Pumpkin Ale, Fat Shaming, and Demons - Purity 869
Purity 869 10/22/2022 Purity 869 Podcast
Today’s photo of a stunning scene of a clear blue sky and early autumn colors reflected in the surface of what we suspect to be the fourth of the eight Fulton Chain Lakes comes to from a friend who captured this scene near their home in Inlet NY back on October 10th. They shared a few pictures that day on social media proclaiming that experiencing the autumn splendor was “food for the soul”.
Well, It’s the Saturday before Halloween weekend, and while I encourage my friends to get out there this weekend and liberally take in all the flavors of the season, I have to recommend we use wisdom and moderation in our seasonal celebrations.
As someone who, with the Lord’s help, has won a victory over addictive tendencies and who now attempts to continuously live by walking in the Spirit, I know the dangers of how the flesh will use seasonal celebrations to fuel its fire and cause us to be in bondage.
For instance, the alcohol industry knows how to encourage consumption during all the seasons of the year, as the breweries and wineries will release and market various potent potables for the spring, summer, fall, and winter. This month will tempt people to try Oktoberfest themed beers, Pumpkin Ales, and Hard and not so Hard Apple Cider beverages. In my limited research this morning, I even saw a link that told me that there were “20 Scary Beers” from various micro and not so microbreweries that feature occult or horror themes that would be perfect for Halloween. And you might think that wine drinkers are too sophisticated for something like that but you would be wrong, there are lots of scary labelled wines available too. I find it positively frightening because I remember how I was a slave to the booze and my addiction would use any pretense to keep the party going 24/7. So for my friends who drink, be careful, a lifestyle of periodic or constant drunkenness is not only a risk to your physical and mental health, it also is indicated as something that can separate you from the Lord’s kingdom.
Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT2) tells us
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Yeah, I know those two verses hit a whole lot of people below the belt and may cause some to doubt their salvation. If that’s you, I would encourage you to repent.
Believe me I was a big drunk AFTER I was born again and when I read all the verses on drunkenness, I was not happy! But as I knew the Lord had saved me and I wanted to follow Him, I followed His leading into recovery and now rejoice over my freedom over drugs, alcohol, and sexual immorality. Yeah I took that verse literally. And now I can say I WAS like that but now I have been “cleansed; … made holy; … made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
I thought it would be impossible to change from my drunken ways after living most of my adult life, from 17 to 43 years old, in the bonds of alcoholism but God was with me and led me out of that darkness for good. I don’t identify as an “alcoholic” or a “person in long term recovery” or a brother who “struggles with alcoholism”. The struggle is over the war has been won. The Lord gave me victory and freedom and I identify as a child of God, an ambassador for God’s kingdom and a disciple of Jesus Christ. I have been healed. I have been made new. And I ain’t going back.
But I am not perfect and still fall into temptation on occasion.
Relax, I can claim, because of the Lord, continuous victory in the areas of drugs, alcohol, and sexual immorality still but I have also been fighting a war with the flesh when it comes to junk food or sugar.
I have come to realize that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that Christians should be good stewards of their physical health. Obesity is not good for your physical, mental, or spiritual health as the same characteristics of addiction (the cravings, seeking comfort, lack of self-control, and binging) are present in lifestyles that are food focused.
Just like we have to be wise stewards of our bodies by not filling them with alcohol and drugs, we have to be discerning in what we eat.
Just like the alcohol industry releases and markets seasonal potent potables, the food industry is even worse in its creation of holiday and seasonal packaging and special limited time items that cause us to “try it while we can!” with all the gusto of a beer guzzling alcoholic.
The world system, the flesh, and the devil are insidious in tempting us to FEED the FLESH rather than walk in the Spirit. The world system, our fellow man, like a drug dealer, does it for profit. The enemy does it to keep us from seeking our peace and comfort from a spiritual connection with God.
I’ve come to realize that my addictive tendencies were present in the way I ate. After reading “The Daniel Plan” I learned that food industry engineers food to make us want to crave it and in essence become addicted to it. So they recommend non processed foods that don’t have the sugar and carbs that keep us coming back for more and keep us in the constant struggle of the battle of the bulge.
I have made some significant gains, meaning losing some pounds, because of this realization and from my efforts to be more cognizant of what I eat. I have eliminated a lot of the sugar and carb filled foods that I used to eat and now try to follow a keto friendly lifestyle to reduce my weight and to reduce the pains that come from being too heavy.
My father was an athlete in his youth but over time due to liberal use of alcohol and unhealthy eating his weight increased and now that he is in his seventies he is hobbled with chronic back pain, and actually has another surgery scheduled in December to try to “fix the pain”.
While I can’t claim to have learned from all my father’s mistakes in life, I am trying to learn from this one. I see that it is unwise to carry too much weight as we age. If you have back or other pains because of your weight now, they will only be compounded as you grow older. We have to stop the madness, seek the truth of nutrition, and lean on the Lord to help us overcome this struggle.
It's not easy. Most of the world is blind to this and as we move forward in time it looks like it is getting worse.
In the campaign to stop bullying and stop the opposite extreme eating disorders of anorexia and bulimia, the term “fat shaming” has come on the scene. Rather than encouraging the obese to attempt to change their unhealthy lifestyles, society now demands that we leave people alone to suffer and die under the weight of their food addictions and the rise in their mortality rate because of their obesity.
To encourage someone to repent of their unwise living or “repent of their sin” (See 1 Corinthians 6:10-11) is now unloving. Our society has taken the stand of the antichrist by telling us to accept our neighbors and ourselves as we are, in our broken states, rather than do what God would encourage us to do: to repent and to do what is “right”?
Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT2), God said to Cain:
6 “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
God doesn’t want us to be slaves to our flesh or any other sin that would control us. And there are plenty of Bible verses that address the obesity thing (https://www.openbible.info/topics/obesity) to encourage a change in that area.
So I have been fighting the good fight and avoiding sugar filled snacks, but last night as I was volunteering at a Halloween themed event for Operation Adopt a Soldier in Saratoga, as the night drew to a close, I ate some cookies and candy bars that were made available for the volunteers!
So I failed to be true to health goal. I know its not the end of the world and that there is certainly enough grace to cover this “transgression” and may have the liberty to “treat ourselves” from time to time.
Our failure to be perfect in our behaviors is why we need Christ. Even when we try to live a life walking in the Spirit, because the word of God is true, we will have some sin in our lives. So when we fail, we could condemn ourselves but we shouldn’t. That’s why we needed Jesus to save us by faith and grace. We couldn’t do it on our own. So if we stumble we should not beat ourselves up but thank God that He has accepted us even though we are far from perfect.
But at the same token, we should realize that staying in our broken states is not where God wants us either. While there is grace enough to cover all our sins, the Lord still calls us to be sanctified because He wants us to be more like Him and He knows that when we follow His wisdom and ways and walk in the Spirit, we will experience all the peace, joy, love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control that He has for us. He knows His way is the best way for us.
Right after these fruit of the Spirit are listed in Galatians, God’s word says:
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
In listing the fruit, I have seldom heard (or maybe didn’t listen to) pastors focus on verse 24: to crucify the flesh, our passions and desires.
These are instructions to the church. So while we may not be perfect like Christ, we should endeavor to lean on the Lord and do what is “right” by obeying the word of God and to follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives, rather than being pulled astray by the regular and seasonal pulls of the flesh.
So be wise and discerning of how you live and be aware of the regular and seasonal temptations that will try to lead you astray. If Keep walking and talking with God and you can make progress, because when we live in the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. And if you mess up, like I did last night, just don’t give up.
Instead of an “NLT Bible Promise Book for Men verse of the day, because we are in the season of Halloween, I am deciding to share an excerpt from the Freedom in Christ Ministries blog, by Dr, Jonathan Carl that I saw yesterday ( https://blog.ficm.org/blog/halloween-silly-and-serious) that presents some frequently asked questions that we should consider during this rather macabre season.
Dr. Carl writes:
Here are four “frequently asked questions we should consider…:
1. Is demonic possession real? What can a demon do to me? Can the devil or a demon make me do something I don’t want to do?
Yes, demonic possession is real. Demons can tempt, attack, and live within humans. Satan already controls everyone who is not born again with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While not every unbeliever is possessed by a demon, demonically-possessed humans sometimes evidence (manifest) the presence of demons in supernaturally scary ways.
2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers”
2. Can a Christian be possessed by a demon? “Demonized”? “Have” a Demon?
No. If someone truly repents from sin, treasures Jesus more than anyone or anything, and trusts in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, then they are saved and in-dwelt by God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-11, 1 Corinthians 3:16). A genuine believer cannot be possessed or controlled by a demon since Jesus is in them through the Holy Spirit. Believers can be tempted and deceived by demonic spirits and influences. Christians have personal responsibility for their actions, inactions, and beliefs and accordingly must “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
3. Can a Christian be harassed by a demon? Oppressed? Attacked?
Yes. As one example, we know that the apostle Paul was attacked and harassed by a demon. We do not always know the specifics of why demons attack true believers. We do know that if we dependently seek God in these seasons of attack, He will strengthen and grow us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 1 John 4:4).
2 Corinthians 12:7 “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger [angel] of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”
4. Can someone be a Christian and their life not demonstrate real change?
No. True believers always evidence a changed life through the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Matthew 13:19-23, Galatians 5:16-24, 1 John). Genuine Christians are not perfect but will manifest a decreasing pattern of sin and an increasing pattern of righteousness. May you be able to look backwards and see God’s progressive work on your life and look forward to how He will continue to mature you as you seek Him in spirit and truth.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Dr. Carl concludes the blog entry by writiing: “As you see scary or silly Halloween costumes, decorations, and advertisements, may you be reminded that this is not simply a pretend subject. Our spiritual state matters. Satan and his demons are on the prowl, seeking to deceive and destroy us. If you are not yet a Christian, why would you wait another day to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
If you are a Christian, have confidence that God is with you and in you. Do not fear. Put on the full armor of God daily and be like Paul, seeking to “boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel” everywhere you go. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
1 John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
If you want a free resource about spiritual warfare in the early church? Summaries of some of Neil Anderson’s most important works? A Bible reading plan for 2023? Then please visit www.spiritualwarfare.blog/free-books for some of Dr. Carl’s free e-books and writings.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 51:17 (NLT2)
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Today’s Bible versesdescribes our condition when we give up those myths and lies of the world and finally repent and surrender to the Lord.
The spirit of broken man is the spirit of rebellion and self-sufficiency. We try to live independently from God and forge our own destinies, as if we could control anything in an ultimate sense. Or we will try to please God with “good works” thinking if we just perform the right “sacrifice”, God will accept us.
But today’s verse indicates the God desires us to submit to Him and repent. Our surrender to the Lordship of Christ not our sacrifice is the only thing that God wants or will accept.
So remember what God desires and give Him wants by living a life that is repentant and surrendered to His will.
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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’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 Sermon on the Mount
On the “Extraordinary” of Christian Life
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny” [Matt. 5:21–26].
“But I say to you”—this is the way Jesus summarized everything he said about the law. After his previous words, it is obvious that Jesus is not to be understood here as a revolutionary. Nor should we assume an exchange of opinion versus opinion in the manner of rabbis. Instead, Jesus expresses, continuing what he has said thus far, his unity with the law of the Mosaic covenant. But precisely in his true unity with the law of God he makes clear that he, the Son of God, is the Lord and Giver of the law. Only those who perceive the law to be the word of Christ can fulfill it. He rejected the sinful misunderstanding in which the Pharisees were caught. True knowledge of the law lies solely in knowing Christ to be the Lord and the fulfiller of the law. Christ has laid his hand on the law and claimed it. In doing so, he did what the law truly intended. But in this unity with the law he is considered an enemy by the false understanding of the law. By honoring the law, he gives himself up to the false zealots of the law.
The commandment to which Jesus first refers his disciples forbids murder and entrusts the disciples with the well-being of their brothers or sisters. The life of one’s brothers and sisters was granted by God and is in God’s hand. Only God has power over life and death. There is no place in the faith-community of God for a murderer. Murderers are liable to the judgment they themselves exercise. The protection of God’s command extends not only to brothers and sisters who belong to the church-community but beyond. This is clearly shown by the fact that the actions of a follower of Jesus do not depend on the other person’s identity, but only on him whom the disciple follows in obedience. Jesus’ followers are forbidden to commit murder under penalty of divine judgment. The life of a brother or sister is a boundary for Jesus’ followers which may not be crossed. But anger already crosses that boundary. It is crossed even more by words bursting out of us in haste (Racha [insults]), and it is crossed finally when we intentionally deride someone else (you fool). Every anger attacks the life of the other person; it begrudges others their lives; it craves the other’s destruction. There is no distinction between so-called just anger and unjust anger. The disciples should not even know what anger is, because anger is an assault on God and the other person. The angry words bursting out of us, which we take so lightly, reveal that we do not respect the other person, that we view ourselves to be superior, and that we thus value our own lives more than the other’s. Such words are an injury to a sister or brother, a thrust to the heart. They are intended to strike, wound, and destroy. But intentional words of derision rob sisters and brothers of their dignity in public. They intend to make other people despise them, as well. They aim in hatred to destroy another’s internal and external existence. I pass judgment on another. That is murder. A murderer is handed over to judgment.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship