Miracles – God Breaks Through to You
Purity 493 08/10/2021 - Purity 493 Podcast
Today’s photo comes to us from yours truly as I took a moment yesterday to look up and appreciate the day that God had made. I honestly think I got a tap on the shoulder from the Holy Spirit because I was somewhat consumed with finishing the task at hand and although I had taken a short break to hydrate and cool off I wasn’t really looking to “rest in the Lord”.
But as I was seated in the passenger seat of my van I got an impression to “look up” so I did and I took in the scene before me. It was just some undeveloped land on Capricorn Lane in Delmar, NY but the skies were blue, there was a slight breeze in the air and there was that one cloud, in the center here, that just seemed to remind me that God was with me. It reminded me of the “cloud by day” that the Israelites followed through the wilderness, and it reminded me of the fact that we are to seek God’s presence and follow His guidance.
I worked hard yesterday but it was a “great day” as I my day was full of purpose and peace. The purpose was the simple work at hand. The peace was provided by my being absorbed by it and being reminded of God’s presence in my life and in others as I finished listening to Eric Metaxas’ audiobook “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” while I worked.
The way we build our faith is to never leave it. I encourage people to continually seek the Lord because He is always there for us and there simply is no end to depths in which we can learn about Him and deepen our relationship with Him. And yesterday as I listened to the amazing testimonies of God’s interactions with others, I realized that my listening to this audiobook was a purposeful leading from the Lord. He wanted me to be reminded of how He can touch our lives. So as I have listened to this amazing book since last week, I have not only rejoiced over the miracles that He has worked in other people’s lives, but I was also reminded of how He has worked in my life and continues to be with me.
When we walk in the Spirit, the Lord leads us beyond doctrinal stances and a set of beliefs. He shows us that He is real, alive, and present in our lives. Our walk of faith becomes an epic journey that is akin to an ongoing drama that has “new episodes” every day. “New characters” and “storylines” are introduced all the time. “The show” of our lives of faith is so good, and frustrating at times, because the drama is continuous and compelling, but you don’t know really where the “show” is going.
Some characters come in and you think that they are going to be “on the program” and play a major part in future events and then they “exit stage left”. News about characters from the past, that have been “off screen” come in sometimes announcing blessings and other times announcing death.
And through it all, a life of faith has the most compelling character of all: God, who can do amazing things but who is confident enough in Himself to allow us to be our own writers and directors of our actions and dialog and just when we think that we are running our shows “solo” we are reminded that our little program is only a part of the epic “entertainment universe” that the Lord is continually producing and directing with His divine care and vision.
So direct your life as you see fit, but I encourage you to build your relationship with the Creative Genius who “runs the studio”. He not only can inspire you to make your life the best show it can be, but He also knows where “all this” is going and on occasion He will provide “special effects” like no one else, filling your heart with wonder, awe, and joy.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NLT2)
6 Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
Today’s verse gives us direct guidelines for our conduct and warns of the consequences for stepping out of bounds.
I committed the NLT version of this verse to an index card because I love how the NLT made the sentiments expressed in this section of scripture very clear. The previous verses in this text specifically state that the will of God is “your sanctification” and tells us to abstain for sexual immorality (verse 3) . The Apostle Paul then waxes poetically a little bit, talking about possessing his “own vessel in sanctification and honor” and not to “defraud his brother in this matter” in the NKJV version of this verse . Today’s verse in the NKJV says:
1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NKJV)
6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
As amazing as it may seem I have seen commentators say “defraud” refers to business dealings. While we should be honest with all people in any of our business dealings, verse 3 and verse 6 are part of the same sentence and the “business” that Paul is talking about is sexual immorality. So the NLT makes it clear that the “vessel” we are to keep in honor is our “bodies”. Don’t be putting your vessel next to someone else’s vessel. This is a simple instruction to be pure sexually and not to commit adultery.
What is also important here is that Paul, who understands that our sins can not take away our salvation or separate us from the love of God, still warns of the negative consequence of sin, saying that God will avenge it.
Just because we are forgiven of our sins, doesn’t mean we are free from suffering the consequences of it. Broken families, broken relationships, shame, financial loss, loss of employment, illness, freak accidents, injury, and death are all possible consequences that we face under the rule of a sovereign God. These calamities of experience are possible for all of us regardless of our activities. The question is do you want to possibly invite God’s chastisement and vengeance upon your life by violating yourself and someone else in sexual sin?
Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Obviously this verse is used to draw people to put their faith in Christ, but I feel it should also warn us of the severity of sin as bringing “little deaths” into our lives such as disrupting our harmony with God and all those possibilities of chastisement.
Sexual ethics are at the fore front of our Christian faith. That is why Christian groups separate men and women and only encourage accountability relationships and close friendships to be between Christians of the same sex.
The 80’s movie “When Harry Met Sally” discussed the impossibility of men and women being friends with no sexual interest. The movies premise was proven as Harry and Sally eventually had sex and became a couple.
As Christians, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we should take great care in keeping other Christians of the opposite sex at arm’s length as men and women will be tempted to emotional and sexual intimacy. Close friendships should be with same sex brothers or sisters in Christ. Married Christians should keep a hedge of protection around their spouses and be accountable to one another and be aware of each other’s relationships.
I have had several friends fall into sin when they made “friendships” with members of the opposite sex. I have seen friendships broken when one party falls in love with the other. I have even seen lives torn apart when single “Christians” pair up and are so caught up in each other that they walk away from God causing an epic disaster of their relationship and their faith.
I have seen married Christians show a lack of judgement by pouring affection and attention into single or other married Christian of the opposite sex, blind to the disruption it is causing in their marriage and how it appears to other people. I have seen Christian displays of affection last a little too long. I have seen “massages” that are simply inappropriate and that are sending a wrong message.
So love your neighbor but keep your distance from neighbors of the opposite sex and keep your hands to yourself. Seek friendships with members of the same sex and make your brothers and sisters in Christ accountable by giving them a “heads up” when their behaviors or relationships seem to be taking a fleshly or intimate turn into a direction they shouldn’t be going.
We have hearts to love one another but we are only human and if we don’t embrace the Lord’s call to be sanctified and abstain from sexual immorality we could slowly be pulled into temptation, sin, and the negative consequences that result from being foolish.
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, beginning Chapter 11.
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:
Bad Things Do Happen to Good People
Your story may not be as severe as Cindy's, but all of us have some hurtful, traumatic experiences in our past that have scarred us emotionally. You may have grown up with a physically, emotionally or sexually abusive parent. You may have been severely frightened as a child. You may have suffered through a painful relationship in the past: a broken friendship, the untimely death of a loved one, a divorce. Any number of traumatic events in your past can leave you holding a lot of emotional baggage. Those experiences are buried in our memories and available for instant recall.
For example, you reacted emotionally to the topic of rape when you read Cindy's story at the start of this chapter. If you or a close loved one have been recently raped, just reading the story sent you soaring to an eight or nine on an emotional scale of ten. You immediately felt a surge of anger, hatred, fear or righteous indignation. However, if you have only read about rape victims but have never been one, met one or counseled one, your response was be more like a two or three on the emotional scale.
Something as simple as a name can prompt an emotional response. If your kind, loving grandfather was named Bill, you probably have a favorable emotional reaction to other people named Bill. However, if you had a teacher named Bill who was a tyrant or if the school bully was named Bill, your initial reaction to the Bills in your life is probably negative. If your spouse suggests, "Let's name our first child Bill," you might react, "Over my dead body!"
I call the residual effect of past traumas primary emotions. The intensity of your primary emotions is determined by your previous life history. The more traumatic your experience, the more intense will be your primary emotion. Notice the sequence of events:
Previous Life History
(Determines the intensity of primary emotions)
(Triggers the primary emotion)
(The management stage)
(The result of your thought process and primary emotion)
Many of these primary emotions will lie dormant within you and have little effect on your life until something triggers them. Have you ever started a topic of conversation that upset someone and sent him storming out of the room? What set him off? you wondered. He was set off by the topic of your conversation. You touched the "button" that connected him to his past. Just touching the emotional core may bring tears to a person's eyes. The trigger is any present event that can be associated with past conflicts.
For instance, a lady once told me, "Every time I hear a siren, I freak out!"
"How long has that been going on?" I asked.
"About 10 years," she responded.
"What happened 10 years ago?" I asked.
"I was raped," she said.
Obviously, she heard a siren when she was victimized and 10 years later the sound of a siren triggers an emotional response.
Most people try to control their primary emotions by avoiding any people or events that trigger them. "I'm not going to go there if he is going to be there." "I can't watch that kind of a movie because it comes too close to home." "I don't want to talk about that subject."
The problem is, you can't isolate yourself completely from everything that may set off an emotional response. You are bound to see something on TV or hear something in a conversation that will bring to mind your unpleasant experience. Something in your past is unresolved and therefore still has a hold on you.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship