Previously On “Walking in the Spirit”- What a Year, What a Life in Christ! – Purity 616
Purity 616 12/31/2021 Purity 616 Podcast
Today’s photo of a friend drifting into the sunset at Southsea seafront in Portsmouth, England comes to us from a friend’s paddling excursion back in August of this year. I know I shared a similar photo of our friend in the UK this year, but I had to go back and wanted to make sure I didn’t share this one. The photo archive on my phone is positively jammed packed with memories, both captured and borrowed, and the last thing I wanted to do was share the same photo twice when I have so many to choose from.
Well it’s New Year’s Eve and Friday and you can’t thank God for the year that has past, you can thank Him that it will soon be over and you can thank Him for the end of another work week, as most of us will be enjoying a three day weekend to ease into 2022.
As we look forward to a new year and a fresh start in 2022, we should take a look back at what happened in the previous year to have an idea of what God has done in our lives and how we have navigated the past 12 months so we can learn from our pasts and possibly change some things so we are not condemned to repeat some of the more unpleasant aspects from our personal history.
As I discovered this morning, I would suggest going back into your phone’s photo history to remember all the scenes you captured and lived through (you made it!!!), in 2021.
As I have shared my life is rich because I stay within arm’s reach of the Lord’s presence on a continual basis and when you walk in the Spirit, you are grounded in the present moment. You are so in touch with what is happening now that you are enjoying each step on the path of Christian Discipleship and are free from concerns regarding the past and you are also free of worry for the days ahead as you don’t look too far into the future.
The fully engaged life in the spirit is grounded in the fruit of the Spirit so as you go even though their will be moments where you need the Lord’s patience, strength, and self-control as you deal with negative circumstances, you are still grounded in His supernaturally provided goodness, faith, gentleness, love, joy and peace.
When you hold on to God, you never fall too far. It reminds me of the Christopher Reeves’ version of Superman in the 80’s when Superman caught a falling Lois Lane and said: “…I’ve got you.” To which a startled Lois Lane, played by Margot Kidder, retorts: “You’ve got me!? Who’s got you?!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUY48aQFcwA_ ) So if you are not sure what the new year has instore for you. Let me assure you that when you make Christ your Lord and Savior and decide to actually follow Him by “walking in the Spirit”, let me assure you that God’s got you!
And man did God have me in 2021!
So anyway like I said, look at your photos in the last year and see where you’ve been and see how God was there with you. For me:
Professionally, I started the year with the results of boldly deciding to go into a situation where I was given no guarantees but decided to go anyway. In 2020, I had the opportunity to ask for a transfer to the Albany garage that was closer to home but it was made clear to me that my function could change if I went to the new location.
So what do you do? Do you stay where things are comfortable or do you take a chance on getting something you want but that may have unforeseen consequences. Well, I knew in 2020 that God had been with me all my life and we have been walking together since 2010 and I knew that, with God, I could face anything and that when we are given the choice between a reward with a risk and staying in the status quo because of fear, we have to trust the Lord and go for it.
So in 2020, I told my employer to “send me” and I received my permanent transfer letter to the Albany garage and on January 7th of 2021, I started working there in the same job function that I had in Schenectady! Ha Ha…. Sucker! In your face! But of course, things change.
Although I started the year in the Buried Service Department as a “ditchdigger for a fortune 500 company” I wouldn’t stay there. Organizational changes happen and I for some reason seem to be affected by the changes when 97% of the rest of the work force just keeps trucking along untouched. God apparently likes to test me by putting me in new situations. But as daunting as the adjustment periods can be, I always seem to make it through to a good place in the end.
I also was home garaging in 2020 and that ended in the summer 2021. Bummer, working from home was great but rather than being bitter about it being over we will just rejoice that it happened and we got to enjoy it for about a year. Not all the restrictions of Covid-19 were a bad thing.
Anyway, in the autumn of 2021 I had to turn in my shovel and wedge and become a telephone repairman, a job that I had limited experience with and the prospect of doing filled me with anxiety as I am my own worst critic and tend to condemn myself when I don’t perform perfectly. I don’t like not knowing how to do things and I don’t like feeling inadequate with my work skills.
But God, had my back there too. God provided a couple of co-workers to train me who reminded me of the skills and knowledge, I already possessed, and taught me the in’s and out’s of not only doing the job but in meeting the expectations that the company would judge me by. In our training relationships these people were absolute God sends as they showed me that I had no reason to fear and I was fully capable of doing what I would be asked to do. In return, I encouraged them about the reality of a God that was alive and well and present in their lives and of what really mattered.
So at year’s end, I have adapted to the new job function and even though that “curse” that warned of a change of the status quo did come to pass, God used it for good. The new position gives me the humble balance of being confident when I am able to resolve a customer’s problem skillfully and admitting that I can’t do everything when a customer’s trouble requires tools and skills that I do not possess and I have to refer it to others, teaching me the lesson that it’s okay to ask for help and walk away from problems we can’t fix.
That’s a cliff notes version and that’s a lot but that’s only my 9 to 5, or 7:30 to 4:30 – oh yeah – with the new job function my hours changed too, as I lost a half hour of my life as I was reporting to work at 8am.
Again, I was blessed to receive the special hours for a time and enjoyed them for much longer than others who had also lost the privilege of taking a half an hour lunch and were forced to stay at work an additional 30 minutes without pay, for those corporate reasons that seem highly impersonal and arbitrary. It’s just another exercise in letting things go and accepting things as they are.
That was only professionally, personally 2021 was a roller coaster ride in terms of my ministry pursuits and the new relationships I formed.
Ministerially, I began the year completing my training as a Community Freedom Ministry Associate with Freedom in Christ Ministries online and by attending the CFMA Practicum in April in San Antonio, Texas.
I launched a CFM at my local church in February. I had taken the senior leadership role and led the recovery ministry, Celebrate Freedom, in 2020 but by year’s end the ministry had dwindled down nothing and so I made the choice to transition to a Discipleship Ministry to share the transformational power of a life in the Spirit with a larger audience.
So in 2021, I taught discipleship classes based on Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, The Bondage Breaker, and the “Freedom in Christ” Discipleship Course from February to November.
We had a small following at our local church but in 2021 I also made the decision to podcast the classes to reach more people. I ended up using the podcast to share my daily encouragements as well and in March, Arthur and Susanna Cincotti, agreed to cohost and podcast our weekly Bible Study together.The mt4Christ247 podcast has over 4,000 downloads since starting on February 1st and Bible Study with the Cincotti’s program had 530 of those. The podcast was something I was uncertain about to try but I wanted to be faithful to share the hope of Freedom in Christ and the path of Christian Discipleship with others and I am humbled at the results and am filled with joy in the process of doing it, as it has become a part of my daily spiritual practice and has led to unexpected rewards and new opportunities.
In November, I attended Freedom Christ Ministries’ Fall Practicum in Latham NY as a member of the prayer team and an assistant coach for the CFMA training sessions where I got to become acquainted with many of Freedom in Christ Ministries’ leadership. Through my efforts at being faithful in sharing the message of Freedom and Christ and forming new relationships, I have transitioned to the role of a Course Leader for Freedom in Christ Ministries as I will begin facilitating the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course to a Men’s Group via Zoom beginning on January 6th.
If you keep walking and talking with God, He will lead you into new opportunities to serve Him. If you say “send me” to God don’t be surprised if you are called to go somewhere.
And that brings us to another aspect of my journey: relationships, with God always, but also with groups, churches, and individuals.
My relationship with Freedom in Christ Ministries and, let’s be honest, small participation, has led me to discontinue the in-person classes that I was teaching at Rock Solid Church as I have decided to try to reach more people with the message of Freedom in Christ with the new Zoom classes I will host. So the after 6 years of teaching at or leading a ministry at Rock Solid Church, 2022 will begin with my leaving that function for the body of Christ and going in a new direction.
2021 was a year that I also began a relationship with Starpoint Church in Clifton Park. One of my discipleship students is a member of Starpoint Church and in the sping of 2021, I noticed on one of their posts that Starpoint Church was hosting a “DivorceCare” Ministry.
As a recently divorced Christian and a Christian Counselor of sorts, I decided that I should step out in faith and attend the group. I had never attended the church and didn’t know anyone that would be attending, unless my student decided to go -and they didn’t.
So again when walking in the Spirit, you answer the call. I figured I could use the ministry for healing purposes, to receive the counsel of the program and the support of other Christian divorcees, and if nothing else also learn a little bit about counseling people who were dealing with divorce.
I received more than I contributed I am sure, as I was able to talk about what had happened in my failing marriage, how I had survived it, and how the Lord led me to a new home and a better life. I also made new friends and discovered more about myself as the group organized social events where we could confidently go out and enjoy our lives as divorced Christians.
DivorceCare also reminded me of the dangers of living a double minded life as I heard testimony after testimony of how Christians had compromised their Christian faith and sought happiness according to the world’s ways rather than God’s. We all have a measure of faith as Christians but some of us “Ultra Christians” benefit greatly from believing and actually following the Lord with both our thoughts and actions.
Although I had been tempted to jump into relationships or play the field like I did way back when I was single, my conviction to stay sexually pure in the wake of my divorce was not typical of the average “Christian” divorcee and although purity was not an easy path, I discovered it was possible and that it is simply the best course for a Christian to follow.
God’s word indicates that the only sex that is approved by God is within the confines of marriage ,so I knew that if I was going to have a romantic relationship it was going to lead to marriage.
I made good friends with the people of Divorce Care and the activities we shared were some of the highlights of the summer of 2021. I enjoyed it so much that I even went to a “new Comers” life group for Star Point Church that one of the Divorce Care members were cohosting at their home.
One of the most important lessons the DivorceCare taught me was that as a single person, divorced or otherwise, was that you have to be intentional in “doing things”. Sitting around the house is great but God gave us the ability to move and this great big world for a reason. Our mental health benefits from venturing out into the world to see what God has made and to interact with Him and the people He created. So if you didn’t do much in 2021, follow the call to go out there and see some things and meet some new people in 2022.
One of the new people I met in 2021 has changed the course of my life forever. That student, who goes to Star Point Church and who I had hoped to connect with in person by going to DivorceCare, is TammyLyn Seguin.
TammyLyn discovered my podcast and class through one of the other students who recommended it. She contacted me via email about the class and I provided her with the information and encouraged her in her studies. We became Facebook friends and began chatting via FB messenger where we encouraged one another as Christian Divorcees.
TammyLyn said she enjoyed my podcasts and wanted to come to class in person but lived an hour away. I invited her to come whenever she wanted but understood that as a mother of 5, she might not make it. She insisted that she make it someday and one day she made the drive and walked into my life and into my heart.
Before she walked into my class, I had thought of TammyLyn and a “podcast student” who had a lot of pain in her life caused by a broken relationship. I felt for her and encouraged her to seek the Lord and His ways to grow in her identity and freedom in Christ.
But when she walked in my class, she became real to me because here she was in the flesh and I liked what I saw, and judging by the way she blushed at our initial meeting I suspected she liked what she saw too. Yeah, as much as a roomful of divorced Christian ladies and all the other available women friends on FB couldn’t see it, I knew I pretty awesome and apparently TammyLyn was the only one that God allowed to see it.
So my interest in TammyLyn and our friendship grew over the months that stretched from the spring to the autumn. In that time I became increasingly aware of the fact that TammyLyn might actually “like me, like me” and as the time progressed TammyLyn became more confident of who she was in Christ and was bold in declaring her need for me in her life.
I wanted a “relationship” with her too but was conflicted over my role as her teacher, our seeming personal differences, and the collective baggage of our pasts and the resulting consequences of our previous lives that we have to live with in the here and now.
As much as I wanted it, I couldn’t see how all our parts could fit together and I was hesitant to “go there” if we weren’t going to be able to make it work or if I would end up disappointing and hurting TammyLyn.
Our conversations became more like negotiations as TammyLyn subtly but tenaciously proclaimed her desires to be more than friends and we discussed the various aspects of our lives. Throughout our friendship we have openly and honestly shared the realities of our pasts with one another and as we grew closer together, I revealed some real skeletons in my closet to let TammyLyn know just exactly who she was pursuing.
For me, I know that I have been forgiven much so I in turn I forgive much in others. But would TammyLyn be the same? Would she understand and still want to be with someone with a long history of brokenness if she learned of some of the worst and most regrettable decisions of my life?
TammyLyn was unperturbed and was and is accepting of my past as I was of hers. She also showed that she understood the difficulties of blending our lives together but was adamant in her willingness to be true to one another and to work through the process of becoming a couple no matter what we would face or no matter how long it took.
Who else would love me like this? Who else would so boldly proclaim and prove her love for me like TammyLyn?
When I realized the full extent of her love for me, my mind was made up and on September 23rd I asked TammyLyn to marry me on FB messenger. She said no but she did agree to be my girlfriend, an agreement that was sealed with a kiss later that night after my discipleship class had been dismissed.
And on October 7th, before class began, I surprised TammyLyn with an engagement ring and a proposal to be my wife that she accepted.
We have been a happy couple betrothed to one another ever since and increasing grow in our love for one another.
We recently spent Christmas Day alone together and I had confessed that it was the realization of a dream come true as it fulfilled my romanticized ideal of a “couple’s first Christmas”.
So this year has been truly an epic adventure in all the different aspects of my life and I know that it wouldn’t have been what it was if I hadn’t decided to faithful seek the Lord and follow where He led me.
The word says that God works all thing together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
I can tell you from experience that that Bible verse and all the word of God is true.
So make Jesus your Lord and Savior or rededicate your life to Him as you leave 2021 behind and make a new start in 2022.
I am including a bunch of photos on the blog at mt4christ.org today that show some of the year gone by. So look back and see what your photos will tell you about the year gone by and make the decision to walk in the Spirit in the year ahead.
Me? I’m getting married tomorrow! So 2022 will prove to be another thrilling installment of “Walking in the Spirit with MT Clark” as TammyLyn and I will become one flesh, one couple who are equally dedicated to each other and to seeking the Lord and His will for our lives.
God bless you all and have Happy New Year in Christ!
A note on today’s Bible Verse, 2021 was the year we exhausted our index supply of Bible verses that I had handwritten during previous years of Bible Study and when I was out of cards I started drawing the daily verses from, the fiance provided resource, “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. that we will work through in 2022.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 37:5 (NLT2) 5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.
Today’s verse promises the Lord’s help, with a few small conditions.
As my testimony of the past year indicated the path of Christian Discipleship can take you to places you, and having you doing things, that you can’t imagine. But I have to ask you something:
Do you think half of the things I experienced in the past year, and the prior eleven years since coming to Christ, would have happened to me if I wasn’t intentional in seeking the Lord and obeying the call to follow where He led me?
Do you think it was easy to follow Him all the time?
The answer to both those questions is no, I don’t know at most of those things would not have happened to me if I had not sought the Lord and obeyed His will. We made some bold steps into situations where we didn’t know anyone where we were going and what was going to happen when we got there. And no it wasn’t always easy.
But that’s walking in the Spirit: Committing everything you do to the LORD and trusting Him to help you and see you through.
As I have stated a few times this year, at least to myself, I don’t know where all this is going but I will try to be faithful to go where EVER IT IS that the Lord is leading me. That’s why I take time each day to reflect on His word, even if its only one verse, and why I connect with my heavenly Father in prayer and in just talking to Him as I go through my day.
I want to commit everything I do to the Lord which I think just involves us keeping ourselves mindful of His ways and by staying in His presence. Every day of 2021 was not spent in what would be considered “Christian good works” but I committed portions of my time to remind myself of who I was in Christ and to thank God for giving me another day of life in His kingdom.
And yes, I want the Lord’s help. Heck, I constantly need the Lord’s help to keep walking my faith out. In the past few years, and all throughout this walk of faith, there were some critical moments where I had to make a decision.
Was I going to do things my way or was I going to trust the Lord and do things His way, even though it was hard and even though it would cost me something?
I can’t claim perfection. I don’t answer His calls 100% of the time and sometimes I find myself doing things that are unhealthy or that waste time that could be spent pursuing the Lord’s wisdom and ways for my life.
But in those critical moments of my life, I decided to trust the Lord and commit everything I did to Him and I have been the recipient of His help and received more from Him that I ever had to give, although we are still in the process of continually surrendering all we have for His purposes.
So, do you need the Lord to help you?
Well there’s some good news in todays verse: He will help you.
Our relationship with God is just that a relationship. You get out of a relationship what you put into it.
Your part in receiving the Lord’s help is simple. Just commit everything you do to the Lord and Trust Him.
I said it was simple. I didn’t say it was easy!
But can I tell you, the Lord’s way for your life may be hard at times and is definitely the path least travelled in our post Christian world, but it is THE PATH that will make all the difference.
As you trust the Lord and commit everything you do to Him, you will receive His help in transforming you into the person you always wanted to be but never thought you could become.
The Lord wants to give you your freedom and a new and abundant life. So trust Him and just keep going where He calls you because eventually you will see how He has helped you every step of the way and that the help He gives is like Him. It’s infinite. It is continuous and it just doesn’t run out!
So take that first step of faith, by saying in your heart, soul, mind, and spirit: Yes Lord, I will follow you.
O the places you will go, if you will just trust the Lord and allow Him to help you to discover His perfect will for your life! Keep walking and talking with God into 2022 and into the rest of your life.
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 to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 2.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
BRINGING EVERYTHING INTO THE LIGHT
God knows what needs to be brought into the light. You may not be totally aware of some previous religious experiences that have given a foothold to the enemy. That is why you are encouraged to pray and ask God to bring to your mind all previous involvement with cult or occult practices, false religions, and false teachers, whether done knowingly or unknowingly. Two important objectives will be accomplished in this first step. First, mental strongholds that came from false belief systems will be exposed and broken by agreeing with God through verbal renunciation. Second, you will learn how to handle lies and strongholds that surface later. This step will enable you to recognize the counterfeits, and know how to deal with them in the future.
Begin these Steps to Freedom in Christ with the following prayer and declaration.
Dear heavenly Father, You are present in this room and in my life. You alone are all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present, and I worship You alone. I declare my dependency upon You, for apart from You I can do nothing. I choose to believe Your Word, which teaches that all authority in heaven and earth belongs to the resurrected Christ, and being alive in Christ I have the authority to resist the devil as I submit to You. I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me into all truth. I ask for Your complete protection and guidance as I seek to know You and do Your will. In the wonderful name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
In the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command Satan and all evil spirits to release their hold on me in order that I can be free to know and choose to do the will of God. As a child of God who is seated with Christ in the heavenly places, I declare that every enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ in my presence be bound. Satan and all his demons cannot inflict any pain or in any way prevent God’s will from being done in my life today, because I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.
BEGINNING STEP ONE
If you are processing all the Steps at once (recommended), then you need only do it once. However, if you are processing these Steps to Freedom one step or chapter at a time, then begin each chapter (Step) with the above prayer and declaration. As you begin this repentance process, you are taking back any ground gained by the enemy in your life, issue by issue, and step-by-step. To help you understand the spiritual significance of what you are doing, consider the following illustration:
Suppose there is a 40-year-old man who has never done much right in his life. At a church service, for the first time in his life, he hears about Jesus. His heart responds to the gospel, and he prays, “Lord, I confess that I have sinned. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I choose to believe that You were raised from the dead in order that I may have eternal life. I now receive You into my life as my Lord and Savior.”
If you and I were in the room when that man prayed, we may not have seen anything happen visibly. But in the spiritual realm, his sins were forgiven, he passed from death to life and from eternity in hell to eternity in heaven. All of this happened because he wanted to be right with God. God hears and answers prayer, and neither Satan nor his demons, nor any other person could block what God wanted to do in that man’s life.35
We’re going to go through a series of prayers now. Many of them are short, simple prayers like the one that man prayed. As you are honest and sincere before God, every prayer you pray is going to be like the prayer of that man. Bonds the enemy has on your life will be broken because of your authority as God’s child.
To successfully process this first step and those that follow, find a quiet place where you can pray each prayer out loud and verbally process each step. This action is important because there is no indication in the Bible that Satan can read your mind. God knows your innermost thoughts, but Satan is not God, and we should never ascribe the divine attributes of God unto him.
If you experience some mental interference, just ignore it and continue on. Thoughts such as this isn’t going to work or I don’t believe this, or blasphemous, condemning, and accusing thoughts have no power over you unless you believe them. They are just thoughts, but if you pay attention to them, you may be paying attention to a deceiving spirit and that will stop the process. Such thoughts will be gone after you have fully repented and finished the last step. The mind is the control center, and if you don’t lose control of your mind, you will not lose control during the process.
Some people experience physical symptoms like nausea or headaches. Just ignore them and go on with The Steps. They too will disappear at the end. If you cannot stay mentally focused, call your pastor and ask him to help you through the process. The book Discipleship Counseling (Bethany House, 2003) explains the process.
Most people going through these Steps don’t encounter much opposition. The enemy isn’t the issue anyway. Our relationship with God is the real issue. These Steps remove barriers to our intimacy with our heavenly Father. Going through these Steps is the process of submitting to God and resisting the devil according to James 4:7. If there is no devil or demons to resist it doesn’t make any difference, because these seven steps are issues affecting our relationship with God.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship