Monday, February 22, 2021

Purity 348: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 348 02/22/2021 Purity 348 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo from the point of view of an adventurous soul setting out on one of our local waterways for a camping trip comes from Hudson Valley Kayaking.  Although this photo isn’t very recent, I thought I would share it as we begin a new week that will lead us to the end of February and the hope of greener days in March.  Let’s be hopeful for new beginnings.     

Yesterday, I attended a small group brunch at my church where the group leader invited participants to share a short testimony about what God has done in their lives. Although I could’ve spoken volumes, I chose not to share but instead decided to listen to what others had to say.       

A common theme came through the testimonies: the difference that God can make in our lives is significant.  

Men and women shared about the pain and suffering of a life before coming to faith in Christ and how they had experienced the love of God directly, or through other people, and how it had fundamentally changed their circumstances and who they were individually.   Some newer members to the body of Christ expressed how they were utterly amazed of the sense of family/community that they had found at our church and the new life they have found in themselves since making Christ their Lord and Savior.  

Although the testimonies declared the love of God and the power of our faith, the thing I found most reassuring was that the testimonies were honest and revealed that even though we have come to faith in Christ, we can still struggle with the difficulties of this world and in our walk with God. 

More than one of the testimonies confessed to times when out of bitterness or disillusionment people had given up on God or seemed to lose their hope.  In each instance though, when the disillusioned found themselves looking for meaning, healing, or peace, the Lord was there for them to provide it and to restore their fellowship and faithfulness.      

So as we begin a new week, I hope to encourage all of us to put our best foot forward but to reach out to take God’s hand and to follow where He leads.    

This morning’s meditations verse is:

Romans 6:8 (NLT2)
8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.

When we make Jesus our Lord and Savior, the word tells us that we are crucified with Him in His death and raised to life in His resurrection.  

This verse, from Romans 6, points to the spiritual reality that we are given a new spiritual life the moment we put our faith in Christ.

At yesterday’s small group meeting, an older woman, who learned about our church through our food pantry, testified of the bitter disillusionment she had regarding her failing health, her adult children who were in bondage to addiction, and how her family seemed to be only concerned about themselves and what she could provide from them.  Through the food pantry, she found hope and recently had made Christ her savior and testified about how the church had become her sanctuary.   

 On the way out, I introduced myself, invited her to attend our discipleship class on Thursday Night, and ended up encouraging her and telling her that she was spiritually alive now and that her testimony revealed that she was beginning to understand our faith for what it was always supposed to be: an experiential knowledge of our relationship with God and the reality of a God is wholly present in our lives.   

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are not called to visit with Him for a few hours on Sunday. We are called to live with Him.   The power of our faith lies in remaining in Him: in the power of His word, and in the glory of His presence.    Keep walking and talking with God because this new life we have in Christ never ends.  

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


Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Anger: Facing the Fire Within”

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

D. What Are Misconceptions about Anger?

Every day, people leave their homes—perhaps just for a moment—only to return to experience the loss of a lifetime. Misconceptions about the fiery potential of even a small votive candle can result in utter ruin.

A candle, in and of itself, is not dangerous, but miscalculations about candles can be extremely dangerous.... Placing a candle next to a can of oil can be catastrophic.

Misconceptions about anger can also create a dangerous environment... resulting in devastating emotions.

Do you always view anger as negative and sinful? Do you seek to hide your anger from others... even from yourself in hopes of snuffing it out? Misunderstandings about anger give this powerful emotion a less than positive reputation! If you are blind to God's purposes for anger and if you are afraid of revealing your true feelings, you may be in bondage to ignorance or false guilt. The Bible says...

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." (Psalm 51:6)

Anger and Sin

Question: "Is it a sin for me to be angry?"

Answer: No. The initial feeling of anger is a God-given emotion. The way you express your anger determines whether or not it becomes sin. The Bible says...

"In your anger do not sin" (Psalm 4:4).

Anger and Guilt

Question: "How can I keep from feeling guilty when I'm angry?"

Answer: Your anger is a signal—like the red warning light on the dashboard of a car—indicating: Something's wrong, something's wrong, something's wrong! And the purpose of the light is to propel you to action... to cause you to stop, evaluate what is wrong, then take appropriate action. Jesus became angry at the hypocritical religious leaders who took an extreme position regarding "resting on the Sabbath"—even teaching that healing the sick on the Sabbath was an offense worthy of the death penalty. In sharp contrast, Jesus intentionally and fully restored a man's crippled hand on the Sabbath....

"He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored" (Mark 3:5).

Anger and God's Nature

Question: "How can a God of love be a God of wrath at the same time?"

Answer: Since some people don't understand how a loving God can possess the attribute of "wrath," let's look at those two characteristics on a personal level. Because of God's great love for you, He directs His anger toward anyone or anything that thwarts His perfect plan for you. God's anger never operates independently of His love, but rather He expresses anger on your behalf and for your ultimate good....

"This is what the Lord Almighty says... 'whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye'" (Zechariah 2:8).

Anger—People Not Appearing Angry

Question: "Can people be angry even when they don't look or sound angry?"

Answer: Yes. Many people have difficulty expressing or even recognizing their emotion of anger. Instead, they have learned to deny, ignore, or repress their anger by burying it deep within their hearts. However, our anger is not hidden from God, who sees it and understands it....

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.... The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts" (Hebrews 4:13; 1 Chronicles 28:9).

Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Anger: Facing the Fire Within.

-----------------------------more on Monday -------------------------


God bless you all!

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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