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Showing posts with label Waterfalls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Waterfalls. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Purity 404: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship




Purity 404  04/28/2021  Purity 404 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s video of these man made “waterfalls” was captured by yours truly at the entrance of the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio Texas on Sunday as I left the Alamo and ventured across the street to explore Riverwalk.  

San Antonio’s Riverwalk is a bustling tourist attraction that features all kinds of museums, shops, restaurants, taverns, and other activities that make it “the number one attraction in Texas”.  I didn’t know anything about Riverwalk when I went there but I decided to check it out for a while since I was in town.  After a short walk along its shores I decided that it was a little too touristy for me.

I’m not into shopping in general and that especially for applies to souvenirs.  I don’t think that cheap, or not so cheap, trinkets are the best way to remember the places we visit.  

I also don’t drink alcohol and lately have been trying to be more moderate in the things I eat. Riverwalk’s festive atmosphere that beckons you to eat, drink, and be merry was actually a turn off for me.  So after about a half hour of exploration, I decided to leave the Riverwalk behind. It’s a good thing I decided to leave when I did and not just press on because apparently it would take 5 to 6 hours to walk the full length of Riverwalk!    

Today’s video and my short experience at Riverwalk reminds me of the 1994 TLC song “waterfalls” whose chorus reminds us to:

“Don't go chasing waterfalls” and to “stick to the rivers and the lakes that” we're used to. It warns us about having things our own way and that we might be “moving too fast”.

For a pop song it gives good advice. It warns of the dangers of chasing intangible dreams with no thought of the consequences, specifically the dangers of getting easy money with drug dealing and the dangers of easy love, warning of HIV.  

Riverwalk could be a good time, but I would caution my friends to consider the consequences to their wallet, their bodies, and their souls.   Man loves to manufacture “fun” for a cost but sometimes that “fun” turns into slavery and costs a lot more than the price of admission.  

Going on a walk with God on the other hand tends to lead to peace and joy that goes beyond all understanding. It leads to a new life that is defined by freedom and is free from guilt and shame.      

So enjoy your freedom to go where you please in this world but be aware of the consequences of whose wisdom you follow.  God as the author of all creation and all truth knows how things work and I recommend you seek His guidance in the way you should go.  

(An Audio version of this message is available at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, you can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D).) There is more content at the restricted blog. Follow me on Twitter or MeWe for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

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This morning’s meditation verses are:

Psalm 121:5 (NKJV)
5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand.

Psalm 119:165 (NKJV)
165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

Today’s verses come to us from the devotional “Daily Strength for Daily Needs” by Mary Wilder Tileston.  Ms. Tileston apparently wrote her devotional in 1884 and kept things simple. She shared these two verses and the following poem from Charles Wesley:

 

I rest beneath the Almighty's shade,

My griefs expire, my troubles cease;

Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,

Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.

So the daily strength we are to draw from these verses and Wesley’s poem is based on the fact that we have peace with God.  The verses assure us that the Lord is our keeper, provides us with rest and protection in His shade, and that when we love his law, or his instruction, as the Hebrew word “tora” is also defined, we will never stumble.

Wesley’s poems agrees that when we are under “the Almighty’s shade”, under His protection, in His presence, or in relationship with the Lord, our troubles cease and when we focus on God we find perfect peace.  

So no matter where the day takes you today and no matter what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, remember that your relationship with God though your faith in Jesus Christ means that you are covered in the Lord’s shade. That means you are protected and loved.  Being in His shade also means that we are continually in His presence.  

So keep walking and talking with God. If you grow weary, remember to take a break and to rest in His shade where all your griefs will expire and your troubles will cease, because when we walk with God, we walk in peace.      

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

 

Today we continue to share from Dr. H. Norman Wright’s “Experiencing Grief

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Wright’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

Chapter 19.
Capturing the Memories

Many who grieve are upset even more when they discover some of the memories of their loved one begin to fade. The greater the distance in time from being with a person, the more this will occur. One man who lost his wife after thirty-five years made a decision not to let this occur, which many others are now doing for their loss. He decided to write down every thought or memory that came to his mind about his wife until he had accumulated a thousand of them. He called this his collection of a thousand one-liners, which would give him a complete picture. Perhaps something like this would aid you in your quest to remember.

You have stories about your loved one. So do others. Telling all these stories is a wonderful way to celebrate a life and give as complete a picture as possible of who this person was. Some have found it helpful in processing their grief to ask friends and relatives to share one of their favorite stories about the loved one.

One of the new roles you take on after the loss of your loved one is becoming their historian. You may be the main person to convey to others who your loved one really was. Newspapers carry obituaries, but you probably want others to know more than those basic facts. You are the one to decide what you want the world to know about your loved one. You're creating a biography. And it's not just facts. It's who they were as a person. It's an exploration of a life lived 66 rather than a history. It's capturing the important elements of one's life, commemorating who they were, and giving a testimonial about them.

What you say and how you say it conveys what this person meant to others. At a time when you're ready, consider this possibility. If you do, write about their life-celebrate their life. Give voice to your precious memories. It's what you saw and knew about this person. And remember, others may have a different perspective since we are all important, hopefully growing throughout our life and gradually being conformed to the image of Christ. You may want to create small vignettes and later weave them together into a more complete story. And most important, even though this is for others, it's for you most of all. It gives expression to what you are attempting to hold on to, clarity to the jumbled mixture of memories, and it preserves what will gradually fade in time.


Experiencing Grief.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Purity 250


Purity 250 
 
Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent hike at Letchworth State Park in Castile NY “way out west in Upstate NY”.
I share this photo of Letchworth State Park’s middle falls because it displays another example of God’s creative beauty and it represents a middle point for our week as we hopefully make the plunge into the second part of the last week of October.
I am close to completion of my thesis and am overjoyed at the prospect of the joy of accomplishment and freedom that awaits.
You know, a victorious life in Christ is defined by keep Him continually in our presence while we stretch ourselves to be more like Him and to discover the unbelievable possibilities He has for our lives.
So if you’re in a rut, it’s time to look at what you’re doing and change it with a spirit of adventure and exploration. Go out there and enjoy your life. Expand your mind by learning something new. If you are distant, draw closer to God.
I’m here to tell you that a victorious life is found in the context of our relationship with God, enjoying Him and challenging ourselves to grow.
The TV and the couch have taught you all they have to offer.
Look up the Wonderful Counselor and follow where He leads you: to life and life more abundantly.
I mean, check out these falls! Who even knew they were out there? There are places to see and things to do with this life and they are so much better when you bring God along for the ride!
God bless you all!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

AFRICA and BACK HOME

Bloggers blog right? or write? RIGHT!  
I have been gone too long. I need to share to tell you, and to remind myself, of all the wonderful things the Lord has done for me.


Well I made it back alive from my mission trip to Africa.  My life was never really threatened but we are never promised tomorrow and I suppose there were plenty of moments in my trip where my life could have ended:

 plane crashes (6 flights in total),

disease (Ebola screenings!),

street violence (I’m assuming Soldiers/police in downtown Harare and in the Shop Rite in Livingstone carry AK-47s for show),

falling to my death from a fool hardy trip halfway down a 500 foot gorge (I was wise enough to turn back when I realized that Crocs didn’t offer the best footing and that it wasn’t  worth it.  An exhausted companion who did the entire trek later confirmed “It was stupid!” Apparently the river below didn’t offer much more than the view from above, except swarms of mosquitoes and flies. )

However, the Lord watched over me and I am safely back home.



It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The fact is dedicating two weeks of my life solely for the Lord’s purposes was one of the greatest things I have ever done.   I felt like I was my ideal self:  all my time could be categorized as working for the Lord or proclaiming the gospel and my personal testimony.   All throughout the trip I felt I was being led by the Holy Spirit. Every devotional or gospel message seemed to lead to the next in a purposeful unfolding that made everything I encounter seem truly momentous: AS IF IT WERE MEANT TO BE!!! 

The mission  team from my church were united in spirit and purpose with no division or conflicts which isn’t always the case with large groups of diverse people (16).  I found a new level of respect for Pastor Jaron Halsted and Pastor Mike Lambert as they ably lead and ministered to the group with great skill. 

The team spent a week in Harare Zimbabwe where we did concrete and tile work that would help support an orphanage that was funded by Pastor Ephiel Mukamuri of Logos Rhema Ministries. Pastor Ephiel welcomed the team into his home and was a most gracious host providing for all the teams needs during our visit.  While in Zimbabwe, I spoke at Pastor Ephiel’s church and two schools that he supports sharing my personal testimony and the Gospel.   We ended our time in Zimbabwe with a picnic with the orphans, dancing, and praising the name of Jesus in song.   


The team then went to Livingstone Zambia where we did brick and mortar work for a school that the Temple of Power church is building.  Pastor Nelly Chibwela opened up her home and heart to the team richly providing for our needs during our visit.   While in Zambia I preached at Temple of Power Church and at Pastor Buster Tembo’s House of Testimony Church.  Near the end of our trip the team crossed the border into Botswana for a day long Safari, where we took a river Safari and then hopped into trucks going into the bush!  The African landscape was graced by spectacular blue skies and sunshine as the team spied, herds of elephants, lions, wart hogs, baboons, crocodiles, hippos, impalas, lynx, and cheetahs.  Our final day in Zambia we went to the awesome splendor that is Victoria Falls. 




My time in Africa was well spent and I don’t regret it but in life sometimes things aren’t always so wonderful. 

The truth is my wife, who doesn’t share my zeal for missions or evangelism, was not happy with my decision to go to Africa.  I had made a determined decision to go regardless of her feelings and she barley communicated with me while I was away. What made matters even worse was that Michele suffers from recurring kidney stones and infections. She was hospitalized just before my trip but she was out when I left, granted with a subsequent appointment to remove a stint while I was to be away.  Things took a turn for the worse and she had to be hospitalized while I was away, another stint had to be put in.  She was extremely angry for what she sees as me abandoning her.  Upon my return , she was cold telling me she had contacted a lawyer in regards to getting a divorce.  She was also very ill. She refused to go to the Hospital that day but after a night of vomiting and not being able to keep anything down we were headed back to Albany Medical Center.    

While I was in Africa, I had left under the strain of a spouse who didn’t fully support me and I could understand why some people leave their families, or some people go into the mission field for good.  The problems of my life back home were gone, geographically distant and removed.   I really felt the urge to leave, find a nice Christian woman, and spend our lives being missionaries.  However, the Holy Spirit was leading me while in Africa. The messages I heard were about forgiveness, hope, and love.  I strained and prayed mightily for guidance but as much as I was taken with the life of a missionary and preacher that I had come to experience everything I heard told me to go back home and minister to my wife, to show her the love of Christ that has changed my life so much.  I sulkily agreed that this was what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do, so I reluctantly agreed to go home, apologize to Michele, and to begin to honor, love and obey her as our wedding vows commanded.  

So I apologized and started to do things to be there for my wife, reluctantly agreeing to stop going to Bible college to be there for her.   I took her to her doctor appointments and started doing things around the house to get things in order.  I still had fantasies about running off with some Christian woman and being a missionary but I decided to serve my wife regardless of my irrational feelings.  Understand me when I say I was really grieved about this conflict between my desires and what God was telling me to do but I also felt good about being there for Michele and getting the house in order (AS IF IT WERE MEANT TO BE).   

I’m happy to report that after days of speaking words of encouragement and serving my wife I had a revelation about my irrational thoughts.  I discovered that all my thoughts of running out of my marriage were just insane flights of fantasy that I had given power to by dwelling on.  I realized that in my mind leaving my wife and finding love elsewhere was built as an option to consider so I had opened a door to sin.  It’s the tenth commandment : You shall not covet (Exodus 20:17).  I was wanting things that weren’t mine and it was wrong.  As a married man, I was supposed to love my wife like Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). I haven’t been faithful to my wife like I should have been.   God was calling me to repent.
I am happy to say that Michele has fully recovered from her infection and that she has forgiven me.  I have made it plain to her that I am going to love honor and obey her to the best of my abilities and things are going well. 

I was chasing after God relentlessly to the exclusion of my wife.  I felt the call to the mission field and went in faith.  My visions of a revival sparked by my visit to Africa weren’t realized but the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Apparently, God wanted to get me alone for a while to show me what was important. Galatians  5:22-23 says” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” I have spent two and a half years learning about God and faith but hadn’t put the lessons I had learned into practice in my marriage.  God sent me to Africa to show me that He is awesome and ever present and to tell me to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in my life and marriage.  .

I know I will be challenged and I might fail sometimes. I know that I may never get my wife on board with the Spirit-filled Christian life that I want to live. She may tire of me and leave me but I am going to try to do God’s will for my marriage.

Pastor Mike’s wife, Sue Lambert, had to endure 8 years of marriage to him before he gave himself to the Lord. Now he is a Pastor!

In the Bible, Joseph was in prison for years before he was raised to prominence and saved his family and the entire nation of Egypt.   Moses spent 40 years in the desert serving the Lord and never set foot in the Promised Land.  Paul was rendered blind when Christ was revealed to him with no knowledge that his sight would be restored and he would go on to give his life spreading the gospel. 

The point is serving God isn’t without hardship and it is not about receiving a reward here on earth (Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.). 


I am going to try to do what God would have me do in my life and marriage without the expectation of reward.  I am going to serve, honor and love my wife as an expression of my faith in Jesus Christ.  .