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Showing posts with label 1Thessalonians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1Thessalonians. Show all posts

Friday, October 1, 2021

Blue, do they have a prayer? – Checking the Clues 3 - Purity 538


 

Blue, do they have a prayer? – Checking the Clues 3   - Purity 538

Purity 538 09/30/2021  Purity 538 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of  a pink and orange sunrise sky comes to us from a friend who was up early and decided to share their view near their home in upstate New York on social media this past Monday.  If that all sounds a little vague, it is because although I thought I recalled the particular friend that shared this photo, this morning I find myself with somewhat of a mystery on my hands as I am not sure of the friend, or possibly ex-friend that shared this photo.    

Recently, I decided to “downsize” my FB friends list to “tighten my circle” to just include actual friends and acquaintances or people who I have had some interactions within the recent past.

Last night at my discipleship class, we discussed how the world can cause us to feel insignificant or offer ways to feel significant. 

The number of your FB friends is one barometer that we could use to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. Last week I had approximately 700 friends. While that number might seem high to some, I know others that have over a thousand friends, some with over two thousand.  So by that standard I could either feel pretty good about myself or feel like I wasn’t as good as others.  But honestly, did that number make me a better person or more loved?  No, it didn’t.

Because I recently have found the person who will be my significant other for the rest of my life and I was aware of the shallowness of “friendships” that made up those 700 friends,  I decided I wanted to feel a little more insignificant in the world’s eyes I guess and unfriended around 300 people or things since last week.  And you know what? I don’t feel like I am half the man I used to be by that almost 40% decrease in “friends” because my value is determined by God and who I am in Christ. 

God doesn’t care about the number of friends or followers you have He just cares that you make Jesus your friend, Lord, and Savior.  And when you do that He also cares that follow Him. 

So this morning as the namesake of the kid’s show, Blue’s Clues, has been tromping through my imagination, as we investigate the “clues” that would reveal that someone was a “real” or authentic Christian, I was joined by our blue and furry friend during my morning prayers.        

Blue’s murmuring indicated that  the topic of prayer would be the next “clue” that we look for and examine to determine if it could help us determine if someone who claimed to be a Christian actually was a Christian.   

As a reminder, this search for the “clues” of authentic Christian faith, was motivated by the desire of several friends to find a Christian life partner.  We are not to cast stones or disparage the practices or lack of spiritual practices in the other members of the body Christ.  Everyone’s relationship with God is highly personal and we have the liberty in Christ to choose to worship and relate to God in the ways we choose.  We are not creating a check list of necessary things that “make” someone a Christians. We are merely looking for ways to discern how someone’s profession of faith compares to their practices.  Are they for real?

Christ said that we would know His disciples by their fruit and so in our search for a life partner we want to be sure that the fruit growing in our potential partner’s lives are being watered by the word of God and not by the dry cisterns of the world.  

Discipled Christians, Christians who are “walking in the Spirit”. or believers living by a Christian worldview or lifestyle can have a wide variation in their prayer practices.  

     

So in our evaluation of our supposed “Christian” friend, we should observe and question the role of prayer in their lives.  Looking and not asking is probably the best tactic to get your initial impression of someone’s prayer life.   So what do you see?

Do they pray? Do they talk about prayer? Do they have a regular prayer practice? Do they pray at church? Do they pray over meals?   

The presence of unprompted or noncompulsory prayer or a verified prayer practice outside of corporate gatherings in someone’s life could be an indicator of authentic Christian faith.  While charlatans may go to great lengths to appear holy in front of the grandstands, they may reveal themselves by having little or no prayer in their lives when nobody is looking.      

Do they offer to pray for others?  And if they do offer, do you get the impression that they are actually praying for them?   

People who believe in the power of prayer will generally offer to pray for others and when they offer, they will add the person to their prayer list or pray for the other person immediately.  If people are not offering to pray for others, we could question whether they actually believe in prayer, or the God who answers them.   

Do they pray out loud? If they prayer out loud, what do their prayers indicate about what they know and believe about God?

Jesus warned us about people who pray out loud and in public because they may just be doing so to appear spiritual to others, feel good about themselves, or seek to manipulate people.  The content of the verbal prayers can reveal quite a bit about what the person believes theologically and can even give us insights into their personality, sincerity, and intelligence.  

Do they pray silently? 

Perhaps the hardest to draw any conclusions from are those who pray silently. Silent prayers could indicate an intense and devoted faith or could just be an outward expression of an empty practice.  If you see someone praying silently with their eyes closed and you catch them “peaking” and looking around and then closing their eyes again, you may have discovered a sign that the person isn’t as devout as you thought they were.    

So what do all these things say about someone’s faith? 

While we can gain some real insight into the possible levels of devotion and maturity of the person we are observing, only God can know their hearts.  Just because someone hasn’t developed a robust prayer life doesn’t mean they don’t have faith in Christ.  

So we shouldn’t judge someone too harshly because of the observations we glean from their prayer life, but we shouldn’t dismiss what we see either.  God gave us eyes to see and minds to make conclusions based on our observations and we would be wise to use what He has given us to make wise decisions when it comes to committed relationships.

After you have gathered some data on the person’s prayer life through your observations, the best way to know feel about prayer and their faith in general is to discuss it.  When you talk about prayer or any aspects of faith with someone, listen what they say, how they say it, and also consider what they are not saying. Our conversations with others can give us great “clues” as to who they are and what they believe. 

So prayer, or lack of prayer, in someone’s life could be a great “clue” to tell you whether someone is an authentic Christian but before making any quick judgements about someone’s faith and character look for other “clues” that will solve the mystery of whether this “Christian” who has come into your life is for real and the one who will walk with you toward the Lord for the rest of your days.      

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NKJV)
8  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Today’s verse encourages us to put on the armor of God and to be serious about our Christian walk.   

Ephesians is usually the scripture that is pointed to when we mention the armor of God but as we can see in today’s verse, Paul uses similar language in Thessalonians to encourage us to walk by faith.   

The breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation that is to be our helmet demonstrate that our hearts and minds are to be covered by the truth of who we are in Christ.  The faith we have in God’s love and His promise to save us are the means by which we can walk through this world with peace and confidence.  

God’s love for us and the promise of salvation makes us accepted, significant, and secure and the Apostle Paul is directing us to “clothe ourselves” with these aspects of our faith every day. 

The command to be sober indicates that we should take our faith seriously and really live it out.  For the application of our faith to our lives is how we can experience the fruit of the Spirit.  

So keep walking and talking with God. Remind yourself of his love for you and the fact that you have the hope of salvation ever since you placed your faith in Christ. So we have the hope of salvation for ourselves, but we can also share that hope with the world around us.   

 

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 The Blended Family’s God’s Recipe for Success.

 

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:

II. Characteristics

The French, known for their exquisite breads and pastries, have a saying, "Mauvaise brioche, mauvaise maison." If the dough is not good, nothing else will be either. Making a good brioche is not difficult, but it requires patience and a basic understanding of the properties of the dough. Brioche dough is unusually heavy from the weight of so much butter and eggs. It takes longer to rise than ordinary bread, and the dough will be very sticky and hard to work with. Failures are inevitable when you're learning to make brioche, as well as when you are learning the properties of blended families and how to work with them. Relationships get sticky and hard to deal with. But as any chef will tell you, failure is the beginning of wisdom and understanding.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established." (Proverbs 24:3)

Stages of Blended Family Adjustments

A. Fantasy Stage... Unrealistic Expectations

  • The dream of gaining happiness and wholeness through a new marriage
  • The dream that I won't make the same mistakes I made in my first marriage
  • The dream of marrying a model parent who will love my children
  • The dream that I will love my spouse's children as my own
  • The dream that our love is enough to conquer all problems

B. Factual Stage... Reality Sets in

  • The dream of a unified family life is not reality.
  • The guilt, jealousy and anger from former relationships are damaging to the new relationships.
  • The children are mourning their lost parent and are not accepting the stepparent.
  • The transition to a new family becomes more difficult than expected.
  • The problems seem too difficult, accompanied by a strong temptation to give up.

 

Argument:

"You're not my mother."

Answer:

"You are so right. However, I am the mother in this home."

 

Argument:

"You're not my dad. I don't have to do what you say."

Answer:

"Your mother and I have talked about this, and we have agreed that this decision is best for you."

C. Fruitful Stage... growth and Maturity

  • The realization that a blended family is not ideal; there will always be a unique set of family problems
  • The realization that mistakes will be made, but God uses mistakes to build character and strengthen the family unit
  • The realization that it is going to take the cooperation of both partners to overcome difficulties and make the marriage work
  • The realization that it takes time, and it may be years before there are any signs of unity or smooth functioning relationships
  • The realization that God will use this blended family as a source of spiritual growth, a means of healing the past and a demonstration of His unconditional love

Question: "I have two children by another marriage, and my husband has three. His thirteen-year-old son lives with us, and I have an eleven-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter. This is the second marriage for both of us. We seem to constantly disagree on discipline issues. It seems that my children have to make the most adjustments. My husband rarely disciplines his son, yet he is very critical of my children and their behavior. This is causing a lot of anger between us, and I am not sure our relationship will survive. How can we overcome the serious differences that are dividing our family?"

Answer: It is common for each spouse to put his or her child's interests first. But when the children's interests are first, over that of the other spouse and his or her children, it becomes a recipe for dissension. Although blended families such as yours tend to be very difficult, there is hope. Both you and your husband must be willing to agree on appropriate behavior and discipline for all the children. Do absolutely nothing until you can apply the policy to which you both agree. Ultimately, you will begin to discipline by taking each other's feelings into account. As you learn to agree in other areas of conflict, you will begin learning how to act in the interests of all family members.

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4)


Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.

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

 

 

 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, September 27, 2021

Happily Ever Monday? – Can’t I just Chill.. in Christ? - Purity 534

Happily Ever Monday?  – Can’t I just Chill.. in Christ?    - Purity 534

Purity 534 09/27/2021   Purity 534 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the waters of Lake Ontario comes to us from a friend who in part celebrated their birthday by visiting the scenic wonders at Chimney Bluffs State Park in Wolcott NY on Saturday. I share it today because of its scenic beauty and because the peaks and valleys of the bluffs on the shores of Lake Ontario can represent the ups and downs that we will experience in life that make us wonder what our ultimate purpose is.  

Yesterday in our Bible study discussion Arthur and Suzanna Cincotti and I discussed the concept of giving God glory and how, because He is the author of all creation and will determine the course of all existence through history, and as the Westminster Catechism (https://www.apuritansmind.com/westminster-standards/shorter-catechism/) affirms, the chief end of man, our purpose, is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. 

While that is man’s stated end, or purpose, the concept may seem overly spiritual, sentimental, or just confusing and is often simplified as “living a good life” of being personally responsible and morally upstanding, for the most part.  So even for those that want to “glorify God” and enjoy Him forever, this purpose could just be seen as an underlying subtle part of our normal lives with its traditional goals of finding a career, a life partner, and having a family.  

These traditional goals are prominent in our lives because they are integral in providing us with the means to support ourselves and a measure of our need to feel accepted, significant, and secure.   We may spend years pursuing the goals of achieving a certain career position or in finding that life partner that will “complete” us and building a family. 

We pointed out yesterday in our discussion that these goals are good and can lead to a thriving life of success and familial happiness but if God is not honored in that life journey, all the accomplishments and close personal relationships that were enjoyed will prove to be of little value as the person finds themselves separated from God and consigned to the outer darkness of Hell where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

So obviously we recommended a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ to remedy this situation. But as I have thought about our life’s purpose today, I am pondering the question of next steps, for those who are saved and who have reached their goals in life and ministry.  

Because of the dissolution of my marriage in 2018, I had to face the challenges of building a “new life” for myself by finding a new home and a direction for the rest of my life, all the while having to work and try to direct my children.  The Lord has been with me and provided for everything I needed in that regard.   

As I walked alone, the question of the possibility of a new life partner was always an “out there” possibility which I didn’t make any overt attempts to pursue but at the same time was one that I hoped would materialize some day and one that I remained open to receive.  

The Lord has graciously sent a beautiful faithful woman of God into my life and even though it took me some time to realize she was “right here in front of me” I finally woke up and have been overcome with joy as we have not only confessed our love for one another but are eagerly anticipating being married.  So to paraphrase Sammy Sosa’s “baseball has been very, very, good to me”, in my Christian walk , God has been very very good to me!

I am thrilled that my “happily ever after” is on the horizon, but as we all know life is not a fairy tale and “happily ever after” even in the Disney universe, now, usually results in a sequel!

Because life is continuous our journey doesn’t end. So even though we can accomplish some life goals and actually experience receiving the desires of our hearts, we still must go forward in our life. 

The question for the Christian is: Now that you have gotten what you were hoping for, what do you do next?  Do you stop your walk on the path of Christian Discipleship to set up house and relax with a new ministry of offering thanks and praise from the comforts of your couch?   Can we just chill… in Christ?

I absolutely love the song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol that asks the question:

“If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
 

Now that I have found the love of my new life in Christ with Tammy Lyn can I just spend the rest of my days with the purpose of just loving her in Christian wedded bliss, forsaking all other activities?

As appealing as that might sound, the harsh realities of Monday morning help us with answering that question.   We still must provide for ourselves. We still have to work. We still must deal with the challenges of changing circumstances. 

And because we are in the world, as Christians we are called to do more than just chill…  in Christ.  Sure, I have found the love of Christ and now have found the person who I am certain will be the love of my life… but other people out there haven’t secured their place in God’s kingdom and are walking in darkness and the suffering that I knew all too well for most of my life. 

So while I may want to lament over another Monday morning and the fact that, while I have found the love of my life in Tammy Lyn, we still have miles to walk before we can be married and live together, I need to remember that God didn’t bring me into His kingdom for my personal happiness.

God calls us into His kingdom to represent Him on earth and to share His love. We are to use our lives to glorify God and to endeavor to expand His kingdom by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through our words and actions.  

So don’t be down in the dumps because its Monday and we have to go back to the grind and leave the good times of the weekend behind.  God has given us eternal life and we should rejoice over that regardless of the day, or the circumstances of our lives.  

He has provided for us and blessed us, so we can rejoice over that too.  But we should never become so “happy” that we forget that the people of the world desperately need God and they need to know the truth of how they can be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. 

So keep walking and talking with God. Rejoice over all He has done for you but be sure to shine a light in the darkness by representing His kingdom by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, any way you can.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NKJV)
13  For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

Today’s verse speaks of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the practice of thanksgiving.  

As Christians, we have been saved from God’s wrath and our just punishment because of Jesus Christ. If we were to spend the rest of our lives suffering, we would still have ample reason to thank God!

And even if we went through various trials and sufferings for the rest of our days, the likelihood is that no matter what we suffered, our suffering could somehow have been worse.  Even those who have been prisoners of war or consigned to concentration camps have been able to recognize that some days were better than others and they were able to find things to be thankful for in the most horrible and abysmal circumstances.

So as we recommend for all Christians, begin, or continue, the daily practice of giving thanks to God for: who He is, what He has done in general, and what He has done for you specifically.     

Today’s verse also speaks of the fact that the “good news” is not something that man made up but is God’s plan for the redemption of men and that we are to share it with others.  This verse indicates we are to present the gospel with the Word of God in order to let God “effectively” use us to bring people to believe in Him and be translated into His kingdom.   

So thank the Lord everyday for your salvation and all He is, and for all He has done for us in general, and for what He has done for you personally.

Let your thanksgiving draw you closer to the Father and motivate you to share His love with the world that dearly needs it.   

 

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:

G. How to Respond When Boundary Lines Are Crossed

According to Bill Rodgers, Jacqueline Gareau's public response to crossed boundary lines has been "amazing." "She doesn't have any ill feelings to Rosie at all," Bill further shares. "To lose this moment is pretty hard to deal with. She just kept cool under fire. She never said anything terrible about Rosie. She didn't say anything negative about the BAA [Boston Athletic Association]. She was just cool, and she's the same way today."

Considering Jacqueline's incredible athletic accomplishments, it is "amazing" that she has been so genteel toward someone described as a genuine cheat. She wins nine marathons, competes on the Canadian Olympic team, wins the extremely fatiguing Mount Washington Road Race three times, and is named Canadian Marathoner of the 20th Century.

Jacqueline manifests a forgiving heart toward Rosie, a vital virtue in Scripture. . . .

"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."

(Matthew 6:14)

We all have physical, moral, and personal boundaries that should not be violated. Do you know your specific boundaries? Do you know how to respond when your boundary limits have been trampled? Do you know where to draw the line?

To help identify your boundaries, pay attention when your emotions are intense, dark, shaming, or guilt-ridden in response to something someone has said or done to you. . . . Your boundaries are being crossed.

The following responses will help you educate those in your life who are verbally and emotionally crossing the line.

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."

(Proverbs 27:6)

• Inform:

"Do you realize that you are speaking loudly?"

"Do you know how your words are sounding?"

"Do you know that you are saying things that are making me feel uncomfortable?

• Identify:

"Please lower your voice."

"Please stop using that kind of language." "Please explain your anger."

• Implore:

"Stop insulting me with your words." "Stop these painful outbursts."

"Stop hurting me in this way."

• Insist:

"You must stop speaking to me in that tone of voice."

"You will have to change this way of communicating with me." "You may not continue to hurt me in this way."

• Instruct:

"This is how I want you to speak to me."

"When you communicate with me, this is what I expect..."

"When vou (name behavior). it hurts me. This is what I want vou to do."

• Invite:

"I am open to working this out when you can be reasonable."

"I care about you and our relationship, but I need you to change your ways when communicating with me."

"I am willing to go to counseling with you if you agree."

• Impact:

"I am now leaving in order to protect myself."

"Because this behavior is unacceptable to me, I am going to distance myself from you for a time."

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

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

 

 

 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Happiness and Joy? – All Things for Good - Purity 533


Happiness and Joy?  – All Things for Good   - Purity 533

Purity 533 09/25/2021  Purity 533 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a stunning view of a massive cloud formation over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico comes to us from a friend who spent the first day of Autumn at Honeymoon Beach near Clearwater Florida.  I just love the sense of wonder and peace that this photo conveys and considering the marvelous developments in my life recently I thought a view from Honeymoon beach was wholly appropriate as I am filled with peace, joy, and wonder in contemplating a future with my beloved, Tammy Lyn.

While our story as a couple has just begun and may appear to be a sudden happenstance, the truth is that when we step back to look at the course of events in both our lives we can now clearly see that our converging paths were on a collision course and that we are destined to walk together. 

When we recognize that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, we can see how the various twists and turns and ups and downs of our journeys were ultimately leading to today. 

I was speaking to a brother in Christ last evening as we have drawn closer in friendship.  We have recognized that our journeys are similar and that we each have a burning passion for sharing the truth of God’s word and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ in common.  We shared more of our testimonies with one another and we laughed at how both of us have had moments in our lives before coming to faith in Christ where God’s providential hand was at work blessing us and protecting us even before we agreed to trust in Him. Even though we were lost at the time, God knew we were His and He cared for and protected us right up to the day when we finally surrendered and made Jesus our Lord and Savior.  

Just following the twists and turns of one person’s life can make your head spin with amazement as in spite of rebellion, brokenness, and tragic events, that person was able to find their way to salvation and then follow the Lord in His purpose for them. 

So, you can imagine how overjoyed and in awe I am when I consider the fact that God was with both Tammy Lyn and me throughout our lives working all things together for our good and how He guided our paths to one another. 

I told Tammy Lyn after we confess our love for one another that I was experiencing happiness! Happiness is based on experiencing positive circumstances in your life.  I said that because of my faith in Christ I had the joy of the Lord in my life even when circumstances weren’t so great but now the Lord saw to it to bring us together and I had both happiness and joy!

So as we go into the weekend, I encourage all my friends to draw close to God because regardless of the situations and circumstances that we are facing in this season of life, when we have a relationship with the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ we can have joy!

The joy of our salvation, the joy of His presence, the joy over His provision, the joy over our deliverance, the joy over our healing, the joy over His wisdom, and the joy over His love are all available to experience when we are walking in the Spirit.     

So try to arrange the situations and circumstances of your life to find a little happiness this weekend. You can do that by getting together with friends and family, doing a favorite activity, visiting a favorite haunt or a new place, or just by treating yourself and getting some rest and relaxation.  But in that pursuit of happiness, make sure that you bring the Lord along so He can add His joy to your experience.    

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NKJV)
18  Therefore we wanted to come to you--even I, Paul, time and again--but Satan hindered us.

Today’s verse speaks of spiritual reality of the enemy’s ability to affect even the lives of the most dedicated Christians.  

There is a commonly held belief that the Christian’s “state of grace” makes them untouchable from any negative affects of demonic influence. The rationale behind this is  belief is that because Christians receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at salvation that the enemy can not oppress a Christian.   

Today’s verse indicates that this doctrine of freedom from demonic oppression or influence for the Christian is not true.   If the Apostle Paul who was blessed with a missionary spirit like no other and the gifts of healing and miracles is testifying to the fact that He was hindered by Satan, we should listen and believe that we must be on guard against the schemes and the attacks of the evil one.   

Today’s verse is not the only verse that testifies of the reality of Satan and other demonic entities and their ability to affect Christians.  Paul’s command to put on full armor of God in Ephesians makes no sense if we truly believe that the enemy can’t affect us.  James’ instructions to resist the devil so that he will flee from us doesn’t make any sense if we are untouchable.   The indication is that if we don’t put on the armor of God and resist the devil bad things will happen to even us Christians.  

The examples of Judas, Christ’s betrayer (John 13:21-30(, Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and the Apostle Peter (Matt 16:23) all show that Satan can affect believers by implanting his thoughts, temptations, condemnations, accusations, and lies into our minds. 

So I committed today’s verse to an index card to point to yet another verse in the Bible that clearly demonstrates the spiritual realities that are unseen but can affect our Christian walk.

For a thorough discourse on this spiritual warfare and overcoming the enemy, I would recommend Dr. Neil Anderson’s the Bondage Breaker, and if you would like you could listen to our lessons on His book on the mt4christ247 podcast.  

So be on guard to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Evaluate the thoughts that run into your mind and if they don’t agree with the word of God refute them with God’s truth and your intention to live for Him. 

The ultimate victory has been won by Christ, but we will need to submit to God and resist the devil as we walk out our purpose in Christ.  When we focus on the truth of God’s Word and who we are in Christ the enemy is defeated and we can overcome life’s problems and negative mind states to enjoy the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

So keep walking and talking with God.  Enjoy the victories you have won but keep moving forward in the upward call of Christ to take back more ground from the enemy and claim it for God’s kingdom.  

 

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:

F. How to Maintain Your Boundaries

On the day that Rosie Ruiz steals the spotlight at the 1980 Boston Marathon, the rightful female winner, who maintains boundaries and rightly deserves attention, is virtually snubbed by the media.

Jacqueline Gareau of Canada crosses the finish line in two hours, 34 minutes, and 28 seconds and indeed is the fastest woman at the world-renowned race. She is a French-Canadian who has been described as an object of grace over the years, bearing no ill will toward Rosie and living life in full optimism.

"I just laugh," the 60-year-old former competitor reflects. "It doesn't bother me. I really don't think about her anymore."

But marathon great Bill Rodgers is quick to defend Jacqueline, believing she got robbed of her rightful honor. The Boston Athletic Association is eager to stand by her side as well. Jacqueline is awarded two gold medals, and Bill observes: "It was her ultimate biggest win and I doubt the public is aware of her. She lost the moment. I always say that the most famous marathoner of all time is Rosie Ruiz. I guess infamous is more accurate."

Bill models the call of the following Scripture concerning Jacqueline. . . .

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."

(Romans 12:10)

After setting boundaries, it is very common for the people around you to test them to see whether you really intend to keep them in place. They have been accustomed to getting what they want, so they will try very hard to get you to go back to your past behavior. However, remember that just like in any sport, boundary lines are in place to help everyone. Remember this counsel from God's Word...

"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and to insight, 'You are my relative.'"

(Proverbs 7:1-4)

  • Pay attention to your feelings and watch for early warning signs that let you know you are beginning to lose sight of your boundaries.
    • —Remind yourself why you personally set the boundary in the first place.
    • "I set the boundary because _________________."
    • —Remember, repercussions are okay. . . . They exist because difficult people choose to violate the boundaries . . . not because you set the boundaries.
    • —Rehearse what the Word of God says. . . .
    • "I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).
  • Plan ahead by role playing with a friend . . . or even just by yourself in front of a mirror . . . how to say no.
    • —Begin with simple situations where saying no has little impact; for example, saying no to a telemarketer who calls during your favorite television show. "I'm sorry but I don't have time to talk with you. I'm sure your cause is a worthy one but I must say no. Thank you for calling . . . good-bye." If they are persistent, just repeat what you have already said and gently hang up the phone.
    • —Be aware of how you feel after hanging up the phone. Thank God by reaffirming that the boundary
    • was good for you.
    • —Believe that as you continue to enforce your boundaries . . . it will get easier to exercise self-control and maintain your boundaries.
    • "gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:23).
  • Recognize that any feeling of guilt over setting your boundaries is false guilt because you have not done anything wrong. It is okay . . . and even healthy for you to establish and maintain personal boundaries.
    • —Appreciate the importance of consistency with your boundaries in helping others honor them.
    • —Apply the repercussions when your boundary has been violated.
    • —Always keep the end goal in mind as you persevere.
    • "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:36).
  • Rejoice as you continue to keep your personal boundaries and find yourself "set free"!
    • —Trust that God will give you strength for this journey.
    • —Think about the other people in your life and honor their boundaries . . . recognizing that their boundaries are important to them . . . and are not a negative statement about you. Don't take boundaries set by others personally. Their personal boundaries are set to protect them, not to offend you.
    • —Thank God that He gave you such value when he sacrificed His only Son for you. Therefore, you are worthy . . . as His child . . . to protect yourself with boundaries.
    • "And pray that we may he delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3).


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

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

 

 

 

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