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Showing posts with label Significance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Significance. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

How to Find True Significance – An Encouragement from FICM’s Mark Eshelman - Purity 1198

How to Find True Significance – An Encouragement from FICM’s Mark Eshelman - Purity 1198

Purity 1198 11/14/2023 Purity 1198 Podcast

Purity 1198 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the view of Lake Moreau from the top of the Spring Overlook Trailhead comes to us from yours truly as my wife and I went to enjoy God’s creation, one another’s company, and the stillness of His presence on a hike at Moreau Lake State Park this past Saturday on Veterans Day.  

Well, it is Tuesday and lately, as we draw nearer to Thanksgiving, I have been filled with thankfulness for my relationship with God and the wonderful faithful people of God that  He has put along the path of my life’s journey as I seek to grow in my faith and into my purpose in God’s kingdom.  I have so many “portraits” of these people as I have either encountered them or remembered them recently that I could dedicate a blog post to “the saints of my life” to fill the rest of the month, and I might do that, starting today, because if I were to try to share about the meaningful friendships that I have made in the body of Christ since coming to faith all at once, it wouldn’t give a true picture of the mass of humanity – all those brothers and sisters in Christ – that have passed through the life of someone who spent his time alone in a basement and his own personal darkness.  God has not only filled my life with his illuminating light of truth and love, but he also filled it with people.   

One of those people, even though we don’t know each other too well, is Mark Eshelman.  Mark is Field Staff and the SW Regional Director of Prayer, for FICM-USA but before that Mark was the NE Regional Director of Prayer, before going to California  Mark lived in New Jersey, and I made his acquaintance in San Antonio Texas at the FICM Practicum where I completed my training to become a CFMA. After that I joined Mark for the online monthly prayer meetings he hosted. As I said I don’t Mark too well, but in my limited exposure to him I know Mark to be a faithful man of God with a real heart for freedom ministry and encouraging others to live free in Christ.  Upon learning that I podcasted my blog and the CFM classes I had taught at my local church in 2021, It was Mark who was the first person to suggest that I become an online course facilitator for FICM, a suggestion I took and was blessed by.   In 2024, I will be leading another Freedom in Christ Course for Men online ( register today for a FICM class  by going to https://www.ficm.org/courses/level-1-get-started/ ) in part because Mark encouraged me that I could do it. Thank You, Mark.  

But Mark hasn’t stopped encouraging people to find or to expand their freedom in Christ. Mark continues serving FICM as Field Staff and the SW Regional Director of Prayer and he also contributes occasionally to the FICM newsletter/weekly encouragement.  I recently was encouraged by a message Mark shared back in October of this year on True Significance, and because it inspired me, I am sharing it on the blog today. Mark writes:

“How to Find True Significance

Significance is defined in the online dictionary as “the quality of being worthy of attention; importance.”  There are several aspects of this that are worth discussing: 

·       How do feelings of insignificance and significance make us act?

·       What is our true significance?

·       How can we grow in significance?

Let’s look at each of these.

Feelings of Insignificance vs. Significance

It can be interesting to sit in meetings and look at how people relate to one another.  Is someone besides the leader trying to be in charge? Does someone need to be right all the time?  Does someone get angry when corrected or shown they are wrong?  Does someone need the last word?  Can people freely share their ideas without being attacked or put down?

After literally thousands of technical work meetings, I have memories of all of the above events.  To be honest, I have even played these roles myself.  But finding freedom and significance in Christ has changed that for me.  As some of you may know from Neil’s writings, the three main aspects we lost in the fall are acceptance, security, and significanceIn Christ, these have been regained.  But when we don’t understand or believe that we are already significant, our behavior is very similar to the non-believers around us.  Think about the meeting interactions discussed above again. 

True Significance

Our true significance is actually defined by God, not by how we feel or what we think of ourselves.  If we are in Christ, we are already significant because we are:

·       “The salt of the earth and a light on a hill;

·       A branch attached to God’s vine – a channel of his life;

·       Chosen and appointed to bear fruit;

·       God’s holy temple;

·       A minister of reconciliation;

·       God’s workmanship.” (from the Who I am in Christ Bookmark)

Believing these truths about ourselves will actually change the way we act.  When we believe the significance of who we are, we act more gracefully.  We don’t need to be in charge.  We don’t need to prove we are right all the time. We don’t need the last word.  It changes us.  I have seen this occur over a several month process in my own life. It really does make a difference!

 

Growing in Significance

Beyond our initial significance in Christ, we can also grow in significance.  It may be difficult to understand this at first. How can I grow in something that I already have?

But life offers us many examples of this. I can play the guitar, but if I practice more and play in a group, I will get much better. I already do gardening, but if I read about soils and plant type needs, I will grow better tomatoes.  In the same way, we grow in significance as we grow in godliness. 

We all know that we are a work in progress.  But growth can occur as we apply what we already know.  

As it turns out, there is a Biblical pattern which Paul explains in Colossians 1:9-10. Paul prays that the Colossians will progress as they gain knowledge of God’s will, wisdom, and understanding.  They are then encouraged to enact what has been understood to bring about fruit.  When the fruit is formed, God gives us knowledge (Colossians 1:10).

In other words, to actually grow, we need to move away from an intellectually based Christianity, to one which includes the heart, soul, and actions*. 

How does growth in godliness grow our significance?

God trusts us with larger projects as we are faithful in the smaller ones. 

Do you remember the parable about the talents?  It seems unfair that the one who invested and bore fruit should actually receive more.  But that is exactly what Paul is saying. 

God invests in those who embrace and put to use the understanding they have.  Yet, we need to remember how this actually works. It is not by personal effort alone. It is by letting God work and responding to His promptings.  We are co-laborers, not just laborers in the kingdom of God.

Personally, I find that I need to relax into God’s care and let Him work through me in order to actually accomplish anything. 

Many of us are action people who like to “do things.”

But God’s kingdom works differently. Growth and fruit appear as we abide, not as we strive.

This is the picture Jesus gives us in John 15:5. We need to let God work and not just engage our physical, emotional, and mental capacities. As Jesus reminds us, “apart from me you can do nothing (nothing that will be significant in the end).” 

*See Dr. Neil Anderson’s book Discipleship Counseling

Mark Eshelman

Field Staff & SW Regional Director of Prayer, FICM-USA”

 

Thanks, Mark for this awesome encouragement!  I have been blessed by encountering you on the path of Christian discipleship and thank you for being one of many of the “saints of my life”.  

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLT2)
19  So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
20  Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
21  We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
22  Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Today’s verses fall under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 3. Together, Christians constitute God’s household, in which he lives by His Spirit.

 

Today’s verses remind us that God’s kingdom isn’t just some royal dictatorship, it’s a family and we are joined together through our “ blood brother” Jesus Christ.

 

Forgive that sketchy pun, but we are co-heirs with Christ, so He is not only our Lord and Savior, but He is also our brother, and because of his shed blood and the faith we have put in Him, we are forgiven of all our sins and washed clean and made righteous by the precious blood of Jesus.  So, “blood brother” isn’t too far of a stretch but I admittedly won’t be trying to make that a “thing”, “blood brothers with Christ” , because I am more than content enough to call Him Lord because it is through Him that I was made a “holy temple for the Lord”  where God lives by His Spirit.   The Holy Spirit lives in us and so we live by the Spirit, and we walk by the Sprit and enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit flowing through and out of the body of Christ.  

We are a part of God’s kingdom and members His royal family so let us rejoice and worship Him in Spirit and truth.

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

Today we are sharing from A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology  - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold. 

The Arthur Pink Anthology – 6

Christian Fools – Part 2 of 8

Now very likely, the sermon tonight will make some of my hearers angry: probably they are the ones who most need the rebuke of the text. When a servant of God wields the sword of the Spirit, if he does his work faithfully and effectively, then some of his hearers are bound to get cut and wounded: and, my friends, that is always God’s way. God always wounds before He heals. And I want to remind you at the outset that this text is no invention of mine. These are the words of One who never wounded unnecessarily, but they are also the words of the True and Faithful Witness who never hesitated to preach the whole truth of God, whether men would receive it or whether they would reject it. I know it is not a pleasant thing to be called a fool, especially if we have a high regard for ourselves and rate our own wisdom and orthodoxy very highly—it wounds our pride. But we need to be wounded, all of us. We need to be humbled; we need to be rebuked; we need to have that word from the lips of Christ which is as a two-edged sword.

Now notice, dear friends, that Christ did not upbraid these disciples because they did not understand, but because of their lack of faith. The trouble with them was they reasoned too much. Very likely they prided themselves on their logical minds and said, Well, surely we are not asked to believe impossibilities and absurdities: both of these cannot be true; one is true and the other cannot be. Either the Messiah of Israel is going to be a glorious and a triumphant Messiah, or else He is going to be a rejected and a humiliated one: they cannot both be true. That is why Christ said to them—not because of their failure to understand, but because of their lack of faith—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I am afraid that today there are many who only believe what they can understand, and if there is something else that they cannot understand, they do not believe it. If they have devised to themselves a systematized theology (or more probably they have adopted someone else’s system of theology), and they hear a sermon (no matter how much Scripture there may be in it) which they cannot fit into their little system of theology, they won’t have it. They place a higher value on consistency than they do on fidelity. That is just what was the matter with these disciples: they could not see the consistency of the two things and therefore they were only prepared to believe the one.

The same thing, my friends, is true today with many preachers. There are multitudes of preachers in Australia tonight whose theology is narrower than the teaching of this Book. Then away to the winds with theology!—I mean human systems of theology which are narrower than Scripture. For example, there are men today who read God’s Word, and they see that the gospel is to be preached to every creature, and that God commands all who hear that gospel to believe in Christ; then they come across some texts on election, predestination:—“Many are called but few are chosen,” and they say, Well, I cannot harmonize this, I cannot see how it is possible to preach, unhampered, a gospel to every creature, and yet for election to be true. And because they cannot harmonize the two things, they neither believe the two nor will they preach both. They cannot harmonize election with a gospel that is to be preached to every creature, and so the Arminians preach the gospel but they leave out election.[1]

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).