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

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Moving On Up – The Path of the Upward Call – Purity 753

 


Moving On Up – The Path of the Upward Call – Purity 753

Purity 753 06/09/2022  Purity 753

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the “Waite Road Comet” comes to us from yours truly as I was out walking the dog this past Sunday and took this “no look” photo only to discover later that I had captured the sun sitting atop a cirrus cloud formation giving us this “comet like” scene. 

Well it is Thursday, and I share today’s photo today because it features a pathway, Waite Rd is just outside my country side home so get used to it, and this comet like feature directs our gaze to the heavens. I share pictures of pathways on Thursdays because today is the day I have traditionally taught recovery ministry, and now lead a Men’s Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course on Zoom, where I encourage others to start, or to continue, the journey on the path of Christian Discipleship to discover, or to maintain, their freedom in Christ.  And I am using the “Waite Rd Comet” in today’s photo to similarly encourage my friends to look up and to answer the “upward call” on their lives,   As

Philippians 3:14 (NKJV) says
14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

So yeah, that is written to the body of Christ, and it wasn’t just the Apostle Paul’s call to answer. The “upward call of God” is to follow the Lord’s will for our lives by living according to the wisdom of the Word of God and by finding and fulfilling our purpose in Christ.   

What exactly is that for you? 

I don’t know.  But the Lord does and somewhere in your heart of hearts, you may have an idea of what you “should have always done: but haven’t.  

God made us to be the unique individuals that we are, giving us specific talents, abilities, and dispositions. Why does one person have certain talents and seem to be called to pursue a certain path in life and why does that vary so much from person to person?   

We could talk about nature and nuture, about our genetics, our temperaments, and our environments all day long and wonder why “it has to be this way” or we could accept where we are today and set a course for tomorrow.

In 2019, my divorce finalized and I found myself faced with the reality that I had to pay spousal support, that means less money, and that I had to find a place to live because the terms of the divorce when completely fulfilled included the sale of my house in Craryville, and my compensation from the potential sale would be next to zero.  

So, I was faced with some cold hard facts like – I need money! – I nee a place to live! – What am I going to do!?    

Luckily, I wasn’t alone.  And no this tale doesn’t include the church body coming to save the day, nor does it include friends, or family coming to the rescue. 

Quite frankly, in many ways in life we are completely on our own and have to deal with our problems by ourselves. So it would seem that  I was “BY MYSELF”, as I am reminded of a Kevin Hart comedy routine where he described a street hardened individual who described his experience by saying: “ALL DAY, JUST ME , BY MYSELF, On The Block, Holding in it down, Gun in my waist, straight face, ALL DAY, Not a Game… etc.   – Luckily it wasn’t that way for me, not really. 







I wasn’t alone. I had been walking with the Lord since 2010 and He had led me out of the darkness of my addiction, and I knew He could help lead me out of the mess I found myself in. 

And sure enough, I felt what I believe to be His inward compulsions and intuition from the Holy Spirit to start working towards solutions.  And even though it was a process that didn’t have any quick fixes, I followed the Lord’s leadings and in June of 2020, He lead me to my new home “down by the River”.  

Part of our walk as Christians is to solve the problems before us. So we lean on the Lord’s strength, apply His wisdom to our lives, and keep going onward and upward into the life that He has for us, the life we always wanted but were afraid to pursue because we thought it was “too hard” or that we were inadequate or deficient in some way. 

Before Christ, we were deficient. We were spiritually dead and consumed by the flesh.  But after we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and are given a new spiritual life. We are made free from sin and death.

We will live forever with the Lord in eternity and are given the power to overcome the sins of the flesh that kept us in chains and to break the mental strongholds that made us think we weren’t good enough to live the life that we wanted and the Lord calls us to.

Through our faith in Christ, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can face harsh realities and have peace. We can persevere and eventually move out of difficult situations with joy.  The Apostle Paul’s testimony encourages us. He said in:

Philippians 4:11-14 (NLT2)
11  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
14  Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

I shared from the NLT because it simplifies the message.  Many just share Philippians 4:13, that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” but I like to share the preceding verses and  verse 14, because they keep it real, stating that we are to be content in every situation, in times of plenty or in times where we lack, and they fully admit to the reality of “present” difficulties.  

Life isn’t perfect the moment you become a Christian, but if you keep walking and talking with God and apply His wisdom to your life, things will get better, although they could get worse for a season or three, but the beauty of walking with the Lord is that even if you are “BY MYSELF”,  you never have to walk alone and you can have peace in the storm and joy that goes beyond your understanding and exists regardless of the present difficulties that you face.   

So keep going, keep going with God.  We will all face God in eternity and if you walk with Him now, through faith in Jesus Christ, oh yeah I said it, there will be no confusion about whether or not you are His.  When you are in Christ, He knows you and He calls you to follow Him.  And one day, when He calls you home, you will know the truth of your salvation and purpose in Christ when you finally see the prize for answering the upward call on your life.

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 20:7 (NLT2)
7  The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that the godly walk in integrity and that their children can benefit if they are faithful to follow in their footsteps.  

Proverbs is one of the books that are considered to be “wisdom literature” in the Old Testament and here we see some simple wisdom that we should apply to our lives.  

Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” For the Christian,  moral principles aren’t based on the latest trends in our culture but are based on the truth of God’s word.  The Bible’s standards are less permissive that our society’s standards where “anything goes”.  What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong is based on what God says in His word not on our feelings or our opinions.    

In fact, I had an idea of writing a book about living according to Christian ethics and titling the book “God said it was wrong” because in my walk I have seen Christians “take their liberty” in things that the Bible either implies or directly states that you shouldn’t.  

Walking in Godly integrity is living according to the word of God so we should do that, rather than claim our forgiveness and freedom to cover what could be either overt or subtle transgressions of God’s word.   

It’s not an easy road and the longer you walk with the Lord you become more and more aware of the many ways that you “miss the mark” of God’s righteousness, but we can grow and make changes when we become aware of the lies we have believed, or the errors that we have made, or are still making.    

The key is to keep walking in integrity because it brings us closer to the Lord’s will for our lives and it provides a good example for others.  

As today’s verse states our children could be blessed by our decision to walk in godly integrity.   Kids learn from their parents and often follow in their footsteps. So we should provide an example of integrity with the way we live our lives. The good we do today could be seen and influence our children tomorrow.  

So be honest and live by the principles found in God’s word because a life of godly integrity can not only bless your life, it could bless the lives of those who follow close behind.  

 

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 Begin  sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters”.  

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

POWERS OF DARKNESS

Clinton E. Arnold

Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters

Introduction

In 1992 Salem, Massachusetts, commemorated the 300th anniversary of the city’s infamous witch trials. More than 400 persons were accused of being witches in the inquisition. Of these, 150 were jailed, 14 women and 5 men were hung, and one supposed witch was crushed to death under several tons of rock.

Today, as visitors tour an 1845 stone church converted into Salem’s Witch Museum, the museum narrator greets them with, “Welcome to the Witch Museum. Do you believe in witches? Millions of our ancestors did.”

Many people today find it incredible that our forebears gave credence to these ideas. How could anyone possibly believe that “witches” have actual supernatural powers, that spell-casting can work, and that evil spirits wreak all kinds of terror in peoples’ lives? For most, these beliefs were rendered obsolete with the rise of the scientific age and the spread of educational opportunity for everyone.

Now, three centuries after the witch trials, no threat of a similar inquisition is looming, and I hope that that threat never will loom. But there is an upsurge of interest in witchcraft and the occult throughout the West. Note, for instance, the following advertisement that appeared in a recent tabloid:

I will cast a spell for you. I can cast a spell to make one love another, or cause a person to change his mind about a relationship, or bring two people together. I can do all these things because I have the combined powers of my mother who was a sorceress and my father, one of the most powerful warlocks who passed on his secrets to me moments before he moved on to a different world. My magical powers are beyond your imagination. I can cast a spell in your behalf regarding a relationship, your financial situation, future events, or whatever is important to you. I have the power and I use the power.

This announcement is typical of a number of occultic advertisements that appear regularly in tabloids throughout the United States.

This burgeoning interest in the occult is not a local fad but a trend in Western society. The growing fascination in the occult of the sixties became what the eminent history of religions scholar Mircea Eliade termed an “occult explosion” in the seventies. He notes, “As a historian of religions, I cannot fail to be impressed by the amazing popularity of witchcraft in modern Western culture and its subcultures.… The contemporary interest in witchcraft is only part and parcel of a larger trend, namely the vogue of the occult and the esoteric from astrology and pseudospiritualist movements to Hermetism, alchemy, Zen, Yoga, Tantrism, and other Oriental gnoses and techniques.”3 Then came the New Age movement, a definite “explosion” in its own right during the eighties and continuing vigorously into the nineties. The movement received a strong impetus from the publicity it received from a number of entertainment celebrities who popularized its teachings. The religious vocabulary of the West expanded with a barrage of neologisms such as “channeling” (getting in contact with a spiritual entity), “spirit guide” (a spiritual entity who provides information), “cosmic consciousness” (the perception that all in the universe is “one”) and “astral flight” (soul travel during meditation or the night).

It is difficult to gauge the size of this growing “movement” since it is loosely organized. Its current popularity can best be seen by perusing the shelves of any bookstore. Increasing space is given to the literally thousands of New Age publications. Businesses and corporations are hosting more and more “human potential” seminars based on New Age principles. The New Age concept of channeling has grown increasingly popular, especially in Southern California. A Los Angeles Times poll revealed that more women in West Los Angeles are consulting channelers than psychologists or counselors. In a recent cover story, entitled “New Age Harmonies,” Time magazine summarized the surprisingly rapid acceptance and popularity of the movement in many sectors of Western society.

The New Age movement is characterized by a monistic world view that has much in common with classic Hinduism. Monism is the belief that the entire universe is a living unified whole. God permeates the entire universe, and in a sense every person is a part of God. God and humanity are therefore one. What is needed, according to this view, is a change in our consciousness to heighten our level of awareness into our essential unity with the divine. The New Age movement also has a lively belief in the realm of spirits and thus practices forms of divination and magic (under the euphemism “channeling”). For this reason some evangelical analysts have described the heart of the New Age religion as occultism.

Given this rise in occultism, expressed also in the form of the New Age movement, we need to ask if the church is alert and ready to face this fresh challenge? Is the church prepared to effectively handle the spiritual problems that will surface in ministering to people who have opened their lives to the direct and immediate influence of the realm of Satan?

There are some encouraging signs. Many evangelical seminaries and Christian colleges are offering courses in spiritual warfare (or the equivalent) and, almost invariably, these courses have turned out to be the most popular courses among the students. Quite a number of books and articles have also appeared, treating topics on spiritual warfare, demon possession, counseling the demonized, and the New Age movement. Regrettably, the Christian community has not been well served with material dealing with a biblical perspective on demons, principalities and powers, and the nature of the church’s conflict with the powers of evil. I hope that this book can be a helpful first installment on developing a biblical perspective on the powers of darkness.

But is this topic relevant for everyone? Certainly not everyone in the church has had contact with professing Satanists or witches, with New Age advocates, or with those deeply involved in the occult. Furthermore, this topic is rather frightening. Why spend time exploring the varied dimensions of evil, especially in terms of demons and evil spirits? Would it not be better to avoid this topic altogether and spend the time meditating on the positive aspects of our Christian life?

I believe this topic is important for all Christians because it touches us in a profound way, regardless of whether we have had any involvement in the occult. The Bible teaches not only that evil spirits exist, but also that they are actively hostile to all Christians; their perverse instigations adversely affect our day-to-day life and the lives of those around us. The Bible consequently provides us with vital information, information designed to give Christians an appropriate perspective on these malicious forces and how to deal with their activity against us.

My personal interest in this theme originated during the course of my doctoral studies. Nestled in my office high in a tower of the sixteenth-century King’s College of the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), I banged away on a keyboard, researching and writing on the biblical concept of power. I was not far into my research before I realized that it was nigh well impossible to study the power of God without studying the opposing sphere of power, the kingdom of Satan. The end result was a dissertation entitled, “The Power of God and the Powers of Evil in Ephesians,” a study of this theme in one New Testament letter.

Not only in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, but also throughout the New Testament, Christ is portrayed in terms of a struggle with the powers of darkness. Jesus confronted the demonic in his earthly ministry, dealt a decisive blow to the kingdom of evil on the cross, continues to wage war against the hosts of Satan through the church, and will finally vanquish Satan and his forces once and for all after his Second Coming. Christ’s conflict with the powers of evil surfaces as a major theme in New Testament theology. Surprisingly, this theme has been terribly neglected in the exegetical and theological study of the New Testament. Why? I am not certain. It may be due partly to the Western post-Enlightenment world view that has interpreted the New Testament references to evil spirits as outmoded primitive myth.

The grip of our common Western world view provides yet another reason for this book. In contrast to people in Africa, Korea, China, and other parts of the non-Western world, we have grown up disbelieving in the realm of spirits, demons and angels. Most Westerners, if asked, “Do you believe in evil spirits?” would say no. This is also true of many Christians in the West, although we display some doublemindedness on the issue. Many Christians would affirm a belief in demons because they are mentioned in the Bible (and perhaps because some missionaries have come home with tales about dealing with the demonic). In actual fact, however, the spirit realm may have no more a part of a given Christian’s world view than it does of that person’s non-Christian neighbor. It is tough to break the all-pervasive influence of one’s culture. If the realm of spirits and angels is a dominant part of the biblical world view, it should thus be a dominant part of a Christian world view in our age.

In the following pages I hope to show precisely what role evil spiritual powers had in the world view of one of Christianity’s most brilliant and inspired thinkers, the apostle Paul. Comprising about one-quarter of our New Testament, Paul’s letters constitute an important source for building a Christian world view today.[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 Pat


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 13–17.



Thursday, May 12, 2022

Did the Devil Make Me Do It? – Submit to God – Purity 729


 Did the Devil Make Me Do It? – Submit to God – Purity 729

Purity 729 05/12/2022   Purity 729 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun shining above a tree that stands beside a pathway that to the waters of Tampa Bay comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at Picnic Island Park while on the last day of my honeymoon vacation back on February 24th .

 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share a photo of some form of pathway on Thursdays because I have been encouraging people to “get on the pathway of Christian Discipleship” through various ministries, typically on Thursday nights, since 2015 when I discovered that the application of our Christian faith, that walking in the Spirit, was the key to solving all of life’s problems and if followed would lead to an abundant life of peace, love, joy and all the other fruit of the Spirit manifesting in our lives as the Lord’s way would lead us to abandon the things that cause us guilt, shame, and pain and would encourage us to do and think on that which is true, noble, just, pure, and lovely. 

Our walk of faith doesn’t guide us to stop doing what is wrong and just have some neutral blank space in our lives. Our walk of faith is intentional in that we forsake what is evil and choose to think about and to do what is good.

Tonight I facilitate a Men’s Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course on Zoom and the topic we will be discussing is the battle for our minds.  The lesson we will be covering deals with the reality of the dark spiritual forces that actively try to lead us astray through:

·       Deception -  telling us lies and feeding us worldly philosophies that contradict the truth of God’s word

·       Accusation – by coming at us hard with condemnation when we make mistakes and using our doubt and failures to attack our sense of identity, or status, as a Christian

·       Temptation – by encouraging us to sin     

The lesson uses scriptures from the Bible that demonstrate that the enemy could even influence people who wanted to follow the Lord to do things that was against God’s will.  King David, Judas Iscariot, and Ananias and Saphira were all tempted and deceived by the enemy to do his will rather than the Lord’s and the Apostle Paul’s discourse on the full armor of God in the book of Ephesians demonstrates that we are subject to the enemy’s attacks and need to follow the advice in

James 4:7 (NKJV) that tells us to:
7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

So how do we do that? And how do we know when we are being fed thoughts that come from the enemy, or if they are something we learned in the world, or if they are our own sinful ideas?

Well the good news is that the same defense against the spiritual forces of darkness, will also work to help us overcome worldly influences or our own bad ideas.   

We submit to God by agreeing that His word is true and by choosing to live by its principles.  But our faith is not just rule keeping.  Our faith is a relationship with God where we recognize that God isn’t somewhere off in the distant cosmos but that He is immanent, that God is near – He encompasses or is manifested in the material world – and that God is personal and relational – He reveals Himself to us as Father and He loves and cares for us and wants us to benefit from a relationship with Him.

God proved both His immanence and love for us by sending Jesus into the material world, to speak the truth of His word, to demonstrate His standards by living a sinless life, and by paying for our sins on the cross.  When we put our faith in Jesus, we are forgiven of all our sins and are given a new eternal life with which we can give God glory by overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil through the simple choice to follow the Lord and to reject any thoughts that would contradict His truth.  

We don’t have to worry whether our impulses or thoughts come from some demon, the world, or ourselves. We just have to submit to God and His wisdom and ways in order to be defended from deception, accusation, and temptation. We reject that which false or is contrary to God’s word and accept that God’s word is truth in which we can trust and that we can live by.   

Thinking about, and doing, what true, noble, just, and pure will not cause us guilt and shame.  Doing what’s right won’t result in a guilty conscience and when we don’t have a guilty conscience we can have peace. For the Christian, this is more than just “doing the right thing” which is not bad advice, this is submitting to God. We aren’t just doing “what’s right for the right reasons”.

We are obeying the commands of our Heavenly Father as an expression of our identity, as Christians, as a recognition that God’s Holy standards are good and authoritative, as a defense against the spiritual forces of darkness, and also as an expression of the love we have for God.    Our submitting to God is our purpose and our armor.

So submit to the Lord because not only will the devil flee from you, but you will also be protected from the world system that would lead you into error,  and you will also be protected from the man in the mirror, who can at times be our own worst enemy.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Remind yourself that when you put your faith in Christ all things are new, we are no longer who we used to be, and that all we have to do to find our purpose in this world is to walk in the ways of the Lord and to follow where He leads.

______________________________________________________________

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Luke 15:10 (NKJV)
10  Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Today’s Bible verse are the words of Jesus who tells us that the kingdom of heaven rejoices when sinners are brought from death to life when they repent.  

Repenting is turning away from the worlds ways and choosing to go God’s way.  It is said to mean to change one’s mind. To decide to no longer go on the highway to hell but to take the narrow road that leads to ever lasting life.  

This statement of Christ confirms the existence of a spiritual kingdom that is unseen.  This and other statements from Jesus tell us that this world is not all there is and that we are wise to put our faith in Christ to be with Him in paradise and to avoid the wrath of God that would rightly send us to hell.  

So let’s not just let the angels rejoice over our salvation, let’s rejoice in what the Lord has done for us and let His will be done in our lives through a continual process of evaluation and repentance. 

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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

7 - Living to Prove He Is More Precious Than Life

 

To make others glad in God with an everlasting gladness, our lives must show that he is more precious than life. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). To do this we must make sacrificial life choices rooted in the assurance that magnifying Christ through generosity and mercy is more satisfying than selfishness. If we walk away from risk to keep ourselves safe and solvent, we will waste our lives. This chapter is about the kind of lifestyle that may keep that from happening.

How Not to Betray Jesus

If Christ is an all-satisfying treasure and promises to provide all our needs, even through famine and nakedness, then to live as though we had all the same values as the world would betray him. I have in mind mainly how we use our money and how we feel about our possessions. I hear the haunting words of Jesus, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things” (Matthew 6:31–32). In other words, if we look like our lives are devoted to getting and maintaining things, we will look like the world, and that will not make Christ look great. He will look like a religious side-interest that may be useful for escaping hell in the end, but doesn’t make much difference in what we live and love here. He will not look like an all-satisfying treasure. And that will not make others glad in God.

If we are exiles and refugees on earth (1 Peter 2:11), and if our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and if nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35), and if his steadfast love is better than life (Psalm 63:3), and if all hardship is working for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17), then we will give to the winds our fears and “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). We will count everything as rubbish in comparison with Christ (Philippians 3:7–8). We will “joyfully accept the plundering of our property” for the sake of unpopular acts of mercy (Hebrews 10:34). We will choose “ rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin,” and we will count “the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:25–26).[1]

Why Don’t People Ask Us About Our Hope?

There is no doubt that if we lived more like this, the world would be more likely to consider whether Jesus is an all-satisfying Treasure. He would look like one. When was the last time someone asked you about “the reason for the hope that is in you”? That’s what Peter said we should always be ready to give an answer for: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Why don’t people ask us about our hope? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do. Our lives don’t look like they are on the Calvary road, stripped down for sacrificial love, serving others with the sweet assurance that we don’t need to be rewarded in this life. Our reward is great in heaven (Matthew 5:12)! “You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). If we believed this more deeply, others might see the worth of God and find in him their gladness.[2]

---------------------------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] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 107–109.

 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Contingency Plans for Disaster – His Truth & His Love – Purity 676


Contingency Plans for Disaster – His Truth & His Love  – Purity 676

Purity 676 03/11/2022  - Purity 676 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view from the Royal Sonesta San Juan Beach Hotel comes to us from a friend who decided to take a break from the winter in upstate NY by visiting sunny Puerto Rico!  I especially like the wispy cloud formation they captured in this photo that could be said to resemble an angel or a dove to represent one of God’s messengers or the Holy Spirit Himself.  Looking at this scene, I’m pretty sure the message from God would be: You are blessed!  

Well, it’s Friday, and if you know you are blessed you should thank God for it because many of our friends and neighbors do not have this perspective and continually walk in the affliction of the world system and the enemy that fills them with anger, fear, depression, and anxiety.  

When we don’t recognize that there is a God, over and above all creation that is moving all things to fulfill His purposes, and just look at the world as a dangerous place that appears to be meaningless and is just falling apart, we are shaken by every passing circumstance and fail to see any reason for hope.    

Yesterday, circumstantially,  I had one of those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days that just invites our anger, frustrations, and complaints but luckily I remembered my training in spiritual warfare and managed to take every thought captive and didn’t let the negative circumstances that I faced drag me too far down in the dumps before I corrected my course.  

Thursdays, the days I have done recovery ministry in the past and discipleship ministry currently, seemed to be the days that the enemy chooses to do some of his worst, or in his eyes best work, to distract people from their decision to trust in the Lord for their recovery or with their decision to follow Him.  

Through the years, Thursdays have been the days where people in my immediate circle have suffered illness, accidents, broken relationships, relapses, and, one time, even a murder in the family.  It is a world broken by sin after all, so I am not surprised when bad things happen in life but really wonder if there is something sinister happening when it impedes someone’s walk with the Lord.   

Thankfully, my day yesterday was mild compared to the things I have seen in the past but the preponderance of little annoyances, pressures, frustrations, and colossal blunders reminded me of the need to continue to put everything in context of who I am in Christ, to “give it to God”, and to keep going in the strength and the peace of the Lord.  

Yesterday I ran into problems I couldn’t fix, I but really wanted to!. I managed to stain my jacket with wet paint, and just when I was ready to call it a day I managed to lock my keys in my work truck and was stranded as the contingency plans at work failed.  

Thankfully, I have a spare set of keys and a son with a license and even though it was close, I managed to get home in time to facilitate the Freedom in Christ Men’s group that I lead on Thursday nights.  I also was blessed by my wife who decided to come down to comfort her husband after his relatively bad day.  

Life will invariably give us problems and the Lord has blessed us with minds to think of contingency plans to put in place when disaster strikes and, if we are prepared, we can handle them with a lot more grace than if we fail to learn from the calamities that have befallen us in the past.   

So the “spare key” and “son who can drive” contingency worked out pretty good.  I was inconvenienced but not defeated.   The “Christian Wife” contingency also really helped me to further remind me that I am not alone and that I am deeply loved and supported. 

But before these measures kicked in after the significant disaster of being stranded at work,  The Lord was with me to deal with those minor difficulties that attempted to steal my peace.  

As a tech, my job is to fix things and when I run into situations where I have to admit that I have to pass my jobs onto specialists that have the training and tools that are above my abilities,  I can get frustrated because a part of me knows “I can fix it!” I can do this!” Come, man!”   

But when I hear “that guy” I don’t hear peace and I don’t hear reason either. When “that guy” speaks, I see a man who wants to be valued for his performance and that is when I know I am in the dangerous territory of pride.  The “I can do it myself.” spirit is one of pride and can easily go into the realm of rebellion and when I see myself start to go that way. I go remind myself that I am not responsible to “fix” everything and my value doesn’t lie in the things I can do.  

At work, I am to fix what I can and pass off what I can’t to the specialists.  In my walk of faith,  I am to do my part and leave the rest up to God.  In short like my friend who decided to leave the winter behind for the sunny atmosphere of Puerto Rico,  I am to give myself a break.   

So whatever you may be facing in your life, remind yourself that your worth is determined by God, not by your performance.  He has determined that you were valuable enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you so you could live with Him forever. 

If bad things come your way, remind yourself that in Christ you are loved and accepted, significant and secure, and that nothing can change that.   

So take a break, thank God it’s Friday, and keep walking and talking with God through the workday today and into the weekend beyond.   No matter what happens God is with you and if you follow His wisdom and ways He will lead you to know peace even when it seems that only bad things are happening, and the world is falling apart.  

The truth is that lie – that only bad things are happening, and the world is falling apart -  isn’t true.  God has it all under control and when we walk with Him we can see that there are many good things happening all around us and He can help us to navigate the ups and downs of life with the assurance of His love and the peace and joy that comes to being in a covenant relationship with Him. 

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is :

James 5:7 (NLT2)
7  Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

Today’s verse speaks of the need to be patient and assures us of the Lord’s return.   

Yup Jesus is coming back.  The book of Revelation tells us that.  And it tells us of a new heaven and a new earth that the Lord will create for His people. 

So we can agree to disagree with the History Channel’s show “The Universe” that explains how eventually the universe will just go dark as all the stars burn out and all life is extinguished.  That show fails to recognize the Creator, God, may have a different plan for His creation, a plan that was revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.  

Jesus Christ coming to earth was a game changer. His life, death, and resurrection showed us that He was God in the flesh. He confirmed the truth of The Old Testament and the Messianic prophecies.  His life and the beginning of the church were documented in the New Testament and just when you may have thought that it was just a collection of historical accounts and letters on Christian doctrine and living, the book of Revelation shows us that the Lord had something to tell us about the future as well.  

The good news of Revelation is that those who stand with God through their faith in Jesus Christ will stand forever.   

But what are we supposed to do until then?  

We live and share the eternal life that the Lord gave us. We also share the hope that we have in Christ’s eventual return.  

When will it come? 

We don’t know and it doesn’t really matter.  In Christ we have the assurance of our eternal life in His kingdom.  Regardless of when we are called into eternity or when Jesus comes for us, we can experience the peace and joy and patience that comes when we walk in the Spirit and let the fruit of the Spirit grow in our lives.   

So walk with God and share His love if you do that patience will definitely grow in your life. 

Just like a farmer has to trust that the seeds he plants will grow, we have to trust that the Lord has sowed His life in us and that we can see the fruit of the Spirit grow as we follow Him and that our eternal lives will one day grow out of our physical deaths or will come in a blink of an eye if Christ should come for us before we die.   

The good news is that God wins, and He is sharing His victory with us today and forever more. So be patient and wait on the Lord.

 

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 June Hunt’s Envy & Jealousy: Taming the Terrible Twins.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s  books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

III.  CAUSEs

A.  Surface Causes

     Envy

   desire for selfish gain

   comparison

   emphasis on personal rights

   unrealistic expectations

     Jealousy

   lack of trust

   low self-image

   guilt

   fear of loss

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

(Proverbs 14:30)

B.  Situational Setups

     Envy           

   affluence (money)

   achievement (honors, awards)

   appearance (looks, clothes, etc.)

   abilities (talents)

   advancement (promotions)

   activities (trips, social invitations)

     Jealousy

   sibling rivalry

   friendships

   marriage relationships

   adult parent/child relationships

   competitive work environment

   legalistic church environment

“I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:4)

C.  Root Cause

Wrong Belief:

For Envy:

“I have a right to have what others have because I need to feel more significant.”

For Jealousy:

“I have a right to keep whatever I have to fulfill my need for significance.”

Right Belief:

I will trust God and choose to be content regardless of what I have or do not have. He will fulfill my need for significance through His life lived within me.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11–13)[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Envy & Jealousy: Taming the Terrible Twins (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 6–7.