Purity 526 09/17/2021
Good morning Purity 526 Podcast
Today’s photo of an absolutely dazzling sunset sky over Lake Ontario comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as our friend Rocco Saya was at “it again” on the eve before yesterday’s successful surgery.
I am thrilled to report that “Mr. Saya” posted that like that iconic 70’s TV hero, Steve Austin, he is feeling like the Six Million Dollar Man as his surgery went well with the doctors reporting that there was no significant damage to his tendons and ligaments, and besides the permanent plate and screws in his leg now, his broken leg is finally in a cast that will allow him to heal. Rocco reported that His pain is so much less now and that he is a firm believer in the power of prayer, and He passes on his thanks to all who have supported him over the last week.
The way I look at it is that Rocco’s work gives glory to God by highlighting the beauty of God’s creation and I am inspired to share it to point to that beauty in the world and to remind people that there is a God who made all this who is calling us all to be closer to Him. So I figure that our petitions of prayer on Mr. Saya’s behalf was a worthy endeavor and I intend to keep him in my prayers until I see a report that the cast has been removed and he has been completely restored to health.
Rocco’s situation is really writing the blog these days as his faithfulness to his craft is an object lesson in faith, meaning, and purpose. The caption that he wrote for today’s photo, again, unwittingly inspires faith. For this photo that was taken on Wednesday the day before his surgery, while he was still in pain, Mr. Saya wrote: “After an overcast sky all day, the sun makes a last minute appearance to give us a beautiful sunset.”
In our lives when we are living without a relationship with God, things can seem dismal and dark. I was teaching last night that we can accomplish many things in this life and build ourselves up with a career or relationships to make us feel significant, accepted, and secure. But over time, we will watch everything slowly age and fall apart or die. Without the meaning and purpose that God provides to our lives, the world is an absolute horror show of suffering and impermanence.
A family of four by the world’s scientific worldview becomes worm food never to be seen again. But God reveals that there is more to reality than what we can see. There is the unseen realm of the spiritual world where God rules and reigns. The reality of a spiritual realm indicates that the departed family of four will go on beyond this world and their eternal destiny will be determined by their individual relationships with God.
When I denied God’s existence things were dark and hopeless, but when I saw the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ it was as if the sun made a last minute appearance and transformed my experience of life from a gray world of despair to a technicolor world of wonder and joy.
Because the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, made a “last minute appearance” in my life, I became spiritually alive, and all things became new. The world had meaning and because of Christ I was accepted, I was significant, and I was forever secure in God’s love.
It doesn’t matter how we start in life; it matters how we finish. We can build ourselves up to be strong, powerful, and wealthy only to age and see that the things of this world were never meant to give us our acceptance, significance, and security.
The only acceptance, significance, and security that will matter and endure are that which is received through a relationship with God. And when we make peace with God by placing our faith in Christ, we will see that we can stop striving to find what God gives us in an instant: peace, love, and joy. The peace that goes beyond all understanding comes from the Prince of Peace.
So even though it can feel like the day is an overcast dismal failure, when Christ makes a last minute appearance in your life, everything becomes beautiful. And all we have to do to experience the joy of the Lord on a continuous basis is to abide in His presence by “walking and talking” with Him every day.
Christ said that the Good Shepherd’s sheep know His voice and follow Him. You may have believed in the Son, but if you are not following His voice and living according to His ways, all may seem dismal and gray. So listen up, follow His call, and walk into the abundant life of meaning and purpose that those who follow the Good Shepherd experience on the path of Christian Discipleship.
Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource: “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set:
This morning’s meditation verses are
Psalm 23:1-3 (NASB)
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Today’s verses are from a psalm that many call their favorite passages in the Bible and just so happens to highlight the basic instructions for Christian discipleship and a life of faith.
This psalm of David speaks of his living relationship with the Lord. David, a shepherd, acknowledges his total dependence on the Lord as declaring the Almighty God as “my shepherd.” David knew the Lord intimately by trusting Him and following His call throughout His life. The highlights of David’s life document how he was greatly blessed and provided for when he listened to and was obedient to the Lord’s instructions.
David’s statements here to “not want” and that describe how the Lord makes him “lie down” and how He “leads” David besides “quiet waters” speak of the Lord’s direction and provision. The Lord shows us the way to live in His word and He provides for those who follow Him.
The result of following the Lord’s call on our lives is a “restored soul”. That speaks of the spiritual reality of spiritual life coming into one who puts their faith in God rather than themselves. For those in the Old Testament, they received spiritual life by putting their faith in God and the promise of the coming of the Messiah. And for those who came on the scene after Jesus, The Messiah, has appeared, we gain spiritual life by putting our faith in Jesus Christ who reconciles us the God through His atoning work on the cross.
When we follow the Good Shepherd’s call to salvation, the next step is to follow Him in “the paths of righteousness”. As the Good Shepherd’s sheep we are to follow Him by turning from our worldly ways and by continuously choosing to live according to God’s ways for our lives that are described in His Word.
Finally, we live the Christian life and experience the fruit of the Spirit for “His name’s sake” meaning that our faithful example of living our lives in all its fullness give glory to God.
So obediently do as the Good Shepherd instructs. He will keep us out of the brambles and thickets that we are used to running into and He will provide everything we need for this live and forevermore.
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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
C. What Are Basic Fundamental Truths About Boundaries?
Boris Onishchenko learns a basic fundamental truth about boundaries—there can be severe repercussions when they're crossed.
Jim Fox, a member of the British team, had been eyeing Boris during his engagement with Adrian Parker, and he, too, is suspicious of his supposed "hit." Boris and Jim begin to fence, and soon Boris lunges and scores a "hit," but Jim manages to avoid contact. Boris' epee before the scoreboard is "like waving a magic wand," according to Jim, and he wants to have it examined.
Upon closer inspection . . . it appears the epee has been dismantled and put back together again with controversial components. . . .. Scripture is not silent about such deception. . . .
"Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly."
When God gave the first couple, Adam and Eve, a boundary on what they could and could not eat, they were initially compliant because they knew the Boundary-Giver to be trustworthy. It was not until Satan created doubt about God's character and motive did each choose to disobey God.
Had their perspective not changed, their beliefs and behaviors would not have changed. Had they not considered the possibility of God's withholding good from them, they would have remained cooperative.
Now that sin thrives in this world, it has clouded the perspective of many with regard to boundaries. Like everything good God has put into place in His creation, boundaries have been maligned and misrepresented as being unloving and undesirable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Boundaries in relationships are just as necessary and beneficial as boundaries in the physical world. . . .
"Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace."
The following reveal some misconceptions that people have regarding boundaries. . . .
• "Can I set limits and still be a loving person?"
According to God's Word, you absolutely can not truly love a person without setting limits. . . .
- —Love is doing what is best for someone, which requires establishing boundaries to identify and separate what is best and what is less than best.
- —Love cannot exist without boundaries to define where one person ends and another person begins.
- —Love is not being boundaryless and losing yourself in another person's existence, but rather it is entering into a cooperative sharing and experiencing one another's unique gifts, talents, perspectives, and understanding.
- —Love requires saying yes to that which is beneficial and no to that which is harmful.
- —Love is not two people morphing into one, but it is the joining together of two different and distinct personalities in spiritual unity, mirroring the love that Jesus declares for us. . . .
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love."
• "What are legitimate boundaries?"
Good boundaries foster right relationships and, at the same time, guard against wrong relationships. Boundaries keep us safe and intact while preventing us from being abused and fragmented.
- —Define our individual separateness and protect the treasure—untapped potential, unique personality, natural abilities, and spiritual gifts—that God has entrusted to us
- —Enhance and encourage the development of Christlike character within us through mutually respectful relationships
- —Prevent us from establishing bad boundaries that arbitrarily shut out meaningful interaction with others
- —Build walls containing doors, allowing us to have safe interactions with others Proverbs, the biblical book on wisdom, says...
"The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives" (Proverbs 16:17).
• "What if someone is hurt or upset by my boundaries?"
By their very nature, boundaries can offend others because boundaries set limits. However, there is a big difference between offending and harming.
Boundaries put a limit on another's ability to hurt and harm us. Boundaries do not cause hurt and harm . . . unless, of course, they are created with the intent to use and abuse others.
- —Having boundaries will be frustrating to those who would manipulate you by making untrue statements like, "You made me feel. . . ." The truth is that people have a choice in their feelings and the beliefs on which those feelings are based.
- —Having no boundaries makes you a puppet on someone else's string and robs you of the freedom to choose how you will live your life apart from being controlled by others.
- —Having boundaries does not mean you are to be insensitive or oblivious to the legitimate feelings of others, but you are to base your decisions on God's principles rather than on emotions . . . your own or someone else's.
- —Having boundaries means that you realize you are responsible and accountable to God for your own choices, as is everyone else.
"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" (Hebrews 4:13).
• "How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?"
Relationships must be chosen wisely. Not all people will share your purpose for life or your perspective on life. Not all people will be God-sent or God-blessed.
Not all people will strengthen your hand in the Lord or encourage you in developing Christlike character. Therefore, in making decisions as to those with whom you will share yourself and your resources...
- —Establish biblical limits on how your time, love, energy, and finances will be expended, realizing God's priorities for you and your resources.
- —Establish legitimate means of identifying another's true need, discerning whether it is God's will for you to meet that need and ascertaining how you will meet the need.
- —Establish guidelines to avoid "giving in" to people who want you to do something for them when it is clear that it is something God intends they do for themselves.
- —Establish the fact that denying someone's request may produce initial resentment, but if there is mutual respect and trust between you, the other person will realize the validity and necessity of your boundary. . . .
• "Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?"
Guilt and fear come from the misconception that godly servants never say no. The truth is, the perfect Servant did not do what everyone asked of Him . . . nor was He always available to everyone.
He said no to everyone and everything His Father said no to, and He said yes to everyone and everything His Father said yes to. He wasn't depending on others to meet His needs for love, significance, or security but was dependent on His Father.
His Father determined Jesus' purpose, not other people. And when you take that position and have that perspective, you will stop feeling guilty or afraid and will start feeling free and empowered.
As you seek to line up your perspective with God's perspective, realize...
- —God is love, and He lovingly established clear and concise boundaries for His creation, making it a mistake to perceive boundaries as violating any principle of love or causing guilt or fear when they are respected and kept.
- —God's Word is clear that perfect love casts out fear; therefore, boundaries based on love do not produce fear or guilt.
- —God never imposes on you a spirit of fear or timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline
- —God made the human race in such a way that guilt and fear prevent intimacy, while boundaries protect confidences, love, and sound thinking.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. . . . For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid [fearful], but gives us power, love and self-discipline" (1 John 4:18; 2 Timothy 1:7).
• "How do boundaries relate to submission?"
Boundaries almost entirely rely on submission to be effective. Jesus submitted Himself to the will of His Father . . . to the boundaries laid out for His words and deeds.
You are to follow Christ's example and submit to His will for your life . . . to the boundaries He has laid out for your life and the purpose for which you were created.
In seeking to set godly boundaries and practice biblical submission, remember . . .
- —Biblical submission is not expressed in breaking godly boundaries but in deferring to them.
- —Biblical submission is the voluntary compliance given to another for that person's good and for the good of the relationship.
- —Biblical submission glorifies God, not a person, and results in humility, not power or pride, in the heart of the one to whom you submit.
- —Biblical boundaries begin in a relationship of mutual submission, with each attempting to do the most encouraging action possible for the benefit of the other.
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ"
• "Aren't boundaries selfish?"
Godly boundaries are based on love and are never self-seeking. They are based on what is in the best interest of everyone concerned.
God has deemed it to be in the best interest of everyone to have boundaries that protect His children and ensure that His purposes are accomplished. In fact...
- —Godly boundaries are an expression of selflessness, often requiring personal sacrifice and hard work to both establish and maintain.
- —Godly boundaries are often risky, evoking negative reactions from those who resent having limits set on their behavior or who do not want to take responsibility for their inappropriate behavior.
- —Godly boundaries are required for relationships to be both beneficial and biblical.
- —Godly boundaries are set as an act of love, not as an attempt to control or manipulate someone for personal gain.
"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector"
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship