Looking Ahead but Not Missing the Details
Purity 483 07/29/2021
Today’s photos of walkway through lily pad covered waters comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to the Ann Lee Nature and Historic Preserve in Albany NY.
It's Thursday, and as is my custom I have shared another photo of a pathway to encourage others to draw closer to God in their lives by exploring the path of Christian Discipleship. It also serves as a reminder that you don’t have to be alone in the journey as I teach a discipleship class tonight at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and if you are not local, I make all my classes available via the mt4Christ247 podcast which is available on most podcast services.
Although I normally only share a single photo each day, I like to step out of “the box” on occasion and to try new things to keep an open mind and heart and to stretch the limits of my, and other’s, expectations.
I particularly like to challenge the world’s view of what a life of faith looks like. I advocate for a lifestyle of faithfully seeking the Lord’s presence and wisdom for our lives on a continual basis as opposed to the view that our Christian faith is exercised only once a week at a corporate worship service for a couple of hours.
I am sharing the second photo today of a close up of those lily pad covered waters to share their beauty but also to point out the two aspects of any journey through life. While we should be intentional about where we are going and looking forward rather than looking in the past, we should also be aware of the here and now and enjoy the beauty that is to be enjoyed in the present moment.
No matter where you are in your journey or how tumultuous the present moment is right now, peace can be found in the realization that you are not alone, for the Lord is with you, and He will be your ever-present comfort as you move through the present to the future that He wants you to walk into.
So stop and smell the roses, or heck, enjoy the exquisite beauty of the utter chaos of misfortune that you are suffering through, because either way God is right there with you and whether your future testimony will tell of the pleasant circumstances you were able to enjoy today or will speak of how you had to cling to the Lord with all your might to get through horrible circumstances as your world is being torn asunder, if you keep walking and talking in God your life experience will be one of supernatural peace and joy that comes through walking in the Spirit.
So embrace the present moment but don’t cling too tight, you got places to go and people to see; to tell of the freedom and victory that you have found through Christ alone.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NKJV)
3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
Today’s verse speaks of our ability to encourage one another in our walk of faith and speaks of our source of motivation for the journey.
Here the Apostle Paul is greeting His fellow Christians in the church at Thessalonica, with a fond remembrance of their faithful work and their attitudes of love and hope that was supernaturally imparted to them through their faith in Jesus Christ.
Yeah, if you are living your life of faith with the motivation of “doing everything right” or with the idea that “As a Christian, I’m supposed to”, you might want to check your heart and see if its beating, you might want to check your mind to see if you know who you are in Christ. If you are really not sure what I am talking about when I refer to experiencing your freedom and victory in Christ on a continual basis, today’s verse is for you.
While we are tremendously grateful for the Lord’s grace and our salvation, you are tremendously grateful right?, we are not trying to “pay Jesus back” by behaving like a Christian or by doing good works. Christ’s gift of His perfect life sacrificed for all who would call upon Him as Lord and Savior is a priceless gift and there is nothing that we could do on earth to pay God back for His mercy, grace, and love.
However, the reception of our new life in Christ should cause us to love God and motivate us to deepen our relationship with Him because of that love.
Paul rightly calls our Christian lives a “labor of love” because it is born from God’s love for us and is only possible to “perform” or live out through our love for God. Loving God is our first commandment from Christ and when we develop that ability suddenly we are given the power of love to change ourselves and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
But our faith is not just motivated by the love of what Christ did for us and is doing for us currently…, you do have a vibrant life of faith that allows you to say God is in your life currently right?
Anyway, our life of faith is also motivated by the hope of things to come. And I’m not just talking about the return of Christ, which should be every Christian’s hopeful expectation, but I am also talking about the hope of where your relationship with God will take you and what things you will have the opportunity to do to glorify the Lord in your life’s journey.
When we live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, we not only can glory in the love and the hope for what is to come in our faith walk but amazingly as we walk it out we can also encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ as we go.
So love what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do in your life. And rejoice with the others that are following the Lord too. Our walk is highly personal and individualized but that doesn’t mean that we are on our own. Our lives can cause others to remember what the Lord as done for us and is doing for us and give them hope for their walk and give them the motivation to inspire others like you have inspired them.
So live a life of faith, love, and hope through your life in Christ and encourage others to walk with you as you go.
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 with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 9.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Strongholds of the Mind
Action, Habit and Stronghold
Once your consideration of a temptation triggers an emotional response leading to a Plan B choice, you will act upon that choice and own that behavior. You may resent your actions or claim you are not responsible for what you do. However, you are responsible for your actions at this stage because you will have failed to take a tempting thought captive when it first appeared at the threshold of your mind.
People who study human behavior tell us that if you continue to repeat an act for six weeks, you will form a habit. If you exercise that habit long enough, a stronghold will be established. Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in your mind, your ability to choose and to act contrary to that pattern is very difficult. It is like driving an old truck down the same dirt road for so long that deep ruts are established. After a while, you won't even have to steer the truck. It will naturally stay in the ruts of the road and any attempt to steer out of them will be met with resistance.
A stronghold is a mental habit pattern. It is memory traces burned into our minds over time or by the intensity of traumatic experiences. For instance, inferiority is a stronghold. Nobody is born inferior to anyone else, but you could be struggling with an inferiority complex if you kept getting the message from the world that everyone is stronger, smarter, and prettier than you.
Being the adult child of an alcoholic can be the basis for a mental stronghold. Suppose three boys were raised in a home in which the father becomes an alcoholic. When the father comes home drunk and belligerent every night, the oldest son thinks he is big enough to stand up for himself. He says to his father, "You lay one hand on me, mister, and you're in trouble."
The middle child doesn't believe he can stand up to his father, so he accommodates and becomes the classic enabler. He greets him by saying, "Hi, Dad. Are you feeling okay? Can I get you anything, Dad? Do you want me to call anybody?"
The youngest son is totally intimidated by his father. When Dad comes home, he scurries out of sight and hides in the closet or under the bed. He stays clear of his dad and avoids conflict.
Twenty years later their father is long gone, and these three men are confronted with a hostile situation. How do you think they will respond? The oldest one will fight; the middle one will appease; and the youngest one will run away. That is the way they learned to handle hostility. Their deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and responding have formed strongholds in their minds.
Hostility is a stronghold. The man or woman who struggles with hostile thoughts and behavior learned to be pugnacious or argumentative when threatened. That is how he or she learned to cope in difficult situations. He or she will not find it easy to learn to love his or her enemy, bless those who curse him or her and turn the other cheek.
Homosexuality is a stronghold. In God's eyes there is no such thing as a homosexual. He created us male and female. However, homosexual thoughts, feelings and behavior can usually be traced to past negative experiences or tempting thoughts. Such experiences precipitate sexual feelings, fantasies, and disorientations, causing some to believe a lie about their sexual identity.
Anorexia and bulimia are mental strongholds. Eating disorders have little to do with food. A 95-pound woman standing in front of a mirror believes she is fat and can't see the deception! She is the victim of negative thought patterns about herself that have been burned into her mind over time, or they could have originated during traumatic experiences such as rape or incest.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship