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Showing posts with label Who I Am in Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Who I Am in Christ. Show all posts

Friday, January 14, 2022

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit - Purity 628


 

Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit -  Purity 628

Purity 628 01/14/2022  Purity 628 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a roaring fire on what was a 16 degree night last weekend comes to us from a friend who did the uncommon thing of having a campfire meal of steak and local vegetables on a January night where few would follow his example. But the company of their significant other and the heat of the fire seemed to enough to warm their bodies and hearts as they felt cozy with what they called “low key relaxation”.  I would have said it was low degree relaxation.  But seriously,  I have a lot of respect for people who do the uncommon thing and don’t let their surrounding circumstances prevent them from enjoying their lives.  

Well, it’s Friday and we can thank the Lord for the day and the weekend ahead and I invite you to consider doing something with your weekend that isn’t common.

Last night I had the honor of leading a Zoom meeting with a group of men who have all decided to do what has become an uncommon thing.  They have decided to follow the Lord’s will for their lives by trusting Him to help them to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts to experience their freedom in Christ. They begun the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries and although we are only in our second week, one of the participants already has given a testimony of achieving a victory over a personal struggle because they put into practice what they learned from the course.   Before ending the meeting last night I encouraged all the men that they could experience their freedom and have similar victories if they would apply the teachings, which are based on the word of God, to their lives.  

I also encouraged them with the knowledge that when they came to faith in Christ they received the Holy Spirit, and He communicates with us in three ways:

1.    Communion – When we come to the Lord in prayer, worship, or Bible Study and we feel the presence of the Lord or especially close to God the Holy Spirit is manifesting His presence and moving us into closer relationship with God by revealing things about God that we didn’t fully grasp or understand. 

2.    Conscience – After coming to Christ, sinning ain’t like it used to be! Our consciences tell us that our sinful behaviors are in opposition to who we are in Christ. And if we commit ourselves to follow the Lord, we have a heightened sensitivity to sin and have a motivation to forsake it. The Holy Spirit is the one that is convicting our consciences to turn to God’s ways.

3.    Intuition – Who ever said that our faith walk was one sided communication?  If we are walking in the Spirit, we will receive intuitions that will lead us to do good works or do uncommon things like talk to someone about Jesus or to pray for someone.  The leadings of the Holy Spirit never lead us into sin. They lead us to do good things or to impart knowledge to others and when we follow the Spirit’s lead we never regret it because we have the assurance that, regardless of the results, we were faithful to the Lord’s call. 

I encouraged the men that although the choice to follow the Lord may result in negative responses from the world, and even family and friends, their choice to agree with the Lord about how they should live and actually apply it to their lives may be uncommon but it will be the choice that leads to the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. 

To end the meeting we read through the Who I Am in Christ resource (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf)  that is a list of statements that proclaim the truth of God’s word about our condition of being accepted, secure and significant when we are in Christ.  I read the scripture references for each statement and discovered that for many of the verses there was a condition to the promises that God would fulfill. The condition was to be faithful and to live according to the Lord’s ways. The condition was to follow Him.   

Many times Christians live mostly in the world and rest on God’s forgiveness of their sins and remain unchanged and struggle with the same things they did before coming to Christ.     

Christian Counselor, J.E. Adam’s note on Proverbs 28:9  provides some hard truth regarding seeking the Lord’s favor in prayer when your heart is not His or if you are not following Him. He writes:  

“It does no good to urge an unbeliever to pray about his problem. Because biblical counselors seek change that pleases God, nothing that an unbeliever does (short of repentance) will be accepted by Him (cf. 2:14b, 22; Rm 8:8). The prayer of rebellious believers is likewise ineffectual (1 Pe 3:7).”

I hate to be blasé about this but to quote the NY State Lottery: “You have to be in it to win it.”   

So in order to experience the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live, we have to do the uncommon thing and stop living for ourselves and start to live according to our new Identity in Christ.  

So light the fires, and kick the tires, and make a decision to follow the Lord every day, It doesn’t have to be complicated, It starts with the decision to surrender some of our time to draw close to Him in prayer and Bible study and to continually meditate on who we are in Christ to shape our thoughts and our behaviors to be conformed to the image of Christ. 

When we do that we will experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control that the Lord has already poured into us with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We just have to start living like we should as a child of God to see those fruit grow in our lives.  

So do the uncommon thing and keep walking and talking with God.  People might think you have gone off the deep end but, brothers and sisters can I tell you, that’s where the living waters of the Holy Spirit really flow and they will move you to the abundant life you always wanted but never thought you could have.    


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 28:13 (NLT2)
13  People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Today’s verse tells us of the mercy we receive that comes to us from God when we confess them to Him. 

Brothers and sisters, if you are new to the Bible and want to take a crack at the Old Testament, I would recommend reading the Book of Proverbs. It is loaded with pithy spiritual nuggets of truth that are definitive about the way we should go if we want to live in harmony with God.

No matter how rich and famous you may be, if you conceal your sins and do not confess them and bring them under the atoning work of the cross by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, you will not prosper.

The verse for evangelism, John 3:16, is a beloved promise for the believer but is a harsh warning for those who don’t. 

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

That one word, perish, says it all.  If you conceal your sins, or don’t believe in sin, it doesn’t matter, you ultimately will not prosper; you will perish.  

But as today’s verse points out, God has made a way for us to receive mercy.   By putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are forgiven and are mercifully given a place n God’s eternal kingdom as an adopted child of God.  

This verse also has real life application as well. Hey, we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t.  If we hide what we have done we will be tormented by guilt, shame, and fear but if we confess what we have done we may receive mercy here on earth.  

Confession, as we taught yesterday, means to agree with God.  So in our daily lives, if we mess up or do something stupid we need to throw ourselves under the bus, rat ourselves out, and tell the truth with the full knowledge that we may have to suffer some negative consequences, but if we do that we will be honoring the Lord’s will for our lives to repent and we can have the conviction and motivation to forsake the ways that led us astray.   

But there is a way not to suffer.  Don’t do anything you will need to conceal or confess! There is great freedom when you have nothing to hide and nothing to confess. So follow the Lord and know how good His mercy feels when you apply His wisdom to your life.


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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

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

GETTING TO THE EMOTIONAL CORE

As you pray through your list of names, stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what he or she did, how he or she hurt you, how he or she made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.). This process is important because facing specific issues is what enables you to get to the emotional core, where the damage was done and the healing takes place. Forgiving superficially results in superficial freedom and healing.

Many people have sincerely tried to forgive but weren’t able to because they didn’t understand the real source of their bitterness and the subsequent lies they have believed about themselves. Feelings of abandonment would fit into this category. Forgiving someone for hurting you may only be dealing with the symptom. You may need to ask yourself, “What specifically happened to me?” “How did I respond at the time?” and “How has it affected me today?” Anger, sadness, and depression are only the emotional consequences of what happened.

Physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse can also severely damage your self-concept. Your identity becomes wrapped around the abuse. A rape victim may feel like a whore, and the emotionally battered person may feel worthless. Forgiving the person for making her feel like a whore or feeling worthless will not get it done. She would need to forgive like this: “I forgive that man who raped me, for forcing me to have sex with him against my will, and for violating my body, which is a temple of God, when I wanted to glorify God in my body. And I renounce the lie that I am a whore or that my body is dirty.” (More will be said about this kind of renunciation in Step Six.) Or you may need to pray,

 “I forgive my mother for saying I will never amount to anything and for constantly putting me down by saying ___________________ (be specific), because it made me feel ___________________ (state how it made you feel, i.e. incompetent, inferior, worthless, etc.). I renounce the lies that I have believed about myself. I am not the terrible person my mother said I was; I am a child of God, and I choose to believe what God says about me.”

Hurtful experiences in early childhood shape our self-perceptions. It is common to hear people tearfully pray: “Lord, I forgive my father (or mother) for beating me, for never caring about what was happening in my life, for not believing me when I told him about the sexual abuse. I forgive him for what he said and did that caused me to feel dirty, unloved, and worthless.” Such negative programming contributes to a distorted sense of self. Forgiving others connects them to a loving Father who sees them as His children, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Mental strongholds are torn down as people forgive those who have offended them. They have lived under the condemnation of those labels for years. For the liberated Christian, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”85 Lies are exposed so they can live according to the truth of who they really are in Christ.

PREPARING YOUR HEARTS

Bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die. It is to the soul what cancer is to the body. If you knew that you had a form of cancer that could be removed by surgery, wouldn’t you say to the doctor, “Go for it! Get it all!”? Bitterness, like cancer, affects every part 

of your being. Forgiving from your heart those who have hurt you is God’s way of removing the cancer.

Tragically, this cancer of the soul is a communicable disease that can be spread to others. That is why the Word of God says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”86 Entire families and churches can be defiled by roots of bitterness.

God may bring to mind offending people and experiences you have totally forgotten. Let Him do it even if it is painful. Remember, you are doing this for your sake. God wants you to be free. Don’t rationalize or explain the offender’s behavior. Forgiveness is dealing with your pain and leaving the other person to God. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing yourself from the past is the critical issue right now.

Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive” because He is already helping you. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive” because you are bypassing the hard-core choice to forgive, which is your responsibility. Stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what they did, how they hurt you, how they made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.).

Are you ready to forgive the people on your list so that you can be free in Christ and so that those people and your past no longer have any control over you? If you are ready, then for each person on your list pray aloud as follows:

Lord, I choose to forgive ____________________

(name the person) for_______________________

(what they did or failed to do), which made me feel

________________________________________

(share the painful memories).

 

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Walk with Me - Encouraging not Chasing - Purity 626


Walk with Me  - Encouraging not Chasing -  Purity 626

Purity 626 01/12/2022  Purity 626 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blazing sun peaking through the clouds somewhere along the Florida coastline comes to us from a friend who shared a treasure trove of photos of their recent 12 day holiday get away where they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time.  I love the stillness that they captured in this photo and because the sun is to the left of center I thought it was a good representation of our being in the beginning stages of getting over the hump of the midweek.  

Yes, It’s Wednesday and after we get past today it’ll all be down hill from there, or at least we can hope.  And for those of us who know their freedom in Christ, we know that we always have a reason for our hope. In Christ we have the assurance of an eternal life in His kingdom and death has therefore lost its sting.  When we know we have a right standing with God and live with this perspective, the problems of this world don’t seem so big because we know that God is with us and will see us through.  

I moderate a Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course Men’s Group each Thursday online and have taught in-person classes in the past.  So people know what I am about and sometimes I am blessed because people will reach out to me to receive counsel.  Tonight I am meeting with a man that has expressed having some measures of success in his Christian walk but seems to still struggle with depression and fear.  

As a teacher, Christian Counselor, and vocal advocate for a lifestyle of Christian Discipleship, I have to be careful when I meet with someone new because I have discovered that all though Christians are all brothers and sisters in Christ we don’t all have the same levels of maturity in our faith because each of our educations, understanding, and experience in Christianity differ. 

Unfortunately, in the past I have felt that I may have tried to teach too much, counsel too much, or encourage too much, because after I have described what worked for me in my faith walk to overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety, the people I have talked to may have determined that “it was just too much” and their lack of follow up proved they, for whatever reason, weren’t on board because they didn’t accept one of the many options I gave to enter into a one-on-one discipleship/accountability relationship, join a class, or to do a periodic email correspondence.  I would offer to cater the encouragement I gave to them at whatever level they wanted but they didn’t accept the invitation.  

Now why didn’t I follow up and pester them until they said yes? Is letting them walk away with out help the Christian thing to do?  

Well, no where in the New Testament do we see Jesus chasing after people saying: “Come on guys, follow me!”   Quite the opposite.  Christ had many hangers on after his miracles and at one point in his ministry his teaching about drinking His blood and eating His flesh sent people heading for the exits.  Did Christ run after them? No, in fact Jesus challenged the Apostles to leave too!

John 6:67-69 (NKJV)
67  Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68  But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

God doesn’t force us to follow Him. We must choose for ourselves. So when someone that we encourage walks away, we can check in to see if they are still interested in coming along beside us but after a while we should accept their “no to be no”  and we can pray for the Lord to convict them and help them.      

As for tonight’s session with this new acquaintance, I plan to take extra time to listen to get to know what their walk is like and to hear some of their history so they can know that I genuinely care about them being set free from their fear and depression.  But I will also encourage them that their freedom is dependent upon their relationship with God more than their relationship with me.  

The One who has the words of eternal life and the One that caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear is the One that can heal them. 

But regardless of the responses I get I will be faithful to encourage everyone who seeks counsel to trust in the Lord to deliver them from their struggles, but I will inform them that their healing and transformation will require them to believe in the Word of God and to apply it to their lives and to faithfully answer the call of the One whose call is simply:

Matthew 4:19 (NKJV)
19  … "Follow Me..."  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 John 3:20 (NLT2)
20  Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Today’s verse tells us that God is all knowing and that He is greater than our feelings.  

I love the way the NLT simplifies this verse from the original KJV

1 John 3:20 (KJV)
20  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

When our heart condemns us that is guilt! God being greater than our heart means that He is greater than our feelings!  

This is why I encourage people to consult other versions of the Bible or to consult Bible commentaries to get understanding when they are struggling to know what God’s word is trying to say.  

In the preceding verses (1 John 3:18-19), John is encouraging  us to not just show our love with words but to show it with actions and assures us that our actions will show us that we really are in the Christian faith and that we can be assured of our right standing with God.  

Today’s verse is to answer to the Christian that says : “I know I said I believe and do some Christian things like go to church but I don’t feel like I am a Christian…”   

It tells us that when it comes to our salvation our feelings are not to be trusted, the word of God is to be trusted and believed.  That’s what it means to be saved by faith!  We need to believe it, to trust it, to have faith in it, and live it!   

So if you have doubts about your faith, stand on your confession to make Christ your Lord and Savior and tell yourself: 

“My feelings say that I am no different: But the word of God says in Romans 10:9, that  if I have confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. I did confess Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I do believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead!  So, I am saved”

In Christ you are accepted, secure, and significant.  But you have to know that and remind yourself of that to feel that.  So I am sharing a link to a PDF of Who I am in Christ from Freedom in Christ Ministries (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf) that you can meditate on that tells you who you are and that can be used as part of your daily spiritual practice to renew your mind and change your feelings to align with what God says about you.  

We can all feel guilty at times but if we are in Christ, we can simply pray to the Father to forgive us our latest transgressions to take away our guilt and restore our harmonious relationship with God once again.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Talking to God is reading His word and communing to Him in prayer to seek His wisdom, guidance, and strength continually.  Walking with God is simply realizing that God is with you always and applying His wisdom to your life in the ways that you think and in the ways that you behave.

If you do those two things, you will walk away from guilt, anxiety, fear, and depression as the fruit of the Spirit of peace, love and joy take their place.  God is greater than our feelings and believing what He says about us will give us peace.  

 

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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.   

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

GIVING UP OUR RIGHT TO BLAME

Some people deal with their emotional pain by pointing fingers. “That person violated me” or “I’m suffering because of that person.” While that may be true, it doesn’t resolve the problem. Blaming someone else can be a cover for your own guilt, or it reveals a heart that is more prone to seek revenge than to forgive.

To place the blame on somebody else can be nothing more than an excuse to stay in the bondage of bitterness. The reason that many still feel the emotional pain from the past is because they haven’t forgiven. I can empathize with these people because they have been hurt. But I also care enough to help them realize that bad things happen to good people all the time, and it may happen to them again. I can’t guarantee that a woman will not be sexually assaulted, but I can say that God has a means by which that event doesn’t have to control her for the rest of her life. Nobody can fix your past, but by the grace of God you can be free from it.

Forgiveness is an act of the will whereby we give up our claim to seek revenge for an offense against us. God could have justifiably exercised His wrath against us and all mankind. Instead, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”71 Was it difficult for Jesus to accept His Father’s will? He said to Peter, James, and John, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death,”72 and He cried out, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” The will of our heavenly Father was that Jesus go to the cross, but the grace of God was incredibly evident even in His hour of agony. As Jesus looked down upon those who would crucify Him, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”73

The Cross reveals the cost of forgiveness and the pain of bearing the penalty of someone else’s sin. At the Cross, Jesus died once for all the sins of the world.74 He paid the penalty for my sins, your sins, and all the sins committed by others against all the people of this world. The victim cries out, “Where is the justice?” It’s in the Cross. Forgiving others would be a moral outrage without the Cross.

In the same manner that God has forgiven us, God wants us to forgive others. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”75 When you face the reality of forgiving others, know that the grace of God will always enable you to do the will of God.

Many Christians try to forgive over and over again, but still feel hurt and confused. They haven’t understood how to forgive from the heart, or they haven’t finished all the Steps, and the process isn’t complete without doing that. Forgiving from our hearts is part of submitting to God, but it will take the rest of the Steps before they are fully ready to resist the devil. People win a major battle going through this Step, but complete freedom doesn’t usually come until the last Step.

GIVE SATAN NO ADVANTAGE

One of the most definitive teachings on forgiveness is in Matthew 18:21-35. Several issues stand out in this passage. First, we are to continue forgiving no matter how many times we have been sinned against. Second, the degree that we have been forgiven by God is far greater than the degree we will ever have to forgive others. Third, repayment is impossible. Fourth, we are to forgive from our hearts or suffer the consequences of being tormented by the accuser of the brethren. If we will not forgive as we have been forgiven, our heavenly Father will hand us over to the torturers (see verses 34 & 35). That’s not because He doesn’t love us; that’s because He doesn’t want us to live in the bondage of bitterness. He wants us to live free and productive lives in Christ. God disciplines those He loves.

Paul warns us about Satan’s entrapment when there is unforgiveness: “Whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes [thoughts].”76 We are not to sin through anger, because that gives the devil an opportunity as well.77

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Saturday, January 8, 2022

Who Me? - The Godly Man, Endangered Species - Purity 623


 Who Me?  - The Godly Man, Endangered Species   -  Purity 623

Purity 623 01/08/2022  Purity 623 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun resting on a bed of clouds over a fabulous beach scene comes to us from a friend who shared a veritable gold mine of photos from their 12 day holiday get away in Florida where they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time.   As I have said or indicated in the past, God has given us two feet and the world’s diverse environments and He invites us to “come and see” what beauty and wonder we can find when we step out to discover it.  I shared this photo because it just says “relax” to me and I feel it is perfect for the weekend.  

Well, it’s Saturday and although I will most definitely be relaxing by spending the weekend with my wife at our “Countryside” home, we will be continuing to seek the Lord’s will for our lives as we intend to spend some time in prayer, Bible study, and I will be preparing resources to that will be shared on the blog, mt4christ.org, in the days or weeks ahead.     

I have been on the path of Christian Discipleship ever since the day I was saved by a radio message during a lunch break at work at a parking lot on Aviation Road in Albany NY in 2010 and I have increasing discovered that the journey of our lives in Christ never ends and that there is always something new that we can learn about God or ourselves as we endeavor to surrender ourselves to His will and live out our purpose for His kingdom.   

And now I am not alone on the path.  Don’t get me wrong. I had lots of brothers and sisters in Christ that taught and encouraged me on how to have a Christian worldview and how to live as a disciple of Christ but if I am honest I have to admit that a lot of my faith walk has been just me being led by the Holy Spirit.  Another person can not save you or keep you committed to your faith, your faith and your maturity are your responsibility. You have to decide to follow the Lord and continue in pursuing Him. 

But now that I am married, I now have more than someone who will just encourage me in my faith walk when I see them once a week at church or at a Christian small group, I have a companion who is walking with me in seeking the Lord 24/7 and who showers me with the love that God has poured into her. 

And it all started because after I received a measure of Christian maturity, I answered the call to share the message of the freedom that is found in Christ and to encourage others.  

In TammyLyn’s wedding vows to me she shared that: 

“On April 8th you ended your email with the following statement, “although the Holy Spirit is your discipler, I also want you to know that I am praying for you and am available if you need to "talk." This gave me a sense of peace and comfort with everything I had been through in my past that someone I barely knew was praying for me and was available to talk to.

Having a “podcast student” to my first discipleship class, I felt positively blessed that I was reaching people beyond the four walls of my church, and I only did what I felt I should do as a Christian and a counselor, which was to pray for, encourage, and offer a safe place for someone to talk. Obviously, this meant a lot to TammyLyn and began our relationship as fellow travelers on the Lord’s path and now we are “one flesh” in that pursuit. 

TammyLyn also shared in her vows to me she knew I had my own struggles that I had to go through to make me the man I am today she offered her thanks by saying:

“I thank you for being part of an endangered species called “the Godly man.” God always breaks a man into pieces before He is able to make him great.”

Recalling our wedding day and these words from my beautiful bride humbles and “breaks me to pieces” and fills me with wonder.

“Godly man”? Who me? Great?

My wife sees me like God sees me. She sees me as who I am in Christ and loves me for it. And while a part of me wants to share Peter’s words from

Luke 5:8 (NKJV) where he said
8  … "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man…”, 

I know that while I am still not perfect, I know that “sinner statement” isn’t true about me anymore. I am not a sinner. I am a saint. I am a Godly man, and I am only that through my faith in Jesus Christ and have some attributes and qualities of a Godly man only because of my decision and continual commitment to follow the Lord’s will for my life and to progressively live out my purpose in His kingdom.  

I humbly accept the title of “Godly man” only because that is what Christ made me when I put my faith in Him, and I thank the Lord for never leaving me or forsaking me as I chose to surrender to Him and be transformed into the person I am today.  

So are you a part of this endangered species? Are you a “Godly person”?

If you have put your faith in Christ, you are.  Now while your life may not reflect that fact yet, I would like to encourage you to repent by turning from those worldly ways that would make you doubt that you are the person that God says you are. Instead turn to God to make a commitment to live according to His ways. 

Those of us in Christ are saints, we just have to conform ourselves to Christ’s image by forsaking our sins and choosing to live our lives as Christians.  And we do that by faith, by believing what God says about us is true and by relying on His strength to progressively change us to reflect the Godly person he has already made us.   

So while you are relaxing this weekend, continue to seek the Lord and if you don’t feel like a Godly person, change that by praying to the Lord to either make Jesus your Lord and Savior or to recommit yourself to being a disciple of Christ.  

If you decide to surrender to God and pick up your cross and follow Jesus, you will leave the dark identity of “sinner” behind as you are progressively matured in your faith and reflect the characteristics of the “Godly person” that will add another thriving life to what is, unfortunately, an endangered species in the world today. 

But let me encourage you, this journey of faith isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress and the farther you go the more you will see the Godly person in you.  Heck, if my broken trail of addiction, heartache, rebellion, and confusion can lead to a place where I am sincerely referred to as a “Godly man”, believe me, you can find that place for yourself as well. 

So keep walking and talking with God. Every step you take on the path of Christian Discipleship is one step closer to you seeing that you have been the “Godly person” ever since the day you said “Yes” to Jesus and if you keep going towards Him the rest of the world will see it too.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

 

Romans 8:31 (NLT2)
31  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Today’s verse reflects the simple truth about what ultimately matters: our relationship with God.  

The wonderful things that the Apostle Paul is referring to in this passage of Scripture are from the preceding verses in Romans that tell us:

  • ·       that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

  • ·       that God knew his people in advance, and he chose us to become like his Son (Romans 8:29)

  • ·       that God called us to come to Him and He gave us right standing with Himself, and He gave us His glory. (Romans 8:29)

Those are all awesome statements that tell us that God is for us! He works all things together for our God. He knows us! He called us! He chose us to be like Jesus! He gives us right standing with Him! And He gives us His glory!

All of this should be at the forefront of our minds as we live out our Christian faith. These truths can give us hope on a daily basis.

The problems that we face in this world pale in comparison to the truth that God is for us.  If God is for us, who can be against us? 

Well, as Christ promised his disciples persecution, the world, the flesh, and the devil can be against us, and will be. 

But when we know we are secure in the love of God, we can stand on the assurance that God is with us and lean on His strength to help us to preserve through the darkest night and all the problems that this world has to offer.  

So be encouraged, God is for us and no matter who is against us, He will never leave us or forsake us and will make sure that all things work together for our ultimate good.

 

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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we begin sharing from Chapter 4.   

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

CHAPTER FOUR  - OVERCOMING THE BONDAGE OF BITTERNESS

Those who have truly helped others experience their freedom in Christ will testify that forgiveness of others is the primary issue that needs to be resolved. Unforgiveness by Christians affords Satan his greatest access to the Church, and many believers are bound to the past because they have failed to forgive others as Christ has forgiven them.

WHY SOME PEOPLE RESIST FORGIVENESS

Some people react negatively to the idea of forgiving others, because they see it as another form of victimization. It goes against their sense of justice. “Oh, sure, just forgive and keep getting slapped around!” They believe it is a sign of weakness, a continuation of the sickening saga of codependency.

On the contrary, forgiveness is a courageous act that reflects the grace of God. Forgiveness is not tolerating sin. God forgives, but He doesn’t tolerate sin. Therefore, scriptural boundaries must be set up to stop further abuse. Forgiving others is something you do for your sake, and resistance breaks down when you understand what it is and how to do it.

Some don’t want to forgive because they want revenge. Seeking revenge is letting the devil set the agenda. It puts you on the same level as the abuser and usurps God’s role of exacting justice. Paul writes, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”65 Some people just want the soul satisfaction of hating the wretch. But hanging on to bitterness only sickens the soul. Trying to cover it up doesn’t fool anyone, least of all ourselves, because “the heart knows its own bitterness.”66

Nobody is denying that you have been hurt, and some of you have been hurt badly. After helping hundreds work through their painful memories of unspeakable atrocities, my heart goes out to victims in ways I can hardly explain. Working with abused people has left me close to tears all the time. After hearing hundreds of stories, I still can hardly believe what people are capable of doing to one another.

I went through a soul-searching time in the early days of this ministry. I didn’t want to hear any more horrible stories. In fact, I don’t think I could hear them today if I didn’t see resolution. What keeps me going is the freedom that comes when people work through The Steps and forgive from their hearts. I thank God that there is an answer for wounded people.

I have said to hundreds of people in counseling sessions and I am saying it to you, “I’m so sorry that happened to you.” Instead of having a father who would protect and provide for you, you had a father who abused you physically, verbally, and sexually. Instead of having a mother who would comfort and encourage you, you had a mother who verbally abused you. Instead of having a pastor who would shepherd you, you had a legalistic man who tried to control you under a cloud of condemnation. What you thought would be a safe date, turned out to be date rape.

The vast majority of the victimizers will never come back and ask for forgiveness. They won’t even acknowledge they did anything wrong. That makes forgiveness harder, because the victim believes the perpetrators got away with something. You may be suffering the consequences of some abuser’s sin, and that person won’t even acknowledge that they have sinned. To all female readers I want to acknowledge and apologize for the way we men have looked at you as sex objects, and for the way we have touched you and violated you. As a father, husband, and a man, I’m asking for your forgiveness. Would you forgive us men? It is not your fault. You did not deserve it. It is our sickness. As a father and grandfather, I want to ask all those who are reading this book to forgive us fathers who never hugged you, protected you, and believed in you. Would you forgive us—for your sake?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship