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Monday, January 10, 2022

Braving the Storm - Representing the Kingdom by Showing Up - Purity 624


Braving the Storm -  Representing the Kingdom by Showing Up -  Purity 624

Purity 624 01/10/2022   Purity 624 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the ice covered shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY underneath a light blue and pink sky of morning comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as Rocco Saya is once again out and about and braving the chilly weather to capture scenes of God’s creation.    

It’s Monday again and the local forecast in my neck of the woods calls for below freezing temperatures for the next few days which may leave some of us with the desire to just stay inside and not go out there.  But as providers for ourselves and our families we will brave the cold and get out to do the work that provides for our needs and wants.    

Yesterday, in Easton NY, we awoke to a glazing coating of ice covering everything and sleety rain that made me question whether or not I should go to church or just catch our service online. But as someone who had on average a 45 minute commute 5 days a week for nearly 25 years I have experience in driving in northeast winters and know what to do: go slow and be careful.  So my wife, stepdaughter, and I headed out and quickly discovered the way we were headed hadn’t been properly salted yet as an oncoming driver warned us that just down the hill from where we were headed there was a car off the road whose driver was warning them to not come that way as the road was a sheet of ice.  

I have been reading through Proverbs lately and that wisdom and my experiences has taught me to heed a warning. So we turned around and went to the main highways to get to church and found the way to be less icy and made it to church in time to catch the last song of worship before the pastor’s message.   

The crowd was a little smaller than usual, but I was impressed by the number of people that “braved the storm” and brought themselves to the in-person service even though our church provides online viewing of services.  This fact demonstrated to me how we, as Christians, value community and how we wish to honor the Lord by showing up to his corporate gathering no matter what the weather is like.  

The Pastor reported that the first service had four new attendees and it reminded me of the importance of being faithful and showing up.  My wife reported that after our service she witness a child who must have been a new attendee to the 10:30 service, tell their parents that they “liked this church!” and wanted to come back again.  If the church was closed due to the weather those 4 new attendees from the first service and this child who delighted over what they found at our church would have left and may never have come back again.

The church was open because that’s just what Christians do: they are faithful to worship the Lord and show up to work for His glory.  

It all reminds me of Charles Spurgeon’s testimony of his salvation. Spurgeon got saved because of a snowstorm and the grace of God, of course.  As a 15 year old Spurgeon grew up in a Congregational church but believed he was lost to the fires of hell because of his sinful nature. One winter day his path to church was diverted by a snowstorm and seeking shelter from the storm he ended up attending a Methodist service where the regular pastor had been prevented from attending.  An unknown substitute lay preacher stepped into the pulpit and read his text—Isaiah 45:22—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.”

“Spurgeon’s Autobiography records his reaction:

“He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed—by me, at any rate except his text. Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, ‘That young man there looks very miserable’ … and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Look! Look, young man! Look now!’ … Then I had this vision—not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was.… Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment.”” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-29/spurgeons-conversion.html)

Spurgeon walked out of that service and back into the snow a Christian and he would go on, with the Holy Spirit’s anointing, to win countless souls for Christ and became known as “the Prince of Preacher’s”   And the Lord used a snowstorm and a substitute lay preacher to bring the word of salvation that made it all happen.  

Spurgeon knew he wasn’t right with God, but he hoped for heaven, so he went through the motions of going to his regular church where he was deaf to the gospel, but God knew his fear and used a snowstorm and a church that preached the message of salvation through faith in Christ alone to save him and many others.   

So brave the storm and keep seeking the Lord and keep showing up to represent His kingdom and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You never know when the Lord will direct your path in a way you didn’t expect or if He will ask you to step in to serve in someone’s place to be used by the Him to do a work that will bring someone out of the fires of hell or that will give God glory.

So bundle up if it’s cold out there and remember that wherever you go God is with you and wants you to get to know Him more and seek His purpose for your life.  So keep walking and talking with God because he can change things from “just going to the motions” to something wonderful when you least expect it.    

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 8:33 (NLT2)
33  Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

Today’s verse reminds us that God gives us right standing with Himself by Himself, meaning through grace and the work of Jesus Christ.  

That means we didn’t earn our salvation and we can’t earn our salvation. Our right standing with God only comes through our placing our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.     

That is great news because that means no one can accuse us of “not doing it right” or that we have failed to do something to be a Christian.  While there will be many things that we can and will do on the path of Christian Discipleship that will show ourselves and others that “I really am a Christian!” those Christian disciplines don’t make us a Christian, our faith in Jesus Christ does.  

“Does that mean I don’t have to do anything?!”  Yes, it does. 

But if you have been forgiven of all your sins and have been granted eternal life in God’s kingdom, you shouldn’t want to “do nothing”.  

If your heart towards the Lord would lead you to just keep on living your life for yourself without pursuing the faith that gave you salvation, you should question who it is you believe in.  Do you believe in Jesus, or do you believe in yourself? 

Christ never asked anyone to believe in Him. He called people to follow Him.  So if we are not following the Lord’s call on our lives to know His word and His will for our life we should wonder if we really are “in this thing” called Christianity.   

If you don’t produce any fruit, the enemy and the world will accuse you of not being a Christian.  

Now if you have put your faith in Christ, those accusations don’t change your standing with God but instead of making you fear your salvation they should motivate you to follow the Lord so that you can have the assurance of your salvation and find your purpose in His kingdom.  

Accusations are one of the enemy’s weapons to make us unfruitful Christians and to torment us. Our best defense against the accusations of the enemy is to endeavor to represent the Kingdom of God by learning what God’s word says and by applying it to our lives.  The more we walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and live a Christian Disciple’s life the more we will see how the enemy’s accusations are meaningless because we are covered by Christ’s atonement on the cross and we are actively following Him.   

So if someone accuses you of “not doing it right” or says your sinful ways prove you are not a Christian, tell them that it is only by Christ that you are saved and that although you may not be perfect you are a child of God because of your faith in Jesus and you are in the process of leaving the darkness of this world behind and are following Jesus to be more and more like Him. 

Our walk isn’t about perfection, it’ about progress, and its about putting your faith in and following the one who is perfect: Jesus Christ. 

 

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.

BEGINNING STEP THREE

 

Let me encourage you to ask God who it is that you need to forgive and then I will explain what forgiveness is and how you can do it. In the following prayer, all you are asking for are the names of the people you need to forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the riches of Your kindness, forbearance, and patience, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance (Romans 2:4). I confess that I have not extended that same patience and kindness toward those who have hurt or offended me. Instead I have held on to my anger, bitterness, and resentment toward them. Please bring to my mind all the people I need to forgive in order that I may do so. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

MAKING THE LIST

When you have finished praying, write down on a piece of paper every name that comes to your mind. About ninety percent of the time, mother and father are mentioned first. The first few names that come to your mind are usually the people who contributed to your greatest source of pain. Some may be tempted to think, “There isn’t anybody I need to forgive.”

That is highly unlikely since we have all suffered at the hands of someone else. Write down the names that are coming to your mind right now. The Lord wants you to live a liberated life in Him, but you can’t if you are bound to the past in bitterness. He has commanded you to forgive for your sake, so He will bring to mind both the people and the events that you are chained to in unforgiveness. When you forgive, you set the captive free, only to realize that you were the captive. Who are the relatives you need to forgive? Teachers? Employers? Friends? Co-workers? Church leaders?

DEALING WITH SELF AND GOD

The two most overlooked names are “yourself” and “God.” In many cases, anger toward self or God is greater than anger toward any other person. The devil capitalizes on our ignorance of God and His ways and on our irresponsibility by pummeling us with thoughts such as God isn’t going to help you. He doesn’t love you. How can you be a Christian and do the things you do? Look how weak and helpless you are. People who struggle with such thoughts are angry at themselves and/or God, and are disillusioned by the Christian life.

The concept of “letting go” of anger, guilt, and condemnation toward self is something many have never considered. Those feelings are rooted in our failure to understand God’s cleansing and forgiveness. Only God can forgive our sins, which separate us from Him, and He has. But we need to forgive ourselves for our failures, for letting God down, and for hurting others. Otherwise we believe the subtle deception that we must atone for our own sins.

Believers paralyzed by condemnation are being victimized by the accuser of the brethren (Satan), or by their own faulty consciences, rather than the truth of God’s grace. The latter is psychological guilt based on years of performance-based living and legalistic religious beliefs. These kinds of people live as though Christ’s death was not sufficient to cover their sins. You can hang on the cross if you want to, but it won’t do you any good. The Apostle Paul warned us when he said, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in selfabasement.”67

You are not being presumptuous by forgiving yourselves, because you are not accomplishing forgiveness from God. Only God can forgive our sins through His Son. Forgiving ourselves is actually receiving forgiveness from God. Forgiving ourselves is saying in effect, “Lord, I believe that You have forgiven me and cleansed me of my sins. Because of Your great love and grace—not because I deserve it—I choose to no longer condemn myself when You have forgiven me. I receive Your forgiveness and cleansing.”69

 ---------------------------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, January 9, 2022

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - New Wine - 01/09/2022


 

Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 12/26/2021

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: New Wine Podcast

New Wine

 

The first glimpse of “new wine” theology, in the NT, is at the wedding, at Cana of Galilee, told in Jn. 2:1-11. How appropriate! Though the term “new wine” is not used, it doesn’t get newer than just created.

 

In the OT, “new wine” is typically mentioned as an offering, in combination with, “your grain”, and “your oil”.

 

In Hag. 1:9-11 however, the Lord withheld the “new wine” and brought “drought”, “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. (This is postexilic)

 

What is new wine?

         New wine is simply grape juice straight from the cluster.          Non-fermented, and therefor non-alcoholic juice from the       grape is called new wine in the Bible. New wine is not       intoxicating.

 

Rabbit trail: It remains controversial whether believers should drink fermented beverage. In Biblical times fermentation had a practical aspect of preserving a beverage. In the modern Jewish Seder wine is used. Why is wine permitted since it is fermented with yeast? The complicated answer is; of the hundreds of species of yeast, the Passover prohibition only applies to yeast which is a product of one of the following five grains: wheat, barley, oat, spelt, or rye. Yeast which is the product of grapes, or its sugars, is not considered chametz (leavened food). Sounds like the Pharisees to me.

Did Jesus drink wine? On one hand, Jesus says, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber... “ (Matt. 11:18,19) On the other hand, Matt. 2:23 says, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

 

Do your own math!

Back to the wedding.

         In vrs. 9&10, the “master of the feast” proclaims, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!

 

Sounds like the “latter rain” to me.

 

Hag. 2:9 says, ‘“The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace.’ says the LORD of hosts”’

It was obvious to the Jews returning from Babylonian captivity that the new temple that they had constructed was in no way more glorious than Solomon’s temple.

So this is a forward prophecy. But is it also a principle???

 

Joel 2:23&24 link these types of the “latter rain” and “new wine”.

This thought also leads to vr. 28 which brings us crashing into Pentecost of Acts 2:17-21

Is Acts the full expression of Joel 2:28. Well, obviously not since we have yet to see, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood.” Peter is casting this prophecy forward also.

 

 The term “latter rain” was first used early in the history of Pentecostalism, when David Wesley Myland wrote a book called Latter Rain Songs in 1907. The Latter Rain Movement, which emerged in the 1940’s contained obvious heresies, and was denounced by the Assemblies of God in April of 1949. But does that make is correct to throw out all its theological precepts.

Certainly not.

Latter rain doctrine includes much of what we embrace as Pentecostals today; Spiritual gifts, deliverances, offices of prophets and apostles, healings, presence in worship.

 

Without making any predictions, only observation, God may withhold “new wine” today because of sin, disobedience, and heresy. But the Bible and church history teach us that is for a season. When we move closer to the End Times, and darkness rages, He will “pour out My Spirit on all flesh” again, because it is a principle and not a one time event.


---------------------------Join  Us for another Study Next week---------------------------------------

or

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, Audible.com, and many others.  

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

Ready or Not, Here I Come - By TammyLyn Clark


 Ready or Not, Here I Come - By TammyLyn Clark 

 You'll never be ready. That is a lie of Satan to keep us from doing God’s will with our lives. But there is some truth to that. We will never be READY for what God has called us to do, however God’s call is to take a step out in faith.

God calls us to be ready (in His time). He will reveal to us one step at a time. Often we as humans want the whole picture or all the steps revealed at once. Another thing that holds us back from taking the first step is we feel we are not yet qualified. So we try to get training, education and studies under our belt before we make a move in faith. “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” Mark Batterson. If we wait until we feel we are ready, we will be waiting our entire lives…missing all the opportunities along the way that God has called us to do in faith.

What is that first step (or next step) you are hesitant about? Where do you need to step out in faith and trust our Lord?

We want to plan our lives carefully and be sure everything is in place before making a transition in life. As the saying goes we want all our “ducks in a row”.

However….SURPRISE! In case you didn't know God doesn’t work that way. Our God is a God of “just enough.” He reveals “just enough’ to us. He gives us “just enough” grace and “just enough” strength. 

Why? Because God wants us to continue to depend on Him daily. He doesn’t want us to rely on the assurance of the things of this world. He wants our dependence on Him and Him alone.

He never gives us more than we can handle.

There are many times in our lives where we feel overwhelmed because we are being led to leave the comforts of a familiar job, relationship or make a move. As humans we like comfort, ease and what “feels good”. We don't like the unknown, unfamiliar, and uncharted territories.

However, it is in these times God helps us grow and make steps in faith. My current marriage is a step in faith. My husband and I know God brought us together, but why? How? We are still discovering God's plans for our lives as a married couple. There were (and still are uncertainties) of our living situation and when we will be living “together” in one home. While those uncertainties exist and the uncertainties of where God is taking us each day, we are certain God has brought us together for His glory and we will step out in faith to fulfill that plan with God’s help. These unknown factors didn't keep us from taking that step in faith towards the calling to become one flesh in marriage as husband and wife. We know without a doubt God called us to become husband and wife and is asking us to continue our faith walk in Him for the rest of our lives. The rest will come with faith in Christ. If we stay true to our calling to be a Godly couple seeking Him and His will for our lives His plan will be revealed to us in His time.

Another strong calling I am personally feeling from the Lord is to take a stand about what I put (and allow) in my body. My body is a temple of the Lords.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Now this verse refers to your body being a temple and to flee from sexual impurities however I am taking it a step further and honoring God within this and keeping my body pure from all unnatural things of this world.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.…

About 15 years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian and began watching the foods I ate, trying to avoid processed foods. I am somewhat of a naturalist. I do not use over the counter medicines, do not use prescription drugs, or any unnatural man-made medicines in my body. This is a preference of mine and I live by example for my children and others around me. I try my best to watch what I eat and tend towards natural unprocessed foods. Somewhat recently, I felt a strong call from the Lord to honor the temple of my body He gave me and I have refused the COVID vaccine. I will not get into the politics of my decision, but simply state I do not agree with what is in the vaccine and believe in body autonomy.

Taking a step in faith and taking a stance against this does have earthly and eternal consequences. All of our decisions have consequences here on earth and eternal ones when we meet our Lord. I am willing to deal with these earthly consequences. This recent decision I made is one of them. Because of this stance I have taken, I now have to consider a job/career change. I am at complete peace with my decision because I know I am following the Lord's will with my life. This is a step in faith and God will never leave me or forsake me.

Isaiah 41:8-10

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Mark Batterson made a reference to the “Ready…Set…Go” phrase in my morning devotion. He feels it is backwards and should be “Go...Set…Ready”. I tend to agree with him. We are never really ready for what God calls us to do, but we need to take that step in faith to allow God to “Set” us up and to prepare to make us “Ready”.

Many of us try to READY ourselves before we follow God’s call but we never “feel ready” so we never GO! This causes fear, doubt and discouragement in our hearts leading to disobedience.

It is not easy to discern God’s will for our lives when we are mixed up in all the confusion and distractions of this world. We are called to prayer and fasting to help us discern His will for our lives. But even after a time of prayer and fasting, discerning His will isn’t easy. We will need to take those steps in faith to end a relationship or start a new one, quit a job to start our new journey, or make a move (little or drastic). Sometimes we are so afraid of doing the wrong thing or making the wrong decision that we stay where we are at causing us to miss what God has planned for us. His wonderful and glorious will for our lives.

So step off that boat of comfort, ease in safely onto the rough seas of a life of faith in Christ. Just as Peter stepped off the boat in faith and walked on water with Christ. He did so until He turned His eyes away from Christ and lost his faith beginning to sink. But Jesus didn’t leave him there to drown. Christ reached out His hand to Peter and helped him believe again and trust in the Lord.

Jesus Walks on the Sea

22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on  the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Draw close to our Heavenly Father; and He will take your hand to guide you on your faith journey. You need only take the first step and TRUST God has you for the rest! What is your step of faith today?

GO…SET…READY…

And Let God do the rest.

If you are looking for excuses you will always find them.

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!

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship