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Showing posts with label Zechariah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zechariah. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Refining Our Faith, Finding Our Freedom - Purity 1140


Refining Our Faith, Finding Our Freedom - Purity 1140

Purity 1140 09/06/2023 Purity 1140 Podcast

Purity 1140 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a roaring mountain of a bonfire comes to us from Tara Becker who shared this scene from her visit to the Country Roads Campground, on Peaceful Lane, in Gilboa NY on social media on Labor Day.  

Well, It’s Wednesday and I thought that the “campfire” in Tara’s photo had enough of a peak on it to visually represent our arrival at another “hump day” and that its heat was a good analogy for the “crucible of change” that can be experienced when we decide to trust the Lord to help and change us on the path of Christian Discipleship.  

In an Old Testament passage that points to the crucifixion of Christ, the prophet Zechariah speaks about how God’s people will be refined by fire.   

Zechariah 13:7-9 (ESV) says
7  … “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.
8  In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive.
9  And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”

Likewise, the Apostle Peter encourages us to endure the fire of trials that will prove the genuineness of our faith in.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV) where He wrote how we can rejoice over being born again because of our faith and endure because of it.
6  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
7  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So if we put our faith in The Shepherd and become God’s people, are born again through faith in Jesus, we will be called to repentance may feel the heat of the transition from our old life to the new life we have in Christ.   

People will reject us for our faith but beyond the losses of relationship and persecution we may suffer, the real heat may come from leaving the shadows of our former darkness and walking into the refining fire of God’s magnificent light.  

Tonight I host another meeting of the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group at Starpoint Church and while you may think that I am just being poetic about the refining fires of repentance, I can assure you that the pressure and heat of surrendering your hurts, habits, and hangups to God for healing and transformation is not for the faint of heart.  

We have people who were moved in to register for our group who have never shown up.  Others who previously confessed the need to be their need to be in a group of Christians to support them in their recoveries have gone AWOL. Facing the heat of trying to change our lives is not easy and it will cause some to never show up and others to leave before God’s refining work can be completed.

So while I am encouraged by the people who keep coming back to our meetings and by the new registrations that we have had in the last few days, I still pray for the Lord to protect and guide them to find their way to our meeting each week because I know too well how much pressure and heat you can be under when you turn from your worldly ways to follow the Lord into purity and healing.  

But I also know the God who protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3, when they were willing to face certain death in a fiery furnace rather than to worship their pagan king’s golden idol.  When Nebuchadnezzar threaten to throw them in the fiery furnace and questioned what god could possibly save them. They responded by saying:

Daniel 3:17-18 (ESV)
17  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Did you catch that? “if not” – meaning even if God doesn’t save us – and we die – we will not serve your gods!  

That’s genuine faith! The faith proven in the “heat of the moment”.  The faith that is steadfast in the face of death and free of the conditions of positive outcomes. Come what may, I will follow the Lord!

So they were willing to die because they knew the Lord and would either be saved on earth or would see Him in heaven.  And to demonstrate that their faith was true, and their God was the One TRUE GOD, the Lord went into the fire with them, and they were not consumed. There was another in the fire who gave them the courage, strength, and protection they needed in their “fiery trial” because they were faithful.  

And likewise, when we enter into recovery and repentance to actually live out our Christian faith. The Lord is with us in “the fire” and will give us the courage, strength, protection, and guidance we need to overcome the fiery trial of leaving our hurts, habits, and hang-ups behind to experience the victory and freedom that the Lord has for us on the other side of our trials.   

They say if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen, but I say that if you are walking and talking with God there is no amount of heat or fiery trial that He can’t see you through.  So brace yourself for another hot one today as the forecast is in the 90’s in my neck of the woods again but keep your cool by reminding yourself that the Lord is with you, and He will never or forsake you and He will be right there with you as you walk through the refining fires of trials and tribulations to test the genuineness of your faith and just how good God can be.

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

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

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

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Alcohol & Drug Abuse

1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV)
11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Today’s verses fall under the twelfth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Alcohol & Drug Abuse.

 12. One can be saved from drunkenness and set free.

Today’s verse follows verses 9 & 10 which we shared yesterday that told us drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. However today’s verse tells us a different story. It tells us that even though we may have been a drunkard or guilty of the other sins listed in verses 9 &10, we as Christian are not expected to stay that way.  

If drunks don’t make it to heaven, how can I be saved?  You take your faith in booze and put it squarely into Jesus Christ and abandon it. You repent and you stop drinking!

“Such were some of you.”  Tells us that some of the saints in Paul’s days were guilty of all those sins, but after coming to faith in Jesus Christ, they repented and were “washed, … sanctified, … (and) justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  They were set free from the sins of the flesh that had defined their lives and now they were no longer known for their sins, they were known for their faith and purified lifestyles that they were able to live out because of the Lord’s help that they received when they put their faith in Jesus.  

The reason I do the blog and podcast is because I never actually knew that it was really possible to be set free.  My drunkenness was part of my identity for most of my life. I was a “drinker”.  I drank and in spite of the negative consequences I suffered. I was never going to change because “that was who I was”.   But God made me a new creation through my faith in Jesus, and after that happened, I no longer felt right living in my former darkness, and rather than stay there I obeyed the Lord’s call to repentance to experience the new life He had already given me.   It was a fiery trial at first, but the Lord was with me, and He has continued to be with me as I have kept on following Him in repentance. 

Alcohol, drugs, and sex addiction have been defeated and now I am currently walking in 18 days of victory over my food addiction. Today’s official weigh-in is 227.4 pounds down from 238.9, and I’m going to keep leaning on the Lord to keep that victory streak alive and growing.  

With the Lord, we can be saved from drunkenness, drugs, sex immorality, and even food addiction, but we have to believe it and lean on the Lord’s strength and guidance to experience it.   But when we keep walking and talking with God we will see that we have been wash, sanctified, justified, and set free.

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

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

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

23 - The Spirit Witnessing

Doubting and Professing Christians

But it is insisted that Scripture forbids all doubting: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Yes, but Christ was not there blaming Peter for doubting his spiritual state, but for fearing he would be drowned. Yet Christ “upbraided them with their unbelief’ (Mark 16:14): true, for not believing He was risen from the dead—not for calling into question their regeneration! But Abraham is commended because” against hope (all appearances) he “believed in hope” (Rom. 4:18): yes, and that was that he should have a son!—how is that relevant to what we are now discussing? But “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7): yes, the conduct of the Apostles was governed by a realization of that which is to come (see v. 11). But “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23): but this is nothing to the purpose; if a man does not believe it is right to do some act, and yet ventures to do it, he sins.

Let us define more closely the point now under discussion. We may state it thus: Does God require anyone to believe he has been born again when he has no clear evidence that such is the case? Surely the question answers itself: the God of Truth never asks anyone to believe a lie. If my sins have not been pardoned, then the more firmly convinced I am that they have been, the worse for me; and very ready is Satan to second me in my self-deception! The Devil would have me assured that all is well with me, without a diligent search and thorough examination for sufficient evidence that I am a new creature in Christ. O how many he is deceiving by making them believe it is wrong to challenge their profession and put their hearts to a real trial!

True, it is a sin for a real Christian so to live that his evidences of regeneration are not clear; but it is no sin for him to be honest and impartial, or to doubt when, in fact, his evidences are not clear. It is sin to darken my evidences, but it is no sin to discover that they are darkened. It is a sin for a man, by rioting and drunkenness, to make himself ill; but it is no sin to feel he is sick, if there be grounds for it, to doubt if he will survive his sickness. Our sins bring upon us inward calamities as well as outward, but these are chastisements rather than sins. It is the Christian’s sin which lays the foundation for doubts, which occasions them; yet those doubtings are not themselves sins.

But it will be said, Believers are exhorted to “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:6) and that “we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (v. 14). Yes, but that “confidence” is that Jesus is the Christ, together with a true faith in Him, as is clear from the whole context there. Nothing is more absurd than to say that professing Christians are made partakers of Christ by holding fast the confidence that they are saved, for that is what many a deceived soul does, and does to the very end (Matthew 7:22). There can be no well-grounded confidence unless it rests upon clear evidence or reliable testimony. And for that, there must be not only “the answer of a good conscience” (1 Pet. 3:21), but the confirmatory witness of the Spirit.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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

Saturday, June 3, 2023

This Land is Our Land - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 3 – Purity 1059

This Land is Our Land - 28 Day Joy Challenge – Day 3 –  Purity 1059

Purity 1059 06/03/2023 Purity 1059 Podcast

Purity 1059 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography’s Rocco Saya who shared this scene on social media on May 24th describing it as: A man stands at the edge of Fort Ontario’s field , peering out over our shore and off in the distance is our lighthouse, for tonight’s sunset.  I love way Rocco captured the sunset over this field featuring a plethora of pollinated dandelions ready to spread their seeds, but I also love the way he not only “owns this scene” but shares it by referring to Lake Ontario’s coastline as “our shore” and Oswego’s lighthouse as “our lighthouse”.  It reminds me of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land is Your Land” where even someone who held what some would say were conflicting political, social, and religious views proclaimed that all around him a “voice was sounding, This land was made for you and me” ( https://g.co/kgs/CaZZw6) .  Guthrie reportedly “placed little faith in organized religion” but believed in Jesus Christ and the “millennial return of the working-class carpenter, who would bring peace, equality, and justice to the world.” (https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/13445#:~:text=Guthrie%20placed%20little%20faith%20in,and%20justice%20to%20the%20world.)  

While I don’t think Guthrie and I would agree on everything politically, (he was associated with socialist if not communist leanings), I think the small amount of research I did this morning indicates we both believed in God as the Creator and Christ as the Savior and that even though we wouldn’t agree on everything – if we both put our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, we might just be standing next to one another some day singing the Lord’s praises in God’s eternal kingdom. 

The world was made for you and me, so let’s enjoy it and share it with others, but if we really want to express our love for others and the God who gave us this wonderful world, we should also share the good news of Jesus, because even though this land was made for you and me, and countless others, one day Jesus will return to reclaim it and reign over it and in order to remain in His kingdom we need to not only know who Jesus is, we need to make Him our master and choose to follow where He leads.   

Well, it’s Saturday and I’m not quite sure where the Lord will lead me today but I do have plans to go to the “Man Up” Event at Starpoint Church tonight where NY baseball legend, Daryl Strawberry will be speaking on the goodness of God and will undoubtedly share how His relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, pulled him out of the darkness of addiction and brokenness to transform his life from a cautionary tale of the dangers of fame, wealth, and substance abuse into a stirring testimony of how the Lord can redeem our lives and change our hearts to give us meaning, hope, and a future of purpose.   I have heard Strawberry speak his testimony before and I look forward to hearing it again because although we come from different backgrounds and may not agree on everything, we have a mutual friend, Lord, and Savior in Jesus.

Our faith – this faith was made for you, Daryl, and me – gives us a new life! But to realize and experience the full potential of our new life in Christ, we have to be real, and we have to really follow Christ with the way we live.  When we repent and surrender to God’s will for our lives, we can look forward to good things – like God’s continual presence in our lives, the growth of the fruit of the Spirit, and the consequences of living a simple Christian life of righteous thoughts and deeds.   A life in Christ gives us something to look forward to, it gives us the ability to anticipate good things in our lives.  

And that brings us to our current series where I am walking through the 28 Day Joy Challenge, (https://4habits.org/) which is based on Dr. Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey’s latest book, The Four Habits of Joy-Filled People.

You can sign up for the 28 Day Joy Challenge for free and purchase a variety of books from Warner and Coursey on topic of Joy, by going to https://4habits.org/.  

So let’s jump into Day 3, which just happens to deal with looking ahead towards good things on our horizon.

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Day 3 - Planning for Joy

Welcome to Day 3 of the 28 Days to Joy Challenge!

Today’s Encouragement:

Don’t worry if these exercises do not come naturally to you and even feel a little clunky. We are building new habits in our brains, and this takes time! Every day, practicing joy will come more naturally until you can do it even without the exercise prompt.

Today’s Practice: Exercise 3

Today we will focus on training our brains to expect good things in life.

- How This Exercise Will Benefit You:

Anticipation of good experiences can help us build joy. It also trains us to scan the environment for what is good. This practice creates hope and energy, and our perspective on life becomes more positive!

- Exercise Steps:

As you think about the week ahead, what are you looking forward to? Is there a person or group of people you hope to see? What do you expect to do? How do you expect to feel? Share your thoughts about the what and why with a friend.

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

(https://4habits.org/)

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Well, when I sat down to think about what I am looking forward to this week,  I am blessed to confess that my local church community at Starpoint Church provides me with more than one thing to look forward to.  

Tonight’s “Man Up” Event provides me with the opportunity to have some fun with the men of my church as we will be gathering at 6pm to enjoy food, games, and fellowship before we worship and hear Daryl Strawberry speak, and then have the option of ending the evening with campfires and S’mores!

Tomorrow, being Sunday, I can look forward to worship and a message from Pastor Jack Graham. Graham leads Prestonwood Baptist church in Plano, Texas  and has supported our church financially and spiritually by being a mentor and friend to our senior pastor, Roscoe Lily.   

And as much as these two events may be enough to look forward to, when I looked at today’s Joy Practice and was prompted to think of something that I was looking forward to I immediately thought of the next meeting of Celebrate Freedom – the Recovery/Discipleship growth group that I facilitate on Wednesday nights.  I especially look forward to Celebrate Freedom because this week the lesson is teaching us Principle 3 of the Celebrate Recovery’s 8 principles, which directs us to “Consciously choose to commit all of my life and will to Christ’s care and control.”  

I am looking forward to seeing my Celebrate Freedom friends again as we will meet to encourage one another in our walks of faith, give thanks and worship to the Lord, and honestly share from our experience since last week. 

So because of my faith and decision to follow the Lord, I have a lot to look forward to this week, and I don’t mind sharing my thoughts with you about the “what and whys” of what I am anticipating to be “good things”.  

Today’s Joy Challenge is prompting us to look ahead to good things in our immediate future and the great news is that even if you don’t have anything planned, it is never too late to make plans and to experience the continuous joy available to Christians by making the decision to “consciously commit all your life and will to the care of Christ”. 

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

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from my morning Bible Study as I left “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” at my place down by the River, but in honor of that missing resource I am sharing today’s chosen verse from the NLT, even though I am currently walking through the NASB.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Zechariah 2:11 (NLT2)
11  Many nations will join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you.

 

Today’s verse  gives us something to look forward to as the Old Testament prophet was speaking of the future fulfillment of the millennium kingdom, where many nations will join themselves to the Lord, and Jesus Christ comes back to rule and reign.    

Talk about a future and a hope! When I think about how the Bible not only reveals the truth of Jesus Christ and His earthly ministry in the past, but how it reports that “this isn’t over yet” and that scripture indicates that Jesus will rule on the earth for a thousand years, BEFORE – there is a “new heaven and a new earth”.  my imagination is pushed to its limits over “What will that be like!” 

I mean that idea – that prophecy – that thing to come – Jesus ruling the earth for 1,000 years should rightfully fill us with hope, but when I try to imagine it I get one of those “This is too much LORD!” moments and have to let it go and just trust that whatever happens, or however that comes to pass, and whatever that means, I can relax and rejoice that it will mean the Jesus – will physically be with us.  Our Immanuel will literally be with us, on the earth, ruling and reigning!

That’s good news, but surprisingly that will only be another beginning as there will be another “end times” as rest of the Revelation promises indicate there will be no more death, sorrow, tears, or pain as Christ will one day make all things new – as in a new heaven and earth!

So rejoice, if you have faith in Jesus – God is with you now and as the Lord’s plans come into fulfillment, His presence will only increase in our lives, and for all eternity. That is something to look forward to!

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

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

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

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit  

7 - The Holy Spirit and Christ

We are afraid that our treatment of the particular aspect of this many-sided theme which is now before us is rather too abstruse for some of our readers to follow, yet we trust they will kindly bear with us as we endeavor to write for those who are anxious for help on the deeper things of God.

The Deeper Things of God

As stated before, we are seeking to minister unto widely different classes, unto those with differing capacities, and therefore we wish to provide a varied spiritual menu. He who is hungry will not leave the table in disgust because one dish thereon appeals not to him. We ask their forbearance while we seek to give something like completeness to our exposition of the subject as a whole.

“As the humanity of Christ was assumed into the Hypostatic union, we may fitly say, on the one hand, that the Person of Christ was anointed, so far as the call to office was concerned; while we bear in mind, on the other hand, that it is the humanity that is anointed in as far as we contemplate the actual supplies of God’s gifts and graces, aids and endowments, necessary to the execution of His office. But that we may not be engulfed in onesidedness, it must be also added that the Holy Spirit, according to the order of the Trinity, interposes His power only to execute the will of the Son

as to the unction of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, it was different according to the three grades successively imparted. The first grade was at the incarnation; the second coincided with His baptism, the third and highest grade was at the ascension, when He sat down on His mediatorial throne, and received from the Father the gift of the Spirit to bestow upon His Church in abundant measure” (G. Smeaton).[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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