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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Purity 363: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 363 03/11/2021  Purity 363 Podcast

Good morning!

Today’s path to a beach at Hilton Head South Carolina comes from our friend who is not only enjoying their vacation but they’re gracious enough to share scenes like this with us. In itself the photo isn’t super stunning, but I love the clear pathway that is presented here that fills you with the expectation of leaving the rest of the world behind and enjoying a day at the beach that God created for our enjoyment.  

Expectation is another way of saying hope and when our hopes are fulfilled the result is joy!

This photo also reminds me of Psalm 18:19 which says:

Psalm 18:19 (CEB)
19 He brought me out to wide-open spaces; he pulled me out safe because he is pleased with me.

When we answer the call of the Lord to be His, we walk out of the quagmire of a life of confusion and into the wide-open spaces of His grace that gives us the power to overcome the darkness and fear of our pasts as we are assured that He has brought us to a new life that is defined by love, joy, and peace.

Of course, its Thursday and I love sharing pathway photos because I teach a class that attempts to show others how to walk on the pathway to discipleship.  Our text is Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Victory over the Darkness” and I invite all who read this to join us via the mt4christ247 podcast.  No matter where you may be today, you can start with Lesson 1 and receive all the class materials by emailing me at mt4christ247@gmail.com. The class is free.  I have been increasingly enjoying my freedom in Christ and feel compelled to help others discover theirs too.  

Whether you join our class or not, I encourage you to keep walking and talking with God.  Through a living relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ we can over come any hurt, habit or hang up that is preventing us from living the abundant life that He has already provided for us.  

(An Audio version of this message is available at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, you can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D).) There is more content at the restricted blog. Follow me on Twitter or MeWe for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Today’s verse follows verse 8 & 9, that tell us that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by our works.  That’s a huge point about our Christian faith that many people don’t understand.  In my childhood liturgical tradition, I understood I was a sinner and that I had to “be good” in order to go to heaven. 

After decades of condemnation, confusion, and seeking truth in all the wrong places, I finally heard the message of grace by faith that made me realize that the gospel of Christ wasn’t about me earning my salvation through works. The gospel was about me choosing to place my faith in Jesus Christ and immediately becoming declared righteous by God.  The works come after salvation, not before it!

That’s what this verse is telling us. Only when we are His can we accomplish anything. Jesus Himself tells us this in:

John 15:5 (NKJV)
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  

This verse reflects the truth that we can’t save ourselves. It also points out that we are to live our lives by faith because if we try to do good works for the kingdom of God in our own strength we will fail.   

Today’s verse Ephesians 2:10, tells us that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ through our faith in Him for good works.  We weren’t just saved by Christ to go to heaven when we die. We were created in Christ to do good works. 

Not only that but this verse tells us that God who knows all of human history before it happens, for He can see the end from the beginning, has already prepared good works for us to do.  Of course we have free will, but our purpose in life is to look for and accomplish the good works that God puts in our path. 

Our Christian faith therefore dispels the world’s lament that life is meaningless because God who sees it all has made our lives full of meaning as we are meant to accomplish all that he has prepared for us. That should give us the blessing of assurance.

Not only are we assured that we have eternal life with God, but it assures us that the life we have now has a plan that we can choose to search out and walk in. It assures us that no matter what calamities we face in life, God is aware of it, is with us through them all, and is encouraging us to keep going because we have good works to walk in on the other side of our current troubles. So keep going and keep your eyes open for what God has prepared for you.

I invite all to mt4chritst.org 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:

I. How to Alleviate Your Present Anger

Like a firefighter's hose spraying water on a fire, working through the following eight "As" can do much to douse the potentially dangerous effects of anger in your life. Firefighters are always equipped with a variety of hoses, each designed to handle different sized fires, with one goal in mind—alleviating threatening flames.

  • Handlines are small hoses 1.5 to 1.75 inches in diameter.
  • Booster lines are larger, rubber-jacketed hoses stored on reels.
  • LDH (large-diameter hose), measuring about 5 inches in diameter and useful for supplying water from hydrants to pumper trucks, is the largest hose used by firefighters.

Because "anger is one letter short of danger" (this saying is more than a catchy phrase), these words reflect a painful truth. Too many times the tongue has not been tamed, conversations have escalated out of control, and people and relationships have been damaged, if not destroyed. Proverbs tells us...

"As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife." (Proverbs 26:21)

Acknowledge Your Anger.

  • Be willing to admit you have anger.
  • Be aware of when you feel angry.
  • Become aware of how you suppress or repress your anger either because of fear or pride.
  • Be willing to take responsibility for any inappropriate anger. Realize... "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).

Ascertain Your Style.

  • How often do you feel angry? (Often? Sometimes? Seldom? Never?)
  • How do you know when you are angry?
  • How do others know when you are angry?
  • How do you release your anger? (Do you explode? Do you criticize? Do you joke or tease? Do you become sarcastic... defensive... teary-eyed?)As you seek to identify the way you express your anger, pray... "Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind" (Psalm 26:2).

Assess the Source.

  • Hurt: Is the source of your anger hurt feelings from the words or actions of others?
  • Injustice: Is the source of your anger the unjust actions of someone toward you or another person?
  • Fear: Is the source of your anger fear due to a recent or anticipated loss?
  • Frustration: Is the source of your anger frustration over blocked plans, hopes, or dreams? Commit to total honesty before God.... "I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity" (1 Chronicles 29:17).

Appraise Your Thinking.

  • Are you expecting others to meet your standards?
    • —"She should take better care of her children."
    • —"He ought to notice what I do for him."
    • —"He must be here before 7:00 p.m."
    • —"She'd better not call during dinner!"
  • Are you guilty of distorted thinking?
    • —Exaggerating the situation
    • —Assuming the worst
    • —Labeling one action based on other actions
    • —Generalizing by saying, "you never" or "you always"
  • Are you believing lies?
    • —"God is punishing me for my past."
    • —"I don't deserve to be loved or successful."
    • —"My future depends on my ability to keep this job."
    • —"God isn't really interested in whether I'm fulfilled or not."
  • Are you blaming God or others?
    • —"This situation is someone else's fault, not mine."
    • —"He is responsible for this mess."
    • —"She let this happen."
    • —"God let me down. “Remember... "A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways" (Proverbs 21:29).

Admit Your Needs.

  • Do you use manipulative anger as a ploy in an attempt to feel loved?
  • Do you use explosive anger, insisting on certain conditions in order to feel significant?
  • Do you use controlling anger to demand your way in order to feel secure?
  • Do you know that only Christ can ultimately meet all of your inner needs for love, significance, and security? Rest assured... "My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Abandon Your Demands.

Instead of demanding that others meet your inner needs for love, significance, and security, learn to look to the Lord to meet your needs.

  • Look to the Lord to meet your need for love. “Lord, though I would like to feel more love from others, I know You love me unconditionally, and you will love me forever....""I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).
  • Look to the Lord to meet your need for significance. “Lord, though I would like to feel more significant to those around me, I know I am significant in Your eyes....""'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Look to the Lord to meet your need for security. “Lord, though I wish I felt more secure in my relationships, I know I am secure in my relationship with You....""The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6).
  • Look to the Lord to meet all of your needs for life and godliness. “Lord, though I wish others would be more responsive to my needs, I know You have promised to meet all of my needs....""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).Constantly remind yourself..."God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Address Your Anger.

  • Determine whether your anger is really justified.
    • —Has a wrong been committed?
    • —Has anyone suffered hurt or injury?
    • —Has an injustice occurred? Consider... "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways'" (Haggai 1:5).
  • Decide on the appropriate response.
    • —How important is the issue?
    • —Would a good purpose be served if I mention it?
    • —Should I acknowledge my anger only to the Lord? Remember... "[There is] a time to be silent and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:7).
  • Depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance.
    • —Ask for counsel about your anger.
    • —Ask for insight about your anger.
    • —Ask for wisdom about your anger. Feel confident about the role of the Holy Spirit in your life.... "The Spirit of truth... will guide you into all truth.... and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13).
  • Develop constructive dialogue if you need to confront an offender.
    • —Don't speak rashly with a heart of unforgiveness. Do... Think carefully or "care fully" before you speak cautiously.
    • —Don't use "you" phrases such as: "How could you?" or "Why can't you? “Do... Use personal statements such as "I feel...." or "I need...."
    • —Don't bring up past grievances. Do... Stay focused on the present issue.
    • —Don't assume the other person is wrong. Do... Listen for feedback from another point of view.
    • —Don't expect instant understanding. Do... Be patient and keep responding with a gentle tone of voice.

"Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone." (Proverbs 25:15)

Alter Your Attitudes. (Read Philippians 2:2-8.)

—Have the goal to be like-minded with Christ

v. 2

"Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose."

—Do not think of yourself first

v. 3

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit..."

—Give the other person preferential treatment

v. 3

"... but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

—Consider the interests of the other person

v. 4

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

—Have the attitude of Jesus Christ

v. 5

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..."

—Do not emphasize your position or rights

v. 6

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped..."

—Look for ways to serve with a servant's heart

v. 7

"... but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."

—Speak and act with a humble spirit

v. 8

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself..."

—Obey the Word of God, and submit your will to His will

v. 8

"... and became obedient..."

—Be willing to die to your own desires

v. 8

"to deatheven death on a cross!"

Anger and Regaining Trust

Question: "How can I regain the trust of my wife when I've pushed her around and then blamed her for provoking me to anger?"

Answer: She needs to hear you take full responsibility for your wrong choices and to hear how your wrong choices are going to become right choices.

  • Verbalize that you were totally wrong for reacting to her in anger. Admit your harshness is totally your fault.
  • Confess your harshness as selfishness and an attempt to control her.
  • Ask if she would be willing to truly forgive you. (This may take time, so do not be demanding of her.)
  • Demonstrate the depth of your remorse by the strength of your resolve to change. (Promises and tears won't build trust, but actions will.) Develop a plan to act differently when you are angry.
  • Share your plan with her and then be consistent in carrying it out.

The way to gain trust is to prove, over time, that you are trustworthy—not just when the relationship is easy, but when it is hard... when you feel frustrated, when getting your way has failed. Consistency is the key.

Consistently responding without any harshness can, over time, change her heart and regain her trust....

"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." (Colossians 3:19)


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 

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