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Showing posts with label Anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anxiety. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Overwhelming Work? Never Ending Grace- Purity 818


Overwhelming Work? Never Ending Grace- Purity 818

Purity 818 08/24/2022  Purity 818 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a view of the Grand Canyon comes to us from a friend who visited there back in April while on an epic road trip that took them throughout the Southwest and terminated in California. With views like this we are not surprised that our friend fell in love with Arizona as they were surprised to admit that “Arizona will apparently forever have a piece of my heart now.”    

I know that a canyon is perhaps not the best way to visually represent “hump day” but I would imagine that those canyon walls sure look like a mountain to the people at the bottom of it!  Also it sort of visually represents how I feel this morning as I contemplate the “mountain” of tasks that seem to be surrounding me as I have decided to prepare for the ministry work I have committed myself to in the upcoming weeks and months as summer will give way to “back to school season”.  

So this morning, I thought I would give a little advice on what to do when we feel overwhelmed with work or have realized the responsibilities that are involved with the promises or commitments we have made.  While my suggestions may be adopted by anyone in general, I will be specific in saying that we will rely on the Lord to help, strengthen, and guide us as we seek to climb out of the valley of the things we agreed to or to keep going over the mountain of things we have to do from “here to there”.   

And I guess that’s where I will begin: at the end.  

Okay, so we are talking about stress, we got things to do, we have limited time, and limited resources, and just thinking about it all can cause us to freak out, to grow anxious or become depressed.  

Unfortunately, in my experience I can attest to the fact that the world, the flesh, and the devil seem to love to pile it on when we may have over extended ourselves or have agreed to things that we didn’t realize would entail what they entail.    

So if the work itself wasn’t enough to deal with, we will be distracted and led astray by our emotions or temptations to make decisions that don’t help or can make matters worse by squandering more of our limited resources.  Ask me how I know!

So back to the end, while some of us may be on a journey with no end in sight and with an uncertain destination, we can find a measure of peace in doing what we can do for today and in making short term goals to not only measure our progress but to motivate us with the fact that we can accomplish some things in a short time even if it may take months or even years to accomplish our long term goals.  

So we contemplate our “ends” – What do we need to do, and what can we do, by the end of the day? the end of the week, or the end of the month?   

Instead of growing anxious because of all the situations and tasks that are on our plate, we divide and conquer it by being realistic and intentional in assessing and prioritizing the things that need to be done now versus the things that can be done later.  So what needs to be done today and what can wait? 

Also in this assessment, we should also consider the things we can complete and the things that will be an ongoing issue or require a sustained effort to complete.    

Once we get an idea of that, we can choose to take on our work in various ways.   We can take on each task one by one and press in until their completion or we can split our time and energy between tasks in equal or unequal measures to begin an overall campaign of activity that will result in “everything” getting done before crucial deadlines.  

So yeah we have to know those deadlines – that’s the end right and be diligent to meet them in a way that will not cause unbalance with the rest of our lives. 

A broad approach that takes everything in consideration and balances your efforts in small increments over time is preferable to leaving things to the last minute in terms of our peace, so avoid the temptations to be lazy but at the same time be wise in knowing your limits and be sure to get some rest when you need it.   

This is all just general advice that anyone can take but I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t remind you that your relationship with God is continuous and the Lord can help you in your efforts to dig yourself out of the hole you are in or to climb over the mountain of work you have to surmount.     

Without God in our lives, we could probably manage to get things done and we will have varying levels of success in performing our tasks and in avoiding making dumb decisions that will hinder our progress but when we walk and talk with Him in our “Everyday” lives we can benefit from His presence, His wisdom, His strength, and His rest.   

The very fact of our covenant relationship with the Lord is a game changer.  His grace is enough and it liberates us.  When we know that no matter how we perform in this world that we are approved of and accepted by God, we can watch the pressure and stress of the things that usually cause us fits disappear.   

The amazing thing about grace is that we can fail.  Failure is an option.  Quitting is an option. There really is no case scenario with God.  No matter how we mess up God will still love us. We can even literally die of shame and embarrassment of failing at our accomplishments and God would be there to welcome us into His arms.  

God knows our pain. God knows our struggles. God knows our situations.

But He never leave us or forsake us in them and He will be available to us to comfort us and to encourage us through the things we need to do.  

So as we plan, as we prioritize, and as we work to “get ‘er done”, we shouldn’t forget that we are not alone. God is with us and just knowing that and being able to go to Him for comfort, guidance and strength will give His power to persevere, overcome, or endure the things that this life will bring to us. 

Although, the things I have committed myself to and the work that is involved in doing them can seem overwhelming when I look at them, when I remember that God approves of me regardless of my performance and that He is with me all the time, those tasks don’t seem so scary anymore. 

I’ll either do a good job, or I won’t. I’ll either get ‘er done or I will have to humble myself and admit that I took on more than I was able.   But even if I do less than what I would have like, I won’t die and even if I do, God will still be with me.  

So don’t be afraid of the “Big Old Pile of work” before you, Don’t be afraid of the opinions of others if you fail. God loves you and you will never be rejected by Him when you put your faith in Jesus and follow Him to the best of your abilities.

God encourages to stretch ourselves to do the impossible, but He has already accepted us as we are.  

But instead of staying where we are, let’s follow the Lord and see what we Can do with  this life. Let’s see where the Lord has to take us and let’s see what we can accomplish when we walk with Him.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Isaiah 40:29 (NLT2)
29  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Today’s verse tells us that God gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  

And all the people said: Amen! – Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we’ve got God on our side guys! We know His grace and it will be with us to carry us wherever the Lord wants us to go.  

Grace is God’s “divine, unmerited favor”.  It doesn’t run out at salvation. As His adopted children, God wants to know His love and His care for us.   If we ask for His strength, we will receive it.  

While God’s power in us may not result in miraculous works or signs and wonders, His strength can be called on to help us to accomplish things we never thought we could or to endure trials and tribulations we would never have thought we could survive.  

God’s strength is in His presence and when we continually abide in Him, we can cast out fear and have hope and joy as we walk through this life.  So if you are feeling weak powerless, ask your Heavenly Father for His help and receive His strength.

______________________________________________________________________

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

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Discerning the Demonic

How can a person detect the direct influence of evil spirits as opposed to it being a societal influence or one’s own inclination toward doing evil?

In the Gospels and Acts it appears that Christ, the apostles and ministers had little trouble detecting the immediate work of evil spirits in the lives of demonized people. Their physical conditions (unusual muscular strength, physical debilitation or illness), bizarre behavior (like living among tombs), extreme reaction to Christ or the use of his name and authority, and the direct response of the demon using the person’s vocal apparatus in reply to Christ (or a follower of Christ) appear to have been foremost among the evidences. Many would contend that the same evidences of intense demonic influence can be seen in certain people today. Some argue that people involved in Satanism and the occult open the door to this kind of severe demonic control; in most instances such people specifically seek communication with demons and the prince of evil.

Yet we should not limit our perception of Satan’s activity to these more dramatic forms. We need to be wary of too readily restricting the devil’s work exclusively to murderous Satanic rituals, scenes similar to those in the The Exorcist, and witchcraft. Satan and his spirits can influence people even if they do not experience voices in their heads and roam graveyards. It is the broader activity of Satan and the principalities and powers that the apostle Paul appeared to stress in his letters.

While Satan may often work in a direct and immediate way in people, he also asserts his sway more indirectly through exploiting “the world” and reinforcing the appetites of the flesh (our inclination toward evil). Thus we need to speak of varying levels of his influence.

First, as “the prince of this world,” Satan attempts to exert his polluting influence on all aspects of societal life and culture. When biblical ethics are portrayed in a negative light in society, Satan has been successful in extending his evil influence on a broad scale. For instance, when pilfering from one’s employer is rationalized, Satan becomes victorious. When vengeance is regarded as the best course of action against a person who wrongs us, Satan has successfully twisted our moral conscience. In short, Satan can pervert societal morals, traditions and customs. (The next chapter will develop this aspect of Satan’s activity in more detail.)

Second, Satan works in concert with an individual’s inclination toward evil (“flesh”). If a person is naturally inclined toward anger and bitterness, in some way an evil spirit may directly encourage that attitude. If the malice continues and intensifies, demonic involvement in the person’s life may become more direct. This situation is what Paul referred to as giving “a place” to the devil. In principle, it appears that those who persistently and willfully continue in certain patterns of sinfulness may experience increasing amounts of direct demonic influence.

Paul did not speculate about how these powers precisely work their evil influence of temptation. He merely said the powers do exert this kind of influence as his way of motivating and preparing believers to face the impending trials.

During World War 2, Oxford Medieval scholar C. S. Lewis wrote an imaginative account of a series of letters, penned by an older seasoned demon to his younger inexperienced nephew. In this little book, entitled The Screwtape Letters, Lewis envisioned each of the powers of darkness as having an assigned “patient” for whom the demon is given the responsibility of using every possible means to direct the patient’s attention away from anything that would lead that person toward God’s kingdom. Throughout the book Lewis depicted the younger demon (Wormwood) as keeping careful track of everything in his patient’s train of thinking and then working to influence the subject’s thoughts in the areas the demon considered him to be the most vulnerable. In describing the elder demon’s instructions to the younger, Lewis used such phrases as: “make him think,” “fuddle him,” “tempt,” “keep everything hazy in his mind,” “keep his mind off …,” “turn their gaze away from Him [God] toward themselves,” and “let an insult or a woman’s body so fix his attention outward …” The power of Lewis’s presentation is in his ability to balance the “patient’s” free will with the compelling power of the incessant supernatural temptation that vies with the ever-wooing, enabling and encouraging Spirit of God. Lewis provokes his readers into thinking about Satan’s potential involvement in the hour-to-hour mundane affairs and decisions of everyday life.

While Lewis’s account moves far beyond the few insights given to us in Scripture, I do not think he contradicts what we know about the work of the powers in Paul’s writings. I am convinced that the apostle Paul would have gone far down the road with Lewis in agreeing with him that the powers of darkness entice unbelievers and believers alike. Lewis has served the Christian community well by heightening the awareness of the demonic in a stirring way that calls for vigilance and dependence on the Lord.[1]

 

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship




[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 187–189.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Answer for Depression and Anxiety - Purity 801


The Answer for Depression and Anxiety - Purity 801

Purity 801 08/04/2022  Purity 801 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a path through the woods comes to us from a friend who “made a few wrong turns on the Blue Trail at Garnsey Park” in Rexford NY but got lost in its beauty and vows to absolutely go back again. And just like our friend, if we make a few wrong turns in life, we should remember the beauty we experienced in the Lord’s presence and vow to follow Him again.

Well it's Thursday again and I share a photo of a pathway as is my habit because Thursdays are the days that I encourage people to get on the path of Christian discipleship as I will be leading a men's group through Freedom in Christ Ministries’ “The Grace Course” on Zoom this evening.

As much as I experience the joy that comes from walking in the Spirit on the path of Christian discipleship, I have to admit that with the joy comes a considerable amount of pain in the terms of the compassion I have for the friends, family, and old acquaintances that I see as they struggle through life without the Lord.

A good deal of my morning this morning was spent sending a reply to a text that I had received from an old friend who was reporting that his son was depressed and feeling anxious. His son had reached out to me in the past and I had done my best to encourage him to seek the Lord and to the find the peace that comes from following the Lord, but the son failed to do what I suggested and never contacted me again.

Now months later, things have deteriorated to the point where the father is thinking about referring his son to a psychiatrist and putting him on medication. While there is certainly need for doctors and medications to help in certain situations, my familiarity with this case would lead me to state that the overwhelming problem here is that this young man does not know who he is in Christ and because of that  he does not know his self-worth or the purpose that the Lord has for his life.

Instead he isolated himself by doing things his way. He surrounded himself with the things of this world. Instead of going the way he should go, as according to the word of God, he has gone his own way and is suffering because of it.

As someone who was lost in the darkness for years and years and years, I can tell you that when you isolate and surround yourself with the things of this world, you will eventually have reasons to be depressed and to feel anxious.  The world doesn't offer any answers. It just offers temporary relief and when that relief is gone, you are left feeling empty.

They say the prophets’ curse is that you know the truth and no one listens to you.  Well I don't claim to be a prophet, but I think I have a small idea about their pain and  I can tell you I do know what happens when you decide to follow the Lord.  As much as I can encourage others, I also understand the need for a personal revelation of the Lord's goodness which only comes from seeking Him.

Our faith has to be more than just an intellectual belief or a theological understanding. Our faith has to be a deep trust in the Lord, meaning we turn to him, talk to Him, read His word, and try to align our lives with His wisdom.

When we fail to do that, we can easily doubt that God is even real. Reading the Bible, going to church, and praying can seem like cold and empty things unless we really believe that God is with us and we reach out to Him in faith to establish that connection, that personal relationship with God.

So my heart bleeds for this man, his son, and for other people who have left me or who I have left behind simply by walking forward on the path of Christian discipleship.

We say we want peace but some of us don’t want to pay the cost. 

If we want the peace of the Lord, we have to surrender to Him. That's what “Lord” means. He's the boss. We are bondservants- slaves – and God is our Good and Holy Master who loves us. We follow Him because he is powerful. We follow him because he is wise. We follow him because he knows what's best. So we have to exchange our control of our lives for His. 

Don’t get me wrong, We still have free will. We can do whatever we want. But when we decide to follow the Lord and do what He suggests in His word, which is contrary to everything we learn from the world, our families and society, we discover that God is real, that God is with us, and although it might not always be easy, we discover that His way is the only way, the best way, to live.

Our faith has to be more than theological understanding. Our faith needs to be a relationship. In a relationship we talk to the other person. We also listen. So in our relationship with God, we have to talk to Him, literally with our voices, but also through the study of His word and through the practices of the Christian faith such as going to church and praying.

We also need to make ourselves open to His suggestions to do good works. After we follow the Lord for a while we'll get intuitions to do good things. We'll get invitations to serve at church or serve in our communities or help with family and friends. These invitations to do good works are another part of our relationship with the Lord. When we answer the invitation, and actually help people which we wouldn't do on our own normally, we enter in deeper to our relationship with God.

Our relationship with the Lord is really shown in that the fact that we are shaping our lives to live the way He suggests. When we don’t do that, or step off His path, we suffer. Ask me how I know.

Even though I pray and read the Bible every day, I recently wasn't diligent in terms of what I put before my eyes and in terms of what I was putting in my mouth, in terms of food, and I suffered the consequences.

But the good news is that I saw what I was doing and I repented. Over the last several days, I have made a concerted effort to adjust my eating habits and to be discerning in terms of what I spend my time watching or focusing on. I decided to turn back to the Lord in a deeper way and I've benefited greatly already.

From last week to today, I've lost three pounds and I feel spiritually regenerated because I am being self-aware about my physical and spiritual health. My focus hasn't gone to the silly things that I was watching before. I've found my rest and my peace in the Lord instead of the things of the world and realize now my mistake and I shouldn't necessarily go back to the world when I want to “take a break and relax”. 

I get it though, life is hard but God is good!

So all I can do is encourage others to do the same as I've done. “Seek the Lord” is my one a piece of advice that will never change. But it's not my advice that will help you. The only One that will help you is the Lord and the only thing that will help you is your making the daily decision to follow Him.

So let me share Psalm 138, because if you get nothing else out of this blog or podcast today, at least I would have proven faithful  by sharing the word of God.

Psalm 138:1-8 (NKJV)
1  I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
2  I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
3  In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.
4  All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth.
5  Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.
6  Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.
7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
8  The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

So praise the Lord, worship Him, and He will answer you when you cry out and He will make you bold with His strength. 

Keep walking and talking with God and you can overcome all that ails you and regardless of the difficulties or troubles of this life, when you follow Him you will have the peace that goes beyond all understanding, the peace that only comes from God, when you have peace with God, through faith in Christ alone.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

 

Luke 18:27 (NLT2)
27  He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus, who encourages us to trust the Lord for the impossible.  

In Neil Anderson and Timothy Warner’s book, “The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare”, the authors state that the biggest lie the enemy tells the Christian is that something is “impossible.”  As we can see from today’s verse, the belief that something is impossible goes directly against the words of Jesus.  

But let’s be clear here, Jesus does not say that “nothing is impossible”, He says that “What is impossible for people is possible with God”.  The key here is “with God”.  So if you are not walking with God, you will discover that there are many things that are impossible.  

But let’s keep it real here too. Even if you do walk with the Lord, and we know that the Lord can do the impossible, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Lord will grant all your impossible wishes.  

Remember, Lord means that God is the boss, and He has infinitely more knowledge and wisdom than we have, and that He has His own purposes too.  

One of the most faithful Christians was the Apostle Paul, and he confesses in one of His epistles to an affliction that he associated with the devil, a thorn in the flesh, and he prayed to have it taken away, but the Lord let it stay and advised Paul that His grace was sufficient, saying. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
9  …, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

To which Paul responds by saying:

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Although he didn’t get what he was hoping for, Paul did pray for the “impossible healing” so we should pray and work to overcome “the impossible things” in our lives too. 

The Lord may choose to do the impossible in our lives or He will give you the strength to endure impossible situations and be strengthened through them.   But either way we can rejoice that the Lord is with us and the power of Christ rests upon us. 

______________________________________________________________________

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

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

11 - Spiritual Warfare

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12 is one of the best-known verses of the entire Bible, yet one of the most misunderstood, misconstrued and practically neglected texts of the Scripture. Immersed in a culture that says evil spirits do not exist, Western Christians struggle even to begin the task of spiritual warfare. We spend more time wondering if we really should believe in demons than grappling with how we should respond to them.

On this topic some of us suffer double-mindedness. Although mental assent is given to the likelihood that evil spirits exists since it is affirmed in the Bible, in reality it makes no practical difference in the way we live our day-to-day lives. When dealing with a personal problem such as illness or depression, medical and psychological services are the only considered alternatives. Little thought is given to the spiritual side. Even in Christian ministry the spiritual dimension is often ignored. Ineffective evangelism, for example, is often attributed to a lack of training or persuasive skill rather than powerful demonic hindrance.

Some segments of Christianity do take seriously demonic existence. They attempt to confront the spiritual dimension. Unfortunately the excesses of a few of these groups sometimes overshadows the healthy aspects of the teaching and practice of others. Ephesians 6:10–20 wrongly becomes a manifesto on exorcism. Or demons are seen behind virtually every problem. The rest of Christianity lamentably writes off the helpful perspective of these groups on the demonic because they appear to be extreme.

We need, more than ever, to gain a revitalized perspective on spiritual warfare. If we are not aware of the subtle and powerful work of our enemy, he will defeat us. Perhaps he already has certain areas of life strongly in his grip, where we have not been aware of his devious work.

Many thinkers believe Western society is on the verge of a major world view shift. Scholars such as Hans K√ľng are anticipating an epochal move from the “Modern Era” to a “Post-Modern Era,” a major paradigm change in the way Westerners view reality. There is no doubt that the rising influence of Eastern thought and the burgeoning impact of the New Age movement will have influence on how Western culture perceives the supernatural. The church needs to be prepared for this new challenge. Few would give the church a strong mark on its preparedness to handle effectively the special problems that arise in ministering to people who have been involved in the “occult.” The best way to determine what spiritual warfare means for us now is to discern what it meant for Paul and his readers back then. First of all, spiritual warfare needs to be understood in terms of what it meant to people living in Ephesus and western Asia Minor where occult beliefs flourished and the reality of the influence of the spirit realm was unquestioned. Second, it needs to be understood in the larger context of the entire book of Ephesians.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

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

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 148–149.

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------------------------

 

 

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship