Showing posts with label Truth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Truth. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due – All the Glory to Him – Purity 763


Giving Credit Where Credit is Due  – All the Glory to Him – Purity 763

Purity 763 06/21/2022 Purity 763 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of sunset shining through the shadows of a tree on the shores of Lake Champlain comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page on Facebook, who captured this vision among others at the Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point NY back on May 29th.   I am sharing a link to their page to give credit where credit is due and to give you all the opportunity to follow them and see more of their spectacular work ( .

Recently a friend of my friend had “shared” a photo from that my friend and presented it in a way that could lead their audience to believe they were the photographer, causing the my friend, the original photographer, to wonder about their “friend’s” character and whether they should confront them about, not only for not giving them credit for the photo, but for being dishonest with their own friends by creating an image of themselves doing something they didn’t do, or at least weren’t present on that particular day and time to capture the identical moment that the original photographer captured.  

I am highly sensitive to this type of thing as I have lost friends when I wasn’t explicit in naming names when presenting their photos, or getting their express permission, yikes.  In my defense, I never indicate that it was I who captured the photos that I didn’t take and always state they came from another source, specifically naming the professional photographers whose work I share, but always, when I can recall it, save the photo files to my posts with a description, a date, and the first initial and last name of the person from whom I “borrowed” the photo. I do this for two reasons, to simultaneously provide a photo credit if someone should choose to save the image from my blog and at the same time to respect the fact that my friend may not share my religious beliefs or agree with the sentiments expressed in my messages.

This issue of borrowing and not acknowledging the original source of the material we share is plagiarism.  Whether it’s a photo, a song, or a quote, we should always share where the material came from. If we don’t, we could rightfully be accused of “stealing” or being dishonest.  

I have a friend who for a time was sharing pithy sayings each day and I enjoyed their insights. But one day one of “their little sayings” seemed awfully familiar and so googled the phrase and discovered that it was a quote from a book.  Shocked at the discovery, I google more of my friend’s “pithy sayings” and discovered everyone of them had an unnamed source.  I actually confronted my friend and told them that what they were doing was plagiarism. It was stealing and lying, and it was wrong. 

I am not sure if they were ashamed, embarrassed, or just ignorant but they dismissed me with “whatever” and continued sharing unnamed sources’ quotes.   I think I shared a link of the original quote in the comments of their posts after that but let it go.  

Whether from the storms of their tumultuous personal life or from conviction, they seemed to discontinue the practice.  But I don’t think my confrontation really did anything to change their disposition because, as Facebook never forgets, I discovered this friend was sharing “their posts” from a year ago, which somehow made their plagiarism worse in my book. Not only where they are repeating their plagiarism, but now their original post being repeated a year later could cause one to think that not only was the quote an original thought of this person, but it was something that they came up with a year ago, lending a sense of legitimacy through historical documentation.

As a teacher of Christian Discipleship and Recovery, the first lesson I would teach to those pursuing a new life of authenticity and peace was to “stop lying” – to be honest in all things.  When we start telling the truth, admit to what we have done, and seek to make amends for our offenses, we can have an enduring peace that doesn’t go away.  

As Christians, we come to the Lord humbly, confessing our sins, seeking His forgiveness through faith inJesus Christ and seeking to turn to the Lord’s way for the rest of our lives.  

We don’t try to portray a false image anymore. We don’t seek to impress our fellow man by embellishing the truth or by presenting someone else’s work as our own.  

That includes the improvement that has come into our lives since we have come to God.   Although we have done work to change our situations and solve problems in our lives, as Christian disciples we should never let anyone believe that we are responsible for the positive changes in our lives. 

It is through God’s grace alone that we were shown the truth of the gospel that saved us and that caused us to turn to the Lord to be transformed.  As the author of life itself, God has given us literally everything. So as His disciples, we should always seek to give Him the glory for any good that we may perform. 

Before coming to Christ, we think of ourselves of ourselves as “self-made” men and women.  But that’s a lie.  We didn’t make ourselves. God did. Every good thing we have ever experienced comes as a result of His creative work and providence.  

Since coming to Christ, the changes in my life could be described as miraculous. Most of my life was lived in selfish and fleshly pursuits that led to disillusionment, bitterness, addiction, and heart ache. I was trying to find meaning and purpose in the things of this world independent of God and I felt the pain of the inadequacy of myself and tof things of this world to satisfy.   

The 90’s band Extreme’s song “Hole Hearted” describes this phenomenon in its lyrics:

“There's a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Can't be filled with the things I do ( )

The song of course was point to a love relationship but the greatest love of all is that which comes from God the Father, and unless we have His love to complete us and give us an enduring peace that last forever, we will always be looking in vain for something to satisfy us.    

So when we find that love, and that peace with God, we have to give credit where credit is due and become people who represent the Truth and the love of God in all the ways we live.  We are to be open and honest with our lives and always point people to the author of life and our Lord and Savior, as the reason for our hope.  

So what do you do with someone who “steals from you”?

Jesus provides guidelines in Matthew 18:15-20 to confront those who sinned against us, to convict them of their sin, and to seek to restore them to God, utilizing the witness and assistance of others, if the offender refuses your correction. 

But these are instructions for those who are in the church and seek to be obedient to God.  Not everyone we encounter will agree with our assessment and may refuse correction because they simply don’t see things our way.  

In that case the general principles from the New Testament would guide us to forgive them, and everyone for their offenses against us, because, in Christ, we have been forgiven much.

As much as it depends on us, we are to have peace with all men, but we may have to seek the Lord’s guidance, strength, and wisdom to maintain our peace when others despitefully use or abuse us.   This life of Christian discipleship isn’t always easy, but our peace doesn’t come from our interpersonal relationships here on earth or from creating just the right circumstances, our peace comes from God and when we keep walking and talking with Him, and continually give Him credit through our thanks and praise, we can somehow find the peace that goes beyond all understanding and somehow we can live it in.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 103:8 (NLT2)
8  The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the Lord’s unfailing love and how He is a God of compassion and mercy.  

One of the biggest obstacles that man has to coming into a relationship with their heavenly Father is the false image that is spread about His nature.  Many see God as angry and vengeful and is just waiting to punish us if we step out of line. 

While God is just and holy and will one day punish all who refuse his offers of peace that comes through Jesus Christ, He is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.    

God’s moral law reveals to us just how wicked and deficient we are in our ability to be righteous. But God makes a way for us to have peace with Him when there would be no other way. Through the gift of salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, God shows His unfailing love, compassion, and mercy by giving us the means to not only avoid our just punishment but to receive a blessing we simply don’t deserve, 

Through faith in Christ, we can receive all of God’s unfailing love by being forgiven and by being adopted as His children.   So don’t fear God’s anger, find peace with Him through Jesus and maintain the harmony of your relationship with Him by following His word. 

When we are saved and walking with God, we need never know His anger but can abide in his mercy, compassion, and unfailing love forever and ever.

As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

The Quest to Alter Fate

In popular belief during the time of Paul, astrology was closer to religion than to science, although people then would not have made such a distinction. Astrology was closer to religion in the sense that people believed the heavenly bodies were deities or disembodied spirits. The known planets were named after deities. In fact, we still refer to the planets by their Roman names: Venus (Aphrodite in Greek), Mars (Ares), Mercury (Hermes) and so on. The spirits of heroes who had died on earth were also believed to continue existing in an ether-form, populating the heavens and constituting what we know today as the Milky Way. Because the planets and stars were seen as deities, they were capable of being prayed to, invoked, propitiated and even manipulated. In contrast to the Stoics who resigned themselves to the decrees of fate, the masses felt that fate could conceivably be altered. Franz Cumont provides us with a clear statement of this common belief:

[The masses] looked at astrology far more from a religious than from a logical standpoint. The planets and constellations were not only cosmic forces, whose favorable or inauspicious action grew weaker or stronger according to the turnings of a course established for eternity; they were deities who saw and heard, who were glad or sad, who had a voice and sex, who were prolific or sterile, gentle or savage, obsequious or arrogant. Their anger could therefore be soothed and their favor obtained through rites and offerings; even the adverse stars were not unrelenting and could be persuaded through sacrifices and supplications.

Astrology thus became closely connected with the other forms of popular devotion to the gods—the mystery cults and magic. The presence of the zodiacal images on large numbers of statues and monuments of pagan worship confirm this association with the mystery religions. A beautiful marble cult statue of the Ephesian Artemis dating back to the second century A.D., for example, depicts the female goddess wearing the signs of the zodiac as a necklace. It is likely that this artistic rendering was a method of portraying Artemis as having power and authority over those astral signs. The goddess Artemis might therefore benevolently exercise her control over those forces for the good of her devotees.

Magic could be used with great success by manipulating and invoking the assistance of the astral spirits. Magic thus was not only a mechanism for altering fate, but also a means of tapping into the power of the astral spirits to carry out the varied demands of the conjurer. Some papyri are full of examples of this kind of magic. One text bases the effectiveness of all conjurations on the position of the moon in the various houses of the zodiac:

Orbit of the moon: Moon in Virgo: anything is rendered obtainable. In Libra: necromancy. In Scorpio: anything inflicting evil. In Sagittarius: an invocation or incantations to the sun and moon. In Capricorn: say whatever you wish for best results. In Aquarius: for a love charm. Pisces: for foreknowledge. In Aries: fire divination or love charm. In Taurus: incantation to a lamp. Gemini: spell for winning favor. In Cancer: phylacteries. Leo: rings or binding spells.

Sometimes a magical recipe might prescribe an offering directly to a star, as for instance, to “the star of Aphrodite” (Venus). A heavenly sign might indicate the completion of a task by a conjured deity. A love spell performed by the goddess Kythere (perhaps Venus/Aphrodite), for example, instructs the suppliant to watch the star of the goddess: “If you see the star shining steadily, it is a sign that she [the victim] has been smitten, and if it is lengthened like the flame of a lamp, she has already come.”9

Certain groupings of stars, or constellations, were often identified with a figure, whom they were thought to resemble. This association explains the origin of the zodiac with its twelve signs, such as the crab, lion, scales and archer. In popular belief they were identified as gods and could also be invoked for magical purposes. A constellation that was not part of the zodiac, but was nevertheless well known in popular belief, was the constellation of the bear (Arktos). The bear was conjured frequently in the magical papyri. The following magical recipe illustrates one formula in which the bear could be called upon to accomplish anything the person might request:

Bear, Bear, you who rule the heaven, the stars, and the whole world; you who make the axis turn and control the whole cosmic system by force and compulsion; I appeal to you, imploring and supplicating that you may do the [space for request] thing, because I call upon you with your holy names at which your deity rejoices, names which you are not able to ignore.

During the time of the New Testament, some people resigned themselves to the unfolding of fate; others tried to alter fate through the practice of magic or by worshiping a cosmic deity. Whether through surrendering to fate or by trying to change it, people gave full credence to the tenets of astrology.

Concern about fate and the influence of the stars was probably a continuing issue for Paul’s converts. In Ephesians 1, however, Paul’s eloquent and artistic testimony to God’s electing and predestining activity would have provided soothing comfort to those new Christians on the west coast of Asia Minor.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 51–53.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Buildings, Systems, and Communities – Finding Authentic Faith – Purity 760

Buildings, Systems, and Communities – Finding Authentic Faith – Purity 760

Purity 760 06/17/2022 Purity 760 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a sunset just over the horizon under a canopy of clouds comes to us from a friend who captured this scene from their rural home near in Saugerties, New York. 

You know even though I was raised in a small town that was more urban and suburban than rural I have learned to appreciate the reason why so many people have chosen to live away from cities and the nearby suburbs, it’s peaceful and pretty out in the country.   Not only is there the natural beauty of the landscape and wildlife, there is also the beauty of what is not there, the noise and problems that come from our fellow man.   

So as much as I may gripe about the lack of optimal technological conditions at my countryside home, I often remind myself when I walk with my canine companion, Harley, down Waite Rd that the country sure is peaceful and the views of the “big sky” out there bring things into their proper perspective.  The problems and dramas we face in life can consume our thoughts and emotions but there is a great big world all around us that was made by a Great God who has more for us to see then just what is right before us. 

The heavens, the setting sun, and nature declare there is a God and when we look to them we can find peace and realize there are other things to consider other than our immediate pressing problems. There is a big picture and if we are focusing on our immediate concerns too much we might not see it and be blinded to its wonder and beauty. 

Last night, one of the participants in the Freedom in Christ course commented on the difficulty he had coming in to live out his faith in Jesus Christ because of all the various systems, denominations, and expressions of Christianity that are out there.  He also said that he noticed that often the members of the different systems of Christianity would deride other groups for having differing practices or traditions or would make claims to be the one true faith system of the Christian faith.  In his search for truth, this man wondered how people who all claimed to be followers of Jesus Christ could all have such different beliefs and practices and be so divided if they were all representing the same Lord.   

In my long search for truth and a personal relationship with my Lord, I encountered many of the same concerns and issues. When I came to faith in Christ in 2010, the ;last thing I wanted to do in my new life in Christ was to make a mistake and be led astray by an apostate church system, or false teacher.  I knew I was really saved by faith in Christ and now had a deep desire to be a “real” Christian and so I was very concerned of not being “blind” in my new found faith. 

Like this man, I was confused about which church I should go to and what I should make of all the different views on different points of doctrine. 

Thankfully, the Lord was with me and I credit the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for giving me a deep desire to read God’s word, to read the Bible to know the truth about the Christian faith.  I wasn’t content to “just believe” or to “take it on faith” that a church system or pastor could be blindly obeyed or trusted without my knowing what they said, taught, and performed was right according to the Bible.  

I had seen “sketchy” people who quoted Bible verses or claimed religion but their faith didn’t give them a compassionate disposition or didn’t seem to change the way they lived. So I wanted to be able to discern if what people were preaching or teaching was consistent with God’s will. And the only way to spot a counterfeit was to know the real article.  The only way to spot a lie was to be familiar with the Truth.   

While I listened to tons of sermons and Christian teaching from various pastors and Christian teachers to learn about my Christian faith, I read the word of God for myself so I would be able to spot a phony or be able to see that the word of God was being twisted to support a particular view or buttress someone else’s personal agenda.  Arthur Cincotti, that one was for you. Buttress!

So to be safe and to not be led astray, I encourage everyone who are seeking a close relationship with God to read His word so they can know what they believe and why they believe it. Do your research. 

Choosing a church shouldn’t be a blind decision because the idea behind a local church is that you will worship and serve the Lord in that community.  We aren’t  looking for a system or a building. We are looking for a body of believers that respect God’s word and attempt to live by it. We want to be part of a community that seeks to do the Lord’s will and to represent Him on the earth. 

And we should be discerning in what church we decide to go to. We don’t have to give them all a chance. Some are based in error. Some churches support a modern view of what is acceptable or allowable for a Christian that contradicts what the Bible says. Some so called churches don’t revere the Bible as the only source of truth for our faith. They don’t consider the Bible to be God’s infallible, inerrant, word,  or they put the views of men or “church tradition” on equal footing with the Holy Scriptures which basically says that “only these divinely anointed servants” can interpret what the Bible really means and that “laymen” need not concern themselves with reading the Bible, and that reading the Bible could be dangerous in some way because these “laymen” may “be deceived” and develop an interpretation of the Bible’s content that differs from what the “church father’s”  have determined to be true.  

This is a problem.  God comes to us personally to show us the truth of who Christ is and  He wants us to come to Him personally.

So be wise and discerning when you decide to follow a system of faith, a group, or a person to make sure that the path you are taking is based on God’s word and will for your life.   

The best way to do that is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth by reading His word and by applying what it says to your life.

And don’t worry about making mistakes. We are forgiven by God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  When we pursue the Lord through His word we will know the truth and the truth will set us free and lead us to experience the fruit of the Spirit as we walk and talk with God. 

We can run into trouble when we are lazy in our responsibility to be authentic in our faith and decide to trust a system, a group, or a person without question and without confirming what they say, and how they say it, against the letter and the principles established in God’s word.  

With that said, we also have to be humble. The people serving in churches have dedicated their lives to the work of ministry and should be given our trust and service.  If we are going to be “real” in our faith, we have to also be real in our support of the good work that Christians are doing by joining their efforts.  

So rather than a building, a system, or charismatic leader, seek to join a community of believers that are seeking to bring more people into God’s kingdom, who believe in and practice what the Bible teaches, and who are concerned with serving others and who are attempting to help one another grow in their relationship with God.   

It is my prayer that all my friends find a community of Christians where they can grow and find their purpose in Christ.  

So keep walking and talking with God. He will show the way to go. So trust and follow where He leads you to worship. And when you get there, worship and serve the Lord with your whole heart, mind, spirit, and body.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 4:19 (NLT2)
19  We love each other because he loved us first.

Today’s Bible verse indicates that we are given the capability to love because of the Lord.  

As Creator, God loved us enough to make us fearfully and wonderfully made.  In our bodies, we have the capability to do so many things to affect change and to accomplish tasks.  In our minds, God gave us the capability of imagining new things to create solutions to problems or just to inspire us with creative works of beauty.   In our hearts, He gave us the capacity to love.   

So God first loved us by creating us. 

But because of the free will God gave us, we could also choose to not fulfill our purpose in life by rejecting God and His ways for us.   Adam’s decision to disobey caused mankind to fall into sin and to be cursed with death as the consequence of sin.  

But God loved us enough to make a way to restore us, through Jesus Christ.  

So God oved us again to save us.  And when are redeemed, we realize our value and are given eternal life with God.  And now as brothers and sisters in Christ we can also love in the deepest sense of the word.   We can love others by sharing the truth of the gospel that will bring them from death to life.  We love because God first loved us, through creating us and saving us.   

So love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul and share that love the we received by loving others as yourself.



As always, I invite all to go to 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 Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

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

The Classical Mystery: The Rape of Kore by Hades

Fourteen miles west of Athens on the road to Corinth, the city of Eleusis was situated in a fertile agricultural area. For hundreds of years before the time of Christ, mystery rites were performed annually in the city celebrating the reunion of a mother goddess with her daughter, who had been abducted for three months by Hades, god of the underworld. According to the informing myth, Demeter, the distraught mother, wandered for days and ended the search for her daughter, Kore (also known as Persephone), in the city of Eleusis. While Demeter was at Eleusis, the supreme god Zeus finally intervened and promised to reunite Kore with her mother for eight months of every year. It turns out that Zeus had also consented for Hades (the Roman god Pluto) to take Kore as his wife. This compromise was struck between the mother and the daughter’s prospective husband.

In Eleusis mystery rites were held every year, involving a ritual enactment of many parts of this mythical drama. The “Lesser Mysteries,” held in honor of Kore, were conducted in the early spring; the “Greater Mysteries,” in honor of Demeter, were performed at the beginning of autumn. The mystery rites symbolized a happy afterlife in the other world, but they were also closely connected with raising a good corn crop in the area each year. The following two themes are very important in this respect.

First, after another deity informed Demeter (also known as the “corn maiden”) of the abduction of her daughter, Demeter caused a severe blight on the earth, which effectively twisted the arm of Zeus to intervene. This blight, induced by divine cosmic disharmony, devastated agricultural production. Part of the “Greater Mysteries” celebrate the cosmic harmony that ultimately occurred among the heavens (Zeus), the earth (Demeter) and the underworld (Hades). This harmony was essential to insure continued agricultural stability.

Second, the local interpretation of Kore’s annual journey back and forth from the underworld was thought to be related to the seed corn used in the local agriculture. Just as Kore spent four months of the year with Hades and eight months of the year with Demeter, the seed corn at Eleusis was preserved in underground silos for four months of the year and was then sown, cultivated and harvested during the rest of the year. The activities of these gods was believed to be closely intertwined with the local agricultural economy. It was therefore important to please the gods through the annual performance of these mystery rites.

It is difficult to know precisely the deeper spiritual significance given to the mystery rites at Eleusis during the time of Paul. These rites were variously interpreted according to the religious needs of every age. Although Hades was not a symbol of evil to the Greeks, he is often represented as “grim, unpitying, [and] a severe punisher of wrongdoers.” Possibly the mystery rites symbolized protection from the harmful influences of Hades. The desire for protection is probably why the dramatic enactment of descent to the underworld is important in connection with the Plutonion, an opening to the underworld, located next to the temple at Eleusis. It is also likely that at the height of the mystery initiation, the new devotees were the awed recipients of an epiphany of the goddess Demeter herself, who would bring them happiness and the hope of a pleasant afterlife in the underworld. Paul and all of his readers in Greece, no doubt, would have been quite familiar with this famous mystery religion.

Taurobolium: Initiation into Cybele

Across the Aegean Sea in Asia Minor where numerous Christian churches were coming into existence, a popular oriental cult observed annual mysteries in honor of the mother-goddess Cybele (pronounced ku-be’le). This Asian female deity, also known as the “Great Mother” and “Mother of the Gods,” came to be worshiped in Greece and even Rome before the beginning of the New Testament period.

The best-known part of her mystery rite is an event called the taurobolium. In this rite the initiate descends into an underground pit, which is partially covered with a series of wooden lattices. Walking out onto the latticework, the priests of Cybele would slaughter a young bull and allow its blood to pour through the openings of the wood, drenching the initiate in the pit below. The Latin Christian writer Prudentius vividly describes the rite:

Through the thousand crevices in the wood, the bloody dew runs down into the pit. The neophyte [initiate] receives the falling drops on his head, clothes and body. He leans backward to have his cheeks, his ears, his lips and his nostrils wetted; he pours the liquid over his eyes, and does not even spare his palate, for he moistens his tongue with blood and drinks it eagerly.

For the devotees of Cybele this gruesome rite was filled with deep spiritual significance. The bloody “baptism” was thought to purify the initiates from their faults. Franz Cumont contends that there was even a materialistic concept of a transfer of strength to the initiate. He comments: “by moistening his body with the blood of the slaughtered steer, the neophyte believed that he was transfusing the strength of the formidable beast into his own limbs.” As with other mysteries, the initiation probably also signified some mystical union with the deity.

The initiate could now live in greater security and peace. The taurobolium satisfied a spiritual yearning and brought the person closer to the deity. The new access to this deity’s cosmic power, symbolized by the blood of the bull, provided benefits, such as coping with malevolent hostile influences and assuring of immortality.

Asdepius: God of Healing

The best way to understand other religions during the time of the New Testament is to look carefully at a few. I have chosen three deities who were popular for different reasons during the time of Paul. Without a doubt many of Paul’s converts in Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth and elsewhere were devoted to these gods before turning to the gospel. The portraits of these three deities will give us some insight into the pre-Christian background of a large segment of Paul’s readership.

Often praised as a “savior,” the god Asclepius was one of the most popular deities among the masses during the New Testament era. Asclepius was honored throughout the Mediterranean world for his power to heal the sick and afflicted. His symbol was the staff with a snake coiled around it, similar to that of physicians today. He was perceived as a benevolent god, concerned with people’s needs. He identified with the feelings of the afflicted because he was believed to be a god-man. Many, in fact, believed Asclepius was half-human and half-divine. Because of these and other similarities to Christ, the cult of Asclepius proved to be a formidable opponent to Christianity.

Pergamum and Epidaurus were two major centers of the worship of Asclepius and were near Ephesus and Corinth, strategic centers of Paul’s missionary activities. While Paul never mentioned Asclepius (or any pagan deity) in his letters, he would undoubtedly have had a substantial number of converts who had some contact with the cult of Asclepius.

From all over the Hellenistic world, the sick and ailing flocked to Asclepian centers to seek healing from their diseases. Many reportedly received the divine healing intervention of Asclepius during the rite of “incubation,” sleeping in the precincts of the temple in order to receive a visionary epiphany from the god. When Asclepius appeared to the sick person, his healing powers were imparted and the person was healed. This appearance and the apparent healing constituted the essence of initiation into the divine mystery of Asclepius. Before sleeping in the temple, the afflicted individual needed to perform certain purification rites and offer sacrifices to Asclepius. After experiencing the healing powers of this god, it was then important to offer appropriate and acceptable thanksgiving. This rite would often take the form of a thank-offering, which the initiate commonly consumed while the god was in his temple. One writer has observed: “In the Asclepius cult the ancient concept of the sacrifice as a communion between god and man was upheld tenaciously.” This description illustrates a distinctive trait of the New Testament era in which the concept of a close personal relationship with a deity was common.

The cured were also encouraged to publicize to others what Asclepius had accomplished for them. We consequently have a number of accounts of people rendering praise to Asclepius for healing them of their illnesses. One papyrus text appears to be the introduction to a much longer document in which a man praises Asclepius because he had been healed of a terrible internal disorder during the incubation rite. Just before the text breaks off, the writer states his intention: “I now purpose to recount his miraculous manifestations, the greatness of his power, the gifts of his benefits. The history is this …”

Many of the early Christians did not dispute the evidence for supernatural events happening in connection with the cult of Asclepius. Rather, they attributed the source of the healing powers to Satan and his demons and pointed to its grave dangers. Among the church fathers, Eusebius regarded Asclepius as an evil spirit “who does not cure souls but destroys them” while Lactantius termed Asclepius an “archdemon.”

Hekate: Goddess of Witchcraft and Sorcery

The goddess Hekate (sometimes spelled Hecate) has much significance for our investigation into the powers of darkness. More than any other Hellenistic deity, Hekate was popularly known for her close connection with evil spirits, strange apparitions and things of danger. Long before the New Testament period, she was widely regarded as the mistress of evil spirits (or demons). Alois Kehl remarks, “In the common belief of Greco-Roman civilization, Hekate appeared above all as the ruler of darkness, of terror, of the dead, of demons, and of magic.”14 Because she was believed to be the ruler of the demons, she was frequently invoked in sorcery and magic; because she controlled the evil spirits, she gave magic its effective power. Because Hekate dispatched demons to carry out the magician’s wishes, her name appears repeatedly throughout the magical texts.

She was widely believed to be an underworld goddess; that is, she wielded control over the place of the dead or the disembodied souls. Her power over the various spirits of the underworld was represented by her title “key bearer,” meaning she possessed the keys to the fortress of Hades. Because she controlled the passageway to the underworld, she could enable people to communicate with the dead. Her custodianship of Hades also enabled her to control the apparitions or souls who ascend to do the magician’s bidding.17

Her power was not only limited to the underworld. As with so many other deities of the period, she was viewed as having cosmic power. Her rule extended over heaven, earth and sea. Some texts point to her connection with the lunar element, in which she becomes associated with the moon-goddess, Selene. A few ancient writers even emphasize her role as a cosmic soul.

People worshiped her and made offerings to her for protection from evil. She was called the “goddess of the crossroads.” In popular superstition, the intersection of two roads was viewed as haunted. A statue of Hekate was commonly erected at crossroads. Her function as an averter of evil influences reflects her popular title, “protector of the gate.”

While Hekate was worshiped throughout the Roman Empire, she was especially at home in Asia Minor, where she is thought to have originated Her primary cult center was at Lagina, not far from Ephesus. Hekate is closely connected with the Ephesian Artemis, so much so that distinctions between the two female goddesses become blurred in many respects.

During his travels throughout the empire, the apostle Paul probably encountered her image along Roman roads countless times. His converts would have found it difficult to completely forsake honoring her since she was perceived to be a primary source of protection from evil spirits in daily life. Her promise of protection from the underworld would also have posed a significant challenge to the Christian gospel’s promise of life after death.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 38–43.


Friday, May 20, 2022

His Truth and Presence: The Way through Grief – Purity 736

His Truth and Presence: The Way through Grief – Purity 736

Purity 736 05/19/2022  Purity 736 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a golden retriever apparently navigating his own boat in the setting sun comes to us from a brother and a friend who shared this photo among many others on social media yesterday to remember and honor his faithful canine companion who was called into eternity after suffering from cancer for last 12 months.  But in my friend’s post, he didn’t focus on the pain and suffering but instead gave a heartwarming testimony of the adventures in life that he and his canine friend had through the years.   

Similarly, and not to equate or compare the two losses, I was saddened to see that a friend’s mother had also died yesterday after years of suffering from the devastating affects of Alzheimer’s disease.  I had a small idea of my friend’s pain from dealing with his mother’s condition and of course this was in midst of other losses as his wife’s mother passed away last year. 

Sometimes our cup of suffering seems to be full and the thing we dreaded the most, death, comes as a relief as our loved one’s pain is ended. My friend acknowledged the truth of the suffering his mother had gone through in the announcement of her passing but also focused on the love that she had given to her family as a mother and grandmother. Her love, presence, and support for her family was displayed throughout her life and this is what my friend is focusing on.    

So, obviously it is not going to necessarily be a banner weekend for a pair of my friends as the loss of their loved ones is fresh but that is okay, the best way to process the grief of losing a loved one is to acknowledge the pain of the loss, remember the great value of the relationship that has changed forever, and to say goodbye to the way things used to be.  

We all grieve in our own way and in our own timing, but the word of God indicates that we are to always give thanks, always pray, always rejoice, and keep moving forward into the upward call of Christ.   

In our grief, a relationship with God and a knowledge of the truth of reality as it is revealed to us in Scripture can give us peace and strength to endure any suffering and all loss.  

The Bible is straightforward in delivering the truth of life and death and in times of loss we are reminded of the extreme importance of faith in Jesus Christ and a biblically based world view of eternity.   The Lord wanted us to know the truth and He inspired the Apostle Paul to share it in

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NLT2) which says:
1  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.
3  For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.
4  While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.
5  God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6  So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.
7  For we live by believing and not by seeing.
8  Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
9  So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.
10  For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

For the believer, our faith in Christ results in a state of grace. We are forgiven for all of our sins and are given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal life in God’s kingdom the moment we make Jesus our Lord and Savior.  The judgement the believer faces from Christ  is to determine their rewards for their faithfulness.  There is nothing to fear from death. To be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord.

This life on earth is not the end. Jesus said in:

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25   "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Jesus speaks the truth of spiritual reality. You can believe this. And if you haven’t already, you should say a prayer to make Jesus your Lord and Savior and then endeavor to be His disciple and follow Him in how you live your life.

The strength of our faith comes from God. It comes from knowing Him and from knowing the truth that He reveals to us in His word, and from applying its wisdom to every situation of our lives, especially in times of pain and loss.   

So yeah, bad things will happen, suffering will come, and death will take the lives of our family, friends, and pets.  But God is on the other side of this life and if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is this: God will do what is right.

I don’t know if “all dogs go to heaven” but I know that God will do what is right.  

As for men, God’s justice is served by Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. And He said that no one comes to the Father except through Him.  This is the truth and God will do what’s right based on this. We all need the assurance of a good ending and the Lord offers it freely to all who put their faith in His Son.

No matter what losses we face in life, we can be assured God is good because He sent Jesus to tell us the truth and to rescue us from sin and death. Death loses its sting through Jesus Christ alone.

So thank God it is Friday.  And thank God for all the love we have known in our lives, whether it is active and current or came from those who are no longer with us, we can rejoice even in our pain, knowing that we gave and received love from our dearly departed loved ones.  

So no matter what you are facing as we go into this weekend, draw close to the Lord and He will draw close to you. He will tell you the truth and give you strength and comfort when you walk with Him.  He will never leave you or forsake you and He be there when your body gives out and He calls you home.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 2:9 (NLT2)
9  Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the results of seeking God’s wisdom: that we will have understanding of what is right, just, and fair and we will find the right way to go.   

In any sincere search for the truth about the meaning of life, the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ must be considered.  To say we care about truth, wisdom, and what happens to us when we die and to dismiss or ignore the Bible and Jesus is not only foolish but should reveal that fact that we are willfully choosing to reject the truth that has changed the course of human history.

Look at the calendar and tell me year it is and tell me why it is that year.  And don’t tell me about C.E. Common Era.  That’s a modern invention to deny, the truth of who Christ is.  AD is an abbreviation of the Latin: anno domini, literally the 'year of the Lord' and it just so happens to coincide with the advent of Jesus Christ into the world.

When you tell me the year is 2022, you unwittingly give glory to Jesus Christ.

So if you are curious about the Man, whose life was so significant that we number our days based on Him, or if you were to consider the vast multitudes who would point you to the word of God to find wisdom, you would read the Bible.  

The Bible tells the story of God and His plan for mankind: which is Jesus Christ.  It also reveals what is right morally according to the Lord.   

So as today’s verse indicates when we seek the Lord’s wisdom, that is revealed to us in Scripture, we will understand what is right, just, and fair.  And we will also find the right way to go. The last parts of the Bible, the New Testament, reveals Jesus as the Way.   Putting our faith in Him and living according to God’s wisdom is the way to go.  

So seek the Truth and you will find it.  Your investigation for truth may not begin with God but as you see the common revelation of creation that testifies of the existence of a Creator and consider the historical evidence that points to the significance of the Bible as a source of wisdom, you investigation for truth will lead you to the author of all Truth and maker of all things: God. And His word, the Holy Bible, will show you what is just, right and fair and will show the right way to go.  



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

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

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

Consumed with Clothes

Or think about clothes. What a tragedy to see so many young people obsessed with what they wear and how they look. Even Christian youth seem powerless to ask greater questions than “What’s wrong with it?” Like: Will these clothes help me magnify Christ? Will they point people to him as the manifest Treasure of my life? Will they highlight my personhood, created in the image of God to serve, or will they highlight my sexuality? Or my laziness? Trust me, I’m not hung up on clothes. There are some pretty radical, Christ-exalting reasons to dress down. My plea is that you be more like a dolphin and less like a jellyfish in the sea of fashion—and of contra-fashion (which is just as tyrannizing).

Go beyond one teenager who wrote to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in response to a letter to the editor:

As a teenager, what you wear is unfortunately becoming more important. Honestly even I find some of the clothes that I wear offensive. The letter spoke of girls being able to dress fashionably and sensibly. Show me how that’s possible, and I’ll do it.

Most of my friends often are not comfortable with what is popular, but we wear it anyway. Standing out is just not always worth the struggle. Society tells us to be different, yet mainstream.

How do you dress to please yourself, your parents and your peers? You can’t. Teens end up compromising their values to fit in. If we intend to make it through high school, or even junior high, without being tormented then we must dress to please our peers.

We are the up-and-coming leaders of this nation, and we must see what we have become and change.

Where Are the Young Radicals for Christ?

When I stand, as it were, on the shores of Iwo Jima and let myself reenact those hours of courage and sacrifice, and remember that they were young, I cannot make peace with the petty preoccupations of most American life. One of them was really young. I read his story and wanted to speak to every youth group in America and say, Do you want to see what cool is? Do you want to see something a thousand times more impressive than a triple double? Well, listen up about Jacklyn Lucas.

He’d fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen, fooling the recruits with his muscled physique.… Assigned to drive a truck in Hawaii, he had grown frustrated; he wanted to fight. He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sympathetic leathernecks on board.

He landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland.

Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprang in front of them. Jack shot one of them through the head. Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately, another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. “Luke, you’re gonna die,” he remembered thinking.…

Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan the doctors could scarcely believe it. “Maybe he was too damned young and too damned tough to die,” one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation’s youngest Medal of Honor winner—and the only high school freshman to receive it.

As I read that, I thought of all the things that high school kids think is cool. I sat on the porch where I was reading and thought, O God, who will get in their face and give them something to live for? They waste their days in a trance of insignificance, trying to look cool or talk cool or walk cool. They don’t have a clue what cool is.

One more story to clarify what is cool. It’s about Ray Dollins, a fighter pilot at Iwo Jima.

The first wave of amtracs headed for shore. The Marine fighter planes were finishing up their low strafing runs. And as the last pilot began to pull his Corsair aloft, Japanese sprang to their guns and riddled the plane with flak. The pilot, Major Ray Dollins, tried to gain altitude as he headed out over the ocean so as to avoid a deadly crash into the Marines headed for the beach, but his plane was too badly damaged. Lieutenant Keith Wells watched it from the amtrac.… “We could see him in the cockpit,” Wells said, “and he was trying everything. He was heading straight down for a group of approaching ’tracs filled with Marines. At the last second he flipped the plane over on its back and aimed it into the water between two waves of tanks. We watched the water exploding into the air.”

Military personnel listening to the flight radio network from the ships could not only see Dollins go down; they could hear his last words into his microphone. They were a defiant parody.

Oh, what a beautiful morning,

Oh, what a beautiful day,

I’ve got a terrible feeling

Everything’s coming my way.

Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe true greatness. It is a small word. That’s the point. It’s cheap. And it’s what millions of young people live for. Who confronts them with urgency and tears? Who pleads with them not to waste their lives? Who takes them by the collar, so to speak, and loves them enough to show them a life so radical and so real and so costly and Christ-saturated that they feel the emptiness and triviality of their CD collection and their pointless conversations about passing celebrities? Who will waken what lies latent in their souls, untapped—a longing not to waste their lives?

My Heart’s Plea

Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy—as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road. “Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:13–14). When they see our sacrificial love—radiant with joy—will they not say, “Christ is great”?[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 125–131.