August Days – Majestic Moves of God
Purity 486 08/02/2021 Purity 486 Podcast
Today’s photo of the first sunrise of August comes to us from a friend who took a short vacation in Gloucester Massachusetts capturing this scene at Good Harbor Beach. I loved the way they captured the flowers in the foreground, the pier to the right, the sunrise’s reflection in the water, and that solitary lifeguard’s chair in the distance testifying to the still tranquility of the dawning of a new day and a new month.
One may not realize but the word “august” is also an adjective that means “respected”, “impressive”, or “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur”. So it is only fitting to say that our friend captured an august photo of the first morning of August.
As we enter the first work week of the new month, I know that this month will have some impressive transitions that will go beyond the dwindling dog days of summer. Personally, my discipleship class only has two sessions remaining and I will have to determine how to proceed with my call to ministry in the coming weeks and will have to decide by the end of the month what I commit myself to for the Autumn season. The months ahead are not as clear as they have been in the past as I have potential opportunities for service and development that could take me in new directions before August’s end. So there is potential for new beginnings.
Also things are drawing to an end. My divorce support group is drawing to natural conclusion tomorrow and while there are plans to continue to meet in the future, I’m not sure if the possible changes in my life while change my availability to continue to meet with my new friends.
Also today, my employer has called all technicians back to reporting to the local garage, ending what was a wonderful year of being able to garage at home.
In my family, my son, Brennan will be beginning college locally, as indecisiveness and Covid-19 resulted in him taking a year off and with my patience as a parent to be tested as I had to walk the line between encouragement and surrender as I knew that the independence that I wish to direct both of my children into will require that they make decisions for themselves, that I may not agree with, and choose their own path for life.
So, we are only on day two of August and I am sure that several of my friends will be facing similar transitions over the next four weeks as things will be rapidly changing as we draw towards the months end and an early Labor Day on September 6th.
My advice, and I’m speaking to myself too here, is to take this month one day at a time, to enjoy each day for what it brings, to boldly approach the new opportunities that arise, to love those people in your life that may have a smaller role or less presence in your life in the days ahead, and to trust in the Lord to be with you and to see you through to the other side.
When we stay in a continual conversation with the Lord, He will show us things we wouldn’t normally see, make us appreciate what we have, strengthen us, and direct our paths. So roll with the punches of transitional losses, rejoice in the glory of the present moment, and look forward to the days ahead with confidence and expectancy. The Lord has new things for us to experience and to discover. So put one foot in front of the other and go with God.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Romans 14:17 (NKJV)
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Today’s verse directs us to focus on our sanctification and development of the fruit on the Spirit in our lives.
“Eat, drink, and be merry” may be the world’s advice, particularly when you have an atheistic world view that tells you that ultimately life has no meaning and thus we must enjoy our earthly experience because our existence just fades to black after we die. But Jesus himself called this fleshly disposition toward life to be foolish in Luke 12:16-34, where he advised that seeking the kingdom of God should be our biggest concern.
The subjects of food and drink, and the indulgence of alcoholic beverages, can play a large role in our lives here on earth as some people identify themselves as “foodies”, connoisseurs of certain beverages, or by what they will and will not eat or drink.
I have friends who are BBQ and “Smoking” enthusiasts who can plan their lives around and speak at length about the things they will eat and how they will prepare them, spending significant time and money in their culinary hobby’s. Other friends frequent restaurants, brew their own beer, collect fine wines, and are constantly upgrading appliances or remodeling their kitchens.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, the thing that frightens me about their enthusiasm for the things pertaining to the comfort and satisfaction of their stomachs is that the utter lack of concern regarding their spiritual health.
Today’s verse points out that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned about what we should and shouldn’t eat. The New Testament covenant established by Christ declared that all foods are clean and there are no foods that are prohibited, so we can eat what we like.
But while we should rejoice over this freedom, we should not make our bellies our god (Phil 3:19), for a life that is consumed by concerns over meeting our nutritional needs and culinary desires will be a life that is not only shackled by the bondage of our changing appetites but could be one on a course for eternal destruction.
So enjoy your food and drink, but when you do thank the Lord for the food He has provided but also be sure to establish and maintain your relationship with Him though faith in Jesus Christ.
God wants you to see the big picture of why He gave you life. He doesn’t want you so focused on the material delights that He has provided to the point that you will fail to see His presence or your purpose for living.
When you draw close to the Lord, He becomes your comfort. When you follow Him, He will continually feed your spirit and provide you with the living waters that will never run dry, and you will only hunger to live a righteous life for Him. The abundance of His love satisfies more than any food and the fruit that He gives is righteousness, peace, joy, and love.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding 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:
Winning the Battle for Our Minds
First, you must "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). How do you renew your mind? By filling it with God's Word. To win the battle for your mind you must "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15) and "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you" (Col. 3:16). As you continue to stockpile your mind with God's truth, you will equip yourself to recognize the lie and take it captive.
Think of your mind as a pot full of coffee. Because of what you have put into it, the coffeepot is dark and smelly. You desire your mind to be like clear water again, the way it was before you put the coffee into the pot. There is no way you can filter out the coffee once it has been put inside (no delete button).
Now imagine a bowl of crystal-clear ice, alongside the coffeepot, that says on it "The Word of God." There is no way you can dump the whole bowl in at once, but you can put in a cube every day. If you did that long enough, you wouldn't be able to taste, smell or even see the coffee you had originally put inside, even though it is still there. That will work as long as you don't put in a teaspoon of lies and filth along with the cube of ice.
Second, Peter directs us to prepare our "minds for action" (1 Peter 1:13). Do away with fruitless fantasy. To imagine yourself doing something without ever doing it is dangerous. You will lose touch with reality. The mind cannot distinguish over a long time period something that has been vividly imagined and something that really happened. If you tell a lie long enough, you may start to think it is true. Scripture always tells us to use our minds actively, never passively, and to direct our thoughts externally, never internally. The devil will seek to bypass your mind, but God works through it.
Third, take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Practice threshold, first-frame thinking. Evaluate every thought by the truth and don't even consider tempting, accusing or lying thoughts. Should you rebuke every negative thought? No! That is like being in the middle of a pond with 12 corks floating around you, and your entire life's purpose is to tread water and keep the corks submerged. Ignore the stupid corks and swim to shore. Choose the truth and keep choosing it until it becomes the normal pattern of your life.
Fourth, turn to God when you are having anxious thoughts. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). When your commitment to Plan A is being challenged by Plan B thoughts from the world, the flesh or the devil, bring it to God in prayer. By doing so, you are acknowledging God and exposing your thoughts to His truth. Your double mindedness will dissolve "and the peace of God . . . shall guard your hearts and your minds [noema] in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).
Fifth, assume your responsibility to choose the truth and commit yourself to live accordingly.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you (Phil. 4:8, 9).
The following story is a wonderful example of what can happen to a Christian when the strongholds of the mind are overthrown by God's truth.
Jeannie is a beautiful and talented woman in her mid-30s. An active Christian for 23 years, she sings in a professional singing group, writes music, leads worship at her church and oversees a discipleship group.
Jeannie attended one of my conferences. She was struggling with bulimia, having been in bondage to the strongholds of food and fear for 11 years. When she was home alone she was held captive by Satan's lies about food, her appearance and sense of worth for hours at a time. She was so fearful that when her husband was gone for a night, she slept on the couch and kept on all the house lights. She had submitted to counseling without success. All the while she believed that the thoughts prompting her to induce vomiting were her own, based on a traumatic experience from her childhood. I happened to be looking at Jeannie—quite unintentionally—when I said, "Every person I know with an eating disorder has been the victim of a stronghold based on the lies of Satan."
"You have no idea how that statement impacted my life," she told me the next morning. "I have been battling myself all these years, and I suddenly understood that my enemy was not me but Satan. That was the most profound truth I have ever heard. It was like I had been blind for 11 years and could suddenly see. I cried all the way home. When the old thoughts came back last night, I simply rejected them for the truth. For the first night in years I was able to go to sleep without vomiting."
Two weeks later, Jeannie sent me the following note:
Dear Dr. Anderson,
I can't tell you all the wonderful things the Lord has done for me through the truth you shared at your conference. My relationship with the Lord is so different. Now that I'm aware of the enemy and my victory over him in Christ, my gratitude for our powerful and gracious Savior is real. I can't listen to songs about Him without weeping. I can barely lead others in songs of worship without weeping for joy. The truth has set me free in my walk with Christ.
Scripture now leaps off the page, whereas it was so scrambled for me before. I can sleep at night without fear, even when my husband is gone. I can be at home all day with a kitchen full of food and be in peace. When a temptation or lie pops up, I can fend it off quickly with truth. You may not realize the freedom this brings . . . I used to be in bondage to those lies for hours and hours and hours of my precious time and life, always fearing food.
And here is an incredible change, for the first time in my life I feel like I own my relationship with the Lord. It is no longer the product of my pastor's words or an attempt to reproduce another Christian's walk . . . it's mine! I'm beginning to understand how very powerful the Holy Spirit is, and how useless I am without prayer. I can't get enough.
Sincerely in Christ,
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!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship