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Showing posts with label Boundaries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boundaries. Show all posts

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Discipleship - Accountability, Personal Responsibility, and Boundaries - Purity 1154


 Discipleship - Accountability, Personal Responsibility, and Boundaries - Purity 1154

Purity 1154 09/23/2023  Purity 1154 Podcast

Purity 1154 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a fiery sunset over the shores of an unknown beach comes to a currently unknown friend who shared this photo on or around August 29th of this year.  Yup, my memory and efforts to discover our “mystery photographer” have failed me this morning but I felt compelled to share it all the same because of its beauty and hope that my “unknown friend” will forgive me and give me a heads up so I can give credit to where credit is due and possibly find out where this scene was captured. Wherever it is, it looks nice, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it in person.  So if this is your photo and would like to enlighten us, let me know and I will update the blog.  

Anyway, It’s Saturday and as much as I was looking forward to getting to my countryside home last night, my joy had to be tempered by the fact that my wife TammyLyn is very much on the mend. Although her pain has decreased, she has to be gentle with herself because the sights of her wounds from dental surgery are delicate and healing and if she overly exerts herself she could inadvertently open up her wounds.

My enthusiasm for Friday night was also tempered by the fact that I had a frustrating day at work as equipment failures, inexperience, assumptions, and well-meaning interference caused what should have been a relatively simple task to be complicated, turning a 3 hour job into a 7 hour learning experience.

When your equipment fails to work after multiple replacements, you have to realize that the equipment isn’t the problem and the variable that “surely can’t be the problem” is the problem”. In troubleshooting, sometimes you encounter the mystery of things that work in some ways but mysteriously don’t work overtime or in the ways they should.   In those instances you are confronted with the “it works – but it doesn’t work” paradox – and even though you have evidence that “it works” – that fact that it inexplicably “falls apart and doesn’t “stay working” forces you to accept that what “looks good is actually bad”. 

But I eventually “got ‘er done” and now see the error of my ways and how I could have avoided spinning my wheels for so long. But the effect of the learning experience of my “no good, very bad, terrible day” at work was that I was exhausted and went to sleep around 8:30 pm last night, causing me to “fail to be accountable” by not reporting my “food plan success” to my accountability partner as I am in my 5th week of overcoming my food addiction.

I fell asleep and forgot to text and when I awoke this morning I realized my failure because my accountability partner sent me a message after the time I normally check in stating “ALEXA HELLOOOOO” – because I had failed to remember before and have actually set a routine to have my electronic personal assistant to help me be accountable – to tell me to “text Scott” at 9pm each day– but that doesn’t help when Alexa is down at River house in Stuyvesant and I am asleep at TammyLyn’s Countryside Home in Easton.  

So I texted Scott to let him know that the food plan was a success, and I appreciated his faithfulness in keeping me accountable. I will have to set a reminder on my phone for the weekends, I guess. 

Anyway, although I like to report what is happening in my life sometimes it can be a mouthful to write out and I can veer off course from where I wanted to go in terms of writing the blog.   

I sat down initially to write about accountability, responsibility, family, boundaries, and discipleship because of something else that happened yesterday!

I am currently in a discipleship/friendship relationship with a man that I met through the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group that I lead on Wednesday nights.  “Sam” is an older gentleman and has sought my counsel and prayer on a few occasions, and because I am training to be a Deeper Walk certified prayer minister, we have agreed in principle to enter into a discipleship/prayer ministry relationship where I intend to lead Sam through the Freedom in Christ Course material to prepare him to go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ and possibly other forms of “freedom prayer” or “healing prayer” ministry.  

As he attempts to walk by faith, Sam is encountering difficulty in his interpersonal relationships and has come to me for support, advice, and prayer.  Yesterday, acting on my advice, he had a discussion with his significant other that turned contentious and afterward, while I was struggling through my workday, Sam sent me a text asking if we could pray about it.   I didn’t see the text until the workday was done and responded that I was sorry to hear that his “talk” didn’t go well as I got in my car to head north to TammyLyn’s house.   While I drove, Sam texted back. asking if we could talk. When I got to countryside I decided that I could call Sam while I took Harley for a walk down Waite Rd – something we do when I arrive at my countryside home.  But when I called Sam to check in he didn’t pick up and there was no room to leave a message in his voicemail.  At that moment, I made the decision that I had to set a boundary on my personal with my wife, and texted Sam back telling him to “lean on the Lord” and wouldn’t be able to speak to him until Monday  because I was with my wife for the weekend. 

In that short walk down Waite Road, I came to the realization that now that I am going to move into the phase of my life where I begin to establish myself as a “life coach” – I was going to have to make some clear limits on my time in terms of when I can provide ministry.  I have to value my “family” time and encourage those I counsel to be personally responsible for their walk by realizing that there will be times that they will have to “practice” what I am encouraging them to do.  

Walking in the Spirit – which is the remedy to all life’s problems that I prescribe – requires you to “lean on the Lord” by:

·       reminding yourself what God’s word says

·       agreeing that it is true and applies to you ‘

·       going to the Lord in prayer to seek His presence and help.

·       and making the decision to not enter into sin or to linger in negative mind states that contradict God’s word. 

So when your accountability partner, sponsor, mentor, discipler, family, or friends are not available when you encounter a crisis, you “practice” being a disciple by going to God in prayer to find the comfort, strength, and guidance to overcome. You turn from the world and its problems and fleshly solutions, and you turn to the Lord for his wisdom, love, and pathway to peace. 

The pathway of Christian discipleship can and will be a lonely road at times but with the Lord you are never alone and have to accept that we don’t base our success on some other person’s presence or faithfulness, we rely on the faithfulness and presence of the Lord to lead us to freedom and victory.  

While other people may not be there for you when you need them, the Lord is with us always and it is from Him where we receive the help we need.  

Early on in this latest chapter of the Celebrate Freedom ministry at Starpoint Church one of the people shared a testimony of how in the past they relied on their sponsor to maintain their sobriety and confessed how their sponsor relapsed and was unavailable when they began to struggle. Rather than standing on his own or going to his “higher power” for support, this person took his sponsor’s absence as an excuse to relapse himself!

 “They weren’t there, so I relapsed” may sound like an understandable excuse but it reveals a real immaturity in that person and exposes a lack of personal responsibility that will invariably lead to failure.  

Another participant, in talking about his alcoholism and decision to come to a recovery meeting,  said “Now that I’m not allowed to drink anymore…” which caused me to respond that unless they were going to choose sobriety for themselves, they would invariably fail to stay sober.   No one can force you to clean up your life and as far as I am concerned unless you decide to surrender your life to the Lord and pursue progressive sanctification, there really is no point in even trying to change. 

Without God’s peace through faith in Jesus Christ, whether you succeed in getting sober or not, it won’t make much difference when you end up in hell.  Without God you might as well stay a drunk or addict because although your addiction may cause you to suffer here on earth, it will pale in comparison to the anguish you condemn yourself to in eternity.

I encourage Christian discipleship not just because it “makes you a better person”, I encourage people to follow Jesus because it saves your life and gives you meaning and purpose.  If you fall short of following Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you do, you are doomed.  

Personal responsibility and a commitment to follow the Lord is a fundamental aspect of a life lived in the Spirit. So as much as I want to “be there” to support and encourage others in their faith walk and struggles, there has to be an understanding that while I will do my best to encourage others in their walk, it is their walk – not mine – and they will have to walk it out for themselves.   

So yesterday, I made the decision to make my time with my wife on the weekends sacred – to put up a hedge that will protect my relationship with my wife and demand that those I seek to help be responsible to put into practice what I teach and to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord for support.  

Walking in the Spirit isn’t a list of rules and principles to follow – it is a living relationship with God Himself – who is always present and always faithful to help those who rely on Him.  

So enjoy the weekend and be sure to put up appropriate boundaries to keep your life balanced and to encourage others to “lean on the Lord” rather than just “leaning on me”.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Anger, Hot Temper.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV2011)
1  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Today’s verss fall under the sixth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Anger, Hot Temper

 6. Hot words stir up strife.

Today’s verse points to a fundamental truth on de-escalation and keeping contentious exchanges from becoming volatile or violent.  God’s word encourages us to “answer” in a gentle manner when confronted with anger and warns us that if we speak harshly we can cause others to be angry. 

As disciples of the Prince of Peace, we are, as much as it depends on us,  to walk in peace with others.  So we don’t “fight fire with fire” or return “evil with evil”, instead we respond to evil with good and respond with a gentle word rather than a harsh response when we encounter someone else’s wrath.

A gentle word could calm someone down and establish a ground where peace can be negotiated and found. So be wise and follow God’s word to move from anger to peace.

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3) 

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

26 -The Spirit Interceding

How the Spirit Intercedes

First, when the believer is most oppressed by outward trials and is most depressed by a sense of his inward vileness, when he is at his wit’s end and ready to wring his hands in despair, or is most conscious of his spiritual deadness and inability to express the sinfulness of his case, the Spirit stirs him in the depths of his being: “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” There has been some difference of opinion as to whether this refers directly to groanings of the Spirit Himself, or indirectly to the spiritual groanings of the Christian, which are prompted and produced by Him. But surely there is no room for uncertainty: the words “cannot be uttered” could not apply to a Divine Person. That which He produces in and through the believer, is ascribed to the Spirit—the “fruit” of Galatians 5:22, and Galatians 4:6 compared with Romans 8:15!

As it is the Spirit who illumines and gives us to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the depravity of our hearts, so He is the One who causes us to groan over the same. The conscience is pierced, the heart is searched, the soul is made to feel something of its fearful state. The conscious realization of “the plague of our hearts” (1 Kings 8:38) and its “putrefying sores” (Isa. 1:6), produces unutterable anguish. The painful realization of our remaining enmity against God, the rebellion of our wills, the woeful lack of heart-conformity to His holy Law, so casts down the soul that it is temporarily paralyzed. Then it is that the Spirit puts forth His quickening operations, and we “groan” so deeply that we cannot express our feelings, articulate our woe, or unburden our hearts. All that we can do is to sigh and sob inwardly. But such tears of the heart are precious in the sight of God (Ps. 56:8) because they are produced by His blessed Spirit.

Second, when the soul is so sorely oppressed and deeply distressed, the Spirit reveals to the mind what should be prayed for. He it is who pours oil on the troubled waters, quiets in some measure the storm within, spiritualizes the mind, and enables us to perceive the nature of our particular need. It is the Spirit who makes us conscious of our lack of faith, submissiveness, obedience, courage, or whatever it may be. He it is who gives us to see and feel our spiritual wants, and then to make them known before the Throne of Grace. The Spirit helps our infirmities by subduing our fears, increasing our faith, strengthening our hope, and drawing out our hearts unto God. He grants us a renewed sense of the greatness of God’s mercy, the changelessness of His love, and the infinite merits of Christ’s sacrifice before Him on our behalf.

Third, the Spirit reveals to cast-down saints that the supplies of grace for their varied needs are all expressed in the promises of God. It is those promises which are the measures of prayer, and contain the matter of it; for what God has promised, all that He has promised, but nothing else are we to ask for. “There is nothing that we really stand in need of, but God hath promised the supply of it, in such a way and under such limitations as may make it good and useful unto us. And there is nothing that God hath promised but we stand in need of it, or are some way or other concerned in it as members of the mystical body of Christ” (John Owen). But at this point also the help of the Spirit is imperative, “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12).

It is thus that the Spirit bears up the distressed minds of Christians: by directing their thoughts to those promises most suited to their present case, by impressing a sense of them upon their hearts, by giving them to discern that those precious promises contain in them the fruits of Christ’s mediation, by renewing their faith so that they are enabled to lay hold of and plead them before God. Real prayer is in faith: faith necessarily respects God’s promises: therefore if we understand not the spiritual import of the promises, the suitability of them to our varied cases, and reverently urge the actual fulfillment of them to us, then we have not prayed at all. But for that sight and sense of the promises, and the appropriation of them, we are entirely dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, the Spirit helps the Christian to direct his petitions unto right ends. Many prayers remain unanswered because of our failure at this point: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (Jas. 4:3). The “ask amiss” in that passage means to ask for something with a wrong end in view, and were we left entirely to ourselves, this would always be the case with us. Only three ends are permissible: that God may be glorified, that our spirituality may be promoted, that our brethren may be blessed. Now none but the Spirit can enable us to subordinate all our desires and petitions unto God’s glory. None but the Spirit can bring us to make our advancement in holiness our end—the reason why we ask God to grant our requests. This He does by putting into our minds a high valuation of conformity to God, a deep longing in the heart that His image may be more manifestly stamped upon us, a strong inclination of will to diligently seek the same by the use of all appointed means.

It is by the Spirit the sin-troubled Christian is helped to apprehend God as his Father, and his heart is emboldened to approach Him as such. It is by the Spirit we are granted a conscious access to the Throne of Grace. He it is who moves us to plead the infinite merits of Christ. He it is who strengthens us to pray in a holy manner, rather than from carnal motives and sentiments. He it is who imparts any measure of fervor to our hearts so that we “cry” unto God—which respects not the loudness of our voices, but the earnestness of our supplications. He it is who gives us a spirit of importunity, so that we are enabled (at times) to say with Jacob, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me” (Gen. 32:26). And He it is who prepares the heart to receive God’s answer, so that what is bestowed is a real blessing to us and not a curse.

In conclusion let it be pointed out that the motions of the Spirit in the saint are a “help” to prayer, but not the rule or reason of prayer. There are some who say that they never attempt to pray unless conscious that he Spirit moves them to do so. But this is wrong: the Spirit is given to help us in the performance of duty, and not in the neglect of it! God commands us to pray: that is our “rule”—“always to pray” (Luke 18:1), “in everything by prayer and supplication” (Phil. 4:6). For many years past, the editor had made it a practice of beginning his prayers by definitely and trustfully seeking the Spirit’s aid: see Luke 11:13. Do not conclude that lack of words and suitable expressions is a proof that the Spirit is withholding His help. Finally, remember that He is Sovereign: “the wind bloweth were it listeth” (John 3:8).[1]

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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1 - Purity 536

 

Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1   - Purity 536

Purity 536 09/29/2021 Purity 536 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a view of, and from, the Adirondacks Mountains comes to us from a friend who recently has made it a goal to be ADK 46er, an individual who has climbed all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks. With this first excursion, my friend, and future family member, conquered 2 of the Adirondack’s peaks, declaring that they have 44 to go on their quest and captioned this photo: “This is NY” to point out that the Empire State was more than just New York City.   

I share this pic not only to get “brownie points” with a future in-law, but because of its natural beauty and because it is Wednesday, and I didn’t have a better photo to represent “Hump Day” and to also highlight the fact that  sometimes we have to question and challenge our ideas and preconceived notions about what something “is”.  As my friend’s photo’s caption might challenge and expand the ideas of what some people might think of as “New York”, I have decide to begin a series where we question or challenge the ideas of what a “Christian” is and, as “Steve” from the children’s  show “Blues Clue’s” recently remade an appearance to encourage all those childhood viewers that are now adults, I have decided to have some fun with the idea of “checking for clues” by looking at different aspects of the Christian faith or religion in general to help my friends to determine if some one is a “real” or authentic Christian.

Now please understand, coming into the kingdom of God is only possible through making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, so whatever topic I examine is not necessarily a way to determine if some one is saved or not, although the topics I discuss may indicate the fact that some don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  No, this series will serve to be more of an indicator of the level of someone’s spiritual maturity or commitment.  The idea is that the more “clues” we find that indicate someone is a Christian, the more likely they are a Christian.  

I was motivated to make this investigation into “what a Christian is” by several friends who have the desire to find a Christian life partner.  As someone, who was convinced that they would probably spend the rest of their life alone because of the spiritual wasteland and Christian desert in Post Christian American Society, I can understand the difficulties in finding a suitable mate that actually has faith in Christ that is authentic. 

So the first “clue” that should be looked for in trying to determine if someone is a Christian is: Church membership and attendance.   

Now while we don’t know the spiritual condition of people’s hearts and it is theoretically possible (although we may have our doubts) to be a Christian and to not be a member or regular attender of church, church membership and attendance is a “clue” that you definitely would want to find in your investigation of someone you are interested in when looking for a Christian mate.  

The Bible says that we are not to forsake the assembly of the saints but should exhort one another to come together as Christians to worship the Lord and fellowship with one another as members of the body of Christ.  

So boys and girls, our first question is: if you meet someone you are interested in who says they are a “Christian”, but  they don’t belong to a church or they don’t go to church services regularly, should we turn and run for the hills?        

No, although you might want to lace up your running shoes and be ready to bid that person a fond farewell, you should ask them why they don’t attend church before you rule them out.  

Because of ignorance, corruption, and abuse many people may have some very personal reasons for not going to church.  So listen to their reasons and their story. When you do, listen to how they speak about their faith and the circumstances around why they have chosen to forsake the assembly of the saints. 

If there is no story, and they “just don’t go” or “have better things to do” or “get bored in church”,  that person, if a Christian at all, doesn’t have a mature faith and may be very ignorant of what a relationship with God is and is most likely in bondage to sin, of pride if nothing else more explicit.   

If there is a story of abuse or offense about a particular denomination or church, it would be wise ask if they tried other churches.  The idea here is we are looking for “clues” about the person in front of us and their faith and character, not the institutions or organizations they encountered.  How did they respond? Are they forgiving? Have they essentially ended their relationship with God because of what happened? Do they have or understand what a relationship with God is?   

The bottom line for people we find who don’t attend church is that we want to know what there understanding of the Christian faith is. Most likely they may intellectually have some facts about faith but generally MOST of the people in our “Christian” society are woefully ignorant of the doctrines of grace and what a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ looks like and means experientially.   

Oh and that also applies to the MOST of the few people you find that actually do belong to or go to church. 

One saying about the authenticity of one’s faith based on church membership or attendance is that “just because someone hangs out at a garage, it doesn’t make them a car.”      

So like Jane Goodall, we should observe our subject of interest in their natural habitat to see how the person who “goes to church” behaves.  Actions and attitudes that we observe in our “church going” subject may be invaluable clues to the condition of their personality and level of maturity.  

These “clues” may lead us to the conclusion that our subject is indeed a Christian but reveal that they are not “husband or wife” material. We can meet and fellowship with all kinds of Christians with various levels of commitment, devotion, and maturity but just because they are a Christian doesn’t mean we have to be joined to them in holy matrimony.  

So kids, this “first clue” of church attendance is a big one on our quest to solve the mystery of “what is a Christian” and should be taken very seriously.  While the equation “No church attendance = no faith” isn’t a law that set is set in stone, it could be a principle that adequately describes the vast majority of people that “no church attendance” applies to.   

But as I pointed out, if we are interested in someone, we should listen to their story and try to discern level of understanding and watch how they behave.   If we are discerning we will make far less mistakes in our relationships, but we have to keep our eyes open for the “clues” that will tell us if some one is a “real Christian”

So keep walking and talking with God. He is with us always so go to Him for wisdom as you walk through this life and consider and apply what His word tells you so you can experience the fruit of the Spirit and discover His good and perfect will for your life.    


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 14:9 (NKJV)
9  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Today’s verse reminds us of the fact and purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection and the spiritual state of reality.  

As always context is king in understanding the Bible so when you look up a verse and it is referring to something previously stated, we should look to see what it is referring to. 

Verse 8 basically states that if we, as Christians (because Romans is a letter to the church in Rome, right?) if we live or die, we live to the Lord or die to the Lord, and we are the Lord’s.  

So “this end” mentioned in today’s verse is referring to Christians being the Lord’s possession or children”.  Christ’s death and rising again was for “this end” – that we would be the Lord’s”  

So why did Christ die and rise again? So that we would be the Lord’s.  

So Romans 14:9 can serve as a “proof verse” for not only the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection but it can also be used, along with verse 8, to express why Jesus died and was resurrected: so that people would become the Lord’s, that the people who put their faith in Jesus Christ would be His.  

The second part of this verse eposes the fact that there is a  spiritual reality beyond death.  The phrase “Lord of both the dead and the living” indicates that there is life beyond death, just in case you weren’t convinced by the fact that Jesus came back from the dead!

This verse directly contradicts the atheistic or materialistic view that all life is extinguished  when we die.  Christ’s resurrection proves there is life after death and today’s verse indicates that He is Lord over both the realm of the living and dead. 

Those who die are given their final destination based on their relationship with Christ with those who have placed their faith in Him being welcomed into “paradise” where there are “many mansions” as scripture says, and those who haven’t placed their faith in Christ, the one’s he “never knew”, being consigned to the “outer darkness” where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, in Hell.  

So rejoice over the fact that Christ died and rose again so that we could be “the Lord’s” and endeavor to represent God’s kingdom by telling people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Lord doesn’t want anyone to perish so share the hope of Jesus Christ and pray that those without His saving grace will put their faith in Him and make Him the Lord of their lives.  

 

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:

Frequently Asked Questions

Too Much Help

Question: "How much help is too much?"

Answer: Consider the following boundary issues:

  • —By allowing a needy person to be dependent on you, do you feel more significant?
  • —Under the guise of being a "giving person," are you being a modern-day martyr in order to attract attention?
  • —Do you ever think, How could you do this to me after all I've done for you?
  • —Examine your motives. Pray that you can discern the driving force behind your need to help.

"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart" (Proverbs 21:2).

Rejected by In-Laws

Question: "My parents have rejected my wife ever since we've been married. They don't include her in family functions. I go without her to weddings, birthdays, and graduations. How can I get my parents to accept her?"

Answer: As her husband, you are called to love your wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). A tangible way to express your love for her is through actions that convey you value and cherish her and are willing to "lay your life down" for her. Until now, you have been accepting of your parents' hurtful choice to exclude your wife from family functions.

For your parents to accept your wife, they need a motivating "reason" to accept her. Presently they have no motivation because no consequences have been attached to their failure to accept her. As long as you go alone to family affairs, you are communicating that excluding her is permissible. This is dishonoring to your wife. As a member of the extended family, it is only right that she be invited to normal family functions.

Therefore you must explain to your parents that in the future, either you and your wife will both come or you will both stay home. And you must be consistent 100% of the time, unless you or your wife literally "can't make it." Consider conveying to your parents the concepts contained in the following statements. . . .

  • "I love my family very much and always want to be at family occasions."
  • "Because I'm married, my wife is part of our family and should be included in our family functions."
  • "Since the two of us are united as one, if you don't accept my wife, then you don't accept me."
  • "When you don't respect her by ignoring her, you are also showing disrespect to me because she is my choice for a lifelong mate."
  • "Beginning today, I expect for my wife to be included in our family get-togethers and to be treated with acceptance or else we will both stay home. Ultimately, the choice is yours."
  • The Bible presents the following principle in both the Old and New Testaments, in four different books of the Bible—Genesis, Matthew, Mark, and Ephesians. . . .

"A man will leave his father and mother and he united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

(Ephesians 5:31)

Cyberbullying

Question: "My teens have become the targets of a cyberbully. What can I do to protect them from being bombarded with this kind of abuse?"

Answer: With the increase in use of cell phones and e-mails, cyberbullying is a serious issue. If your teen is being bullied online or through mobile or social messaging, it is critical that you take immediate action. . . .

  • Use parental controls, filtering software, and online tracking programs.
  • Talk with your teen and be sensitive to changes in mood relative to online activity.
  • Look at their communications with them and immediately address abusive messages. Don't be dismissive or flippant. These verbal attacks are hurtful and harmful, and your teen needs your protection and steadfast support.
  • Communicate all cyberbullying to the appropriate school administrator and authorities.
  • Make copies of all abusive and threatening correspondence and keep in a file as documentation if needed for further action.
  • Delete abusive messages with your teen so that they know you are there for them.
  • Talk often and pray with and for your teen.
  • As you help your teenagers take actions that will protect them, also remind them that their identity is not in what others say, but like Jesus, who was unjustly slandered, they are to entrust themselves to the ultimate Judge who judges justly. . . .

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

(1 Peter 2:21-22)

Tough Love for Teens

Question: "I had my teenage son arrested and jailed after he was caught drinking with some of his friends. Did I handle this situation correctly?"

Answer: Yes, you did the right thing. Consider these reasons for letting your son spend time in jail:

  • Underage drinking is illegal.
  • When a person is in the wrong, they need to suffer the natural repercussion (pain) of their wrong behavior. The pain needs to outweigh the pleasure of the sin . . . otherwise people will keep going after the pleasure.
  • As a parent who loves your son, you have the responsibility to discipline your son and correct his behavior. Tough love . . . often is precisely what teens need.
  • Look at the heart of this insightful "'The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.' Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:6-7, 11).

"Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

(James 5:20)

Because the concept of boundaries began with God, the best relationships have boundaries.
They protect both your heart and your home.


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 28, 2021

One Small Change – Walk in the Spirit - Purity 535

One Small Change  – Walk in the Spirit    - Purity 535

Purity 535 09/28/2021  Purity 535 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a sunrise over the Atlantic comes to us from a friend’s recent weekend getaway to an undisclosed location on the Maine Coastline where they were able to “unwind and regenerate”.  While this photo is of a sunrise with the promise of a new day, I can’t help but feel a melancholy feeling for the loss of summer when I look at this beach scene.   We have entered Autumn and not only that but if you haven’t been keeping track we are only a few days away from October! 

I didn’t go to the stores this weekend, but I would imagine that the seasonal merchandise is shifting and while Halloween stuff has already been on the shelves I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Thanksgiving and Christmas items are creeping there ways on to the shelves.        

The rapidity of the changing months and seasons make it clear to me that we must be intentional in terms of what our goals are and what direction we want to go.  

A friend recently shared an article on social media that said in effect that if we want to make a change in our lives, we have to change it.   The simple advice was pointing out that although we can desire certain things or conditions in our lives if we don’t take action to procure them we will never experience or obtain them. 

The article indicated that wanting change or wishing for change wasn’t enough.  The author suggested enacting a plan of action by choosing to choose one new habit or one new change that  you could introduce to your life on a daily basis that would contribute to an overall goal of a changed life.   

Some of the suggested habits the article mentioned were:


Waking up early.

Exercising.

Eating healthier.

Giving up alcohol.

Watching less television.

Writing in a daily journal

Meditating.

Cleaning and organizing your home.

Playing music.

Creating art.

And developing a keeping a budget.


 

 As someone who always wanted to make positive changes in my life I know that the advice to add one new change to your life and to do it every day is a good one.  After so about 4 weeks of doing a new activity it becomes ingrained in our routine as a habit and we can “keep the change”. So adding a new activity and being diligent about it is important.  Your new choice can gradually improve the quality of your life experience and the results and benefits of your choice will be compounded over time.  

However, as follower of Jesus Christ on the path of Christian Discipleship, I would recommend that the one habit you introduce to effect change in your life is to establish and develop your relationship with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ.   

I had tried unsuccessfully throughout my life to give up alcohol and to eat healthy and exercise.   In the past I would establish a habit in each of these areas and had periods in my life where I enjoyed success but inevitably my mind, will, and emotions would be directed to the unhealthy ways that I had emerged from.  

The benefits of the changes I had made were not enough to “change me”.  In my mind, I “knew” that I was a person that loved my old ways and even though I had success I had a feeling that I was “living a lie”.  I wasn’t a sober person or a healthy person. I really liked to get drunk, overeat, and be lazy.   If I wanted to be “true to myself” and be “happy”, I would eventually have to go back to my indulgent ways because that’s who I was.  

All my life it was like that, with ups and downs and no stability and no peace.    

Well, after I put my faith in Christ, I found the supernatural peace and power that comes from being aligned with the Creator of All things but there is a catch.  We can only experience His peace and power if we believe and agree with what the Word of God says in regard to who we are in Christ and how we are to live our lives.  

The process of renewing your mind to believe what the Bible says about our identity and changing our behaviors to coincide with our identity in Christ is often called “walking in the Spirit”.  When we “walk in the Spirit” we choose to make a new habit of believing what the word of God says about us.   

One of the first things that stands out in my experience of the “renewing of my mind” was when I read Romans 8:1 which says:

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

 

My mental dialog in the past was filled with condemning thoughts when I indulged the desires of my flesh. While I found pleasure in becoming intoxicated from drinking alcohol or overeating in the moment, I always condemned myself when I felt the pain of withdrawal or the stress of carrying too much weight. The fact that I was powerless to change even though I could see and experience how I was suffering only resulted in more condemning thoughts where I would think of myself as “a drunk”, “stupid”, “weak”, or “bad”. I thought those adjectives described who I was as a person.   

 

But the Holy Spirit revealed to me in Romans 8:1, that while those things may have been true for most of my life, something had changed.  I had heard a gospel message and sincerely surrendered to God and put my faith in Jesus Christ.  So I was “in Christ” now and this verse and the Holy Spirit in me told me that there was “no condemnation” for me. 

 

Those condemning thoughts were not longer true about me because I had been given a new spiritual life when I placed my faith in Jesus!

 

But this verse also told me that in order to experience this “no condemnation” I had to “walk in the Spirit” – by believing I had been changed in an instant at my salvation and by living according to the word of God and my identity in Christ.  

 

By simply adding this “one new habit” of agreeing that there was “no condemnation” for me, the Holy Spirit empowered me to walk away from my lifelong dependence on alcohol, my indulgences in sexual immorality, and now has empowered me to transform my body through exercise and changing the way I eat.    

 

So if you want to change your life, you have to change your life.   But there is no greater way to change your life than by giving your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and living according to who you are in Christ.  

 

Walking in the Spirit leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit which includes peace, joy, love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control.  If you want a change in your life make Christ your Lord and Savior and walk in the Spirit.  

 

Making this one small change will not only lead to benefits to your physical and emotional health. Walking and talking with God in a harmonious relationship that is established with faith in Jesus gives you a new spiritual life that gives you the peace that goes beyond all understanding that results from being forgiven of all your sins, being assured of life eternal in God’s kingdom, and being given the power and purpose to leave behind the condemnation that was inherent in our lives when we walked in the flesh.

 

So make that one change of turning to God and do it every day. The path of Christian Discipleship may not be an easy road to travel but it leads to the abundant life of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health that God made us to experience.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 27:9 (NKJV)
9  Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

  

Today’s verse speaks of the power of friendship to delight us when we receive hearty counsel.  

Solomon asked God for wisdom and God made him the wisest man on the earth. Solomon wrote a book. Actually he wrote two: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and they are two of the three books that are considered by Bible scholars to be the “wisdom literature” In the Bible.    

While some can look at the book of proverbs and state that it is filled with “common sense”, there really is nothing “common” about it because the source of Solomon’s wisdom was God. 

So while today’s verse seems to be a general statement on the value of friendship that is characterized by one in which good counsel is given because of its divine source we should also consider it an instruction that teaches us that we are created to be in relationships with others and that we are to be discerning in choosing friends that give “hearty counsel”. 

The word translated “hearty” in Hebrew is “nep̄eŇ°”  (neh-fesh) which means: “soul, self, or life,” with the secondary meaning being “that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man”.  

So the hearty counsel mentioned in this verse was “soul counsel” – counsel “that breathes” “life” into the “soul”, the inner being of man.  

So the friends that we should seek out are the ones who give us the counsel that will breathe life into us, the counsel that is based on the word of God.  

So be wise like Solomon and seek out friends that you delight in because your relationship is built on counsel that will breathe life into one another by encouraging one another with the divine wisdom of the word of God.   

 

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:

H. How to Communicate Boundary Changes

Following the Rosie Ruiz scandal, numerous racing offiicials have made boundary changes with marathon runners to better ensure ethical behavior on the race course.

Besides increased video surveillance, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Race Timing Systems track where runners are for certain checkpoints. A transponder is attached to the athlete and emits a unique digital code that is picked up by radio receivers along the race course.

Transponders are available in various sizes and shapes and can operate at many different frequencies.

Stronger boundaries are established . . . to foster sure victories.

Scripture directs that honesty and integrity should characterize all that we do. . . .

"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man."

(2 Corinthians 8:21)

Life is made up of different seasons that sometimes require transitional conversations in order to ease the discomfort that change often creates. When grown children leave home, and especially when they get married, they are entering into a new season of life that not only impacts them but their parents as well.

It is during these times that relationships necessarily change and therefore need to be redefined. Having loving conversations with parents regarding boundary changes during these periods can be extremely helpful and meaningful, encouraging growth and solidifying the relationship.

Our roles are changing, and we want to proceed with sensitivity and a tender heart. Pick your battles. Show respect and honor.

If you realize that you have not made the separation from your family of origin to your new family, you may need to communicate your boundaries.

  • Define your new relationship:
    "Mom and dad, I love each of you. I am thankful to have you as my parents. I am thankful that I was raised by you. Now that I am married, I am making a new family. We will communicate with you, visit you, and always love you. But there will be some changes in traditions because I am establishing traditions with my new family."
  • State what is acceptable and what is not:
    "It is not acceptable for you to talk with me in that tone of voice." Or, "It is not acceptable for you to talk with my family if you use unkind words or speak in that tone of voice. If you choose to cross this boundary, the repercussion is that we will leave."
  • Separate from your family of origin:
    "I realize this is the way we always did things growing up. We share great memories, and I want many of those same ways for my family. I am married now, and we are creating some of our own ways of doing things that work for our family."

In Your Marriage

Marriage is the union of two people . . . "and the two will become as one flesh" (Mark 10:8). Boundaries are about defining your respective selves.

Marriage can become a fertile ground for boundary issues to sprout and grow if not properly addressed. A healthy marriage consists of two complete people who together create a place of love.

They do not need each other to be complete, but they share a complete love and union between themselves.

  • State what you need:
    "I love you and love our time together, but I also need time to be by myself and explore interests of my own."
  • Establish boundaries about how you will be treated:
    "I love you and want our marriage to work, but if you choose to treat me in this way, there will be consequences. If you __________________, I will __________________."
  • Define how you want to be talked to:
    "I will not be talked to in this hateful way, especially in front of the children. If you choose to speak to me disrespectfully, I will ask you to leave our home until you can speak in a kind voice."

"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband."

(Ephesians 5:33)

In Your Friendships

  • Define your relationship:
    "I am glad we have so much in common, especially our love of scrapbooking and our faith in Christ."
  • Establish boundaries:
    "It's great that we can get together once a month to share dinner and scrapbooking ideas at each other's home. Let's meet at my house next Thursday."
  • Reinforce limitations:
    "I'm sorry you can't meet this week, but Thursday evening is the only time I have available."
  • Maintain boundaries:
    "I truly can't meet another day this week, so let's get together at our regular time next month."

"A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17)

In Your Parenting

  • Establish limits:
    "You may use your inside voice when you play in our home and your outside voice when you play in the yard."
  • Define consequences:
    "You have chosen to __________________, and the consequence is __________________."
  • Train for delayed gratification:
    "I know you want this toy now, but you will have to wait until you have saved up enough money from doing chores."
  • Explain appropriate behavior:
    "In our home we use our hands to help and love; we do not hit."

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord (Psalm 127:3 NASB)

In Your Workplace

  • Stay within the parameters of your job description:
    "I was hired to do this job description. I am being asked to do things that are not a part of this job description. I understand when occasional things come up, but it is becoming the >"norm>" and not the exception. If I cannot do my job as defined in my job description, I will need to contact the Human Resources Department."
  • Define your work space:
    "This is the office area where I need to work. If you would like to come in, please set up an appointment or knock. It's important that you not just walk in because I have much work to do and must finish it when I'm here. Thank you for respecting this boundary so we can work together as team players."
  • Work within the boundaries of your hours:
    "First, I want you to know how grateful I am for all that I have learned since I've been here and for the opportunity to contribute to (company). I would like to mention an item for your consideration. (State request.) I was hired to work 'X' number of hours per week. I understand when there are occasional emergencies or deadlines. I want to be a team player, but four out of the last six weeks I've worked overtime. I want to keep the boundaries of my work time and family time. I need you to respect this boundary."

"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation" (Romans 4:4).

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