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Showing posts with label Trials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trials. Show all posts

Friday, January 12, 2024

Responding to Trials – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1246

Responding to Trials – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1246

Purity 1246 01/12/2024  Purity 1246 Podcast

Purity 1246 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a freshly harvested field and hale bales underneath a pleasant blue but cloud-filled sky comes to us from your truly as I captured this scene while out working somewhere in Delanson NY back on July 20th, 2020, and decided to set it free from my phone’s photo archive by sharing it here.  Looking at this photo gives me joy and hope for the summer days yet to come in 2024, but they say that the best joy is one you can share so I hope you like it as I understand just how much we need one another on the path of Christian Discipleship.  

Well, it’s Friday, thank God, and in my journey of faith I have come to understand that without Christ we can do nothing and that we were never meant to go this walk of faith alone over time I have come to recognize when I need to take a rest or when I need to get a little help from my friends.   

The week has been a busy one and while I don’t feel like I am necessarily going through a trial currently, I have decided to take a break this morning and am going to share a message from Mindful of Christ’s Lauren Roskilly, who sent this message about responding to trials out to here subscribers as this week’s “Word for Wednesday”.  If you would like to receive Lauren’s messages in your inbox or would like to benefit from her teachings and encouragements go to https://mindfulofchrist.net/ .  

Lauren references:  

James 1:2 (NLT2) that says:
2  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Lauren writes:

Responding to trials.

What problems, difficulties, worries or illnesses are you currently experiencing?

The fact is, we will always experience trials and suffering, we will. In fact, we’re destined for them, all the time we’re on this Earth we are, anyway!

There are many different reasons for suffering too. For instance; our own choices whether good or bad will lead to consequences, the destruction that Satan brings; spiritual warfare, the fall and many others!

It’s how we respond to them that matters.

We are to persevere and hold onto the hope and promises of the Lord. The main one is; that Jesus died and overcame death to save you from it and with that comes the promise of eternity in Heaven with Him.

Though, your focus of attention might sometimes get held up on those negative issues. Perhaps they consume you? Perhaps they bring you down? But, you must catch/recognise these thoughts before they do.

Ask yourself: “Does this thought bring me closer to the Lord or further away?”

We can ask ourselves, others or God “Why?” or “Why me?” but those questions bring our focus inwards, onto ourselves. Try asking the Lord “What's the meaning of this?”, “What’s your plan?” and “What can I learn from this?”

You can literally change your thoughts and mindset; Romans 12:2 tells us that you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind! The Message says, “fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out…God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Therefore, focusing on the Father, Jesus & Holy Spirit, can literally transform your mindset and how you respond to trials.

So, next time you face difficulties of any kind, remember His promise and ask the Lord “What?” and not “Why?”

Blessings

Lauren x

Thank You Lauren! I love Lauren’s practical advice to examine how we are responding to the things we face in life and to look at what we are thinking and how they are affecting us.  Her advice to focus on the Lord and to renew our minds by relying on Him, is the game changer. When we start taking every thought captive and reflect on what God’s word says about us and choose to live by it, the Lord will transform our lives and fill our hearts with an abiding sense of peace and joy regardless of the circumstances.   

So keep on walking and talking with God and try to respond to trials in the way that Lauren suggests. She is pointing at the wisdom of God’s word and a deep relationship with God and that is good advice.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse come from the section on Comfort.

Psalm 55:22 (NASB)
22  Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Today’s verses fall under the 16h point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

16. Cast your concerns on the Lord, for he will support you.

Today’s verse encourages us to cast our burdens on the Lord and assures us that He will sustain us.  It also states that God will never allow the righteous to never be shaken, but in my experience those who are a work in progress, like me, might get a little tussled about – mostly by our own emotions.

But you know what, when you follow this advice from the psalmist, you will discover that the word of God is true and that God is faithful to help us in times of need and although I can’t guarantee that we will always experience positive outcomes in the ways we expect, I know that God will sustain us and when we faithfully follow the example of righteous Jesus, we will marvel at the strength, perseverance, and ability to not be shaken that we receive from the Lord.  

I have to be honest. As I made the decision to surrender to the Lord and to increasingly follow Him in the way that I live, I suffered some major league trials and significant losses where I had no idea what I was going to do in the future, but because I casts my burdens on the Lord in prayer during those dark days of transitioning to a whole new life, He sustained me and I was able to walk through those days relatively unshaken because I was walking in righteousness – I was trying to do what was right for myself and my family and was trying to do it the Lord’s way – with me doing what I could and leaving the rest up to God.  And sure enough, little by little, bit by bit progress was made and then almost suddenly all at once, I was delivered – I was victorious and I was free like I never thought I could be, and I have continued to experience increasing levels of freedom and victory ever since.  

So cast your burdens on the Lord. He will sustain you. And when you walk according to His ways – in righteousness – you will rejoice over how you can remain unshaken.  

 

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

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

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

MORNING READING: MATTHEW 5

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8

The word “pure” can mean “clean,” “pure” or “clear.”

Happy are the clean in heart for they shall see God.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Ps. 119:9).

The Lord Jesus said on one occasion to His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).

In that wonderful prayer of His, He says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

God demands holiness – “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

O Lord, allow the cleansing Blood, the cleansing Word,
and the cleansing Hope by the operation of the Holy
Spirit to make me pure “just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Tough Times and Food for Joy - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 12 – Purity 1068

 

Tough Times and Food for Joy - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 12 –  Purity 1068

Purity 1068 06/14/2023 Purity 1068 Podcast

Purity 1068 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a trailside view of some red stone Rocky Mountain peaks under blue skies comes to us from Deeper Walk International’s Nik Harrang who shared a bunch of scenes from his recent business trip to Colorado Springs on social media this past Monday. 

Well, it’s Wednesday and I thought that sharing Nik’s photo was a great way to visually remind us that it’s hump day and that even though we all have business to do, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop every once and awhile to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in God’s creation and to appreciate where the Lord has brought us in life and what He has brought us through.   

Yesterday, I decided to take care of some personal business as I arranged to get a physical, and a new doctor closer to home, because in the busyness of moving to Stuyvesant in 2020 and transitioning to a new life, I haven’t been to see a doctor in three years.  Since I moved a little further north and east, my old doctor was a little further away and since I have been in relatively good health I avoided seeing them because I didn’t think I had the need. But as time has past and I am continually reminded of the health concerns of others, I increasing felt the conviction to resume my regular doctor visits and to get a local doctor, because I had a colonoscopy in 2020 that removed polyps and I am supposed to get checked out regularly. Yup, that’s life.   

My prayers go out to my friend and brother in Christ, Bob Griffin, today as Bob reported that he was having surgery yesterday to remove cancer from “down below” and the recovery involves “bags”.  Bob’s report was a hopeful and positive one but I can only imagine how strange, frustrating, and frightening it must be to have a surgery that results in a change to the basic physical processes of your life. So I pray for Bob in this situation, for Lord’s strength, and healing for Bob.

But as I stated Bob’s video message to his friend was positive. Bob’s a Christian and his message gave thanks to the Lord and for  his friend’s support during latest episode of his life.  Bob is no  stranger to adversity- check out his previous testimony on the YouTube Channel (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYr9n4D1yfko6zLQWdNpVZ2d3CIqJoU-g) if you want to put things in perspective and learn about the Lord’s power to help us to forgive and to  heal.   Undoubtedly, Bob’s past time in the crucible of loss, suffering, and healing, in the presence of the Lord, has increased his ability to walk through this battle with cancer with such patience, humility, and grace.  

The fact that trials are a regular part of life should teach us to develop our relationship with God and to receive His strength and wisdom that will be much needed the next time we are in crisis.  

After my appointment yesterday, I decided to mow the lawn but I failed to check the oil as I had done on previous occasiononly to see virtually no change in the oil levels, giving me a false sense of security.  I didn’t even bother checking it and even after I saw signs of smoke to clue me into the fact that the mower’s engine was under duress, I ignored them because my experience told me that “the engine’s fine” because the “oil level never goes down”.  I figured I would be able to finish mowing and would be sure to check the oil next time.  But there will be no next time.  Shortly after noticing the smoke, the engine started to slow down and eventually died, and it failed to start again even after adding oil, as I think something “seized up”.  I am terrible with machines – lawn equipment in particular – and I had done something like this once before – so while its possible that the mower isn’t a total loss and beyond repair – I decided to “get over it” and “pay the cost” for my foolishness and left almost immediately to go purchase a new mower.   

In the past, I would have been beating myself up for my stupidity and may have even remained in condemnation and shame to the  point that I would have “not known what to do” and would have chosen to “do nothing for now” and would have sought out a repair service to fix the mower “some day”. But I’m not the man I used to be.  Because of my walk with the Lord, I silence the voices of condemnation – even when they are totally appropriate – and seek to make things right sooner rather than later – as in now – “Let’s stop beating ourselves and let’s get this fixed, now.”   

So I ran to the store bought a new mower, drove home, put oil and gas in it, mowed the remainder of the lawn, and parked my new mower next to my old one and called it a day. 

The faith work we do to “take every thought captive”, to “renew our minds”, and to “do what is right”  gives us increased capacity to deal with trials and to solve problems with a level of grace, maturity, and peace that we didn’t have before. 

So keep walking and talking with God because the time we spend in His presence, learning His ways,  gives us the power to overcome and to endure things that would have taken us into confusion, anger, or depression in the past.   Be it a loss of relationship, things falling apart, or health concerns, when we walk with the Lord, we don’t walk alone and we receive His strength and wisdom to see us through.  

And that brings us to our current series where I am walking through the 28 Day Joy Challenge, (https://4habits.org/) because we are encouraging ourselves and others, you, to “find peace” in our lives by increasing our capacity for joy and by building our emotional resilience through simple practices of quieting and appreciation.

The 28 Day Joy challenge is based on Dr. Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey’s latest book, The Four Habits of Joy-Filled People, and you can sign up to take it for free, and purchase a variety of books from Warner and Coursey on topic of Joy, by going to https://4habits.org/.  

So let’s jump into Day 12, which will direct us to remember a meal with others that gave us joy.  

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Day 12 - Food for Joy

 

Welcome to Day 12 of the 28 Days to Joy Challenge!

Today’s Encouragement:

We’re glad you are here. We have been looking forward to sharing today’s exercise with you. This is going to be fun!

Today’s Practice: Exercise 12

Our practice today is remembering joy with others around a meal.

- How This Exercise Will Benefit You:

Eating a meal with loved ones brings a great deal of joy! Meals not only fill our bellies but also fill our cups with joy as we interact and share stories around the table. As we remember these moments, we recharge our joy for today!

- Exercise Steps:

Think about a time in your life when you shared a meal with people you love. This can be a holiday, birthday, or any gathering that is meaningful. Focus on what was special about this memory. Share your memory with another person.

Have fun with this exercise. We pick up tomorrow with more joy practice!

As, I sat down to do today’s Joy Challenge I thought about my new life with my wife, TammyLyn, and her family.  TammyLyn and I just went out to eat at La Fiesta in Clifton Park Saturday night and that experience was one that gave me joy because of my wife’s company, the great Mexican food, and the loud upbeat “party like” restaurant environment.  But while that meal was a fun one – the music in the restaurant was so loud that we didn’t really speak to one another!

So when I thought about a meal with others that was “meaningful”, I thought of the past two Thanksgiving meals that I have had at my in laws, particularly the first one we celebrated together in 2021.  TammyLyn and my whirlwind friendship, dating, and engagement, and marriage all happened in the space of less than a year back in 2021-2022. Thanksgiving 2021 was the first “Big holiday” that I did with my soon to be in-laws and I remember that while I felt a little awkward at times at my soon to be brother in law’s Steve’s mammoth Thanksgiving celebration, I had a real sense of love and acceptance.  The food and family fellowship was good.  TammyLyn was by my side throughout the day and I really felt that I was “home” during the meal.  And after the couples “cornhole” tournament, I really felt that I was welcomed to be part of the family.    

Recalling this meal, and our wedding reception meal on January 1st of 2022, I get a real sense of belonging and relational joy.  Breaking bread with loved ones reminds us of where we came from, where we have gone, and the love that we have been given.  

So, what about you? Think back to a time you enjoyed a meal with others that wasmeaningful and appreciate the joy you had then, and the joy today in recalling it.       

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Jeremiah 32:27 (NLT2)
27  “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?

Today’s verse reminds us that there is nothing too hard for the Lord and thus there is nothing too hard for us to go through when we live in His presence.  

In my experience there is only one way to overcome trials, and that is to go through them.  While we can avoid much heartache and suffering through good planning, diligence, discipline, and righteous living – we can’t avoid all suffering, pain, or trials. 

And while some problems can be overcome quickly with some decisive actions, sometimes we will find that we are in for the long haul as life will give us trials that are difficult to navigate and seasons of suffering that have no end in sight.  

So what do we do? 

If you guessed “we remain faithful, and keep walking and talking with God” – you guessed right.  

While we may be in a long season of suffering, let me assure you that it is better to go through them with God than without Him.  He gives you strength, wisdom, and peace that goes beyond our understanding. And because there is nothing to ohard for God to do, we can have hope that He will help us through every trial.  

So trust in the Lord in good seasons and in bad.    

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

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

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit  

8 - The Advent of the Spirit

Signs in Relation to “The Pentecostal Movement”

It is well known to some of our readers that during the last generation many earnest souls have been deeply exercised by what is known as “the Pentecostal movement,” and the question is frequently raised as to whether or not the strange power displayed in their meetings, issuing in unintelligible sounds called “tongues,” is the genuine gift of the Spirit. Those who have joined the movement—some of them godly souls, we believe—insist that not only is the gift genuine, but it is the duty of all Christians to seek the same. But surely such seem to overlook the fact that it was not any “unknown tongue” which was spoken by the Apostles: foreigners who heard them had no difficulty in understanding what was said (Acts 2:8).

If what has just been said be not sufficient, then let our appeal be unto 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. God has now fully revealed His mind to us: all that we need to “thoroughly furnish” us “unto all good works” is already in our hands! Personally the writer would not take the trouble to walk into the next room to hear any person deliver a message which he claimed was inspired by the Holy Spirit; with the completed Scriptures in our possession, nothing more is required except for the Spirit to interpret and apply them. Let it also be duly observed that there is not a single exhortation in all the Epistles of the New Testament that the saints should seek “a fresh Pentecost,” no, not even to the carnal Corinthians or the legal Galatians.

As a sample of what was believed by the early “fathers” we quote the following: “Augustine saith, ‘Miracles were once necessary to make the world believe the Gospel, but he who now seeks a sign that he may believe is a wonder, yea a monster.’ Chrysostom concludeth upon the same grounds that, ‘There is now in the Church no necessity of working miracles,’ and calls him ‘a false prophet’ who now takes in hand to work them” (From W. Perkins, 1604).

In Acts 2:16 we find Peter was moved by God to give a general explanation of the great wonders which had just taken place. Jerusalem was, at this time of the feast, filled with a great concourse of people. The sudden sound from Heaven “as of a rushing mighty wind,” filling the house where the Apostles were gathered together, soon drew there a multitude of people; and as they, in wonderment, heard the Apostles speak in their own varied languages, they asked, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12). Peter then declared, “This is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel.” The prophecy given by Joel (2:28–32) now began to receive its fulfillment, the latter part of which we believe is to be understood symbolically.[1]

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 



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

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Pictures of Joy - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 11 – Purity 1067


Pictures of Joy - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 11 –  Purity 1067

Purity 1067 06/13/2023 Purity 1067 Podcast

Purity 1067 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo a view of the Hudson River from the vantage point of my front yard comes to us from yours truly as today’s “Joy Challenge” calls for us to look into our phones to find photos that bring us joy.  

Well, it’s Tuesday and while things are relatively stable in my life, I am close to several people who seem to be in the midst of a major transitional period of their lives. Things that have been long standing “institutions” of their “normal” lives – jobs, relationships, their health – are no more or on the verge of being “over”.  In some cases these changes are sad because from where they are standing now it looks like things have gone from bad to worse but in other cases, although there may be a sense of loss and heartache involved, the changes seem to be a step in the right direction – from bad to possibly good.  In a couple of cases, I see people on the verge of a major break through as they have the potential to leave bondage and brokenness behind but its not my life and only time will tell if they choose to step into the light of a righteous life or into another shadow of the same old darkness.  

In seeing these friends on the cusp of a new life of freedom, I find myself not only praying for them to “do the right thing”, but I also get a little impatient to see them do it because “they are right there” – all they have to do is to not do the stupid things they have done in the past and just keep moving forward away from their mistakes and into a new life.

“Come on man, let’s go!”

But it’s not my life, and in some of these cases I am far removed from the drama and am just a “hoping and a praying” for them to wise up.  In other situations, I am giving as much counsel and guidance as I can but know all too well how others before the ones I am counseling know were able to walk in the Spirit for awhile before they either stopped moving forward to sit in complacency or who made a bad turn into confusion and brokenness, making their short lived victory and subsequent fall all the more tragic.  

I also have noticed as I have contemplated these friend’s next steps, that I have recalled details from my own journey out of my past and remember the agony and the victory of transitioning to my new life, where I realized that there is no cost too high to pay for your freedom and that “things are just things” and that throwing things out or giving things away, or abandoning things to your nemesis are all viable options when you are determined to leave your broken situation behind.  I remember “the get ‘er done” spirit on steroids that I had when God moved all things for good and brought me and my children to my new home down by the River and while I can remember the difficulties and bitterness that surrounded that transition, now that I am on the other side of it – I fondly remember the exodus to my new life as a time of exhilaration and joy.  

And that brings us to our current series where I am walking through the 28 Day Joy Challenge, (https://4habits.org/) because we are encouraging ourselves and others, you, to “find peace” in our lives by increasing our capacity for joy and by building our emotional resilience through simple practices of quieting and appreciation.

The 28 Day Joy challenge is based on Dr. Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey’s latest book, The Four Habits of Joy-Filled People, and you can sign up to take it for free, and purchase a variety of books from Warner and Coursey on topic of Joy, by going to https://4habits.org/.  

So let’s jump into Day 11, which will direct us to look up some photos that give us joy. 

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Day 11 - Joy Pictures

 

Welcome to Day 11 of the 28 Days to Joy Challenge!

Today’s Encouragement:

We are so glad you are here today to practice building joy with us! Even if you missed some of the previous exercises, you can still receive amazing benefits by jumping in now and any day you are able to.

Today’s Practice: Exercise 11

Today we are practicing building joy starting with appreciation.

- How This Exercise Will Benefit You:

Pictures are a great way to reminisce about some of the special moments from our lives. You can draw on the joy from these personal memories to jumpstart your joy today!

- Exercise Steps:

Find a comfortable place, then use your phone (or picture album) to look at pictures. The goal is to enjoy pictures that are meaningful and savor the joy that comes from remembering your special moments. Notice what changes in your thoughts, feelings, focus, and body while you reminisce.

Have fun with this exercise. We pick up tomorrow with more joy practice!

As I stated above, I know people in time of transition right now and their struggles towards a new life has reminded me of my journey and the struggles that I faced but I also recognize those hard times were for a purpose – to bring me to a new life of joy and peace – a life that would be defined by walking in the Spirit – continuously and progressively.  

And so for this morning’s “joy practice”, I immediately dialed the way back machine to the year 2020 – and to June – the month I completed the purchase of River House and moved in on my birthday – June 25th – so in 12 days I will celebrate 51st year on this planet and the third anniversary of moving into River House – my “first sleep” in my new home.  Surprisingly, I didn’t have any photos from my birthday but now that I recall it – I had to work on my birthday and finished bringing the last of my stuff to my new property.  It was a long day of work and moving – from my old place in Craryville to work in Albany to my new place in Stuyvesant – was about 45 minutes between points and so I didn’t get done moving until the evening hours and I so that first night I very contentedly crashed.   I did have some photos from the 27th, my first Saturday in River House, but I think a good deal of those first River views that I took have already been shared to the blog and moved to the cold storage of my Seagate hard drive.   But as I looked through what was there I was filled with joy remembering the stunned, joyful disbelief that I had finally accomplished what I had worked and prayed for about 18 months or so. Even though I was working two jobs at the time, I was in a state of bliss all that summer and today’s photo was taken on July 28th at 6:09am as I would wake up rejoicing over being free and being in MY HOUSE.   

So today’s joy practice was great!  The pictures I looked at were meaningful and I savored the joy that came from “remembering my special moments”.  I noticed my spirits rose and my body relaxed.  

I am currently suffering some negative consequences because of things that are beyond my control so today’s practice was just what I needed to remind me that whatever I have to pay for the things of the past is worth suffering, because those broken days are over and as we go forward and time and space all things will be resolved, eventually, for better or for worse, but no matter what I have to pay or suffer because of others, nothing and no one can take away the freedom I have in Christ and when I remember what the Lord has done for me and continues to do for me, no one and nothing can steal my peace or joy for long. 

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NLT2)
10  Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

Today’s verse encourages us to do things well, because after we pass into eternity there is no way to make up for what we didn’t do or know.    

The NLT Promise book for Men only shared the first part of this verse: “Whatever you do , do well”   - but I decided to go with the whole verse because the emphasis to do things well is stressed even more when we realize that we may not get a second chance to do things right.   

While, I guess we could interpret this verse to see the after life as some lazy limbo where there will be no need to work, plan, learn or know anything, I think that would be a false view of reality as God’s purpose for man from the beginning, in that garden, was to “tend and watch over it” – to rule and reign – and while I can’t tell you exactly what we will be doing when God’s kingdom comes, I have to believe that God will give us something to do and learning will definitely be a part of fulfilling our purpose on the earth.     

But as for here, we don’t always get a second chance, so do things well the first time. How many times have we cut corners or done things in a manner less than our best and regretted it?   That’s my whole life! But as I have increasingly walked in the Spirit, the conviction to “do what is right” is a driving force in my life and when I agree with it in both in what I think and what I do, I have learned that regardless of outcomes, I don’t have any regrets – I did my best.   

So whatever you do, do them well because not only do we not want to suffer the consequences of doing “less than”, but we also want to represent God’s kingdom in the hopes that the things we say and do will be used by the Lord to welcome more people into His peace.

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

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

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit  

8 - The Advent of the Spirit

The Purpose of the Advent of the Spirit

We next consider the purpose of the Spirit’s descent.

1. To witness unto Christ’s exaltation. Pentecost was God’s seal upon the Messiahship of Jesus. In proof of His pleasure in and acceptance of the sacrificial work of His Son, God raised Him from the dead, exalted Him to His own right hand, and gave Him the Spirit to bestow upon His Church (Acts 2:33). It has been beautifully pointed out by another, that, on the hem of the ephod worn by the high priest of Israel were golden bells and pomegranates (Ex. 28:33, 34). The sound of the bells (and that which gave them sound was their tongues) furnished evidence that he was alive while serving in the sanctuary. The high priest was a type of Christ (Heb. 8:1); the holy place was a figure of Heaven (Heb. 9:24); the “sound from Heaven” and the speaking “in tongues” (Acts 2:2, 4) were a witness that our Lord was alive in Heaven, ministering there as the High Priest of His people.

2. To take Christ’s place. This is clear from His own words to the Apostles, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Until then, Christ had been their “Comforter,” but He was soon to return to Heaven; nevertheless, as He went on to assure them, “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you” (marginal rendering of John 14:18); He did “come” to them corporately after His resurrection, but He “came” to them spiritually and abidingly in the Person of His Deputy on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit, then, fills the place on earth of our absent Lord in Heaven, with this additional advantage, that, during the days of His flesh the Savior’s body confined Him unto one location, whereas the Holy Spirit—not having assumed a body as the mode of His incarnation—is equally and everywhere resident in and abiding with every believer.

3. To further Christ’s cause. This is plain from His declaration concerning the Comforter: “He shall glorify Me” (John 16:14). The word “Paraclete” (translated “Comforter” all through the Gospel) is also rendered “Advocate” in 1 John 2:1, and an “advocate” is one who appears as the representative of another. The Holy Spirit is here to interpret and vindicate Christ, to administer for Christ in His Church and Kingdom. He is here to accomplish His redeeming purpose in the world. He fills the mystical Body of Christ, directing its movements, controlling its members, inspiring its wisdom, supplying its strength. The Holy spirit becomes to the believer individually and the church collectively all that Christ would have been had He remained on earth. Moreover, He seeks out each one of those for whom Christ died, quickens them into newness of life, convicts them of sin, gives them faith to lay hold of Christ, and causes them to grow in grace and become fruitful.

It is important to see that the mission of the Spirit is for the purpose of continuing and completing that of Christ’s. The Lord Jesus declared, “I am come to send fire on the earth: and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:49, 50). The preaching of the Gospel was to be like “fire on the earth,” giving light and warmth to human hearts; it was “kindled” then, but would spread much more rapidly later. Until His death Christ was “straitened:” it did not consist with God’s purpose for the Gospel to be preached more openly and extensively; but after Christ’s resurrection, it went forth unto all nations. Following the ascension, Christ was no longer “straitened” and the Spirit was poured forth in the plenitude of His power.

4. To endue Christ’s servants. “Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) had been the word of Christ to His Apostles. Sufficient for the disciple to be as his Master. He had waited, waited till He was 30, ere He was “anointed to preach good tidings” (Isa. 61:1). The servant is not above his Lord: if He was indebted to the Spirit for the power of His ministry, the Apostles must not attempt their work without the Spirit’s unction. Accordingly they waited, and the Spirit came upon them. All was changed: boldness supplanted fear, strength came instead of weakness, ignorance gave place to wisdom, and mighty wonders were wrought through them.

Unto the Apostles whom He had chosen, the risen Savior “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,” assuring them that “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come unto you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:2, 4, 8). Accordingly, we read that, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1): their unity of mind evidently looked back to the Lord’s command and promise, and their trustful expectancy of the fulfillment thereof. The Jewish “day” was from sunset unto the following sunset, and as what took place here in Acts 2 occurred during the early hours of the morning—probably soon after sunrise—we are told that the day of Pentecost was “fully come.” The Outward Marks of the Spirit’s Advent

The outward marks of the Spirit’s advent were three in number: the “sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” the “cloven tongues as of fire,” and the speaking “with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Concerning the precise signification of these phenomena, and the practical bearing of them on us today, there has been wide difference of opinion, especially during the past 30 years. Inasmuch as God Himself has not seen fit to furnish us with a full and detailed explanation of them, it behooves all interpreters to speak with reserve and reverence. According to our own measure of light, we shall endeavor briefly to point out some of those things which appear to be most obvious.

First, the “rushing mighty wind” which filled all the house was the collective sign, in which, apparently, all the 120 of Acts 1:15 shared. This was an emblem of the invincible energy with which the Third Person of the Trinity works upon the hearts of men, bearing down all opposition before Him, in a manner which cannot be explained (John 3:8), but which is at once apparent by the effects produced. Just as the course of a hurricane may be clearly traced after it has passed, so the transforming work of the Spirit in regeneration is made unmistakably manifest unto all who have eyes to see spiritual things.

Second, “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3), that is, upon the Twelve, and upon them alone. The proof of this is conclusive. First, it was to the Apostles only that the Lord spoke in Luke 24:49. Second, to them only did He, by the Spirit, give commandments after His resurrection (Acts 1:2). Third, to them only did He give the promise of Acts 1:8. Fourth, at the end of Acts 1 we read, “he (Matthias) was numbered with the eleven Apostles.” Acts 2 opens with “And” connecting it with 1:26 and says, “they (the Twelve) were all with one accord in one place” and on them the Spirit now “sat” (Acts 2:3). Fifth, when the astonished multitude came together they exclaimed, “Are not all these which speak Galileans?” (Acts 2:7), namely, the “men (Greek,” males“) of Galilee” of 1:11! Sixth, in Acts 2:14, 15, we read, “But Peter standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice and said unto them, ‘Ye men of Galilee and all ye that dwell in Judea, be this known unto you and hearken unto my words: For these are not drunk’ ”—the word “these” can only refer to the “eleven” standing up with Peter!

These “cloven tongues like as of fire” which descended upon the Apostles was the individual sign, the Divine credential that they were the authorized ambassadors of the enthroned Lamb. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a baptism of fire. “ ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ The elect sign of His presence is the fire unkindled of earth, and the chosen symbol of His approval is the sacred flame: covenant and sacrifice, sanctuary and dispensation were sanctified and approved by the descent of fire. ‘The God that answereth by fire, he is the God’ (1 Kings 18:24). That is the final and universal test of Deity. Jesus Christ came to bring fire on the earth. The symbol of Christianity is not a Cross, but a Tongue of Fire” (Samuel Chadwick).

Third, the Apostles, “speaking with other tongues” were the public sign. 1 Corinthians 14:22 declares “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not,” and as the previous verse (where Isa. 28:11 is quoted) so plainly shows, they were a sign unto unbelieving Israel. A striking illustration and proof of this is found in Acts 11, where Peter sought to convince his skeptical brethren in Jerusalem that God’s grace was now flowing forth unto the Gentiles: it was his description of the Holy Spirit’s falling upon Cornelius and his household (Acts 11:15–18 and cf. 10:45, 46) which convinced them. It is highly significant that the Pentecostal type of Leviticus 23:22 divided the harvest into three degrees and stages: the “reaping” or main part, corresponding to Acts 2 at Jerusalem; the “corners of the field” corresponding to Acts 10 at “Caesarea Philippi,” which was in the corner of Palestine; and the “gleaning” for “the stranger” corresponding to Acts 19 at Gentile Ephesus! These were the only three occasions of “tongues” recorded in Acts.[1]

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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