul describes sinful behavior as stemming from three compelling influences—to be seen as three strands combining to make one sturdy cable. This cable tightly binds unbelievers, keeping them in slavery to the kingdom of darkness. It may be helpful to depict these three sources of evil influence graphically:

1. The World:

 

“the ways of this world”

 

2. The Devil:

 

“the ruler of the kingdom of the air” “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”

 

3. The Flesh:

 

“the cravings of our sinful nature … its desires and thoughts”

 

In simplest terms we might categorize these influences as “the world, the devil and the flesh.” We need, however, to take a closer look at what Paul specifically said.

In this passage Paul was disclosing the nature of his readers’ lives before they turned to Christ. Here a set of overriding principles help us to understand how Paul perceived evil as influencing the lives of people in general, Christians or non-Christians. Christians will still need to contend with the same sources of evil influence, but Christians have a new means of overcoming these influences through the power of Christ. Those who are not believers, being apart from Christ, are enslaved to these influences, not having the power or ability to escape.

When he spoke of “the ways of this world,” Paul was thinking of the powerful influence of societal attitudes, habits and preferences that are at odds with God’s standard of holiness. Literally, the text indicts the character of “the age of this world.” There is a stark contrast between the character of “this age” and “the age to come.” John R. W. Stott aptly describes the character of “the age of this world”:

Both words “age” and “world” express a whole social value-system which is alien to God. It permeates, indeed dominates, non-Christian society and holds people in captivity. Wherever human beings are being dehumanized—by political oppression or bureaucratic tyranny, by an outlook that is secular (repudiating God), amoral (repudiating absolutes) or materialistic (glorifying the consumer market), by poverty, hunger or unemployment, by racial discrimination, or by any form of injustice—there we can detect the subhuman values of “this age” and “this world.”

This influence begins at birth with values that are passed on from the parents and extended family. It is reinforced all throughout life, both formally and informally, through the educational system and the media as well as through peer pressure. It continues to be transmitted through patterns of thinking, traditions, customs and even institutions. This is not to say everything in society is evil. But there is much in society that leads away from God.

“The ruler of the kingdom of the air,” the second evil influence Paul delineated, is a powerful supernatural being in charge of a whole host of evil spirits often thought by the ancients to reside in the air. This ruler is more precisely a “spirit,” and Paul portrayed his method as very immediate and direct: “He is now at work in [or among] those who are disobedient.” It would be inaccurate to say all who disobey God are “possessed” by an evil spirit. Yet Paul was clear that this evil agent and his emissaries exert a very close and personal kind of influence over individuals. This spirit exerts a powerful, compelling influence, although many English translations miss this description. When Paul said the ruler is “at work in,” he used a word that was part of his vocabulary of power and could be translated, “The spirit who is now powerfully at work in …” The GNB translates the phrase, “the spirit who now controls the people.” Notice that Paul emphasizes here the work of the evil spirit in people as opposed to institutions.

The final evil influence that Paul drew attention to is what he termed “the flesh.” This is Paul’s favorite expression to convey the inner drive of people to act in ways deviant to the standard of God’s righteousness. It points not only to the inner motivating force behind actions that are associated with the body, such as sexual sin, but also to aspects of the thought life as well, such as envy and anger. This inner impulse to do evil is set in contrast to the new impulse to live with moral integrity provided by God’s gift of the Holy Spirit (see Gal 5:19–23).

Paul, therefore, presented the true character of evil influence in all three of its manifestations. The source of evil tendencies is both internal and external to people as well as supernatural. Individuals possess an internal inclination toward evil, and their environment (peers, media, societal norms, and so forth) also strongly influences them. Such a perspective linking the categories of “the world, the flesh and the devil” was also integral to the thought of James (see Jas 3:15) and John (1 Jn 2:15–17; 3:7–10) and, presumably, common in the early church.

Paul’s teaching suggests that the explanation for our behavior is not to be found exclusively in human nature or in terms of the world’s influence. Similarly, an exclusively demonic explanation for deviant behavior is unduly myopic. Rather, we should explain behavior on the basis of human nature, environment and the demonic—all three simultaneously. One part may play a leading role, but all three parts need to be considered. Paul’s theology at this point has significant implications for those involved in counseling ministries. Yet we also need to see it as extremely relevant for our church life.

The demonic side receives the strongest emphasis in Ephesians and Colossians, while the flesh is more prominent in Romans and Galatians. The general situations of the readers of each book may have something to do with their particular emphases. If the readers of Ephesians and Colossians tended to need help in dealing with their past involvement in occultic practices, this fact would explain why the demonic side is stressed more strongly in those two letters.

In the final analysis, however, Paul regarded Satan as the chief opponent of Christ and his kingdom. The demonic explanation for evil behavior needs to be seen as the thread that ties together all the evil influences. In practice Satan exploits the depraved tendencies of the flesh and exercises a measure of control over all levels of a social order.

Through the cross of Christ Christians gain their freedom from these compelling and enslaving influences. His death and resurrection resulted in the “age to come,” breaking into the present age. Believers now share already in many of the blessings and resources of the age to come. Through the cross of Christ our flesh was crucified, and we can live under the guiding and enabling impulses of the Holy Spirit. Finally the cross of Christ marked a decisive victory by God over the powers of evil. Through union with Christ believers can resist Satan and be victorious over his kingdom.[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship




[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 123–126.

Friday, July 22, 2022

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide! – God’s Remedy for Shame - Purity 790


 

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide! – God’s Remedy for Shame  - Purity 790

Purity 790 07/22/2022 Purity 790 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a magnificent sunflower sunset comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from near their home in Milton, Kentucky on social media back on July 17th.

I don’t know all the details of this friend’s story but I know that their journey is similar to mine, involving the pain of divorce in spite of their faith and the joy of a new Christ centered marriage. They are enjoying the dawn of a new life where they have left behind the troubles of the past as they progressively sought to follow the Lord’s lead. When I see them share scenes from the latest chapters of their journey, I rejoice because each scene of the simple joys of their new life provide evidence that the Lord was faithful to provide a way to “the promised land” to one who was faithful to follow Him.

In this sense, their story is my story as I am thanking God that it is Friday because not only will today mark the end of another work week and the beginning of the weekend but today I will leave work, regardless of how my day goes, with the pure joy of anticipation of being in the loving arms of my wife again as our “two household lives” will converge and become one again as we are reunited at our countryside home in Easton NY.  

Reunited and it feels so good. So I am rejoicing over my friend’s new life, my life, my wife, and the transformation I am continuing to witness in the lives of the men that I meet with via Zoom as we review Freedom in Christ Ministries’ “The Grace Course”.  

The Grace Course material is great but our fellowship of mutual support, as we are open and honest about our walk of faith, is what really makes our two hour meetings seem to fly by as we seek to grow in our maturity and fight the good fight by applying the wisdom of God’s word to our daily lives.    Although none of us are perfect, we have all agreed that we have made significant progress on the “path of Christian Discipleship” and our meetings are a reminder of the victories we have won and an encouragement to keep “walking and talking with God.”

Last night’s session was on the topic of shame and how it can be brought into our lives through our family, work, or church dynamics where the “shoulds” and “ought to’s” standards that are established can make us feel that we don’t measure up. Shame can also come from the regrettable things we have done or even from the things that others have done to us.  Our sense of shame typically sends us running away from God and causes us to develop strategies for dealing with it that deny, cover, bury or seek to overcome our shame by our own efforts.

While our different strategies may work for a while, residual shame can remain despite our best efforts because whereas:

Guilt says: “I did something wrong. I made a mistake.” ,

Shame says “There is something wrong with me! I am the mistake”.      

So no matter what you do or where you go, there you are: unacceptable, sick, twisted, warped, wrong, degenerate, dirty, or “DIFFERENT”.  Shame says : “You can run but you can’t hide! Eventually, others will know who you really are and they will reject you!”   

So we run, we hide, or we work to overcome certain problem areas so we can feel acceptable… but even if we achieve a measure of success, shame says that there will still be something very very wrong about us, fundamentally on the inside.  

But God gives us a remedy for our brokenness. God gives us a way to take away our shame.

Romans 10:9-11 (NKJV) says
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.
10  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11  For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

The remedy for our sense of disgrace is God’s grace!  Overcoming our sense of shame, is not about our efforts, it’s about His grace:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It’s not about our making ourselves into a new person, it’s about realizing that through our faith in Christ we have already been made new and there is nothing to be ashamed about.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) says
17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) says
16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

So through putting our faith Christ, and by living by faith – by living according to who we are in Christ and by the wisdom of the word of God,  we walk into the new life that God has for us, leaving our shame – our sense of unacceptableness – behind because we are accepted! Through God’s gift of grace we have been forgiven, made righteous, and given a new and eternal life. God has taken away our shame and He doesn’t want us carrying it or condemning ourselves anymore.

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

We tried to run. We tried to hide. We tried to be all that we could be, but it never solved anything. No matter where we went, there we were.

But God found us and He has pulled us out of the shadows of our former lives and invites us to walk with Him into the light of a new life. So keep your chin up, and know that you are accepted by the only One who really matters and He has agreed to never leave you or forsake you as you walk out your journey of faith, from here to eternity.  

He made you, He saved you and He has healed you by making you new. So keep walking and talking with God, and rejoice over the new dawn, the new day, and the new life that the Lord has made in you.

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:2 (NLT2)
2  Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.

Today’s verse describes the spiritual condition of one who obeys God’s laws and continues to search for Him with all of their heart.  The condition is joy!

In this one little verse lies the truth regarding walking in the Spirit. When we simply obey the Lord and continually seek Him and His will for our lives, we have joy.

Throughout scripture God directs us to obey Him, to turn to Him, and follow Him.

If we view God’s law as a set of rules, we will undoubtedly feel condemned because we can’t keep them or we will rebel and seek to beat God at His own game by breaking them and avoiding detection or any negative consequences.  Our pride doesn’t like being told what to do so we will challenge God’s law and the devil or our own imaginations will seek acceptable alternatives to obedience.

We look for short cuts. We look at what the world does and see that there are various different ways to live. So we trust in ourselves, what our families have taught us, or what see in the world and we disobey. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we suffer but regardless when we have to continue to work to create peaceful circumstances and environments, the inevitable will happen: we will fail and we will struggle and will lose our “happiness”. What we create is not joy. It’s happiness because “we made it happen”….  

But joy is different. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and it doesn’t depend on circumstances. Joy depends on our relationship with God and when we search for Him with all our hearts and live according to His ways by obeying His law, we are blessed with an abiding sense of joy that can endure through even the most tumultuous times in our lives.  

The wisdom in today’s verse is plain and simple.  But although it may be simple, it may not be easy because this joyful path is only discovered by surrendering our pride and agreeing to humble ourselves to trust and obey the Lord’s law, His instructions for living, rather than going our own way.   

This way to joy may not be easy but it is worth it.

Christ went to the cross because of the joy set before Him.  The joy was twofold. Jesus had joy over doing the Father’s will – thus proving today’s verse as true – Christ had joy because He obeyed.

But Jesus also had joy because His death on the cross meant that He was making a way for all of us to be forgiven and to experience the joy of our salvation.  

So be like Jesus, obey the Lord’s law and search for Him and His will for your life with all your heart and discover the joy that has been set before you.

______________________________________________________________________

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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

9  The Influence of the Powers on Believers

The painful influence of the evil one continues to be felt throughout the world. The horrors of war, poverty, financial exploitation and racial discrimination are evident worldwide. Christians do not appear to be immune to Satan’s solicitations to evil. Many succumb. Stories of adultery, financial improprieties, hypocrisy, division and the like are all too typical of the modern church. Many pastoral counselors are reporting numerous cases of Christians struggling with direct demonic involvement in their lives.

Satan As a Defeated but Active Enemy

Life experience amply demonstrates to us that Satan and his forces are still quite actively engaged in their malignant activity. Throughout his letters Paul assumed Satan’s continuing powerful opposition to God’s people, and he worked with his churches on how to respond to that evil. Yet, at the same time, Paul was convinced that Christ’s death and resurrection had defeated and disarmed the powers of darkness (Col 2:15). How are we to make sense of these two seemingly contradictory points of view?

First, Christ did win a decisive victory over the powers through the cross. Because of his death and resurrection, Christ broke their compelling grip on humanity, thereby enabling him to rescue people from Satan’s domain and install them as members into his own kingdom. Because those hostile forces have no power or authority over Christ, they consequently have no power or authority over members of his body. Believers acquiesce to the influence of evil powers only in so far as they do not depend on the resources available to them in Christ. Believers can resist Satan’s enticements to sin when they appropriate God’s power made available to them through their union with Christ.

Second, a decisive battle frequently determines the outcome of a war. Christ’s victory on the cross forever determined the outcome of Christ’s conflict with the powers of darkness. The war continues, but every battle is a relatively minor skirmish in comparison to the battle won through Christ’s death and resurrection. Oscar Cullmann has drawn a helpful analogy to Christ’s conflict with the powers by using the two major events of World War 2—D-Day and VE-Day. No one would doubt that the outcome of World War 2 was decided when the Allied forces landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). Yet VE-Day, the day of final victory, did not arrive until May 8, 1945, almost a year later. Numerous battles were fought and many casualties were sustained, but the enemy’s failure to prevent the successful Allied invasion determined the war. Another scholar relates this to the conflict Christ and his church face with the powers:

D-Day was but the prelude to V-Day, the Day of Christ, the parousia, the day of the final victory of God in Christ. It is the conviction that though the campaign may drag on and V-Day, the day of final glory may still be out of sight, D-Day is over and the powers of evil have received a blow from which they can never recover.

The church continues to live in this “mopping up” period. Final victory is assured, but it is still a dangerous time, and there are many battles to be fought. Satan and his powers continue to attack the church, hold unbelieving humanity in bondage and promote every kind of evil throughout the world. Believers will continue to suffer the painful effects of the large-scale evil spurred on by the powers of darkness—evils such as war, morally deplorable public policies, crime, gang violence and the like. But the powers can no longer take us captive, separate us from God and keep us in sin. We have freedom in Christ. We have a message of redemption and freedom to proclaim.[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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 122–123.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

You’re GOING the WRONG WAY! – Follow Him – Purity 788


You’re GOING the WRONG WAY! – Follow Him – Purity 788

Purity 788 7/20/2022  

Good morning,

Today’s photo a view of the Catskill Mountains from the vantage point of the Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, New York comes from our good friend, brother in Christ and fellow Bible Study enthusiast, Arthur Cincotti.  I rarely name names when I share the “photo of the day” but I know Arthur covets the “honor” of having his “views” being highlighted on the blog so I wanted to give him credit for “making it”.   I usually give a general idea of when the photos I share were taken but although I might assume it was taken recently, the fact that I received this photo via a text photo drop that included, among others, a photo of Arthur dressed as Cyrano de Bergerac from what must have been at least 25 years ago, I won’t make that assumption and will only assure everyone that a visit to Olana is a “must” for anyone visiting Columbia County as the view of the Catskills hasn’t changed through the years.   

I share it today because I love my friend and because it highlights a mountain range that can visually represent the fact that we will reach the summit of the midpoint of our work week, as we have made it to another “hump day”.  

Speaking of peaks, I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see a sudden spike in the downloads of the mt4christ247 podcast that sent us skyrocketing past the 7,000 downloads mark!  So to all who regularly listen, and to the one person, or persons that probably sent us over the 7k mark inadvertently, or perhaps intentionally, by downloading close to 100 episodes in single day, I say: THANK YOU!

My intentions in the blog and the podcast are somewhat “Cyrano like” in that I don’t intend to direct any attention to myself but only wish to speak words that could encourage others to fall head over heels in love with Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit and to commit their lives to following them and sharing the love of God and the truth of His word.  I know that in and of themselves my words can’t save anyone but I also know that the Lord could use my efforts to bring people to Him.   

So I talk about the Bible and Christian living to persuade people to seek God for themselves because I am confident that if they do, with all their heart, as Jerimiah 29:13 indicates, they will find Him and they will put their faith in the only One that can give them peace with God, Jesus as indicated in John 14:6.  Which says:

John 14:6 (NKJV)
6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

So I don’t point to Buddha, to Confucius, Mohammed, Rumi, or anyone else. I point to Jesus and quite frankly I feel anyone who is considering “other religions” or other philosophies of life that don’t specifically name Jesus as – Lord, Savior, King of Kings, the Son of God, and God the Son or would claim that Jesus is only one good teacher among others, are either foolish, ignorant, or being deceived. 

To be clear, I am a FORMER Buddhist who was saved by a revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  John 14:6 and the whole of scripture in the Bible speaks of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only means to have peace with God. I reject Buddhism and all other world religions that don’t hold the Bible as the inerrant word of God and Jesus as the sole means of salvation.  There is only one way to God, through faith in Jesus Christ.

In the movie, planes, trains & automobiles, although I am not really a fan of the film, there is a scene where the main characters are driving down a highway at night when suddenly a car pulls up a long side them and the occupants are desperately trying to get their attention. The main characters finally heed their signals and roll down their window to hear what they are saying. “You’re going the wrong way!!!!” They shout!  

The main characters are confused and figure that these concerned people must be mistaken “How do they know where we’re going to?” they ask, dismissively…

But suddenly, the main characters understand what the other drivers are saying when a set of headlights appear in the distance that are heading directly for them.   The main characters mistakenly got on the wrong side of a divided highway and were driving in the opposite direction of traffic!   Luckily, they were able to avoid disaster. 

And that’s all I am trying to do with my blog, my podcast, and my life.  As someone who “was going the wrong way” for most of my life, I understand how offensive the idea that there is only one way to God can be but it even though it may be offensive that’s the way it is.  The source of this truth is the living word of God: Jesus Christ who was prove to be God through His life, teachings, death, and resurrection. 

So as much as I personally might have gone in all types of directions on the faith spectrum, I know now that I was going the wrong way until God revealed to me the Way, the Truth, and Life: Jesus Christ as the sole means the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. 

To claim to be saved by Christ and to consider other faith streams, is to spit in the face of Jesus.  In essence they are saying that Christ is not enough.  Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

But the Bible is clear that there will be many that will claim Jesus and will be revealed as not being His.  

The example of Judas, the parable of the sowing of the seed, the warnings of false teachers and “doctrines of demons, and the separation of the sheep from the goats and the tares from the wheat show us that we are to discern the spirits and to seek out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Our faith is a matter of life and death and an exclusive relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that will give us eternal life and help us to experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.   

Christianity is not a popularity contest.  So forgive me, but by the grace of God I have come to know the Truth, the Way and The Life and I can’t help but be  a voice to point others in His direction and to try to encourage people to change directions when they are going the wrong way.  

So keep seeking the Lord and fostering your faith in Christ. Christ told His disciples to “Follow Me.”  Nobody else.  So keep walking and talking with God but let’s stay on the path the Christ was left before us and not stray from it.    

   

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
19  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

In today’s verse, we are encouraged that God shall supply for all our needs according to His riches in glory by, WHO?? – by Christ Jesus.  

As living beings our needs are for the things that will sustain life.  Through the earth and through our physical and mental abilities, and because God provided us with all of the above, our needs can be met.  

We can hunt, farm, and fish for food.  We can manipulate the natural resources to provide shelter. We can come together with other people to accomplish amazing things that we couldn’t do alone. Through our imaginations, we can also produce music, art, sports, plays, books, and programs to entertain us.   All of these things are provided by God through His creation.    

 

So man has learned how to live on earth and has developed ways to meet his needs.  But the only thing we can’t fashion with our hands or pull from the earth or our imaginations is our biggest need, life beyond this world.  

 

Whereas there are a variety of ways to meet our physical and emotional needs on earth, there is only one way to meet our ultimate need of life everlasting: Jesus Christ.  

The Bible points Jesus because He meets this need but it also points to Christ and how He lived to show us how we should live while on the earth.  In Christ, we have been the example to follow on earth and the way to life in heaven.  

So, follow Him, and rejoice that through Jesus Christ, God shall supply for all your needs.  

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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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

The Spirit and the Gifts

The hallmark of the Christian life is reception of the Holy Spirit. Possession of the Spirit is what distinguishes Christians from non-Christians (1 Cor 2:10–14). “For Paul the possession of the Spirit is the sine qua non of Christian life.” The Spirit is thus the basis for the new identity of the believer.

People living during Paul’s time believed in the existence of spirits who could enter into individuals and alter their behavior. In contrast, Paul repeatedly spoke of one particular divine spirit whose indwelling he favored exclusively. This divine spirit is of a qualitatively different nature than the spirits known by the people in the Hellenistic religions and in magic. This one “Holy Spirit” is closely related to the one God and to Christ. This Spirit is, in fact, called “the Spirit of God” (Rom 8:14) and “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom 8:9). He is sent from God and reveals God to us (2 Cor 2:12; Gal 4:6), because he knows the deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10–11). This Spirit is the only spirit-being whom Paul advocated should have a place in a believer’s life.

Whereas in popular magic a supernatural spirit (“a divine assistant”) was commonly summoned to accomplish the will of the recipient, Paul saw the Holy Spirit as coming to accomplish only the will and purpose of the one God, who revealed himself to Israel as a “holy” God. He had commanded his people to “be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev 19:1). Likewise, the Spirit of God is “holy” and seeks to promote holiness among the people he indwells. The Spirit stimulates such virtues as kindness, love, joy and peace and enables believers to rid themselves of the filthy things that are part of their lives (Gal 5:16–26). The Spirit is, in effect, the divine provision to empower Christians to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Rom 8:13).

The Holy Spirit works in the context of the corporate solidarity of believers. It is the Spirit who brings us to God and draws us into the close bond with other believers known as the body of Christ. In reflecting on the unity of believers in the body, Paul remarks, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor 12:13). Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they receive the Holy Spirit who incorporates them into the Christian community. The expressive metaphors of “baptizing” and “drinking” emphasize the reality and extent of this divine gift—“immersion in the Spirit and drinking to the fill of the Spirit.” This common experience of the Spirit is what constitutes the basis of unity for all who are Christians and makes all believers part of the one body of Christ.

Among believers, mutuality is divinely intended. Christians cannot be individualists. No single believer possesses all of the Spirit’s endowments. Rather, each believer is uniquely endowed by the Spirit to help others grow in their Christian lives (1 Cor 12). The regular operation of these Spirit-inspired endowments (charismata) by the members of the church is vital for the ongoing spiritual progress of all the members of the body.

In Paul’s way of thinking one can never experience enough of the Spirit’s inspiring and empowering presence. Paul urged believers always to seek a fuller manifestation of the Spirit’s presence and work (Eph 5:18). He wanted them to continually be “filled” with the Spirit, which would make itself felt in the quality of worship in the community—they would “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19). The “filling” of the Spirit would certainly also bring about the continued use of the Spirit’s edifying gifts and reinforce the cultivation of Christian virtue. All of this stands in stark contrast to the world from which the Ephesian readers had come. Paul prefaced all of his comments on the Spirit here with the admonition “do not get drunk on wine.” Possibly the drunken and frenzied revelry connected with the worship of the god Dionysus, the god of wine, forms the general cultural background of this statement. The first-century readers were called to turn their backs to alcoholic intoxication and inspiration from any other spirit or deity (such as Dionysus) and yield themselves completely to the Holy Spirit of God. They were to allow themselves to be filled completely with God’s Spirit and give thanks to God the Father. He alone can cheer the heart and bring joy. Because of the Spirit’s presence, we can “sing and make music in [our] hearts to the Lord!”[1]

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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 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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 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)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 117–119.