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Showing posts with label 2 Timothy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2 Timothy. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Blue, Are they a Christian with a Fox? – Checking the Clues 7 - Purity 542

Blue, Are they a Christian with a Fox?  – Checking the Clues 7  - Purity 542

Purity 542 10/06/2021 Purity 542 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a “Turn around somewhere in Grand Gore” comes to us from a friend whose view on life can usually be counted on to brighten our day.  The pickings have been somewhat slim lately when it comes to selecting the photo of the day, perhaps because I am looking at social media less or perhaps it’s because of the shift in the seasons. But this morning as I felt hard pressed to select a photo and looked back in the archives and was seeking to remember the source of one I was thinking of sharing. I went to the photographer of this photo’s FB page.  In my search I found this beauty of a shot that was shared back on September 24th and thought it was a terrific change of pace as the last two days in upstate NY have been rainy and overcast.  

It’s funny because I only know this person through social media, a common interest, and through their posts, I have a sense of their quirky sense of humor and their adventurous spirit. So when I looked to get a new view, I immediately decided to check their FB page.  You have to love it when you have people in your life, no matter how small the scale, that can brighten your day. It is my prayer that the blue sky, green meadow, evergreen mountains, and shining sun in my friend’s photo brighten your day.

But as I hope for sunshine and blue skies to greet us all on this sixth day of October, Blues Clue’s Blue and Dr. Seuss’ Sam I am,  are back in my imagination to continue our examination of different aspects of the Christian Faith that can give us a “clue” that someone we suspect of having faith may truly be an “Authentic” or “Real” Christian.   

As a reminder, I have several single Christian friends who have recently prayed for a Christian life partner which motivated me to think about what “clues” would be helpful in  determining if a potential suitor was a “sheep or a goat”.  

In some of the scariest verses in the Bible (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-27), Jesus Himself proclaims that there will be some people who claim to be Christians but who will be exposed for their false faith.  

I understand the difficulties is determining someone’s righteous standing with God, but for our purposes we are only looking for “clues” and “fruit” in someone’s life that would indicate that they MAY have an authentic Christian faith.  Our examination is not condemning anyone to hell but could prove helpful in avoiding the hell of being unequally yoked.  

Everyone should be wise and discerning in choosing an “authentic” life partner, whether Christian or not.    But I’m a Christian and so are my friends who are praying for a Christian life partner so we are looking for possible “clues” in someone’ attitudes and behaviors that would indicate their Christian faith is “real”.  

As Sam I Am has intruded into the Blue’s Clues universe with his line of inquiry, today we consider the question: “Are they a Christian with a fox?”

Well, foxes are like wolves, right? And the image of a wolf in sheep’s clothing is often used to demonstrate someone who is not who they say they are and who may even have malevolent intent . And no offense, but  if you are trying to convince a Christian that there are other ways to live outside of the ways that are prescribed in the word of God, you may not realize it, but you are pushing the rebellious agenda of the spirit of antichrist and your “well intentioned” advice is actually malevolent.  Shots fired.     

So for this question,  the “fox” would represent a non-Christian or some one who claims to be a Christian but is entrenched in a lifestyle that is more sinful than saintly.  Questions in this scenario that we might ask are:

Does our potential life partner’s faith change with the company they keep?   

Do they dabble in sin because of “peer pressure”?

Do they have close friends that are clearly not Christians or who are involved in activities that are against the word of God?     Is their family Christian?

Are their attitudes affected by their “fox friend’s opinions” or are they based on the wisdom of the word of God?

When they are “in the world”, do they represent the kingdom of God or are they just “regular” folk?  

Do their “fox friends” know they are a Christian? Does anybody?

Again these questions are not intended to cause division or to indicate that someone is “bad” – These same questions could be asked in regard to any faith stream, interest, philosophy of life, political standing, or moral code.  They are not “Christian judge-y” questions.  They are questions that all people should ask about anyone they may want to be in relationship with when trying to determine if you would make a “good couple”.

For our purposes our Christian faith and lifestyle is important to us, and we don’t wish to cause ourselves or the other person any unnecessary heartache by forming a relationship that will be contentious.    

As a Christian who teaches about living as a disciple of Christ’s teachings, we seek to find peace in our relationships, but we also want to have peace with the Lord by living according to His ways and not the world’s ways.      

When we say we are a Christian but don’t live according to God’s ways, we are unstable in all our ways and may discover that our “Christian label” that we wear on special occasions may “not stick” when it comes to eternity.  

God calls us to a holy life so when someone says they are a Christian but who demonstrates that their attitudes and behaviors change when they hang out with their “fox friends”, we have to ask ourselves: “Are they for real?” and “Do I really want to be in a relationship with someone who may be a phony in the one area that I consider to be the most important aspect of my life?”  

As you can see, our line of questioning always considers ourselves and where we stand with God as much is it tries to determine if the other person is who they say they are.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Be wise in the ways you walk out your Christian faith and remember that the best way to find a “real Christian” is to be one yourself and to not compromise your convictions for convenience.     


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV)
22  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Today’s verse tells us what to avoid, what to pursue, and the company we are to keep.  

I swear I didn’t set this up, but today’s verse goes right in line with what we were examining in terms of Christians with “fox friends”.   

We all sin and fall short of the glory God. Before Christ, we sinned a bunch and didn’t think anything of it and while we are forgiven of every sin we will ever do, including future sins, Paul’s letter to Timothy tells us that Christians are not to persist in their “youthful lusts”. 

As Christians we are to repent, which means we are to change our minds about how we think about those “youthful lusts” and turn from them. We are to stop doing the sins of our past and instead choose, every day, to pursue “righteousness, faith, love” and “peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  

So not only are we supposed to reject our old sinful ways and abstain from doing them, we are to seek to do the things of God, acts of righteousness that will build up our faith and give us a sense of peace while experiencing the love of God and the fellowship of the saints.

Yes, the word of God says to hang out with “those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart”, indicating that we are not only supposed to be in fellowship with Christians but that we are to seek “authentic” – “pure”  Christians that we be a blessing to us in our pursuits of righteousness rather than those “carnal Christians” that will lead us  back to our “youthful lusts”.  

So don’t feel bad about being wise in who you decided to spend time with and be in relationship with.  While we are to be a light of the world to the unbeliever, the word of God shows us that we are to be faithful to the Lord’s commands to be “pure” and to avoid associations that will lead to conflict, compromise, or sin.  

So, “pursue righteousness… with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” and you will discover that when you do, the temptation to fall into “youthful lusts” will be much less and that you will experience the benefits of “faith, love, and peace.

 

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 conclude sharing 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:

F. Blended Family Bonding

Build a solid relationship with your spouse.

  • Base your relationship on Christ.
  • Face difficulties with a united front.
  • Move to a neutral home if possible.

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)

Observe family traditions and holidays with flexibility.

  • Be aware of various family expectations.
  • Be considerate of children who are caught in the middle.
  • Be willing to sacrifice personal expectations for holidays.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)

Nurture the children's nuclear family relationships.

  • Respect the missing parent's rights.
  • Encourage communication with all grandparents and relatives.
  • Encourage holiday cards, birthday gifts and thank-you notes.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)

Determine to stand firm.

  • Don't relax your standards.
  • Don't be sensitive to rejection.
  • Don't expect a problem free family.

"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.... Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul." (Proverbs 29:15, 17)

Initiate family structure.

  • Work toward a biblical authority structure.
  • Have well-defined boundaries.
  • Maintain consistent discipline.
  • Be united in decisions.

"The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:12)

Negotiate mutual ground.

  • Encourage open and honest communication.
  • Have frequent family meetings and devotions.
  • Talk, talk, talk with each other!

"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Grow in dependence upon Christ.

  • See your personal identity in Christ.
  • Don't depend on others for happiness.

"Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7)

Insights for the Instant Parent

  • Realize that becoming an instant parent is a challenging task.
  • Remember that you're not replacing a parent; you're offering a new relationship.
  • Reinforce your commitment to the marriage for the benefit of the child.
  • Regard your role as God's example of what a marriage is intended to be.
  • Rebuild a gradual authority system to function by Biblical guidelines.
  • Reflect the love of God by providing security for the child.
  • Refuse to judge or criticize the missing parent.
  • Resist the temptation to withdraw emotionally if you are not immediately accepted.
  • Resolve to pray for the child and for your marriage.
  • Relinquish your right to be respected and loved—it may take a very long time.

"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

A blended family is like a jagged jigsaw puzzle.

If you force the pieces to fit, you destroy the potential design.

If you wait for God to work it, the picture comesin time.

June Hunt

Selected Bibliography

Adkins, Kay. I'm Not Your Kid: A Christian's Guide to a Healthy Stepfamily. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

Brown, Beth E. When You 're Mom No. 2: A Word of Hope for Stepmothers. Ann Arbor, MI: Vine, 1991.

Cerling, Charles. Remarriage: Opportunity to Grow. Old Tappan, NJ: Power, 1988.

Cresse, Michelle. Jigsaw Families: Solving the Puzzle of Remarriage. Lynnwood, WA: Aglow, 1989.

Frydenger, Tom, and Adrienne Frydenger. The Blended Family. Old Tappan, NJ: Chosen, 1984.

Frydenger, Tom, and Adrienne Frydenger. Resolving Conflict in the Blended Family. Tarrytown, NY: Chosen, 1991.

Houck, Don, and LaDean Houck. Remarried with Children: a Blended Couple's Journey to Harmony. San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life, 1991.

Houmes, Dan, and Paul Meier. Growing in Step: A Christian Guide to Stepparenting. Richardson, TX: Today, 1985.

Hunt, Angela Elwell. Loving Someone Else's Child. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive... When You Don't Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008

Marsolini, Maxine. Blended Families: Creating Harmony as You Build a New Home Life. Chicago: Moody, 2000.

Solomon, Charles. The Rejection Syndrome. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1982.

VanVonderen, Jeff. Families Where Grace Is in Place. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1992.

 

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

 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

What a Cluster! – Follow the Path to Life and Healing - Purity 531


What a Cluster!  – Follow the Path to Life and Healing  - Purity 531

Purity 531 09/23/2021 Purity 531 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a section of the corn maze path under a cloudless September sky comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook NY.  Now that we are one full day into the Autumn season I would invite all my friends to boldly grab a pumpkin spiced or apple cider flavored treat this morning and make some plans to mark the season by going out somewhere this weekend or the weeks ahead to celebrate the harvest season.   

It’s Thursday, and I couldn’t resist sharing today’s photo of a pathway through the corn, because of the Autumn season, and because it is my habit to feature a road or a pathway for the Thursday photo to encourage my friends to keep traveling along, or to step on to, for the first time, the path of Christian Discipleship.  One way you can walk that walk, is by joining me for the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Class that I will be leading this evening at Rock Solid Church at 6:30 pm.

For my fellow travelers along the path that Christ laid before us who are not local, I will be uploading a podcast version of tonight’s teaching on the mt4Christ247 podcast and an outline of sorts for the lesson on the “restricted” blog mt4christ dot org.

One of the biggest complaints about the Christian faith is all those “hypocrites” in the church and I would be dishonest if I were to say I didn’t know what you are talking about.  But instead of pointing to the problem people who give the church a bad name because of their licentious lifestyles of sin or because of their hard hearts of self-righteousness,  I would encourage you to be the solution by deciding to be an authentic surrendered Christian who is continuously seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness by living out your faith every day.   

The separation of church and state, or the spiritual and the secular, should not be a theme in a Christian’s life because the correct view of our existence recognizes “Our Father who art in Heaven” who is sovereign over all His creation. 

To experience our new life in Christ, we must agree with the Word of God and apply it to our lives. 

Last night I talked to a brother and kindred spirit who knows the wonders of the Lord’s love and the power of our Christian faith.  While I don’t know all of his story, I know that Darren Duso started coming to my local church a few years ago and started his on walk on the path of Christian Discipleship (all it is our faith walk) by first attending services and then eventually feeding his curiosity, his heart, and mind by enrolling in Rock Solid Bible Institute where he recently received his Associates degree in Biblical Studies. 

But it wasn’t all just “fancy book learning” that has pulled Darren Duso along on the path of Christian Discipleship.  Sure there was the joy of our lively worship services and the fellowship of like minded Bible believing Christians to worship and walk with, but Darren has encountered the living God in a real and tangible way, that many on the path come to experience one way or another.  

Our church celebrates ever new year by calling for a time of fasting and prayer, encouraging our fellowship to choose to use the time to draw closer to God and to set their spiritual visions and intentions for the new year.   

Darren Duso decided to give it a try.  Darren suffered from what they call “cluster headaches”.  As a result of the pain, those with cluster headaches may experience suicidal thoughts during an attack (giving the alternative name "suicide headache" or "suicidal headache"). It is reported as one of the most painful conditions a person can experience.   The pain can be so bad that you consider killing yourself to escape it. 

So Darren decided to fast and pray for healing from his cluster headaches a couple of years ago. If I recall correctly it was about a week after he started fasting and praying that Darren testified to the church that his cluster headaches were gone.  Like I said, that was a couple of years ago, and if you ask Darren today , he will tell you that they are still gone.  

Nice story huh, well as those of us who are walking on the path of Christian Discipleship can tell you, the testimony never ends.  Like I said since then Darren has earned a degree from the Bible college, but he is not done seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness yet.  

Darren just announced that he is now hosting a podcast where he will be teaching his listeners how to study the Bible and how they can apply its truth to their lives. He and I know the power of God personally and both of us seek to encourage people to pursue a life of faith because of the transformative power it has and because of the purpose and joy it can bring to your life.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Seek His kingdom and His righteousness by surrendering to Him and leaving the world and its ways behind. When you start walking in His direction, God will come running into your life to shower you with His love and to teach you the way you should go.  Let go of your pride, pain, and hypocrisy. Confess that you need Him and follow where the Lord tells you to go. 

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:23 (NKJV)
23  But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

Today’s verse wisely tells us what Christians are to avoid.  

Well, well, well.  I could say a lot about this verse. The first thing that comes to mind are politically minded brothers and sisters in Christ that speak the names of politicians more than they speak the name of Jesus.  I understand that value of standing for what you believe in but often what I hear from those who are “fighting the power” or who are trying to “make America great again” falls into the category of “foolish and ignorant disputes” that “generate strife”.  

What do you mean by that MT! I’m standing for our Christian traditions and the US Constitution! Or “I’m standing against HATE!”     

I have no problems with making a stand.  What I have a problem with is one thing.  

1.     To be in the world’s forum of debate, the first thing that goes out the window is the word of God.  

There might be a few exceptions to this but if there are the people who stand on the word of God as part of their discussions don’t get a lot of air play because they would be labeled as religious extremists who don’t live in the real world.  

The Holy Spirit anointed Word of God is the only thing that will activate real change in people’s lives, so the enemy convinces well meaning Christians to “intelligently” debate their opposition by suggesting man made ways to institute reforms and changes. 

The “Christians” in these debates end up failing to use their forum to present the gospel and end up appearing “foolish and ignorant” to their opposition with their watered down Christian values based solutions that just aren’t pragmatic in the real world.  Ironically, by trying to be pragmatic, conservative Christian pundits fail to bring people to Christ and alienate the people they are trying to reach.  

Unfortunately, our Christian wisdom, the gospel, is foolishness to those who are perishing but it is the only thing that will save people. Christ told us to go out into the world and to preach the gospel and to make disciples (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19).  Fighting political battles does neither.  

Today’s verse also applies to us in the church.  As Christians we are to, as long as it depends on us, to make peace with all people.  So fighting over doctrinal differences that are not essential to the gospel must be avoided in order for the church to be effective in its purpose to be used by God to bring people into His kingdom and to maintain the unity and harmony in the body of Christ.  

We are to be the peace makers, not the troublemakers.  So if you find yourself as being an argumentative person, ask the Lord to give you wisdom so that your words will speak the truth in love and represent His kingdom and His plan for humanity. 

 

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:

 

D. How to Build Healthy Boundaries

Bill Rodgers models healthy boundaries and goes on to become a four-time winner of the Boston Marathon.

But for Rosie Ruiz, the 1980 Boston Marathon isn't her first "ruse on the run." In her very first race, the 1979 New York City Marathon, it is later discovered that Rosie starts the race, pulls a fast exit after about 10 miles, rides a subway, and jaunts her way to the finish line in Central Park. She finishes in 24th place with a time of two hours, 56 minutes, and 29 seconds.

What is the motivation for such unhealthy boundaries? Some say it is as simple as wanting to promote herself while intimidating and impressing coworkers.

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."

(John 8:44)

Athletes work hard to develop strong muscles so that they can compete and win. Strong muscles require an exercise plan, a great coach or trainer, and regular, challenging exercise. No athlete can build strong muscles if someone else lifts the weights, works the practice sessions, and takes direction from the trainer.

You also must have a plan, a counselor or mentor, pastor or friend who will walk alongside you as you rely on God to help you gain control of your life. And you must continually face the challenges required to maintain healthy boundaries. . . .

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.>"

(Isaiah 40:31)

6 Sure Steps for Success

#1 Admit that you have a problem: Athletes can't improve their performance without first identifying the problems they're having.

Acknowledge that you're the one with the problem of lacking boundaries.

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

#2 Be aware that you may not want to do the hard work of change: Some athletes say they hate certain aspects of working out, but they do it anyway because they know that if they don't, they won't win.

Admit that you've often been your own worst enemy.

"Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place" (Psalm 51:6).

#3 Care about yourself: Athletes concentrate on their own challenges and leave the challenges of others to trainers and coaches.

Agree to let God change you. Determine to leave others in His care.

"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming" (1 Peter 1:13).

#4 Don't try to go the distance the first time: Marathon runners don't start out running 26 miles. They build up to it—1 mile a day, 2 miles a day, and so on.

Allow yourself to make small changes before you take on bigger challenges.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).

#5 Enforce the boundaries you set: If an athlete doesn't force himself to push through challenges, he won't succeed.

Accept the challenge to enforce boundaries.

#6 Continue to move forward: Athletes have to accept that one day they will not be able to perform at peak levels, even if they haven't achieved their dreams. Everyone has to let go and move forward with life or stay stuck.

At last, move forward, grieving your losses as you seek to fulfill your God-given purpose.

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).

Teach Healthy Boundaries

Question: "As a parent, how can I help my children develop healthy boundaries?"

Answer: Just as children must learn to respect authority, children must also be taught how to build and maintain healthy boundaries. Consider the following foundational elements necessary to develop healthy, appropriate boundaries with children.

Allow your children to say "No" and to hear "No" without fear of rejection or loss of love.

  • —If their "No" is justified, compliment them.
  • —If their "No" is unjustified, stay caring and calm and reason with them.
  • —If they rebel against your reasoning, realize that they are still hearing the truth spoken in love. In time, the seeds of truth can take root and bear fruit. Jesus said...

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Bonding time with your child as an infant is the most important, but bonding time at any age will only strengthen your relationship. It is from this foundation of bonding that your child develops the ability to develop healthy boundaries.

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them" (1 John 4:16).

Consequences are the logical and natural results of our actions. Your child needs to receive repercussions related to bad behavior. For example, if your child hurts someone, the repercussion would be to do something kind for that person. If your child says hateful words, a logical repercussion to retrain that behavior would be for you and your child to go to the person and ask for forgiveness, and then to sweetly speak complimentary, encouraging words to that person.

"You have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler" (Proverbs 6:2-5).

• Discipline grounded in love is basic training for boundary development. Discipline is teaching boundaries, rewards, and repercussions, as well as being proactive in instruction and training in righteousness.

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11 NASB).

• Encouragement equips, energizes, and empowers our children to feel loved. At the foundation of boundary setting is bonding, which is love. Unconditional love encourages our children to form healthy boundaries.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Set Healthy Boundaries

Question: "Why do parents need to set boundaries in the first place?"

Answer: Just as God set boundaries for Adam and Eve when He first created them, you need to set boundaries for your children. In truth...

  • Boundaries demonstrate your loving care. As a parent, you should not feel guilty when setting and maintaining boundaries. You are loving well when you hold the line on limits.
    "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them" (Proverbs 13:24).
  • Boundaries earn respect. Do not be afraid of losing your child's love by establishing boundaries. In following God's loving example, respect for your authority is a natural result of protective boundaries.
    "Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!" (Hebrews 12:9).
  • Boundaries are beneficial, not punitive. Don't look at boundaries as punishment. Good boundaries provide structure and security.
    "May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels" (Psalm 122:7).
  • Boundaries are honored out of respect and trust, not followed or coerced by force. Do not try to manipulate your child through fear or guilt. Instead, rely on established rewards and repercussions to motivate your child to act responsibly.
    "We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you" (Jeremiah 14:20).
  • Boundaries are not detrimental, degrading, or demeaning. Upholding your boundaries is a discipline, and learning to develop and maintain boundaries is a positive skill for your child to learn.
    "Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded"
  • (Proverbs 13:13).
  • Boundaries protect your child much like a filter, keeping out harmful influences while allowing positive benefits.
    "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:10).
  • Boundaries may eventually need to be altered or adapted according to your child's continued growth. As your child matures and your level of trust deepens, you may choose to expand boundaries accordingly. Remember to clearly convey changes of boundaries, rewards, and repercussions.

"For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life."

(Proverbs 6:23)

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

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Light Shines in the Darkness - I Will Trust in Him - Purity 517


 Light Shines in the Darkness - I Will Trust in Him - Purity 517    

Purity 517 09/07/2021   Purity 517 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of shooting star over Grant Island, near Brantingham NY comes to us from SK Photography and Design. Our friend just happened to be “taking a night shot” when they serendipitously captured this soaring beauty in the sky and its reflection in the waters of Brantingham Lake below. I also just love how the lights on the lake light up the scene below and how the other stars that are not racing across the universe light up the sky above. And check out that swimming float on the right and the reflections on the lake that just invite us to take a nighttime dip!

I don’t often share evening photos but this one makes me think of that Neil Diamond song that says, “I thank the Lord for the night time.” because the beauty of His creation only needs a little light to reveal it. Similarly, we just need a little bit of God’s light to help us to walk through even the darkest times in our lives.

That Neil Diamond song confesses that the singer is thanking God for the nighttime in part because of the difficulties of the “up-uptight time” of the day.  Labor Day is over and as most of us return to work today some of us will be challenged by the increase in activity that occurs after a three day weekend and others may have to deal with new routines as “things change now” for whatever seasonal or arbitrary reasons that may apply. I will be experiencing a change of job duties going forward as of today and have a strange mix of excitement and dread.  Anxiety is a common response to the unknown that most of us experience when things change.  

Thankfully, this isn’t my first rodeo and I have some experience at riding the bucking bronco of changing circumstances at work. I have learned that the best tactic for coming to a new situation is to completely surrender to the change and to go into it with an agreeable, open, and humble attitude.  “I’m here to serve and to do the best I can” is our mantra.  Repeat: “I’m here to serve and to do the best I can” Not: “I hate my life!”

I used that second one as a veritable anthem through many transitional periods in my life and I discovered that, while my negative emotional state thought it was an appropriate summation of my experience, it just wasn’t true.  I don’t hate my life. And I don’t hate my job either. Like most of us, I just am not a big fan of change. 

But luckily my years of trial and error of stumbling through life and running into walls has taught me to meet new challenges by embracing the truth. The big Truth is that  Jesus is the way, the truth, in the life of course.  And its by that foundational truth that I can walk through life a whole lot more skillfully than I have in the past.  

The changing circumstances of life can dish out a heaping helping of suffering with all kinds of things that can go wrong, up to and including a sudden death.  But when you make Christ your Lord and Savior, all the possible troubles and tribulations that we can suffer are put in their proper perspective.  

Take the work example for instance, one of the worst case scenarios is to make some mistake and get fired, right? Well, when you have faith you know that the Lord will provide if that happens. But if we really are following the Lord that is not too likely because we will be actively seeking to do what’s right and to perform to the best of our abilities on a daily basis, right?   

So I will play the part of a humble servant because that’s the role God would want me to play. And the funny thing is that when you do that, with a heart to please God and to give Him glory, things usually work out.  But again, if they don’t, I will have the assurance of knowing that I was honest and obedient and tried to do everything His way.  

You see our faith in Christ isn’t just for eternity. Our relationship with God gives us the meaning and purpose we are to live by, right now. So no matter what comes my way, I try to align my thoughts, words, and actions to reflect that I am secure and accepted by my heavenly Father, who just happens to be the Highest Power above and beyond the universe itself.

Beyond work, the bad things that happen in life like sickness, loss, and death, we should  likewise process according to our relationship with God. Easier said than done, I know, if you don’t have a daily spiritual practice of communicating with Him, but that’s why you develop one. “Praying without ceasing” is just walking and talking with God on a continual basis, and as I said above, it doesn’t take too much of His light to strengthen us and show us the beauty in the darkness.   

So as we drive into a new day, think about inviting God along for the ride. He’s omnipresent. That means He’s available and His presence, strength, and wisdom can help us navigate through all the turns and bumps in the road on our journey of life.         


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:25 (NKJV)
25  in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

Today’s verse provides instruction on how to we are to handle opposition and reveals the divine source that fuels the transformed Christian life.  

We recently reviewed 2 Timothy 2:26 which highlighted the fact that those who are outside of the Christian faith, or those who oppose it, are captives doing the will of the devil and need to come to their “senses”.  In presenting that portion of scripture we had to present the context that preceded it and we mentioned that our stance for dealing with opposition was to attempt to correct others with humility. 

Obviously that context, is shown here in verse 25. If we think about why we would try to be humble when trying to correct someone, we can see that there are good practical reasons.

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
1  A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 

So you see here, the word of God is consistent. If we are trying to correct someone we don’t want to stir up anger because angry people tend to be defensive and don’t want to consider a view that is different from their own.  So we should use a “soft answer” and a gentle demeanor that speaks the truth in love when we try to share the gospel or the Biblical principles for how to live. That proverb is also good advice to use if someone should bring accusations or criticism to our doorstep. 

So the principle to have a humble attitude can serve us well as we walk in the world to “win friends and influence people”, but I want to point out that when it comes to the gospel or calling the wayward towards repentance that we don’t just win a debate or convince someone to “do the right thing”.  

Someone putting their faith in Christ or turning from their sins requires the Holy Spirit to move in the person’s life.  God could use us for that purpose through our words and actions, but we must never forget that while the gospel and living a Christian life “just makes sense” to us, seeing the truth and accepting them is something that must be spiritually discerned.  The Holy Spirit is the one brings revelation and opens the eyes of the spiritually blind.   This fact should make acting in humility a little easier.  

Unfortunately, we can’t debate or argue someone into God’s kingdom. Christ’s first commandment is to love God and we can’t convince or force anyone to do that.   That’s why we need to act and speak in a way so we can have some assurance that at least those in opposition to us hear what we are saying and understand where we are coming from because if they have an “ear to hear” the Lord just may just take the opportunity to bring salvation or to “grant repentance”.

For the believer, who is mired sins of their pre-Christ worldly ways, this spiritual reality really comes to bear.  Why do some Christians struggle with sin continually while others seem to have a “moment of clarity” where they can walk away from their sin for good or who come to a point in their faith walk where their besetting sin falls away and its temptation loses its pull?  It is because the Lord grants repentance.   

So if you didn’t get that “instant repentance” it doesn’t mean that your case is hopeless.  God can still grant repentance to you if you chose to surrender to His will and ways for your life.  If you humble yourself and choose to follow the Lord and mature in your faith by putting His word in your mind and heart, you will be equipped to resist the devil, renew your mind, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  This method of walking with God to receive His repentance takes practice and patience.  

It involves discipline and intentionally, and repeatedly, redirecting our thoughts and actions to be in line with God’s ways but it is not just the Christian form of karate where you do all the work by the sweat of your brow.

Part of our daily spiritual practice needs to include prayer where you communicate to God your gratitude and your requests for His strength, wisdom, and love.  When we walk in the Spirit with a heart set on changing our ways for His and drawing closer to Him, we will come to a crossroads in our journey where we leave our besetting sin behind and realize that God, like a midnight surgeon, has “cut that out” of us.

Somewhere along our walk with the Lord, He will granted us repentance in that area and instead of being preoccupied with that fight, we can confidently claim our victory and turn to other areas in our lives to surrender to Him.  

So pray for those who oppose you and use a humble spirit when you try to correct them, realizing that it is only the Lord that will grant them repentance. 

And as you walk in the Lord’s direction try open your eyes, heart and mind to examine your experience and speak humbly to yourself to see what the Lord can help you to repent of. 

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: what do I have in my life that I have accepted as something that is “impossible to change” or that is something I “just don’t want to do (or can’t) do”? The places that “we don’t want to go to” or where we resist may be the areas that God alone can change, and He may be calling us to trust Him to do the impossible in our lives.  

So keep walking and talking with God, we’ve got places to go and people to see. And if we listen to the Lord’s call, he might just use us to bring a victory.

 

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  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 Different Kinds of Personal Boundaries?

Lance Armstrong violates all kinds of personal boundaries when it comes to his association with Greg LeMond.

Among cyclists, Lance develops a reputation as a bully, and before his fall, people fear to cross him. At one point Greg says that Lance calls him and threatens to find ten people who will swear that he has doped. People associated with cycling even call Greg to intimidate him to not interfere with Lance.

Greg's wife, Kathy, says the darkest, most desperate attempt by Lance to shut up her husband was his offer of $300,000 to one of Greg's former teammates to vow he had seen Greg using drugs. The offer is declined, but Lance's bullying reputation is affirmed. "He crosses lines no others will cross," Kathy observes and experiences firsthand.

An Old Testament passage also provides an apt description that could apply to Lance. . . .

"Their feet rush into sin. . . . They pursue evil schemes (Isaiah 59:7)

Relational boundaries enable you to:

  • Stand up for yourself and speak your mind appropriately
  • Feel comfortable in giving honest feedback to others
  • Be firm with others in a loving and gentle way
  • Respect the rules of others and act in their best interest
  • Express the rules you have established for your relationships
  • Defend others and promote equality in relationships

God gives a model of how to do this in His Word. . . .

"Do to others as you would have them do to you."

(Luke 6:31)

Emotional and mental boundaries equip you to:

  • Evaluate the appropriateness of your emotions in light of God's Word and deal with them accordingly
  • Investigate truth for yourself and disengage from those who try to manipulate or hurt you and whose ideas and values are contrary to your own
  • Guard against letting emotions rule you by focusing your mind on God's thoughts and on His character
  • Keep your emotions governed by God's truths and His perspective on events in your life
  • Experience natural human emotions and agree or disagree with others without fear or shame
  • Respond emotionally to others and communicate your own thoughts and opinions in a Christlike way

God tells us to hold our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. . . .

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Spiritual boundaries allow you to:

  • Experience a right relationship with God through trusting Christ
  • Live in a way that pleases and honors God
  • Distinguish God's will from the will of others that has been imposed on you
  • Commit to being controlled by Christ, not by people
  • Avoid spiritually abusive, manipulative, or divisive people
  • Lead a victorious Christian life

God has established spiritual boundaries through His Word. . . .

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

(Psalm 119:11)

Moral and ethical boundaries teach you to:

  • Know the difference between right and wrong
  • Appreciate the true value of people
  • Live a life of moral integrity
  • Be the same in public as you are in private
  • Discern the true character of a person
  • Evaluate the right way to think and act toward others

God calls us to do only what is right. . . .

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."

(Genesis 4:7)

Sexual boundaries authorize you to:

  • Determine whether or not you will allow a person to touch you sexually
  • Determine areas of appropriate sexual expression and activity
  • Determine how you will respond in the heat of passionate temptation
  • Determine personal purity that preserves sexual activity for a committed marriage relationship
  • Determine the parameters you will place on your thought life regarding sex
  • Determine what you will allow yourself to watch, listen to, and participate in that is of a sexual nature

God's Word clearly states these boundaries are not to be violated. . . .

"It is God's will that you should he sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable."

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

Physical boundaries help you to:

  • Guard against abusive behavior
  • Prevent physical injury to yourself and to others
  • Protect yourself against threat or risk
  • Shield yourself from danger or harm
  • Avoid the appearance of impropriety
  • Maintain a sense of being separate, having your own personal identity

God's Word reminds us that our bodies belong to God. . . .

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Healthy Boundaries

Question: "What role do boundaries play in relationships, and just how important is it to establish boundaries?"

Answer: People with healthy boundaries understand the reality of our unique individuality and our need for mutually beneficial separateness. They know that we come into this world alone and we will enter the next world alone.

They accept that we are separate from one another . . . and yet we live with one another. We are individually responsible before God . . . and yet God holds us responsible for how we treat one another.

Clearly, although we are separate individuals, God made us to be in relationship with each other. The means by which we succeed at being both separate and together is established through healthy boundaries. Healthy people have healthy relationships because...

  • They realize that healthy boundaries are...
    • —To be modeled in our families
    • —To be developed in our closest relationships
    • —To be rooted in God's perfect will for us
  • They understand that healthy boundaries provide...
    • —Safety, security, and confidence in who we are
    • —The ability to say no to others without guilt or fear
    • —"Fences" to protect us, not to keep us away from one another

Healthy people have healthy boundaries. With boundaries we are able to juggle the two opposites of separateness and togetherness by creating and maintaining balance in our relationships. We do that by keeping God in His proper place and people in their proper place.

God comes first and people come second. . . .

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

(Matthew 22:37-39)


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

 

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

 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship