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Showing posts with label Anxiety. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

In Over Our Heads – The Lord is Our Helper! – Purity 518


 In Over Our Heads – The Lord is Our Helper! – Purity 518                                                                       

Purity 518 09/08/2021   Purity 518 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a small stream flowing from the Catskill Mountains near C D Lane Park in Maplecrest, NY comes to us from a friend who recently participated in the “Greene County Walks” contest, a 4.3 mile excursion, where they observed how high the waters rose from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, stating that water marks could be seen several feet above their heads on some of the trails, commenting that nature could be beautiful and destructive.   So this tiny stream pictured here undoubtedly swelled during the storm but has since receded to normal levels.   

Well it’s Wednesday and I share this photo today because it features the “humps” of what I  suspect to be the Windham High Peak or the Black Dome Peak of the Catskills Mountains, to remind us that we have reached the mid-way point of the shortened week and to assure my friends that all though circumstances may have come together to cause our heads to “swell” with stress and anxiety, as the Labor Day Weekend and It’s following “morning after” have come and gone, somehow we weren’t destroyed!

Yeah sometimes anticipating the new day can be more daunting than actually experiencing it.  While I mentioned my apprehension over a change at work and was pleased to have some friends reach out with care and concern, I was humorously ashamed later as the mundaneness of work made me realize that my various experiences through the years have prepared me for almost any contingency at work and in life and that I should know that by now!

If I needed any further reminder of how my life experiences, and my reliance on God, has prepared me to accept new challenges, I had a Freedom in Christ Ministries zoom prayer call meeting last night that gave me a platform to give a short testimony of how I became familiar with Dr. Neil Anderson’s work and how God had used it to help me mature in my faith. When we look back and tell people of how God has delivered us out of darkness and listen to others share their stories, we can realize that there is nothing that God can’t bring us through.  

In light of our past and current victories with the Lord, I am reminded of

Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV) which says:
6  So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

 The Lord is our helper. So we should not fear, and declare boldly that we will not fear. What can mere man do to us? What indeed? 

So as we ascended and descend the midway point of the week, and no matter what waters of adversity that may be rising against us, remember where you were before and realize that you survived it. The Lord saw you through all the days of your past.  Place your trust in Him, use the gifts and abilities that He has given you and that your experience has developed, and have confidence that, with Him on your side, “you got this”.  

Hey, I’ll remind myself of this fact, you remind yourself of this fact, and while we are at it, we can remind each other of this fact.  The Lord is our helper. Let’s not forget that,

Let’s endeavor to remember that the Lord is our Helper by thanking Him for His help, and by seeking it and His presence every day.   


I recently took advantage of an offer to receive a “free resource” from Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries. The resource is a collection of Memory Verse Cards with the theme: “Freedom: Our Life in Christ”. 

As I will be leading an eleven week discipleship class called Freedom in Christ, I thought it would be appropriate to change things up by utilizing this free resource to draw the “verse of the day” from.

So we may have presented the verses that come up from this resource previously, but there is nothing wrong with hearing the same verse twice and if it encourages us regarding our freedom and life in Christ, we really can’t go wrong.  So I will draw from this “deck” until we are through them all.   With that said,

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Galatians 5:13 (NASB)
13  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Today’s verse provides us with a reminder, a warning, and points to what real freedom is.   

The reminder in this verse is that God has called us to freedom.  If we were “just fine” or “doing okay” as a race of people, God would have never felt the need to intervene in mankind’s history and eventually send Jesus Christ to teach us about Him and perform His atoning work on the cross.  We were not okay. We were not “free”. But through Christ we have been made free from the power of sin and death!

The warning is to not take our freedom and to corrupt it by indulging in the desires of the flesh that we have been set free from.  When we come to faith in Christ we receive the forgiveness of our sins of the flesh, but just because we are forgiven of our sin doesn’t mean we should take our freedom to indulge in that which required Christ’s sacrifice to cover. It’s like this:  

 “Hey Christ took the punishment for your sins by dying an excruciating death for you and through Him you now have the power to turn from those ways that cause guilt, shame, and pain to you and your loved ones.”

 “Thanks, I’ll keep doing those things, since I’m free!”

“No, you’re missing something. Those things you needed to be forgiven of were what you were in bondage to!  Don’t go back or stay in bondage to them! Claim your freedom by walking away from that junk!”

And finally today’s verse points to what freedom leads to: love!  A natural response to receiving love is giving love. When we realize that God loves us so much that Christ died for us to save us and set us free, we will love God for having first loved us. 

When we grasp the reality of our salvation and the freedom we have been given, we will seek to live out our freedom by living a righteous life and sharing the love of God by serving others.  The overflow of God’s love that is poured into our lives and that makes us free will flow to the lives of those around us.  

“Doing whatever I want” to fulfill our selfish desires eventually leads to shame, guilt, pain, and dissatisfaction. Living that way was never freedom.  

So claim, or reclaim, your freedom by following the Lord’s ways and by sharing with others the free gift of love that He has so graciously given to 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 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. What Is God's Heart On Boundaries?

They've got to go.

In the midst of the Lance Armstrong doping investigation, Greg LeMond calls for the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the honorary president to step down. Pat McQuaid and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, do not manifest God's heart on boundaries.

"During this investigation, you can't have the fox guarding the henhouse, and that means they need to willingly step down—now. Will they? Most likely not because they are protecting their own position. It will take pressure." Greg offers to run UCI as interim president, but insists his replacement must be someone who is "beyond reproach." McQuaid and Verbruggen, by the way, are still leading the controversial UCI.

The truth found in Scripture epitomizes the ways of both Greg and Lance. . . .

"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."

(Proverbs 10:9)

God's heart is that we set boundaries for our relationships with one another. He even wrote some of those boundaries out for us in His Word.

Look at what His Word says regarding His will for us, and you will see them—the boundaries God has ordained for our lives . . . the boundaries we need to establish and live by if we are to follow His heart and live our lives according to His will. . . .

#1 God's will is that we treat one another with respect.

"Show proper respect to everyone..." (1 Peter 2:17).

#2 God's will is that we focus on listening to one another and carefully consider our words before we speak.

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak..." (James 1:19).

#3 God's will is that we express appropriate anger toward one another in a helpful rather than hurtful manner.

"'In your anger do not sin'..." (Ephesians 4:26).

#4 God's will is that we participate in and benefit from mutual submission.

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21).

#5 God's will is that we not lie, but rather speak truthfully to one another from our hearts.

"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor..." (Ephesians 4:25).

#6 God's will is that we acknowledge and take responsibility for our wrongs and that we forgive others for their wrongs.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other. . . . Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (James 5:16; Colossians 3:13).

#7 God's will is that we say "Yes" or "No" without feeling guilty about it.

"All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:37).

#8 God's will is that we refuse to sin against Christ by violating one another's conscience.

"When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:12).

#9 God's will is that we give and receive justifiable rebukes and refrain from using flattery on one another.

"Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue" (Proverbs 28:23).

#10 God's will is that we appeal to a higher authority when necessary, just as the apostle Paul did when he was being slandered by Jewish leaders.

"If the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!" (Acts 25:11).

#11 God's will is that we remove ourselves from abusive situations.

"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered"

(Proverbs 22:24).

#12 God's will is that we emotionally and spiritually support one another.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another..." (Hebrews 10:24-25).


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

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

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Mandela Effect? – The Truth of Work, Meaning, and Purpose - Purity 468


 The Mandela Effect? – The Truth of Work, Meaning, and Purpose

Purity 468 07/12/2021   Purity 468 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo of this Ship Builder’s Memorial under a heavenly blue sky on the shores of the Long Island Sound comes to us from a friend’s recent visit to Port Jefferson NY on Independence Day.  I love the contrast of the statue against that blue sky. It gives the impression that these ship builders are seeking to make a vessel that will allow them to take a celestial voyage to heaven.      

It's Monday so I also share it to point to the paradox of having to live and work on the earth and hoping for life beyond this mortal coil. In our Christian walk of discipleship we teach the need for balance that comes from being in harmony with the Lord our God and by being at peace with ourselves and others here on earth. 

While man’s penchant is to choose one thing over another in most things, the word of God encourages us not only to love God but to also love our neighbors as ourselves. The Bible also indicates that there are various functions to be performed by the members of the body of Christ, with the example of the Apostles having the task of studying and teaching God’s word, while other saints’ purpose was to essentially work in the kitchen to provide for the early church’s physical needs.  But the Apostle Paul also showed that while He was all about expanding the kingdom of God with His missionary and church building efforts, he provided for himself through working as a tent maker.  He famously said:

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NKJV)
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
 

So we just can’t focus on our spiritual lives to the exclusion of our physical lives, nor can we just focus on our physical lives with no consideration of our spiritual lives.   In this world we must provide for the physical needs of ourselves and for our families, so for most of us that means we must work.  

When we become overly focused on the physical world, we can use our intelligence and ability to work to strive for all the best things this world has to offer. We can amass wealth and live in the lap of luxury.  However, no matter what empire we may build up around us, if we don’t have a relationship with God through Christ, our efforts to enter God’s kingdom are as hopeless as the ship builders in today’s photo’s chances of taking a voyage to the sky.  

If we overly focus on our spiritual lives in a selfish manner where we only seek to commune to God by ourselves, we may neglect our physical needs but more importantly we would actually become disobedient to God’s will for our lives to go out into all the world and to make disciples and to love our neighbors as ourselves.   

The state of the world demands that we provide for our physical needs, but ultimate reality demands that we acknowledge that our time on earth is limited and that we must seek to be reconciled with the One who created us, who defines meaning and truth, and who determines the course of existence and our entrance into eternity.  

Yesterday I watched a film, The Mandela Effect, that pondered the concepts of false memories, multiverse theories, the possibility that reality is some sort of simulation, and that things in our universe blink in and out of existence with or without the presence of an observer.  



In the film, a man has suffered a tragic loss and seeks the advice of a “Christian” liturgical minister who holds deist views apparently and doesn’t contradict the man’s belief that God made the universe but then just left mankind to do what they please without His interaction or presence.  The minister merely offers that God gave us some guidelines to live by in the Bible but states that we can never know the meaning of life, but he sought to encourage the man that he could know the purpose of his individual life. 

That was it. That was all the minister had to offer.  He basically stated that the meaning of life was an unknowable mystery, but we individually could know our purpose.

I guess knowing our purpose would entail what job you have, what personal relationships you have, and what hobbies you enjoy, which could describe the complete content of our lives on earth.     

But in this script, the “Christian” minister fails to address the spiritual realities that are revealed in the person of Jesus Christ or the big question of what happens when you die!  The man came to get answers or at least some comfort for his loss and the minister fails to provide either. 

So the man, a video game designer, seeks to build a program to upload to a supercomputer, to “crash the system” of existence in order “to reboot” it and reclaim his lost loved one because computers fix everything! The film was entertaining and interesting but the premises of all these super intellectual ponderings made the same mistake that the minster made.   

They either don’t know, don’t care, or forgot about God and His plan for humanity that is fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  

God is the ever-present observer over all things in time and space, so nothing is blinking out of existence when no one is there to observer it.  

If there are multiverses, God is present in al of them and the trinity demands that Christ would be Savior in all of them.  

The Mandela Effect which is the phenomenon of confusion over remembering things that didn’t actually take place or are not true is a combination of the product of a fallen world that is changing and falling apart moment to moment, influence from the evil forces of darkness that deal in confusion and deception, and the pride and infallibility of man.  Just because you and many others are wrong or misremember something doesn’t mean that there is a conspiracy or that life isn’t real!

The idea that our reality is a simulation is a nihilistic lie from pit of hell because who else would try to convince you that out life isn’t real leading to the conclusion that the consequences of our actions don’t matter or that life is meaningless. Satan would.

These ponderings are the flip side of being too spiritual. These ponderings of philosophy and science are man’s desperate attempts to explain life without God.    

So if you are overly materialistic or have an intellectual view that dismisses God, you are out of balance.  

The truth is that life does have a meaning. The question of existence for anyone living in the last two thousand years is answered in the person of Jesus Christ.   All that we do or think about during our lives on earth will come to nothing if we fail to be reconciled with the God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

So as we walk in this world we must find Christ and make Him our Lord and Savior. 

After that we can enjoy the assurance of a life of meaning and purpose as we receive the Truth, the Way, and The Life that God wants us to experience.

So stand in your faith in Christ and enjoy the freedom that comes from knowing that you are in harmony with God and that your faith gives you the capacity to know peace as you face the challenges of another day.             


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:10 (NKJV)
10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Today’s verse speaks about our future hope and the protection that we have in Christ.

Verses like 1 Thessalonians 1:10 are a great comfort to us because they assure us of our safety from the wrath of God and that the universe will not just run down like an old watch and fade to black.  

Our faith in Christ gives us forgiveness of our sins and exempts us from our rightful reception of God’s wrath.  God shows us mercy and grace because of our faith in His beloved Son.   

As this verse tells us, Christ not only died for us, but He was also raised to life.  The Jesus story isn’t over.  Christ is alive in the heavenly realms and will one day return for those who have faith in Him and then pour out the wrath of God on the unbelieving world.  

While the idea of God’s wrath and judgement could scare us, we should be motivated to speak the truth of the gospel to help others be reconciled with God through faith in Christ.    

For the Christian, our destiny of eternal life is sealed the moment we put our faith in Christ, and we need never fear death or God’s wrath.  Our salvation and the future hope of the return of Christ should carry us through our lives with peace, joy, and purpose.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 7, with the section on our emotions being God’s red flags of warning.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Anxiety Signals an Uncertain Goal

When you feel anxious in a task or a relationship, your anxiety may be signaling that achieving your goal may be uncertain. You are hoping something will happen, but you have no guarantee it will. You can control some of the factors but not all of them.

For example, a teenager may believe her happiness at school depends on her parents' allowing her to attend a school dance. Not knowing how they will respond, she is anxious. If they say no, she will be angry because her goal was blocked. If she knows all along that there was no possible chance of their saying yes, she will be depressed because her goal will not be achieved.

Depression Signals an Impossible Goal

When you base your future success on something that can never happen, you have an impossible, hopeless goal. Your depression is a signal that your goal, no matter how spiritual or noble, may never be reached. We can be depressed for biochemical reasons, but if there is no physical cause, then depression is often rooted in a sense of hopelessness or helplessness.

I was speaking at a church conference on depression when a woman who was attending invited my wife and me to her home for dinner with her family. The woman had been a Christian for 20 years, but her husband was not a Christian. After I arrived, I quickly realized that the real reason this woman had invited me to dinner was to win her husband to Christ.

I discovered later that the woman had been severely depressed for many years. Her psychiatrist insisted that her depression was endogenous and she staunchly agreed. I believe, however, her depression stemmed from an impossible goal. For 20 years she had based her success as a Christian on winning her husband and children to Christ. She had prayed for them, witnessed to them and invited guest preachers home for dinner. She had said everything she could say and done everything she could do, but to no avail. As the futility of her efforts loomed larger, her faith faltered, her hope dimmed and her depression grew.

We had a nice dinner and I had an enjoyable conversation with her husband. He was a decent man who adequately provided for the physical needs of his family. He simply didn't see any need for God in his life. I shared my testimony and tried to be a positive example of a Christian. The last time I saw the woman, she was holding on to slim threads of hope. Her depression affected her positive attitude in the home, and her witness to her husband only weakened, further obliterating her goal.

You should, of course, desire that your loved ones come to Christ, and pray and work to that end. When you base your sense of worth as a Christian friend, parent or child on the salvation of your loved ones, however, realize that this goal may be beyond your ability or right to control. Witnessing is sharing our faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. We can't save anyone. Depression often signals that you are desperately clinging to a goal you have little or no chance of achieving, which is not a healthy goal.

Sometimes depression reveals a faulty concept of God. David wrote: "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?...How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (Psalm 13:1, 2, NIV). Had God really forgotten David? Was He actually hiding from David? Of course not. David had a wrong concept of God, feeling that He had abandoned him to the enemy. David's wrong concept led him to an impossible goal: victory over his enemies without God's help. No wonder he felt depressed!

The remarkable thing about David is that he didn't stay in the dumps. He evaluated his situation and realized, "Hey, I'm a child of God. I'm going to focus on what I know about Him, not on my negative feelings." From the pit of his depression he wrote: "I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation" (Psalm 13:5). Then he decided to make a positive expression of his will: "I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me" (Psalm 13:6). He willfully moved away from his wrong concept and its accompanying depression and returned to the source of his hope.

With God all things are possible. He is the God of all hope. Turn to God when you are feeling down, as David did. "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God" (Psalm 43:5).


Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship