Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Macy Day’s Parade and the Brand New Hope on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Purity 585

Macy Day’s Parade and the Brand New Hope on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams –  Purity 585

Purity 585 11/25/2021  Thanksgiving - Purity 585 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the boat launch at the Martin Dunham Reservoir in Grafton NY comes to us from yours truly as I went “off road” for a moment on Monday to capture it and to experience the peaceful stillness of being alone in nature right in the midst of a busy workday.  

Today is Thanksgiving and while most of us will be gathered with friends or family to enjoy a holiday meal, my thoughts turn to those who will be flying solo.  I have a friend who did just that and is enjoy their solitude at a resort in Aruba where the fare is more likely to be jerk chicken than Tom Turkey.  But I also know of others that will be in solitary environments today that will be far less tropical and exotic.   

While we can surround ourselves with others, or choose to be isolated with all our familiar comforts, or take it on the road to some tropical resort to manipulate the conditions to give us peace and happiness, unless we have peace within and can maintain it regardless of circumstances we are apt to experience depression despite our best efforts.  

We can also choose to overindulge with food or alcohol to try to comfort ourselves. With the legalization of marijuana in NY state, you even have the option of making Thanksgiving a “green day” with a freedom that was unavailable in the past.  

As a “Christian with a past”, I can testify that I tried all of the above with zeal but can tell you that all my “experimentation and research” has concluded that substances, no matter how elicit or benign, do not provide lasting satisfaction or fulfillment. Substances will not make you happy and are literally a dead end and many will lose their lives today because of the direct effects of substances or due to their influence on one’s health or decisions.   So be safe.  

I have Green Day on the brain this morning, not because I am going to “blaze up”. But because as I started to write this I was thinking of two of their songs.   

As I contemplated those who will be alone this Thanksgiving I thought about the lyrics from Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and how I once thought that they adequately described my life when the song came out in 2004. They say:

“I walk a lonely road

The only one that I have ever known

Don't know where it goes

But it's home to me, and I walk alone

I walk this empty street

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Where the city sleeps

And I'm the only one, and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk a-

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

Sometimes, I wish someone out there will find me

'Til then, I walk alone”

It’s a great song, but the problem was that I wasn’t walking alone. I had a wife and a family at the time, a good job at least financially speaking, and didn’t want for anything.  But regardless of the promise of the American Dream to bring happiness, those relationships and all the things I had didn’t bring fulfillment.  I still felt alone.

I also didn’t have a relationship with God as I had suffered through some traumatic losses and chose not to believe in a personal God.  Even though I said I didn’t believe, I was trying to find peace in Eastern Mysticism and Monastic practices that sought to control my experience through meditation and changing my perspective.  Even though I found a measure of peace through those efforts, it was a lonely road and even though I would have never admitted it at the time, my searching and working for peace and meaning were evidence that I really wished that “Someone out there” would find me.   

It being Thanksgiving in 2021, I also thought of Green Day’s Macy’s Day Parade and its somewhat prophetic, melancholy but hopeful lyrics.  The song starts out declaring that:

“Today's the Macy's Day parade

The night of the living dead is on its way”

With the dystopian reality that is present and increasing in the “land of the free”, with:

·        “areas of mandatory, and truly useless, PPE”

“Do you feel lucky, punk? Well do ya? Better mask up!”

I thought Covid was over?

It’s never over! Unless we say it’s over!

·       and now with the mandates that will force people to receive medical treatments to retain employment, by our government and those faceless but oh so politically correct corporations who in the Spirit of Nazi Fascism are making Americans truly understand that “freedom isn’t free” and that your personal choices can and will affect where you can pursue your financial happiness.  

With all of that and the political divide in our country going on it does indeed feel that the “night of the living dead is on its way” and if we consider the disengagement of people who are captivated by their cell phones we could make a case that – the night, dawn, and day of the dead has already come.  

But before I get too grim on “Turkey Day”, too late?, Let’s move on to the more hopeful parts of Green Day’s Thanksgiving Holiday song that could inspire us to look past the present days of confusion and past all the things that the world tells us will make us happy. The song goes on to say:  

“Give me something that I need

Satisfaction guaranteed

'Cause I'm thinking 'bout

A brand new hope

The one I've never known

'Cause now I know

It's all that I wanted”

The Brand New Hope, who is Jesus Christ,  found me in my darkest days of walking down the boulevard of my broken dreams as I walked “alone and now I know that my wish for “Someone out there” to find me has been granted. 

Because of the reality of life and death, the only satisfaction that is guaranteed is going to have to be one that goes from here to eternity. That guarantee is found in John 3:16, that says:

John 3:16 (NKJV)
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

When you put your faith in Jesus, you receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and your everlasting life begins.   In Christ, you are forgiven of all your sins and are reconciled to God.  In Christ, we become adopted sons and daughters of the Creator of all things and receive meaning and purpose for our lives as we are called to represent and serve God’s kingdom through sharing His love though good works and by making disciples.   

It's Thursday, and I shared today’s photo because it features a pathway of sorts and I do that to encourage people to get on the path of Christian discipleship that starts with faith in Jesus Christ and continues into God’s will and purpose for our lives.  

So as we gather together to give thanks for all that we have in life today, or if you find yourself alone, remember that in Christ you are never alone for God will never leave us or forsake us when we decide to walk with Him.  

Whether you are in Christ or are just wishing that “Someone out there” would find you, I encourage you to keep seeking the Lord because the peace that God wants you to have doesn’t lie in substances to consume, things to accumulate, or even in our earthly friends and family.  

Ultimate satisfaction that is guaranteed requires a search for the Truth, the Way, and the Life that God has provided.   Christ came to save us and make us new.  So keep walking and talking with God and He will show you where to go and when you find your place in his kingdom you will realize that you have found all that you wanted.  

God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving!


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Romans 11:28-29 (NLT2)
28  Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
29  For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

Today’s verses speak of the harsh spiritual reality that the very people that received the word and blessings of God the Father have turned a blind eye to the Messiah’s coming and that “outsiders” like you and me, us Christians, have benefited from it.  

However, the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still loved by God and the word of God indicates that all the true spiritual sons of Israel will see the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and make Jesus their Lord and Savior someday,  the ones that will live anyway.

Yeah, Revelation paints a disturbing picture that reminds us that only those who stand with Jesus will stand for all eternity and scripture indicates that we must be spiritually born again through faith in Christ to become the children of God.  

That’s enough end times for now. Let’s focus on the good news for today. Although Christ’s return is the best news, the future fulfillment of His coming kingdom and turmoil and devastation that will usher it in may make us lose our appetites this Thanksgiving. 

Instead let’s focus on the thing that can sustain us today and everyday until the day of the Lord: the love of God and the fact that His “gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.”  

When we make Christ our Lord and Savior, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence as children of God.  Nothing we do will change our relationship with God, we are forgiven of all we have ever done or will do, and nothing can separate us from His love, even when we fall into sin or make other colossal errors in judgement.

But enough about me, ha ha, God’s gift of salvation to us is guaranteed and His call on our lives to be fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ is continuous.   So let the love of God rule in your heart and mind to give you peace and to empower you to courageously offer the truth of the gospel to others and to discover and to answer the Lord’s call for your life.


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


Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?


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 her work.

D. What Does "Theodicy" Mean?

If it is true that "Life is full of suffering, and then you die," what is the purpose of living at all? This life, however, is but a fleeting training ground for the life to follow—eternal life that will go on forever. God will use the sufferings in this life for our eternal good if we choose to rely on Him.

While this is not the best of all worlds, it is the way to the best of all worlds! Only by giving control of our lives to our Lord and Savior in this life can we be given the next life God has prepared for us.

"Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

  • The word theodicy is a theological term used in apologetics (a defense of the faith) to vindicate the goodness, justice, and existence of God in the face of all the evil and injustice in the world. Those who are convinced that God is absolutely just know that His reputation is not at stake and can state with absolute confidence...
        "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you." (Psalm 89:14)
  • The Greek word theos means "God," and the Greek word dike carries the idea of "justice." As you increasingly come to know the Lord God, you increasingly have confidence in the character of God.
        "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he." (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • Theodicy is a logical defense of the goodness of God despite the existence of evil in the world. Because logical reasoning can be effective in presenting truth to those who have not heard the truth, we are told...

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Forgiveness and the License to Love – Purity 584

Purity 584 Podcast

Forgiveness and the License to Love –  Purity 584

Purity 584 11/24/2021  Purity 584 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the surf and fading sun from the shores of Myrtle Beach comes to us from a friend’s late October trip there to get some R&R with some family which included “getting high” via a helicopter tour of the South Carolina shore area.   

Don’t freak out but it’s official Thanksgiving Eve!  Yep it’s that day when people all across the country will be taking planes, trains, and automobiles to reunite with family and friends to celebrate our national holiday of feasting in the spirit of gratitude.  As some will be travelling today, others will be cleaning the house and making deserts and other treats in preparation of tomorrow’s festivities.  

As we travel and meet up with friends and family tonight and prepare our homes for tomorrow’s day of thanks, I would encourage my friends to also prepare their hearts as we come together and will officially be entering the Holiday season as Santa will be coming to town as part of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

Let’s be sure to prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally for tomorrow by reminding ourselves that the people we will be seeing and who may be testing our patience at times are our loved ones and that we will not have them in our lives forever.  

If we remember the brevity of life and all that we receive through our relationships, we can appreciate our family and friends and be thankful for them in our lives.

Let’s also be aware that some of the people in our circle may not be so thankful because of recent traumatic losses and other difficulties of life.   

Try to be compassionate with those who are suffering by being present with them and sensitive to their needs for patience, understanding, and love.   Reach out to those who have suffered losses in the last year to let them know you are thinking about them and offer to spend some time with them or to help them in whatever way you can. 

And finally let’s also endeavor to listen to the commands of Jesus in the Lord’s prayer to “forgive those who trespass against us”.   

A lot can happen in a year in our relationships and the changing circumstances of our lives.  Our relational interactions are not always smooth and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around we could be harboring a lot of bitterness, envy, or offense because of what people have said, done, or caused us to make us feel criticized, rejected, or unaccepted in some ways. 

This morning as I started to prepare for a holiday meal for me and my children and was gathering the documents I need in order to pick up the license for my upcoming marriage, I felt convicted in my spirit to “get right with God”.   

Through all the changes and twists in turns of my life in the past several months, there has been many instances where I have felt offense or sensed difficulties in several of my relationships. 

The Holy Spirit convicted me to get cleansed of any bitterness or animosity that I was holding on to that was subtly influencing how I was feeling about various people in my life.

So this morning I pulled out a copy of The Steps to Freedom in Christ and decided to recommit myself to following the Lord by doing a spiritual housecleaning that includes forgiving others from the heart.  

As I went through the various prayers I was amazed at how much I had to process with the Holy Spirit as the list of people I need to forgive was quite extensive! Any slight, offense, or less than harmonious feelings toward others came to the surface and regardless of whether I was sure of someone’s intentions or not, I put them on my list and forgave each and every one of them.   

People don’t always react the way we expect them to or support us in the ways we would like and while we may adjust to disappointments and overcome to move on, those offenses and disappointments that we experience can build up and cause us to make our view of the other people suffer. 

Instead of forgiving our friends and family that offend us, we re-categorize them as people who “don’t really love us” or as people we can’t trust.   It is one thing to protect ourselves and to be aware of other people’s limitations and it is another thing to draw away from them relationally and hold attitudes of contempt towards them.   As much as we may think we are protecting ourselves by keeping others at arm’s length, those feelings of bitterness or attitudes of rejection that we are holding onto towards others actually hurt us.  By not forgiving from the heart, we hurt ourselves. 

So to thoroughly enjoy tomorrow’s holiday of Thanksgiving and to walk into the holiday season beyond with joy, choose to forgive from the heart all those who have offended you in the past year by following this simple prayer drawn from the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  Make a list of all the people you need to forgive and then for each one pray:  

Dear Heavenly Father, 

I choose to forgive _(person’s name)____   for ___ (the offense)___ because it made me feel _(share the painful feelings – hurt, rejected, unaccepted, belittled, angry etc. )__.

After you have gone through everyone on your list, pray the following prayer:

Lord Jesus,

I choose to not hold on to my resentment. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask you to heal my damaged emotions. Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of unforgiveness. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me. 

In Jesus’ name I pray,  Amen.  

When we forgive others and release them from our feelings of resentment, we set our selves free to live and love the way God wants us to.   We are never more like God when we choose to forgive. 

Forgiveness gives us a license to love. 

Chances are that you picked up some bitterness and resentments over the last year and the Lord can give you the power to unburden yourself of them and to experience a renewed sense of peace and freedom. So keep walking and talking with God, and you will continue to discover the new and abundant life is something we can progressively experience when we walk in His ways.  

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT2)
23  Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
24  God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.


Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality that the work done in us to make us holy is performed by God.  

One of the biggest spiritual misunderstandings that exists in the world and in some parts of Christendom is the idea that we have to work to be approved by God.   

Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that we are saved by grace and that our salvation is not a reward for the good things we do. Our salvation is a gift from God, a gift we don’t really deserve.   Our salvation is a work performed by God.  

Likewise the process of sanctification, where we become holy, is also a gift from God.   Today’s verse tells us that God will make us holy because He is faithful, not us.  

After coming to faith in Jesus Christ, we are made spiritually alive by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we are given eternal life and the power to say no to sin.  

As much as we may pride ourselves on our newfound abilities to overcome the sin that had entrapped us, we should realize that we are only exercising the gift that the Lord has given us and that we should thank Him for the power we now have.  

Our power of sanctification lies in faith.  We have an increased ability to overcome sin and negative mind states that is directly proportional to our belief that we have been given the victory. If we believe it, we receive the victory over anything that would entrap us or hold us back.  

While we must agree with what God has said about us in His word as His adopted children, and we must act according to that truth, it is still God who is the One who gave us the power to be sanctified.

God will make our sanctification happen because He is faithful. If you are His, He will perform your sanctification even if it isn’t realized until your glorification.  Your sanctification is going to happen one way or another, whether you resist it or not. 

But the thing is that our faith is not a religion, our faith is a relationship. So because God has already given us the victory and promise of sanctification, we can choose to cooperate with God and experience our sanctification sooner rather than later.  While we won’t necessarily be sinlessly perfect, we can enjoy an increasing measure of sanctification if we decide to live according to God’s word.  

So thank the Lord for the gift of our ultimate sanctification. Rejoice! But while your rejoicing, make the decision to accept your gift of sanctification now by turning from the world’s ways and by living for God and His kingdom by believing what God’s word says and by choosing to live by it.  

The gift of sanctification is ours.  So let’s open it up by believing God’s word and walking in the way we should go.    

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


Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?


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 her work.


C. Key Questions and Answers about Salvation

Question: "Since the greatest good for mankind is that all people be saved, how can a good God send anyone to hell?"

Answer: God does want everyone to be saved. However, for people to be saved, they must freely choose to put their faith in Christ.

  • Because God has given you free will, it would be impossible for Him to force you to place your faith in Him.
  • People cannot be free and forced at the same time because that is a contradiction, making it an absolute or intrinsic impossibility.

While God desires that no one should perish, God has given you the free choice to repent of sinful ways and yield your life to Him. The Lord Jesus lamented ...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37)


Question: "Why are some people saved and others lost?"

Answer: God's desire is that everyone would come to salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This point is made plain in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Yet God will not force Himself on anyone. Everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject His free gift of eternal life. God clearly states ...

"You will seek me [God] and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)


Question: "Would God send someone to hell who never heard of Jesus Christ?"

Answer: All human beings receive "a candle of light" from God.

  • If you refuse to respond to the natural revelation of creation made by a God of intelligent design, your heart could become darkened and you may not be receptive to more light.
  • If you respond to general/natural revelation of creation, He will illumine the revelation of Himself. Light rejected brings darkness and judgment. Light received brings the promise of more light. (Read Psalm 9:10; Psalm 19:1-6; Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 12:47-48; John 3:19-20; Romans 1:18-20; 10:14-15.)

"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men ... The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." (Titus 2:11; 1 Chronicles 28:9)


Question: "How can a good God send people to hell who do not want to go there?"

Answer: Those who go to hell choose to go there by the decisions they make regarding God and their relationship to Him. God then honors those choices because He cannot do otherwise. C.S. Lewis wrote, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in hell, choose it."

"The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." (2 Peter 2:9)

Question: "Wouldn't a fair God give people a second chance to believe in Him after death?"

Answer: God gives second and third chances—in fact, He gives many opportunities in this lifetime. But realize...

  • Salvation is based on faith—choosing what is unseen, not what is seen.
  • After death, you immediately see the consequence of your choice because the Bible says when Christians are "absent from the body," we are "present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV). Death eliminates the need for faith.
  • "Saving faith" willingly bows the knee to Christ when the option is available to do otherwise.
  • Even up to the last minute on earth, everyone has the option to receive Christ. However, at death, every knee will bow, without an option to do anything else. In order be totally fair, God plainly communicated His plan in the Bible. There are no first or second chances in the next life. Hebrews 9:27 says ... "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."

Question: "How can I escape suffering throughout eternity?"

Answer: No one can escape evil and suffering in this life (John 16:33). You can and should expect trials and tribulations, problems, and pain. Yet God, because of His compassion, promises to be your "ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

But make no mistake: Your suffering is designed to be temporary—to come to an end. While there is a suffering that lasts throughout eternity, He has a plan to save you from that suffering. Eternal suffering takes place in the "eternal fire"—a place called hell (Matthew 25:41).

  • Those who never want to be with God in this life have, in fact, already chosen to live without God in the next life. And those who choose not to live God's way in this life have, in fact, already chosen not to accept God's way into the next life.

His perfect plan, however, is that we all escape such suffering.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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


Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

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


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! - Purity 275: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 275 11/26/2020 

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s photo was taken by me while I was working out on Sullivan Rd in Esperance NY yesterday.  It may not be terribly stunning but at the moment I was taken by the way the sun’s brilliance made itself known even through the clouds over the pines and the way the road stretched into the distance. 

I share it today because it’s the most recent picture that I have taken and for better or worse it reflects a part of my life in the here and now.  On Thanksgiving we can fondly remember this day in years past, but we can also be brought into depression if we are looking back and hoping to recreate days gone by that are impossible to replicate.  So while I’m pretty sure that we can say that we have all had better Thanksgivings before, especially this year, I want to focus on the fact that we still have much to be thankful for today. 

Ironically, 2020 has actually been one of the best years in my life as I have been led by the Spirit to new accomplishments and a new home, all in the midst of the chaos of Covid-19.  I kept hoping, praying, and living in the Spirit during this pandemic and the Lord has been with me every step of the way, bringing me from glory to glory.  While there have been moments of struggle, I kept looking forward and doing what I had to do, and the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. 

Part of the secret to successfully living in the Spirit is to continually stay in His presence through prayer and trying to follow the Lord’s will for your life, or as I have simplified it as: talking and walking with God. 

I would also suggest adopting an attitude of gratitude as a daily spiritual practice.

So, if 2020 hasn’t been so great for you, here are some things everyone can be thankful for:

We are thankful that we are alive and have the ability to live the life we choose.  

Although not in perfect health, we have the health we have and the abilities to do the things we can today.  It may be less than what we’ve had in the past, and it may be less tomorrow as we age, but it is what it is and we should appreciate where we are here and now.  We are thankful for our health.    

We may have lost loved ones, but we have the memories of their love and the things they have taught us. We are thankful for the lost.

We have friends and family that are alive. They may not be spending the day with us, but they are still with us and prayerfully we will see them again. We are thankful for our friends and family.

We have a place to live. Although some of my friends have been homeless at times, none of them are homeless this year.  We pray for those who are.  We are thankful for our homes.

We have work or benefit from those who do.  Some have the ability to work, some are retired, some are out of work, some are disabled, some have a job, and others are working today.  We are thankful for what work, that of ourselves or others, has provided for us. 

We can rest. Many have the day off, some don’t, but all of us have times where we can rest and enjoy our lives. We are thankful for rest!

We have a God above it all.  Whether you believe in Him or not, He has created the universe we live in and shaped the history of this planet and continues to be sovereign over it all. He provides the weather and causes the world to produce air to breathe, water to drink, and the conditions for food to grow. He does this for all.  He sent Christ to die for our sins and offers freedom over sin and death to all who place their faith in Him. This is His invitation to all.   I am thankful to God for all that He is and all that He does.  It is my hope that today, we are thankful for God. 

There is much more to be thankful for, from the mundane to the profound, we experience a better life when we focus on all that we have rather than the things we don’t have.  We experience a life of peace, hope, love, and joy when we welcome God into our lives and remain in His presence. It is my prayer that all who read this have a Happy Thanksgiving and discover the life that God has for you.   

 (There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse was:

Psalm 118:5 (NLT): In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. 

If there was a verse that describes my walk with God, I would say that this one certainly could be it.  I have literally cried out to the Lord, prayed for His deliverance and He has set me free in ways that I had never thought were possible.

This Thanksgiving, I am experiencing more freedom than I have in my entire life and it is only because God revealed the truth of Jesus Christ, brought me into His kingdom, and somehow I have endeavored to follow Him into the new life He made for me. .  Every day I look out my kitchen window or step on my front porch and look out at the Hudson River, I am overcome with joy because I know what He has brought me through and that He has brought me here.  

If you are not living a life of freedom, peace, joy, and love, commit yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Savior and Follow Him.    

Today we continue to share from Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss taking every thought captive and detecting “viruses”.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

Taking Every Thought Captive

The most damaging thoughts we entertain are lies about ourselves and God. That is the subject of the next two chapters, but we should note here that the apostle Paul makes a critical connection between thoughts we have toward God and the potential spiritual battle going on for our minds.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5, NIV).

Computer programmers coined the term "GIGO," which means garbage in, garbage out. If we put garbage into our minds we will probably live a life that looks and smells a little bit like garbage. Jesus said, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart" (Luke 6:45).

We have to be very careful what we put into our minds; hence the urgency of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. It doesn't make any difference whether the renegade thought originated from the television set, the radio, a book, a speaker, from your own memory bank or from deceiving spirits. Even if it is an original thought of our own, we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

If what you are thinking is not true according to God's Word, then don't pay attention to it. Instead, do what the apostle Paul says to do:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8).

You don't get rid of negative thoughts by trying not to think of them. You overcome them by choosing the truth and continuing to choose it until the negative thoughts are drowned out or completely replaced by the truth. If you want to experience the freedom that Christ purchased for you and the peace of mind that passes all understanding, then choose to think only those thoughts that perfectly align with the Word of God.

Detecting Viruses

Computer owners have all been warned about the potential for their computers contracting a "virus." A virus can cause severe damage to existing programs already loaded into the computer. Computer viruses are often not accidental, but intentional. They may come from store-wrapped software that gets contaminated by disgruntled employees. In addition, some devious people have purposefully created programs that are designed to introduce a killer virus into any system that accesses them. Therefore, most computer systems have programs that scan for viruses. Similarly, we need to have the capability to stand against the deceiver.

It is not always easy to detect a virus in our own belief system, because the major strategy of the enemy is deception. Every Christian is subject to tempting, accusing and deceiving thoughts. That is why we are to put on the armor of God. That is why we are to stand against the fiery darts Satan aims at our minds by taking up the shield of faith.

The most devious of Satan's schemes is deception. If you were tempted or accused, you would know it. But when you are deceived you don't know it. That is why Jesus prays for those who would follow Him, "'I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one....Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth'" (John 17:15, 17).

From the very beginning Eve was deceived, and she believed a lie. So Paul writes, "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Commenting about the later days of the church age, Paul also wrote, "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1).

We have seen evidence of this around the world—people struggle with their thoughts, have difficulty concentrating and even hear "voices." These voices or negative thoughts are usually self-condemning, suicidal, delusional and phobic. They result in feelings of guilt, hopelessness, sadness and deep despair.

These symptoms are what therapists typically associate with severely depressed people, both bipolar and unipolar. Of course, it's depressing to think those kind of thoughts! If a depressed person shared those symptoms with a secular therapist or doctor he would assume that a chemical imbalance is the cause and would likely place the client on some kind of antipsychotic medication and/or antidepressant. The consensus of opinion in the secular world is that severe depression needs to be treated with medication and milder depression requires therapy.

Again, we have to be careful that we don't rule out that possibility all together; but serious questions need to be asked. How can a chemical change a personality? How can our neurotransmitters randomly fire in such a way as to produce a thought that one is opposed to thinking? That is hard to believe. It should be much easier for the Christian to believe that those negative thoughts were patterns of the flesh learned from living in a fallen world, or the fiery darts from Satan that Scripture has clearly warned us about. A therapist with a secular worldview would not even consider such a possibility.

In our experience, the symptoms described reveal a battle for the mind more times than not. Instead of medication, or in addition to medication if they are already under a physician's care, we help these people resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts by submitting to God and resisting the devil (see James 4:7). The intervention we use is the Steps to Freedom in Christ (see appendix).

The apostle Paul spoke of "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension," that is able to "guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). Potentially, every born-again Christian should be able to experience that peace. Although most Christians apparently are not experiencing that freedom in Christ, we believe that they could, and that God desires it for all His children.

Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.

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

God bless you all!