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Showing posts with label Silence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Silence. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Silencing Condemnation - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther - Day 2 - Purity 1275


 Silencing Condemnation - 40 Day Journey With Martin Luther – Day 2 - Purity 1275

Purity 1275 02/15/2024 Purity 1275 Podcast

Purity 1275 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a snow dusted winding forest pathway lined with trees covered in holiday lights comes from yours truly as I captured this dark and bright scene back on the evening of December 30th, 2023, during my visit to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and “Forest Music” exhibit. 

Well, Its Thursday, and as I am one “wake up” away from a flight to Florida, I need a vacation!  I’ve actually on vacation since Tuesday, because I cashed in a few more vacations days to get there sooner and you think I would be just kicking back and relaxing, and I am, but I had a real “SERENIDITY NOW!” moment this morning as I just about lost it sitting in my countryside living room trying to “enjoy the silence”  and shake off the condemnation of some poor food choices I have made over the last few days, but was disturbed over my food failure and triggered because of the “white noise” of my wife’s rock tumbler that has been grinding away the hard edges of unseen rocks since last weekend. And so I pulled the pull and shut that machine up to stop all the “noise, noise, noise!” only to have to endure the rumbling of the furnace that decided to fire up to fill the vacuum of silence.   Really?!? – Still waiting… I mean I get up early enough you would think I could find some silence to rest in but that silence I find this morning will have to be a relative thing.  Anyway, this path of walking in the Spirit is all about finding peace that goes beyond all understanding and that is not contingent of conditions and so we will practice.  I know my unease this morning is more about my need to return to the new normal of my food plan and shake off the sugar-induced toxicity that I have subjected my body to over the last few days.  But the condemnation – Superbowl – Vacation – inspired feast is over and even though I may give myself permission to have desert while in the Magic Kingdom, today I am going to purge my system with copious amounts of water and account for every morsel that goes into my mouth. My body isn’t used to eating junk anymore and while I feel better this morning I felt absolutely sick to my stomach last night, as I had a persistent belly ache that stayed with me when I laid down to sleep.   But today is  a new day and I know that I can find healing and peace in the presence of the Lord so let’s get there.

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

And so we continue.

Journey Day 2

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day… When your heart has been warmed by such recitation to yourself (of the Ten Commandments, the words of Christ, etc.) and is intent upon the matter, kneel or stand with your hands folded and your eyes toward heaven and speak or think as briefly as you can:

O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands toward thee or to pray. But because Thou has commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through Thy dear son Jesus Christ hast taught us both how and what to pray, I come to Thee in obedience to Thy word, trusting in Thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all Thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: “Our Father who art” … through the whole prayer, word for word.

Biblical Wisdom

And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

 

Silence for Meditation.

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

Oh, Praise the Lord, the Furnace or whatever rumbling thing was going, has stopped, I have found silence….. Thank You Lord!  

Questions to Ponder

·       Why (and how) is the heart warmed by the recitation of the Ten Commandments and the words of Christ? Does your faith community encourage such recitation? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

I just took a few moments to compile the Bible verses for The Ten Commandments, (Exodus 20:1-17), The Lord Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13) and the text for the Apostle’s Creed and put them into a separate Word document and reflected on them briefly and recited them aloud. That simple practice of reading God’s word aloud that confirms His law, prays to the Father, and declares what I believe as a disciple of Jesus Christ has given me peace- you could say it has warmed my heart because I feel connected to the Lord and assured of who I am as a child of God as I recite those words. No wonder Martin Luther recommends this!  While the body of Christ and my local church encourage a lifestyle of prayer, I would say that the recitation of creeds, scripture, or prayers is a practice that is not specifically encouraged.  Doing the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s Prayer was a part of the liturgy in my childhood church tradition but I currently am a member of a non-denominational seeker-friendly church and the recitation of creeds or prayers together as a corporate body just doesn’t happen and while the Lord Jesus himself warned about “vain repetitions” or prayer – I can see why churches recite creeds, scripture, or prayers together – they give honor to God, confirm our corporate and individual faith and bring us together in unity.  Why my current church doesn’t do creeds or recitations of scripture together as a body would be a question to pose to my church leadership but one could make a point of standing on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:7 or want to avoid “dead religious” practices where a well intention recitation can become meaningless, as people just parrot words that are far from their hearts and minds.   

·       Why do you think Luther recommends a certain position of the body as important for the beginning of prayer?

I think that Luther suggests a certain position of the body because the religious tradition of his day was pretty strict in teaching how one is to present themselves to the Lord in prayer. His instruction doesn’t demand bowing down before the Lord, as you can kneel or stand, but it does demand reverently folding one’s hands and looking upward to heaven.  We are to present ourselves humbly to the Lord if we understand His holiness and fear Him. We look up because He is from above – Jesus did ascend after all- and look to the clouds for His return.

·       How is it possible to “pray without ceasing”?

I think it is possible to pray without ceasing by “walking and talking with God” all day long – through walking in the Spirit -being God-conscious, living in the context of the kingdom of God, and continually bringing God into our experience by talking to Him, seeking His presence, and being surrendered to His will.

Psalm Fragment

Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I pray. O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice; In the morning I plead my case to You, and watch. Psalm 5: 1-3.

Journal Reflections

·       Reflect on any difficulties you may have had in the past in keeping a regular schedule of prayer. See whether or not you can detect “false, deluding ideas” that have kept you from keeping a schedule.

I have been doing a daily spiritual practice for so long that I don’t recall specific false or deluding ideas that kept me from keeping a schedule but in the early days of my walk there was a battle to establish my practice as a simple rebelliousness and pride that said – “I don’t want to” or “I’m tired” would try to speak up or , in my drinking days – I would be hung over and be just plain sick and unable to focus on anything other than not hurting.  But Luther’s passage points out the common trap the enemy uses to discourage prayer – the idea that you can do it later or have other things to do but really there is nothing more important to your faith walk and peace of mind then spending some time each day with God in prayer or Bible Study and meditation.

·       Meditate on the expression “pray without ceasing”. To what degree does it define your experience? Think back to yesterday and write down the several times and ways in which you may have called upon God.

I would say it “praying without ceasing”  describes my experience pretty well, except when it doesn’t. I am only human after all and make mistakes.  Yesterday, my praying without ceasing started off great because I rose, did some spiritual reading and journaling through my blog and podcast and then rushed off to my old Roman Catholic church for an early Ash Wednesday service. But then I ran into my mother, and we ended up going to breakfast where I ignored my food plan. With my plan compromised, I gave into the flesh and bought a bunch of sweet snacks and over ate on and off throughout the day.  When my belly started aching, I prayed for healing and forgiveness and went to my recovery ministry meeting, openly confessed my failures, and prayed for God to help me and the others with their struggles. So even in my wandering, I went back to the Lord and that is where we should all try to stay – in His presence, trying to follow what He says is best for our lives. 

·       Reflect on how it makes you feel to know that the saints in heaven and on earth are praying with you (and you are praying with them).

It is a great comfort to know that we are not alone in the body of Christ and that while we may seem alone at times all of us are together when we connect to the Lord in prayer.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

 Pray that you (and anyone journeying with you) can establish and keep a schedule of prayer faithfully through the next forty days.

 I pray that I can be more faithful in praying without ceasing and pray for anyone reading or hearing this message to be successful in establishing or maintaining a regular schedule of prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pray For  Today

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You that You have given me the words with which to pray. Thank You that I can come to You any time in prayer with any concern at all.

Amen

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

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

Today’s Bible verses come 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 Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

James 3:1-12 (ESV)
1  Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
2  For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
3  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4  Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
7  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
11  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
12  Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Today’s verses fall under the twelfth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

12.     Tame the tongue; it can be very destructive

Today’s verse encourages us to try to bridle the tongue because of the immense damage our words can do. James calls for the image of setting fires with our careless words to impress upon us how seriously we should take our speech. He also shows how inappropriate it is for us to use the same instrument to bless others with that we curse people with, reminding us that this should not be so.  So let’s try to bridle that unruly beast and only use our words to bring encouragement, healing, and love.

 

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

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

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

MORNING READING: MARK 7

“He could not be hidden.” – Mark 7:24

Wherever Christ is given His rightful place, He cannot be hidden, for He is the Light of the world and therefore, a Light which cannot be hidden. Christ is the “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).

“He could not be hidden.” This was also said of Peter and John, for it is recorded that when people saw them, they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Paul's great ambition was that Christ should live in him. He could say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

The Lord said in that wonderful sermon of His, “Let your light so shine … that they … glorify your Father” (Matt. 5:16).

O, that this might be said of my life![1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Fact that HE is There – Solitude and Silence - Purity 1184

 

The Fact that HE is There – Solitude and Silence - Purity 1184

Purity 1184 10/28/2023 Purity 1184 Podcast

Purity 1184 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun and blue sky over the rivulet of a mountain stream in a Catskill Mountain autumn forest comes to us from Natasha Voisey who captured this scene somewhere along the Pine Hill – West Branch Trail as she made the ascent up Big Indian & Fir Mountain yesterday.  An avid enthusiast of exploring the Catskills who has put on a whopping 20 miles on her new boots with her last two hikes, Natasha took advantage of the pleasant weather in upstate NY and unknowingly took my advice to “seize the day” yesterday by spending the day going up and down the mountain. Her social media post confessed that her hike had its mental and physical challenges but overall she was energized and thankful for the experience,

Well, It’s Saturday, and while I have had some limited experience hiking in the Catskills, one fire tower to be exact, I prefer a more level playing field for my hikes. I enjoy the silence and solitude aspect of going into the great outdoors and don’t necessarily need to go huffing and puffing up a mountain to get that.  Not that I can’t or won’t do hilly or mountain hikes, it’s just that I don’t have to go too deep into the wilderness to enjoy the fact that I’m in the middle of nowhere, and it’s quiet, beautiful, and let’s face it dangerous.

Natasha’s post also testified about her gratefulness for the All Trails App to keep her on the right path because she could easily imagine going off course and getting lost if she had to just rely on her sense of direction or a compass. As much as I like to commune with God in nature, I have no desire to make the news as “Lost Man rescued by Forrest Rangers” or “Lost Man Found Dead”.  

No the only story I want to be told about me is “Lost Man Saved By Jesus and Made Alive by the Holy Spirit!”  

But I do recommend making regular trips to nature areas to appreciate the silence and solitude that you can find there.  It’s good to go out and experience God’s creation and to rest in His peace. 

As for me, I can find that peace right outside my front door here at my Countryside home. Our canine friend Harley thrives when we take him for “hikes” up, down, and off of Waite Rd, and I am thankful for “having to” walk the do.  During our strolls, I have often confessed to Harley that I am thankful for his desire to go out , because although I would like to think I would still go on my own, I don’t know if I would or if I would do so quite as often.  I don’t know if we have trained Harley or Harley has trained me, but when I am at Countryside he constantly comes to me and communicates his desire to go out and explodes in enthusiastic barking when I suggest we go for a “W-A-L-K”.  You have to be careful what you say around here because if he hears that word, he gets triggered to go!

Speaking of “triggered”, my day at work yesterday was a mix of peace, frustration, and ultimate joy as I cycled through a whole continuum of emotions as the day started off well, then was interrupted by some unbelievable blunders on my part, followed by a full return to joy as I reminded myself that “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” – my mantra – and I was able to rise above, move past, and correct my mistake by the work days end. 

I won’t go into details of the ins and outs of my blunders but as I encountered them I was both ashamed of the fact that I could not only continue to make similar mistakes I have made in the past but also seem to periodically fail in new ways – ways you would think would be next to impossible. Let’s just say exclamations like “REALLY?!” and “AGAIN?!?” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT THAT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!”  would have been appropriately used, if I didn’t actually say or think those phrases ver batim.  

But after the initial shock of the blunders, or the resolution of the problems I created, I was able to remind myself that I am not perfect, that everyone makes mistakes, and most importantly I am completely accepted and loved by God REGARDLESS OF MY PERFORMANCE.  Thank God!

So what turned into a frustrating day at work was magically transformed as I overcame the challenges I faced, ok maybe I created some too – but they were overcome – and I focused on Who I am in Christ and the Good, Good, Father I have in God.   Also the day was unseasonably pleasant yesterday and as I closed out my workday I was rejoicing over the beauty and wonder of God’s creation and the life He has given me.  

After reaching countryside and having dinner with my beloved wife TammyLyn, whose mere presence fills me with joy, I took Harley for an extended stroll down and off Waite Road where I just fell into the present moment of a late afternoon early dusk wonderland of God’s creation, stillness, and awe and wonder. 

After reaching our normal turnaroun point, which is marked by a dirt and gravel road that goes beyond for at least half a mile into plains and farmland, because of the beauty of the late sunset sky, I invited Harley to keep going and went down to the dead end where I discovered that the cornfields had been harvested.  As I walk down that long stretch of road a group of Canadian geese flew back and forth in formation before heading east into a magnificent full moon.  As I looked around I realized that I was between the fading light of day on my west and a full moon rising towards the east and all was well in the world. It was a magnificent moment in the solitude and silence of the presence of God in His creation and I thanked Him for my life.  

So, as we go into today, I invite you to go find God in the silence and solitude of nature. You don’t necessarily need to go up a mountain to find Him, because He is always with us no matter where we go and I think all we have to do to experience His presence is appreciate what He has done, what He has made, or just the fact that He is there.  

Just the fact that we know we are His and He is there is enough to give us peace.

So keep walking and talking with God and appreciate your life with Him.

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 10:18 (ESV)
18  The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

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

 13. To conceal or harbor hatred in your heart is lying before the face of God.

Today’s verse shows us that God knows what we are thinking,  isn’t fooled when we try to cover up our emotions, and chastises us for speaking ill of others.  

God knows the intentions of our hearts and when we try to conceal our hatred the word of God tells us that we won’t get away with it, and in essence, our fa├žade is akin to lying to the face of God.  

Now I suppose this could cause a bit of concern for us.  Well, what am I supposed to do with my hate if I can’t conceal it? Express it? Tell people how I really feel? Let them know that I hate their guts?  

I suppose you could do that…. But I get the impression that God doesn’t want us to be self-righteous or angry Christians who spew forth hate and bitterness. Jesus directs us to LOVE others not hate them.  And based on today’s scriptures, it’s not okay to just conceal our hatred, it’s lying to God.  

So instead of concealing our hatred or expressing it, we should seek to resolve it – by offering forgiveness to those who have offended us or by seeing our enemies according to God’s perspective – as ignorant sinners who desperately need the love of God and knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ.  

So don’t conceal your hatred, resolve it in God’s way, and learn to love others as HE commanded.

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

Today we continue sharing from  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

32 - Honoring the Spirit

Worshipping the Spirit Directly – 1 of 2

This subject is (alas) new to many. Not a few seem to have been misled through a wrong understanding of that word concerning the Spirit in John 16:13, as though, “He shall not speak of Himself,” signified He shall never occupy the saints with His own Person and work, but always direct them to Christ. It is true that the Spirit is here to glorify Christ, yet that by no means exhausts His mission. His first work is to direct the attention of sinners to God as God, convicting them of rebellion against their Creator, Ruler, and Judge. Then, too, He occupies the saints with the Father: His love, grace, and providential care. But John 16:13 no more means that the Spirit does not magnify Himself than Christ’s, “I have not spoken for Myself” (John 12:49) meant that He never occupied people with His own Person—His “come unto Me” (Matthew 11:28, John 7:37) proves otherwise.

Others create difficulty out of the fact that in the economy of redemption the Spirit now occupies the place of Servant of the Godhead, and as such it is incongruous to worship Him. Such a cavil hardly deserves reply. But lest some of our readers have been misled by this sophistry, let it be pointed out that during the days of His flesh, Christ occupied the place of “Servant,” the One who came here not to be ministered unto, but to minister—nevertheless, even during that season of His humiliation we are told, “Behold there came a leper and worshipped Him” (Matthew 8:2). And have we not read that when the wise men from the east entered the house where He was, they “fell down and worshipped Him” (Matthew 2:11)? Thus, the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Executive of the Godhead by no means debars Him of His title to our love and homage. Some say that because the Spirit is in us, He is not a suitable Object of worship, as the Father and Son without us. But is the Spirit within the only relation He sustains to us? Is He not omnipresent, infinitely above us, and as such an appropriate Object of worship?

That the Holy Spirit is to be publicly owned and equally honored with the Father and the Son is very evident from the terms of the great commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Now to be baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit is either a real act of worship, or otherwise it would be a mere formality—which of the two is not difficult to determine. In view of this verse, no one need have the slightest hesitation in rendering homage to the Spirit as he does to the Father and the Son. This is not a case of reasoning on our parts nor of drawing an inference, but is a part of Divinely-revealed Truth. If we praise and revere the Son for what He has done for us, shall not the Spirit be adored for what He has wrought in us!? The Spirit Himself loves us (Rom. 15:30), by whose authority, then, are we to stifle our love for Him!?

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14). Here again the Holy Spirit is honored equally with the Father and the Son—the Apostles certainly did not slight Him as do some of our modems. Let it be duly weighed that “communion” is a mutual thing, a giving and receiving. In our communion with the Father we receive from Him, and then return to Him love and obedience. From the Son we receive life, and acknowledge it in our praises. From the Spirit we receive regeneration and sanctification, shall we render Him nothing in return? We understand this verse to signify, “O Lord Jesus Christ, let Thy grace be with us; O God the Father, let thy love be manifested unto us; O Holy Spirit, let Thy saints enjoy much of thy communion.” This invocatory benediction revealed the longings of Paul’s heart unto the Corinthian saints, and those longings prompted his petition on their behalf.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



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

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Practicing Solitude and Silence – Knowing When to Retreat - Purity 931


Practicing Solitude and Silence – Knowing When to Retreat -   Purity 931 

Purity 931 01/03/2023 

Purity 931 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the reflection of the forest shoreline in the waters of Cliffiside Lake with the shadow of trees in the foreground comes to us from Fred Dimmick who captured and shared this scene from Highlands NC on social media on January 1st.  Fred started off the New Year right and I look forward to sharing more of his “views” as the year progresses.  

Well, it’s Tuesday, and for the vast majority of us – “it’s back to life, back to reality”- but not for me! I didn’t ask for this “extra day off” but am glad to have it.  My job requires us to work the occasional Saturday and my occasion is this weekend. So, while I won’t be looking forward to the “one day” weekend ahead of me, I will be using today to fully recharge my batteries by spending the day practicing solitude in a full day retreat where I will use the hours I normally would be working in prayer, fasting, and study as I plan to  review John Eldredge’s “Resilient” to, as the subtitle says, “restore my soul in these turbulent times”.  

In Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) Jesus instructed us:
6  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

So after posting this message, I will be shutting the door and going to the secret place and don’t plan on re-emerging until the study is done.

In our modern lives we are often busy going from one thing to the next, charging ahead but today the Lord has put it on my heart to unplug and rest in His presence in relative silence.

Solitude and Silence are practices that don’t get a lot of headlines but are spiritual disciplines that should be regularly utilized in our walk.  

In this noisy cramped world, we need to shut it off every once in awhile and go solo into His presence and listen to the Lord’s got to say.  

So although the vast majority of us might not be able to do this today, I encourage you to schedule some time for just you. Take a “day trip” with the Lord – take time to get alone and get quiet and see what He has to say to you.  Spending time in solitude and silence may make it possible to hear what He has to say and to see what direction your path will take next.   

Keeping it short and sweet today.  So until you get that time alone, keep walking and talking with God.

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Revelation 20:10 (NLT2)
10  Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Today’s verse was under the heading: “When the evil around you seems powerful…” and so Revelation 20:10 tells us the final destination of the devil in the lake of fire where he, along with the beast (the Anti-Christ) and the false prophet who are yet to be revealed, will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Hell is not Satan’s kingdom it is his prison. He is not the equal and opposite of God. He is a created being, a fallen – rebellious angel who will be Hell’s most infamous inmate. While there is evil in this world and in the spirit realm, those forces of darkness will not prevail and will be judged and punished for their wickedness.  

Those who put their faith in Christ alone will be forgiven and saved from God’s wrath and so for the Christian this verse while rather dark is actually good news and is declaring God’s supremacy and His reclaiming of His kingdom. 

So no matter how dark things may seem to be getting in our world, and scripture indicates that things get worse before they get better,  ultimately justice and goodness will prevail as God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  

So Christians should be filled the hope for that future fulfillment and be diligent in sharing the good news of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ and endure through whatever trials we may face now knowing and trusting that God will put everything right in the end, and that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and that are called to His purpose.  

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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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God”

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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER ONE

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY DEFINED, continues

The sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we say that God is sovereign we affirm His right to govern the universe which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay, i.e., that He may mould that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.

Sovereignty characterizes the whole Being of God. He is sovereign in all His attributes. He is sovereign in the exercise of His power. His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills. This fact is evidenced on every page of Scripture. For a long season that power appears to be dormant, and then it is put forth in irresistible might. Pharaoh dared to hinder Israel from going forth to worship Jehovah in the wilderness—what happened? God exercised His power, His people were delivered and their cruel task-masters slain. But a little later, the Amalekites dared to attack these same Israelites in the wilderness, and what happened? Did God put forth His power on this occasion and display His hand as He did at the Red Sea? Were these enemies of His people promptly overthrown and destroyed? No, on the contrary, the Lord swore that He would “have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16). Again, when Israel entered the land of Canaan, God’s power was signally displayed. The city of Jericho barred their progress—what happened? Israel did not draw a bow nor strike a blow: the Lord stretched forth His hand and the walls fell down flat. But the miracle was never repeated! No other city fell after this manner. Every other city had to be captured by the sword!

Many other instances might be adduced illustrating the sovereign exercise of God’s power. Take one other example. God put forth His power and David was delivered from Goliath, the giant; the mouths of the lions were closed and Daniel escaped unhurt; the three Hebrew children were cast into the burning fiery furnace and came forth unharmed and unscorched. But God’s power did not always interpose for the deliverance of His people, for we read: “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Heb. 11:36, 37). But why? Why were not these men of faith delivered like the others? Or, why were not the others suffered to be killed like these? Why should God’s power interpose and rescue some and not the others? Why allow Stephen to be stoned to death, and then deliver Peter from prison?

God is sovereign in the delegation of His power to others. Why did God endow Methuselah with a vitality which enabled him to outlive all his contemporaries? Why did God impart to Samson a physical strength which no other human has ever possessed? Again; it is written, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18), but God does not bestow this power on all alike. Why not? Why has He given such power to men like Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller? The answer to all of these questions is, Because God is Sovereign, and being Sovereign He does as He pleases.

God is sovereign in the exercise of His mercy. Necessarily so, for mercy is directed by the will of Him that showeth mercy. Mercy is not a right to which man is entitled. Mercy is that adorable attribute of God by which He pities and relieves the wretched. But under the righteous government of God no one is wretched who does not deserve to be so. The objects of mercy, then, are those who are miserable, and all misery is the result of sin, hence the miserable are deserving of punishment not mercy. To speak of deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms.

God bestows His mercies on whom He pleases and withholds them as seemeth good unto Himself. A remarkable illustration of this fact is seen in the manner that God responded to the prayers of two men offered under very similar circumstances. Sentence of death was passed upon Moses for one act of disobedience, and he besought the Lord for a reprieve. But was his desire gratified? No; he told Israel, “The Lord is wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee” (Deut. 3:26). Now mark the second case: “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years” (2 Kings 20:1–6). Both of these men had the sentence of death in themselves, and both prayed earnestly unto the Lord for a reprieve: the one wrote: “The Lord would not hear me,” and died; but to the other it was said, “I have heard thy prayer,” and his life was spared. What an illustration and exemplification of the truth expressed in Romans 9:15!—“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

The sovereign exercise of God’s mercy—pity shown to the wretched—was displayed when Jehovah became flesh and tabernacled among men. Take one illustration. During one of the Feasts of the Jews, the Lord Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He came to the Pool of Bethesda where lay “a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.” Among this “great multitude” there was “a certain man which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.” What happened? “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answer Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but when I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:3–9). Why was this one man singled out from all the others? We are not told that he cried “Lord, have mercy on me.” There is not a word in the narrative which intimates that this man possessed any qualifications which entitled him to receive special favor. Here then was a case of the sovereign exercise of Divine mercy, for it was just as easy for Christ to heal the whole of that “great multitude” as this one “certain man.” But He did not. He put forth His power and relieved the wretchedness of this one particular sufferer, and for some reason known only to Himself, He declined to do the same for the others. Again, we say, what an illustration and exemplification of Romans 9:15!—“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”[1]

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

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“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 W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 27–30.