Labels

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Bait of Satan Thanksgiving Special – Purity 582


The Bait of Satan Thanksgiving Special –  Purity 582

Purity 582 11/22/2021   Purity 582 Podcast

Good morning 

Today’s photo of Autumn in the Adirondacks comes to us from the Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page.  The photographer reported that they took a few preflight Dramamine and were glad they did because to capture this photo they suffered through turbulence stating that the “ups, downs, rock and rolling” had their stomach going in many directions.  They literally thanked Christ for the creators of Dramamine stating that they would not have made it without their help.  I recommend that my friends like their page because of the wonderful views they provide and the dedication to their craft that lies behind their magnificent work.  

It's Monday again and most of us have a short work week for Thanksgiving but just because our jobs may not demand as much from us this week doesn’t mean we will be free from work as most of us will be either hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday or travelling to a place where someone else is. Beyond making a turkey or alternative main dishes and all the fixings, we may have to do some work to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that we wish to have accompany our holiday meal. 

I am a teacher and student of spiritual warfare and walking in the Spirit and I can tell you that there are literally dark demonic spiritual forces that are looking forward to disrupting our peaceful gatherings and causing divisions in our relationships.   The enemy, Satan, and his minions will be doing their best to create bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, anger, and ingratitude to cause us to break the harmony of our holiday as we gather to break bread.  

One tactic that the enemy will use that lies behind those negative emotions and that can draw us into temptation and into regrettable words and actions is His deadly trap of offense.  John Bevere’s 1994 book, The Bait of Satan, exposes how the enemy loves to instill our own sense of importance and demanding that our rights and needs be honored to the point that any disagreements, opposition, or disappointments to our expectations can be used to create a spark of offense that the enemy can fan into a flame that will create a fire of discord that can destroy personal peace and rip apart relationships.  

So how do we avoid taking the Satan’s bait of offense, when we encounter the stress of the holiday, the frustrations of family, and outright opposition?  

Well ironically the reason for the season just so happens to be one tactic we can use to fight the enemy at his own game. 

If we are on the verge of offense or anticipate that we will encounter situations and interactions with others that will cause offense, we can dismantle Satan’s game plan by fighting fire with the Holy Spirit fire of gratitude.  We can use thanksgiving to save Thanksgiving with the spiritual practice of gratitude!  

Even the secular world recognizes gratitude as a means towards mental peace and, as Christians, we have even more to be thankful for because of the Lord’s revelation in our lives.      

As a daily practice, Christians should arm themselves for battle by spending time in Bible Study, prayer, and taking time to thank the Lord for all the blessings we enjoy.  We can thank God for our lives, our health, our family, our friends, our jobs, and our pets. We can thank Him for our salvation and our assurance that we are loved by our heavenly Father and that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He is working all things together for our good.  

As Christians we need to prepare for battle with an attitude of gratitude and by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ. In Christ we are accepted, secure, and significant.  We have the assurance of eternal life and Lord’s love, so we have to lean on that when we encounter a world that is unaware of the goodness of God and discontented with just about everything.  

Christ said blessed be the peacemakers, so we are to be on guard against the bait of Satan and avoid offense by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ and of our purpose to share the love of God everywhere we go.  

So as we have a couple of days before “turkey day”, oh and don’t that offend you… easy.., remember that God has us covered for all eternity and that the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, and love are ours to experience when we stay connected to our heavenly Father in studying of His word,  in prayer, and the continuous practice of gratitude.

So keep walking and talking with God.  If you do, you will skillfully move through life and overcome the difficulties you experience, even on holidays, with the faith of who you are in Christ, your ultimate security, and your purpose in God’s kingdom.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT2)
12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Today’s verse reminds us of the spiritual reality that the word of God is powerful and living, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires. 

I personally like the way the NKJV puts the end of this verse as saying the word of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  

I recommend that if people use the NLT for study and really like a verse they discover that they should look it up in other versions because the NLT was crafted for youth and the simplicity of the English language. 

While I love the NLT, I make this recommendation because it sometimes misses something in its rendering of the scriptures.   Sometimes the NLT simplifies the language or rearranges the wording entirely to make it more user friendly so be aware of that if your primary source of study is the NLT and consider using the NKJV as a companion resource to get you closer the original translation of God’s word.  

I have similar and even harsher criticism of The Passion Translation (TPT) which more accurately should be called a paraphrase as great license is taken with the “translation of the scriptures” where the authors have not only rearranged the content of scriptures, or simplified the language, but have made some questionable additions. I can’t recommend the use of the Passion Translation because of those creative expansions and I am sharing a link on the blog today to an article by Andrew Wilson that better states my concerns than I can voice here (https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/whats_wrong_with_the_passion_translation ).  Before researching the Passion Translation, I enthusiastically sat down to read Galatians in it and came away with a feeling that bad feeling in my spirit and realized that the authors’ interpretations and creative expansions to the text made it feel alien to me. But you do you… and ask the Lord to help you with His truth.

So anyway, I say all of that because today’s verse highlights the truth that the Word of God is alive and powerful. Jesus is called the word of God in John 1.   More than a cute analogy I believe that the Bible is being literal in a sense when it equates Jesus and the Word as being one in the same and is thus very living and very powerful.

Add this concept to the doctrine of the Trinity and we can easily realize that there are some spiritual realities in Christianity that are easy to speak of but that are hard to understand.  The paradox of the word being a book, the Bible, and the person of Jesus Christ should alert us to the fact that their will be somethings about our faith that we will not be able to fully understand or adequately explain to some one else.  

With that said, I know, that I know, that we can know God and understand a great deal about what He wants us to do as Christians through the word of God.  

The living aspect of His word is a spiritual reality that includes The Father as the author, Christ as the word, and the Holy Spirit as a revealer of all truth.  So when I see the NLT detailing that it “exposes our inner most thoughts and desires”, I agree with that translation because the word will educate and convict us about our sin.   Any book that teaches something  can expose our ignorance though and may give us the desire to align with a teaching’s merits but the Bible, the word of God, is not just another teaching book. 

It's alive, and as the NKJV puts it “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”   That translation leads me to believe that a spiritual form of communication can take place when the Bible is read “in faith”, by a Christian who is seeking the Lord.  The living word discerns the thoughts and desires of the hearts indicates that when we are reading the word of God, the word of God is reading us!   

Our relationship with God is a dynamic and fluid process of growth and discovery and today’s verse indicates that a study of the scriptures can and should be a part of our relationship.  

So before you sit down to read the Bible, pray to God for revelation to let Him know that you want to know Him more and to show you things that He wants you to see.   Our study of God’s word was never meant to be a dry academic chore, our approaching the word of God is better understood as a communication between the Creator of His universe and His people. 

So seek the Lord by drawing close to the word of God. You might just learn something about the Lord and because it exposes your heart and desires you just may learn something about yourself and how it relates to your relationship with your heavenly Father.

 

As always, I invite all to go 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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

D. What Is the Root Cause of Anger toward God over Evil and Suffering?

Although suffering is the result of "fallen humanity," God's highest purpose is to use it to conform us to the image of Christ in all we do and say. He uses suffering for our good, making us more and more like the only One who is truly good! ...

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Romans 8:29)

Wrong Belief: "It's not fair for God to allow good people to suffer."

Right Belief: "God sometimes allows suffering to touch the lives of people, but He does so only for a greater good both in this life and in the life to come."

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

---------------------------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

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Love to be in the Service - 11/21/2021

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 11/21/2021

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Bible Study Podcast

Love to be in the Service

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” Rom. 12:1

 

The Hebrew word “service” (H5656) is aboda, which means: work of any kind – act, bondage, bondservant, effect, labour, ministering (try), office, service (-ile, -itude), tillage, use, work, x wrought.

 

It comes from (H5647) abad, which is used in Gen. 2:5 & 15 and translated “till, and tend” respectively.

 

It is not used in Gen. 3:17 for the word “toil”.

 

This notion of servitude unto God is a central theme in Scripture, and an aspect of our relationship with God that is seldom unpacked.

 

         We begin with the basic premise that God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him or any aspect of the creation. Ps. 50:12, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.”

 

         Yet we are created with purpose, and function. Gen. 2:15, “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” As a steward over God’s creation, since God created both man and the garden. Man’s service was unto God, but it was also mutually beneficial for his own well being.

 

         In the similar way that a father invites his children into a family, business, ministry, or ideology, God invites us to be participants in His family. Preferably willing participants!

What does our service look like in the New Covenant?

 

We use the word “service” rather flippantly.

         We call it a, “worship service”, or we say, “servant of God”         which is more appropriately translated “slave”.

 

If we return to the notion of purpose and function, The Westminster Confession tells us that the “chief end” (purpose) of man is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.”

 

We glorify God by choosing to give Him our attention, (attending to)

         Our worship is vertical, expressing to God our sense of His worth.

         Our praise is horizontal, expressing to one another the same.

                  “And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord” Lk. 1:46

         We may serve God through a particular religious calling, or vocation. Eph. 4:11,12, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry…

         We serve God by approaching everything that we do, with joy, as unto Him. Col. 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

                  This in an important truth drawn out of Scripture, by               the Reformation.

         We serve God by paying attention to His Word, and acting accordingly in obedience. We may not think of obedience as a service, but more a duty. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters…” Mat. 6:24; and Jn. 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My…”

 

This is working in harmony, or one accordedness with God’s created order, agreeing with Him, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Gen. 2:31

 

Jesus served us! Heb. 9:1-15...v. 14, “...cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God”

 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Battle Cry – It’s Pay Back Time! - Purity 581



 

Battle Cry – It’s Pay Back Time! -  Purity 581

Purity 581 11/20/2021  Purity 581 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a late afternoon sun blazing in a spectacular cloud filled sky seen through a dirty windshield over a highway near Albany NY comes to us from yours truly as I decided to use my “dash cam” to try to capture the glory that the Lord put before me as I was traveling through the capital district on the ides of November, this past Monday. Sometimes the Lord puts opportunities to experience His glory and beauty in front of us and it is up to us to decide what we will do with it. 

We can decide to momentarily appreciate it by mentally saying “cool” or “pretty” and then go back to an earthly train of thought, or we can recognize the source of our experience and thank our heavenly Father for what He has created, for what He continually does, and for who He is and thus appropriately commune with Him with praise and thanksgiving.  In these two options, lies the difference between someone just going about their day in the terra firma and someone “walking in the Spirit” and being “God conscious.” 

Some may dismiss the two experiences as not being significantly different but those who have an active and vibrant relationship with the living God because of their faith in Jesus Christ can tell you that it is like the difference between deciding to focus on the blotches and dirt on the windshield or choosing to look past the imperfections and to bask in the glory of the heavens. 

A life of faith can be joyless drudgery or a dynamic and exciting life of wonder and awe. The difference lies in what we choose to focus on and in our decision to choose to “walk in the Spirit” every day. 

And the decision to focus on God, to experience His presence, to walk into the good works He has prepared for us , and to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a decision that will be opposed by our less spiritual acquaintances, friends, and family as well as the demonic forces of darkness.  To choose to experience, maintain, and share our freedom in Christ is to choose to fight the good fight of faith. It is the volitional act to do battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.  

Back in April, I attended a Freedom in Christ Ministries’ Community Freedom Ministry Associate’s Practicum in San Antonio Texas where I completed my training to lead people through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  While I was there I shared my testimony of how the Lord led me to put my faith in Christ and how he delivered me from my addictions and worldly lifestyle with an FICM’ volunteer named Bettie Felder. 

In giving my testimony, I was honest in detailing how my journey was not for the faint of heart as my decision to follow the Lord has been a road paved with heart ache as I have suffered broken relationships, financial struggles, and the need to abandon my home to find a safe place for my children and I to live back in 2020.

Bettie shared how she had recently lost her husband and was struggling to emerge from her grief and the practicum was one way she decided to “fight the enemy” and regain her hope.   She told me that she could “see” my trail of tears but wanted me to know that the Lord was faithful and that it was “pay back time”!  She prophesied over me telling me that a faithful and encouraging woman of God would come into my life and walk beside me and she told me that the Lord was going to pay back the enemy and restore everything that the enemy had stolen.  

Months after the practicum, I now realize that Bettie’s prophecy has come true as my friendship with Tammy Lyn Seguin grew to a love that will culminate in our marriage on January 1st, all because of TammyLyn faithfully encouraging me.  So God has “paid back the enemy” and then some as our relationship has God at its center as we continually seek to do His will by focusing and studying the things of God and by bringing Him into our experience with prayer and a lifestyle of Christian discipleship.  

My trail of tears wasn’t traveled alone. I have two young adult children and as my life fell apart while I decided to follow Christ over the last ten years they saw the transitions and suffered the consequences right along with me.  

In her senior year my daughter Haley was diagnosed with diabetes, had relationship difficulties, and struggled with depression and anxiety after she graduated high school. She was seeing a counselor to get help during the crisis years since 2018 but was greatly helped by our moving to our new home in 2020 and has since discontinued her therapy sessions. She is currently thriving as a college student and recent employee of the month at her part time job at Lowe’s.  

My son Brennan coped with the difficulties of seeing his parent’s divorce by focusing on His interests in the performing arts.  But in 2020, Covid-19 discontinued the normalcy of his senior year, and he went into a tailspin of depression and listlessness that resulted in him graduating late via zoom classes in summer school and him staying in our house for a “gap year” where he didn’t work or go to school. 

But after his gap year and suffering continual pep talks from his father to “do something!”, Brennan decided to become a full time student at Hudson Valley Community College as a theater major.   And last night, I had the unadulterated pleasure of watching him “conqueror” on stage as the male lead, “Laurie Lawrence” in the college’s production of “Little Women”.   

Seeing my son emerging from the darkness of his listless gap year and back performing again filled my heart with joy and pride and shook me emotionally as I again was able to celebrate another victory that the Lord has faithfully provided.  I told Brennan that using his talents gives God glory and I know that this latest episode in the days of our lives is another fulfillment of Bettie Felder’s prophecy for “pay back time”.  

So keep fighting the good fight of faith by choosing to continually seek the Lord and to decide to represent God’s kingdom in all that we do.  

My friend in the UK, Phillip Hand recently shared the following poem, and I couldn’t think of a better day to share it as I am still enjoying the latest victory in my journey of faith. The poem is called:”

Battle cry

We must sing praises to the Lord most high

This is our true battle cry.

The Lord inhabits the praises of his people

We are his church. His holy people.

The battle is the Lord’s, He is our champion

The Lamb of God, The Great I Am

He is our Lord, the Son of Man.

In his arrogance and pride, the enemy shall fall into a snare set by the Lord

all we have to do is praise and sing

to our Father and Jesus our King

-       Philip Hand

 

So keep walking and talking with God.  Your days on earth may not always be bright but in Christ we can overcome and have peace and joy even in the darkest night.  It’s payback time! So go get what the Lord has for you, by being a light in the darkness and by choosing to hope for the good and to walk in the Spirit.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 12:50 (NLT2)
50  And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus and spells out a simple recipe for life and a  purpose for all of us in Christ.  

As God the Son, Jesus lived a sinless life on earth in a world that causes all of us to sin.  But Jesus remained faithful because even though He was tempted in every way as we are, He knew the Father and He knew His purpose for coming to the earth.  

Here Christ tells those on earth that God’s commands lead to eternal life and so He says all that the Father sent Him to say because His purpose was to bridge the gap between a sinful mankind and a Holy God.   Jesus said the hard things that opposed the enemy and the world system causing those in authority to eventually condemn and crucify Him.  

The things Christ said were to cost Him His very life but even with that ultimate consequence as a real and present danger Jesus continued to speak what the Father told Him to say because of God’s love for man and for the purpose to fulfill the Father’s plan for redemption that is available for all men who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  

As Christians we know that the words of Christ and the “commands”, or instruction, of the Father that we find in the Bible lead to eternal life. 

Those words and commands from scripture were used by the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and caused us to choose to place our faith in Christ, giving us eternal life.  

So as we enjoy another weekend in the kingdom of God, let’s rejoice over and meditate on the Father’s commands for us and let’s share the love of God by saying whatever our Father who art in heaven leads us to say.  

The word of God is living and powerful and if we feel moved in our spirit to encourage someone, quote scripture, or give a gospel presentation, we should obey our Father’s command because the Holy Spirit may just use us to pass on the love of God and the gift of eternal life to someone who desperately needs it.

 

As always, I invite all to go 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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

C. What Are Key Questions about Evil?

Question: "If God is intrinsically good, why would He permit evil?"

Answer: Some people argue that since evil exists in the world and God supposedly created the world, then God cannot be all good. However, God did not create an evil world; nor did He create a robot state where everyone is programmed to do only good and where no one is ever permitted to do evil. God created human beings with free will.

  • He endowed them with the capacity to choose both good and evil.
  • The problem of evil came about because people chose the evil of being disobedient to God rather than the good of being obedient to God, and as a result, the world changed. People have chosen evil ever since.
  • The use of free will does not negate the goodness of God, but it sometimes exposes the badness of people.
  • God permits evil, for He permits people to exercise their free will—and they choose evil. They can choose either evil or good—their own way or God's way ...

"The Lord God commanded the man 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" (Genesis 2:16-17)

 

Question: "Is evil a natural result of creation?"

Answer: No. The Bible says that the world God created was "very good" not very evil or a little bit evil. The Bible also says that one day the world will be restored to a perfect condition. If the world will be perfect in the future, then it was perfect at creation. Evil is not a natural result of creation, but a natural result of rebellion—the rebellion of Adam and Eve in disobeying God.

"God saw all that he had made, and, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

 

Question: "If God did not create evil, how did He create Satan, who is the embodiment of evil?"

Answer: God did not create "Satan." God created "Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12 KJV)—an angelic being who, because of rebellion against God, was cast out of heaven. Only after he sinned did he become Satan, a name that literally means "adversary." Only then did he become the adversary of God and of all that is good ...

"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!... The great dragon was hurled downthat ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray." (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 12:9)

Question: "Why hasn't God destroyed evil?"

Answer: Evil is based on moral right and wrong choices; therefore...

  • God cannot destroy evil without also destroying the free will of His creatures.
  • God determined that free will is for the greater good of humanity or He would not have made people free, especially knowing sin would occur and ultimately result in the death of His Son.
  • If God had destroyed the creatures He loves or never endowed them with free will—making them robots—that action could not be for their greater good.

God has already initiated a plan to eliminate evil. His solution is not to destroy evil in this life, but to overcome it—through Christ.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?

---------------------------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


Friday, November 19, 2021

Just as I am - Purity 580


Just as I am - Purity 580

Purity 580 11/19/2021 Purity 580 Podcast


Good morning

Today’s photo of morning “down by The River” where the Hudson splits into the Schodack Creek next to State Route 9J comes to us from yours truly as I stopped for a second from the hectic pace of getting off to work Tuesday morning to recognize how God has blessed me with a beautiful view that is available to me 24/7 right outside my front door.  

Before I emailed this picture to myself from my phone to my laptop I was tempted to crop the photo to make it “more presentable”.  I thought I should crop out the highway or the utility pole to highlight God’s creation and eliminate the things of man. 

But then I thought better of it and decided to share it in its unedited simplicity. This was the photo I took as I was brought to a moment of wonder and gratitude, and this was what I will share with the world.   And while the highway and the utility pole may not be a pretty part of the picture, they were part of the overall scene and provide the context and contribute to the beauty of the photo by contrast if nothing else.  

Just like this photo there are parts of our lives that we would like to edit out of the overall picture of what we show the world.  The sins of the past, or present, the mistakes we make, and the things we have suffered through can fill us with shame, guilt or embarrassment and make us want to hide that part of our story from the world. 

After all, now that we have come to faith in Jesus Christ shouldn’t we just focus on the good things in our lives and present a pretty picture to the world of our victories and “crop out” the details of our lives that are not so flattering?

I’m not sure what other Christians might say, it makes me shudder to think what some might recommend in this area quite frankly, but I prefer to speak honestly about my life and how I have not arrived at a state of Christian perfection to encourage others that Christianity is the faith of the redeemed.  

Christians didn’t do anything in and of themselves to earn the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ when they saw the light and made Jesus their Lord and Savior and Christ didn’t require any of us to clean up our acts before He saved us. He welcomed us into His grace and God’s kingdom just as we were.  

After I got saved I was still ensnared in the throws of addiction and I took great comfort in the fact that God accepted me just as I was, that He knew all about me and chose me anyway. 

In the early days of my salvation I enjoyed watching old Billy Graham crusades on TV and was delighted by Graham’s use of the song “Just as I am” because it acknowledged that God welcomes us into His family knowing full well who we are.   

So today on this Friday, I am happy just being who I am in Christ and thought I would share the lyrics to that song, the Mahalia Jackson version according to Google (and will do my best to not break down emotionally as I recite them on the podcast!)

 

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come! I come

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt
Fighting and fears within without
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind
Sight, riches, healing of the mind
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

Because Thy promise I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

 

Billy Graham "Surrender to Christ" - Just as I am

Billy Graham - "Invitation" -Just As I am

So as we enter another Friday, let’s thank God for the day and for sending Jesus Christ to redeem us and to make us new and for accepting a “wretch like me”: Just as I am.

 

Today’s Bible verses are drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Psalm 19:9-11 (NLT2)
9  Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair.
10  They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
11  They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

Today’s verses speak of our reverence for the Lord and highlight the purpose and immeasurable value of the word of God.

The first commandment of the ten Commandments in

Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
3  You shall have no other gods before Me.

 and the first and great commandment from Christ Himself in

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV) says
37  …, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'

So if we do nothing else as Christians, we should love the Lord and have reverence for Him, for all He has done and for all that He is.  

In the world that is corrupted by sin, the one pure thing about us, and which can lead us into a lifestyle of purity, is our reverence for the Lord.  The word says our reverence for the Lord is pure and because His chosen ones are brought in His kingdom forever, it will last forever.   

Here on earth we can show the Lord and those around us that we have reverence for the Lord by reading, meditating on, and following His word. 

Today’s verses tell us that God’s word, “the laws of the Lord” and remember that “law” is properly understood from the original Hebrew to mean instruction, are true, fair, and if are properly understood are more desirable that the finest gold and are sweeter than the purest honey.  And while God’s word acts as a warning to us His servants, we will be greatly rewarded if we obey them. 

So have reverence for the Lord, read His word and obey how He tells you to live your life. When you do that you come into harmony with the One who created all things and  the rewards you can experience can be limitless.      

 

As always, I invite all to go 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 sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

B. Why Would God Cause Pain and Suffering?

All too often, pain and suffering are the most effective tools used by God to mold us and make us into the person He designed us to be. During our pain-free days, we go on our self-sufficient, carefree way, making a mess of our lives and distorting the image our divine Designer planned long ago.

But our Maker, who loves us too much to leave us in this misshapen mess, picks us up with His perfect plan in mind, places us on His potter's wheel, and puts intentional pressure on us—painful pressure—so that we will adapt to His design.

Once we are willing to be conformed to His likeness, He does His specialized work on us, in us, and through us. By respecting His right to us, realizing His power over us, and resting in His purpose for us, we will rejoice in His results... regardless of the pressure.

Realize that for you, nothing will ever be more fulfilling than to be fashioned by God—even if by the tools of pain and suffering—in order to become the person He created you to be.

"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands?'... Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 45:9; 64:8)

God's Purpose for Causing Pain

The Bible says...

  • Suffering—when we are being disciplined—is a great demonstration of God's fatherly love.
        "The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives" (Hebrews 12:6 ESV).
  • Suffering disciplines us—just as children are disciplined—for our good, to conform us to His character.
        "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." (Hebrews 12:10)
  • Suffering—when we respond the right way—brings us into right relationship with God and produces supernatural peace.
        "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)
  • Suffering brings glory to God—amazing, spectacular glory—when He performs a miraculous healing.
        "Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.'" (John 11:4)
  • Suffering keeps us humble—preventing some of us from becoming conceited. The apostle Paul said ...
        "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." (2 Corinthians 12:7)
  • Suffering requires us to live our lives being dependent on God's power—we would not do so otherwise! In Paul's weakened state, the Lord said to him...
        "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Question: "Why doesn't God heal all those who ask for healing?"

Answer: Being a Christian does not prevent one's body from succumbing to illness and disease. God desires to be glorified in our lives. Sometimes God uses an act of healing to glorify Himself, and sometimes He uses a particular, ongoing infirmity to glorify Himself.

  • —Healing is accomplished for some only after death, when God completely heals by giving that person a new, perfect, and eternal body.
  • —It would be accurate to say that God always heals—but not always when we ask for healing to occur.
  • —Additionally, if God healed in this life everyone who asked for healing, eventually everyone would ask and everyone would be healed. Subsequently, all suffering would cease, and sin would run rampant because God would have altered the consequences of sin.

Clearly, God does not immediately heal all who ask, but He can continue to give us grace in our times of need ...

"[Jesus said to Paul] 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I [Paul] will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

---------------------------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