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Showing posts with label Spiritual Warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual Warfare. Show all posts

Saturday, November 5, 2022

I Don’t Have Enough Faith - I Ain’t no Un-Fortunate Son - Purity 881


  I Don’t Have Enough Faith - I Ain’t no Un-Fortunate Son - Purity 881

Purity 881 11/04/2022 Purity 881 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a South Adelaide sunset comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) as Dave shared this back on August 16th asking: “Who doesn’t love a good sunset? I mean really, do you know anyone that doesn’t?”    

As much as I agree with Dave’s sentiments that we could assume that everyone loves a good sunset, I was reminded yesterday sometimes the things that we are so clear to us can be obscured or completely unseen by others.  “Everyone” is a whole lot of people and I bet there are some of us that know people that struggle to see the good in anything, even spectacular sunsets from South Australia. 

But that’s not me, that’s not me… I ain’t no Un-fortunate One

No, It ai’nt me, It ain’t me…. I ain’t no Un-fortunate son.   .   

Pardon the CCR song parody distortion but man, I lived in the shadow of the darkness of depression, pessimism, and skepticism for way too long  and the Lord opened my eyes to the truth of who He is, who Jesus Christ is, who I am in Christ, and I just can’t help but see the beauty that the Lord has made every where I look and when I hear supposed Christians lament about the darkness of the hour or the perceived lack in their lives I have to trumpet the truth  and be a voice of encouragement that tells anyone who will listen that God is good and He takes care of those who put their faith in Christ and choose to follow Him with the way they live their lives.   

Well it is Saturday, and while I have to work today, I know boo hoo, I pray that all my friends, whether working or not, have a blessed day and a wonderful weekend because regardless of our current circumstances the Lord has made a WAY for all of us to have peace with Him and an abundant life of freedom, love, peace, and joy.     

And that “WAY” is Jesus Christ. But you have to believe in Him, trust in Him, put your faith in Him, and receive what the Lord has given to us as  FORTUNATE adopted sons and daughters to the King.     

Yesterday, I was reminded of one of the biggest lies of the enemy, that runs rampant in churches and keeps Christians bound in bondage to sin, the victim mentality, and spiritual infancy.  

What is this lie that is repeated and proclaimed as a rationalization for repeated failures or lack of peace?  

The lie is: “I don’t enough faith.”   

Amazingly, the people who proclaim this lie even have a life verse to stand on. They echo the prayer of the father of a demon oppressed child who pleaded to Jesus in tears:

Mark 9:24 (NKJV)
24 … "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

Instead of standing in faith, they proclaim their unbelief, or a lack of an adequate faith, and lament of their lack of peace or “good feelings” or good circumstance s in their lives.  Instead of building up their faith and renewing their minds by studying and agreeing with what the word of God says about who they are in Christ, they claim a lack of faith capacity or the ability to believe.  

Other derivatives of this lie include: 

“I wish I could believe but I can’t.” 

“That may be true for them, but it’s not true for me.” 

“I don’t have the faith like them.”    

These dejected Unfortunate children of God have more faith in their failures than they do in the Lord.  By proclaiming their lack its not surprising they are sad because  they are making a self fulfilling prophecy of doom and depression.  They have forgotten the face of their Heavenly Father and have lost themselves in the mirror of self-introspection and fallen victim to fleeting feelings by not Abiding in Christ.

If I choose to I could see bad in everything. I could see that others are more gifted or “blessed” than me.  I can have a real pity party about all the things others have that I don’t.   I could even look at today’s sunset photo and tell you how it’s not so great or even go to a wild extreme and speak on how the sun is actually hostile to us and is just looking to give us sunburns and skin cancer, that that sunset is actually trying to kill us.   

Or I could choose to see the good in God’s creation and in my situation. 

But what if my situation is lacking? And it isn’t so good or has been better before? What if I can’t see the good here on the earth?  

That’s why we need God.

If we look to ourselves or the world, we would only see that things are falling apart and that we are all going to die.  

But the Lord sent Jesus Christ and showed us through His resurrection that death is not the end.  There is more to our existence then this life. There is an unseen spiritual realm, God’s kingdom, and Lord has a plan for His creation that will culminate in Christ returning and the eventual will establish a new heaven and a new earth.  

And not only do we have a bright future with the Lord but our faith in Christ also gives us power to overcome and to experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.   Before taking pity on the man and his demon oppressed son, Christ said

Mark 9:23 (NKJV)
23  … "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

He also said in

John 10:10 (NKJV)
10  … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

So the sky is the limit, but we have to believe the abundant life that Jesus promised us is possible, We have to believe that it is available to us and we have to have faith and follow His wisdom to receive it. 

And when I say receive it, don’t get me wrong I am not talking about some prosperity gospel here.  Christ has already given us everything. He has given us eternal life.  And no matter what situation is if we realize what we have in Christ, we can see that even our Unfortuante circumstances will have some fortunate circumstances and regardless of what we have or done have materially, we have everything spiritually.

But if we doubt, if we disbelieve, or if we take our eyes off of Christ, we can believe the lie that we have nothing, or we don’t have enough faith.  

While we may lack somethings in this life, we have everything we need in Christ. And time and time again, scripture tells us that through faith we can receive all kinds of things like: healing, peace, freedom, victory, love, and joy.  

But if you are proclaiming your lack of faith or your unbelief, you won’t see the Glorious Son or all the things He has given you.  

So keep walking and talking with God and agree with what He says about you and allow your faith in Him provide you with the abundant life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit that he has for you.

 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT2)
15  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
16  But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

Today’s verses encourage us to worship Christ as the Lord of our lives and explain to others that our hope comes from Him and to live a good life.  

Today’s verses set up the expectation that if Jesus is our Lord that we will live good lives that are beyond reproach and that will exemplify hope.  

Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus is the key to Christian living. We don’t stand on our freedom to do whatever we want, we follow Him and when we do that we have clear consciences and we will have a life of peace and hope that others can see.   

Our Christian faith is a belief that has no discernable difference from our unsaved neighbors.  Our faith is a lifestyle of righteous living. Our faith changes the way we live and the people we used to be and will cause us tell others about it.  

So if you don’t have peace or the abundant life, repent and worship Christ as your Lord and follow His Way that leads to a clear conscience and an ongoing testimony of righteous living and hope.  

  

___________________________________________

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

Matthew 6

On the Hidden Nature of the Christian Life

The Hiddenness of Prayer

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you in public. When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:5–8).

Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. What does that mean? We should not take for granted that we are allowed to pray. Of course, prayer is a natural need of the human heart, but that does not mean that human beings have a right to pray before God. Even when it is done with firm discipline and practice, it can be fruitless and without promise. The disciples may pray because it is Jesus who tells them to do so, and he truly knows the Father. He promises them that God will listen to them. So the disciples may pray only because they are in the community of Jesus, because they follow him. Anyone who is bound to Jesus in discipleship has access to the Father through him. Thus, every true prayer is mediated prayer. There is no such thing as unmediated praying. Even in prayer there is no unmediated access to the Father. Only through Jesus Christ may we find the Father in prayer. Faith, adherence to Christ, is the presupposition of prayer. He is the only mediator of our prayer. We pray trusting in his word. So our prayer is always prayer bound to his word.

We pray to God, in whom we believe through Christ. Therefore our prayer can never be a pleading with God. We do not need to pose before God. We may trust that God knows what we need before we ask for it. This gives our prayer greatest confidence and joyous certainty. It is not the formulation, not the number of words, but faith which reaches God’s fatherly heart that has known us so long.

Genuine prayer is not a deed, an exercise, a pious attitude. Rather it is the request of the child to the heart of the Father. That is why prayer is never demonstrative, neither before God nor before ourselves, nor before others. If God did not know what I need, then I would have to think about how I should tell God, what I should tell God, whether I should tell God. But the faith out of which I am praying prevents such reflecting or demonstrating.

Prayer is necessarily hidden. It is the opposite of a public act in every way. When people pray, they no longer know themselves; they know only God, to whom they are calling. Because prayer does not reach out into the world, but is directed solely to God, it is the least demonstrative act there is.[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/@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 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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 152–153.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

 

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

Purity 875 10/29/2022 Purity 875 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a multicolored October Sky comes to us from Rocco Saya the man behind  Celestial Blue Photography, (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069048257152), who shared this scene from Oswego NY back on October 23rd reporting that he hadn’t picked up his camera in two weeks due to his “massive preparations for Halloween” but that he took a break for the sunset and was rewarded with a “perfect way to end the day in fall.”

Rocco truly has pulled out all the stops in decorating his home for Halloween and if you are in Oswego area in the evening hours you can stop by 157 E 9th Street to see it for the next week, but he suggests stopping by on Halloween night because he will be synchronizing music with the light show as his way of saying: Happy Halloween.  If you aren’t near the shores of Lake Ontario and want to see a preview of what Rocco has done there is a link (https://fb.watch/gsErl-8ksW/) to a post on the Celestial Blue Photography page on the blog today that provides a video of Mr. Saya’s Halloween Decorating Triumph.

Well it is Saturday of Halloween weekend, and it is my prayer that we all have a good and SAFE weekend, I know that Halloween is not until Monday but I am sure that won’t stop many a Halloween custom party from happening between now and then and I know from my past, that mischievous youth may take to the streets tonight or tomorrow to wreak havoc in their communities with acts of destruction or vandalism.  I also know that the bars will be profiting off of and encouraging its patrons to lose their inhibitions and to drink deep and to make some wicked connections with the safety of masked anonymity.

As much as Halloween can be considered to be just “harmless” fun for our youth with costumes and trick or treating, this celebration of all things spooky really is revealed as a dark holiday by its rebellious, destructive, and licentious spirit that condones mischievous pranks, tricks, fantasy, and overindulgences in the sins of the flesh.

But beyond these evidences that can easily be seen there are the spiritual forces of darkness that are unseen but remain very real that delight in our society turning toward the darkness in the name of fun and which actively seek to steal, kill, and destroy.

As my attempt to share the truth that the Bible declares about the “paranormal” aspects of life, I am sharing an excerpt from Freedom in Christ’s Ministries blog from this week called: Halloween: The Paranormal (https://blog.ficm.org/blog/halloween-the-paranormal).   FICM USA’s board member Dr. Jonathan Carol continues his second installment regarding Halloween by writing:

So what is the paranormal? Should I be scared? Is it real, or is it all fake and pretend?

Some paranormal “occurrences” are nothing but fraudulent hoaxes. Yet some paranormal activities are very real and spiritually significant.

1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (ESV)

Are ghosts real? Can my dead relatives come back to talk to me? What about familiar spirits and spirit guides? Can a place be haunted? Is it wrong to talk to or hunt ghosts? Is it wrong to go to haunted houses?

Any real “ghost” sightings or hauntings are actually disguised demons trying to gain your attention and affection. They either want you to 1) be afraid of their powers, 2) be self-confident in your abilities, or 3) be distracted from God by being absorbed into whatever experience they are presenting. Avoid the temptations of these experiences and flee from their evil.

2 Corinthians 11:14 “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”

What’s the one sure-fire thing I can do to survive paranormal attacks? (FYI: Don’t miss this!)

Real “paranormal” activities and beings are clearly demonic when they fail to accurately point to Jesus and His biblical truth, love, and righteousness. The only way to survive such paranormal attacks is by repenting of sin and being born again with saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Christians, if you ever come under paranormal/demonic attack, there is only one strategy for success. Don’t try to fight these spiritual battles in your own power, seek Jesus and His truth. Repent from sin. Walk in righteousness. Renew your mind with His truth (Romans 12:1-3) and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

James 4:7–8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

"Study Satan’s tricks, and acquaint yourself with his tactics." William Gurnall

What is evil? What is good? How can I know what is true and what is false? Which is the best book on this topic? Who is the best person to talk to on this topic?

There is a spiritual battle raging around us between the followers of Christ against the unseen spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). Although many authors and books seek to describe this warfare, the best place to start and finish is in the Bible. If you are a Christian, the Bible is your weapon as a “sword of the Spirit” who is within you. Don’t go unarmed into battle, cite the Scripture with your lips and with your life.

Ephesians 6:16–17 “In all circumstances take up…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”

"Do not pretend you want to be led into truth if you will not bother to study the whole Word of God." William Gurnall

Is it ok to watch paranormal movies and TV shows? Read books and blogs? Is there any harm in Zombies? Pok√©mon? Cartoon witches? Avatars? Vampires? Werewolves? Should Christians “celebrate” Halloween?

Sometimes we face complicated decisions that are best left up to Christian conscious. We should study God’s Word, evaluate our motivations, consider the potential impact on our Christian obedience and witness, and prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

If a Christian finds peace about participating in Halloween activities, they must use wisdom. Many faithful Christians have a clear conscience about participating in certain Halloween activities by taking with precautions about their destinations, costumes, and behaviors. Some believers see Halloween as a wonderful witnessing opportunity in which their neighbors and strangers will visit their homes or community outreach events (Galatians 5:13 and 1 Peter 2:16).

1 Corinthians 10:23–24 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

What if I am just a “normal Christian”? Does this subject really affect me? Am I safe from all of this paranormal and demonic stuff? How can I prepare for future attacks (spiritual, mental, marriage, etc.)? How can I live with ongoing struggles and suffering? What if Satan doesn’t leave me alone?

The lessons of Halloween carry over throughout the year. Everyday we all face spiritual battles where “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:10-20). We must daily prepare as we go into spiritual battle. As we mature in our faith, our perspective and passions may change or grow regarding the details of Halloween. May we seek to use our Christian freedom in ways that honor Jesus and share His light with a dark and dying world. May we live with joy in our salvation and move forward with bold courage against Satan and his demons!

Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’”

For more about spiritual warfare in the early church, summaries of some of Neil Anderson’s most important works, or  A Bible reading plan for 2023, Dr. Carl invites us to  www.spiritualwarfare.blog/free-books for some of his free e-books and writings on the various subjects regarding our faith and spiritual warfare.   

So tonight as I will be volunteering at the last installment of Operation Adopt a Soldier’s Harvest Festival and Haunted Hayride at Gaven Park in Wilton NY, probably as a bouncer for the “bouncy house”,  I will be sure to encourage everyone I encounter to be kind to one another and to be safe in their celebrations and if I get the chance I will remind them that the darkness, no matter how prominent it may seem around Halloween or in our culture, has been defeated in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross and I will tell them that they can participate in that victory by putting their faith in Him and by continually walking and talking with God.

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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:

2 Corinthians 4:9 (NLT2)
9  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that our Christian faith may not always be a bed of roses and that we may be knocked down from time to time in our walk of faith but it assures us that no matter whether we are hunted down, we are not abandoned by God and even if we get knocked down, we are not destroyed.  

Hunted down? Yup, in the Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship Lesson I presented the other night, the German theologian warned of a time of coming persecution and while we in the relatively safe confines of the US may say we don’t see it, an article on Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2022/01/20/one-in-seven-christian-minorities-under-threat-in-2022/?sh=58e956a77d2d) states that:

“According to the research, the persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. “Across 76 countries, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – an increase of 20 million since last year.” 312 million Christians live in the top 50 countries alone. One in every seven Christians live under at least high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith.”  

“An increase of 20 million since last year”!  So although we in the US are mostly only socially ostracized and encouraged to remain silent in our faith by our Post Christian culture, other Christians in the world aren’t waiting for the persecution to come, it’s already here and it is apparently increasing at an alarming rate. And this is being reported by Forbes, not exactly some right wing reporting agency trying to disseminate Christian propaganda. So as we move forward, we need to really know who we are in Christ and know the truth of today’s verse.  

We may be hunted down someday because we are Christians. We may be knocked down because of our faith in Christ. But we will never be abandoned by God and we will never be destroyed. 

But that only applies to those in Christ: Jesus said in

Matthew 10:28-33 (NKJV)
28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


32  "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

So take courage and comfort if you have made Christ your Lord and Savior because in Him we are safe, we are never abandoned, and we are never destroyed.  

But don’t just rest in your safety, let those you know who aren’t Christians learn the truth: that they need Jesus, and encourage them to seek the safety, acceptance, security, and significance that is found in Christ alone.

 

 

___________________________________________

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

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who abuse and persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:43–48).

This is the point in the Sermon on the Mount where we encounter for the first time the word which summarizes everything in it: love. Immediately it is put into the clear-cut context of love for our enemies. Loving one’s kindred is a commandment that could be misunderstood. Loving enemies makes unmistakably clear what Jesus intends.

“Enemy” was no empty concept for the disciples. They knew it well. They met enemies daily. There were those who cursed them as destroyers of the faith and lawbreakers; there were those who hated them because they had left everything for Jesus’ sake and did not highly value anything but communion with him; there were those who insulted and scorned them for their weakness and humility; there were those who persecuted them, who feared a growing revolutionary danger in the group of disciples and were intent on destroying them. One kind of enemy were the representatives of a people’s piety, who could not tolerate Jesus’ claim to exclusive and complete loyalty. They were armed with power and respect. Another enemy, which would be apparent to every Jew, was the political enemy in Rome. The Jews experienced powerful oppression from that enemy.[133] In addition to these two inimical groups, there was all the personal enmity which anyone encounters who does not participate in the norms of the majority: daily defamation, humiliation, and threats.

To be sure, nowhere in the Old Testament is there a statement which commands us to hate our enemies. On the contrary, we find the commandment to love our enemies (Exod. 23:4f.; Prov. 25:21f.; Gen. 45:1ff.; 1 Sam. 24:7; 2 Kings 6:22; and elsewhere). But Jesus is speaking here, not of natural enmity, but of the enmity of God’s people against the world. Israel’s wars were the only “holy” wars[135] the world has ever known. They were God’s wars against the world of idols. Jesus does not condemn that enmity, otherwise he would have to condemn God’s entire history with God’s own people. Instead, Jesus affirms the Old Covenant. His only concern is to overcome enemies, to achieve victory for God’s community. But in this command, once again he released his community of disciples from the political form of the people of Israel. As a result, there will be no more wars of faith. God promised that we would gain victory over our enemies precisely by loving them.

Loving one’s enemies is not only an unbearable offense to the natural person. It demands more than the strength a natural person can muster, and it offends the natural concept of good and evil. But even more important, loving one’s enemies appears to people living according to the law to be a sin against God’s law itself. Separation from enemies and condemning them is what the law demands. But Jesus takes God’s law into his hands and interprets it. To overcome enemies by loving them—that is God’s will which is contained in the law.[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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 137–139.


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Pumpkin Ale, Fat Shaming, and Demons - Purity 869

Pumpkin Ale, Fat Shaming, and Demons - Purity 869

Purity 869 10/22/2022 Purity 869 Podcast

Good morning,

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.

1 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.

WHAT???

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”? 

IN 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:  

Galatians 5:24-25 (NLT2)
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.  

Remind yourself just how much you need the Lord and just how good He is to love and accept us regardless of our performance, and then dust yourself off and start walking in  the Spirit again.   

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.”

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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.

 

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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 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.   

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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 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

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

Kindred

“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.[82] 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.[85] 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.[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!

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 120–122.