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Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts

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

 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Is this the End or the Beginning? Hope in the Lord - Purity 516

Is this the End or the Beginning? Hope in the Lord         

Purity 516 09/04/2021 Purity 516 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an “absolutely magical” sunset comes to us from a friend who was literally jumping for joy during their recent visit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head NC over the weekend. Jockey’s Ridge State Park has the largest sand dune on the East Coast, and you can see here that it looks like it is the entrance to the “Land of Summer” itself.  But while Labor Day doesn’t mark the beginning of Autumn it does give us a stark reminder that we have reached the beginning of the end of the summer season.  

But as the 90’s song “Closing Time”, by Semisonic, final lyrics remind us: “…every new beginning, Comes from some other beginning’s end.”  So as summer begins to end, and new things begin this week, we are presented with a choice: Do we lament over what is passing away with sadness and walk into the new days ahead with resistance, anxiety, bitterness, and fear or do we choose instead to be thankful for recent days gone by and forge ahead into the uncertain days with confidence and expectancy?  

 Well, as my high school economics teacher, Mr. Tschudin, used to say when contemplating suggesting solutions of what moves we should make as a nation to address problems with our economy, “it depends”.   How we move forward “depends” on many things, but I believe one of the biggest factors that will determine our levels of contentment in the days ahead is where we choose to get out “hope” from.     

If you are hoping in the government of man to develop a society that will make us all happy, you will be filled with anxiety over every decision of public policy that comes up.   If you are like most people, you probably suspect the success of some outside agency or person to be the answer to all our problems is unlikely and will instead choose to only hope in what you can control. 

Unfortunately, this mistrust in other agencies and people can also be extended to include God, as earnest prayers in the past have gone unanswered and pain, loss, and suffering have been harsh realities that He didn’t seem to be able to prevent.  

So, if we are weary of others and of God, most of us will trust in ourselves to make the best decisions of what to do and where to go and will hope in our cunning and physical abilities to see us through.  This brash individualism to take care of oneself and one’s loved ones is the way of the world and is the pragmatic way to deal with problems and to be the captain of our own ship.  

The problem of this view is that there are things that are beyond our control and even if we are “self-made men” and are “our own bosses” things can happen, like the recent storms and the global pandemic, that reveal the fact that we can’t go it alone. The sudden deaths that accompany these storms and the pandemic also show us that its not just the problems on earth that we should be concerned about.  

To find solid ground in what can seem like utter groundlessness, we need to stand on something that doesn’t change and can be trusted.   While there are certain schools of thought and philosophies that proclaim that “everything changes and nothing stays the same”, they also tend to not believe in God and thus, no matter how seemingly intellectual and compassionate they attempt to present themselves, they are really proclaiming that life is meaningless and thus utterly hopeless.    

So denying God and trusting in yourself leads to a pretty dark alley that gets darker and darker as things begin to naturally fall apart over time and you realize you trusted in something that simply will not endure.  

The idea that we are dependent beings can be quite a shock to our independent spirit, but the bottom line turns out to be that we do need one another, and we all really need God in our lives.   

In the new season that lies ahead, we can successfully choose the confident and expectant path that is built on gratitude when we open ourselves to our relationship with God.  Realizing that He has put creation into motion and that everything has led to this moment  should lead us to thank Him for the blessings we have enjoyed up to this point. 

Contemplating the days ahead and eternity that lies beyond, we should come to terms with the fact that Jesus entered into our world to reconcile us with God the Father and accept the everlasting life that comes through faith in Christ.  

It is only through a relationship with the One who never changes and stands over and above all creation that we can have true hope that never ends.  When we walk with Him, we are assured of our acceptance, significance, and security. 

Nothing can separate us from God’s love and even though we are facing another “end” as Labor Day marks a transition to new challenges in the days ahead, with God every day is a new beginning, as His mercies are new every morning.

So draw close to God and He will draw close to you.  Trust in Him and He will see you through.  He will give us the strength and wisdom that we will need in the days ahead. Remember that our relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ assures us of our salvation and our ultimate good.

So roll with the punches and make the best moves you can but remember that whether you face failure or success in this world, the Lord has got your back and you are an unmitigated success in His eyes because you are His.     


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV)
9  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Today’s verse reminds us of our position and purpose in Christ and the means by which we receive them.   

Our position is “saved” as this letter refers to those who have put their faith in Jesus.  The verb is in the past tense and tells us that our salvation is a “done deal” because the means of our salvation are “not according to our works” but are according to God’s eternal purpose, and His grace, which was given, (not earned) to us in Christ Jesus “before time began”.

“Before Time Began” means that God had a plan for us before any of us even existed.  I try to use my imagination to make sense of these things and the analogy that I come up with is that God, as creator, is an artist that writes a story that includes all of us and while He has assigned us all a role in His eternal drama there is a dynamic interplay of His “script” which will ultimately tell His story and the freedom of the “players” to “adlib” their thoughts, words, and actions but somehow there is no conflict or interference between the two that restrict the freedom of those involved or that takes the story in a direction that is outside of the “Director’s vision”.  

Contemplating this paradox will either we lead us to appreciate the “Writer, Producer, Director” that is our Lord or cause us to sour and rebel that our role wasn’t how we would have written it (although we actually are writing it with our words and actions every day)  and we are not content being in Someone else’s “show”.  

For those of us who have found peace with God through faith in Christ, we have the potential to answer our “holy calling”, by listening to the Lord’s wisdom and following His “direction”.   When we accept our role in His production, our willingness to take direction can really lead us to “scenes” that we never could have imagined that we would ever be part of.   And those scenes will be moving and meaningful and will unfold to tell the story of how God transformed your life into something wonderful and good.

So follow the Lord. Seek His guidance. And go out there and have a great show!

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:

B. What Is the Purpose of Personal Boundaries?

Governing agencies are set up to establish and enforce boundaries, and when it comes to sports, they are to help athletes establish personal boundaries and to achieve victory with integrity.

But the International Cycling Union (UCI) is falling far short, according to Greg LeMond, and clean cycling will not emerge until an agency other than UCI handles drug testing. Greg says that many cyclists don't trust the UCI. The agency has even been accused of covering up Lance Armstrong's doping offenses.

Lance is infuriated by Greg's public criticism, particularly of his association with Dr. Michele Ferrari, and finds himself crossing another boundary. According to an investigative report, Lance is attributed with the following paraphrase: "Who does Greg think he is, talking about Ferrari? I'm going to take him down."

The following proverb can be applied to Lance. . . .

"The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast."

(Proverbs 5:22)

Additionally, good boundaries equip you to be a good steward:

  • Of the people and relationships God has entrusted to your care
  • Of everything for which God has made you responsible
  • Of what God has assigned you to do as your purpose in life

Boundaries protect you by allowing that which is safe and constructive to come close to you and by keeping that which is unsafe and destructive away from you. The boundary of a tiger's cage keeps a dangerous tiger inside the cage and vulnerable people outside the cage—away from harm. In relationships, boundaries are put in place to guard us and protect us and to provide a healthy environment in which relationships can flourish and grow toward Christlike maturity.

Another familiar example are common filters found in every automobile, lawn mower, factory, business, home, office, and even every airplane. They protect both engines and people from undue damage. Similarly, a fence around a home protects young children and pets from wandering out into the street and provides a barrier against strangers and stray animals coming into the yard.

Boundaries guard us from giving more than we should and protect us from others' taking more than they should. And boundaries make it possible for us to enjoy mutual giving and taking from one another in healthy relationship. . . .

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

(Proverbs 4:23)

  • Personal boundaries allow you to:
    • Determine what belongs to you and what belongs to another
    • Designate what you personally have power and authority over
    • Decide what and who you will prioritize in your life
    • Demonstrate the control you have over your own body, behaviors, emotions, thoughts, spiritual beliefs, and moral convictions
    • Delineate the ways you will stay true to your own moral convictions
    • Declare and enforce limits in your relationships

Boundary lines help bring order to your personal world and the world around you. The Bible says...

"Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

(1 Corinthians 14:40)

  • Personal boundaries convey:
    • What you are.....................and.............what you are not
    • What you like....................and.............what you don't like
    • What you want.................and.............what you don't want
    • What you believe.............and.............what you don't believe
    • What you will choose.....and.............what you won't choose
    • What you will endure.....and.............what you won't endure
    • What you will accept......and.............what you won't accept
    • What you will give..........and.............what you won't give

Pray for wisdom and insight in order to have the best boundaries and right relationships. . . .

"How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!"

(Proverbs 16:16)


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

 

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Monday, August 2, 2021

August Days – Majestic Moves of God - Purity 486

August Days – Majestic Moves of God        

Purity 486 08/02/2021    Purity 486 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the first sunrise of August comes to us from a friend who took a short vacation in Gloucester Massachusetts capturing this scene at Good Harbor Beach.  I loved the way they captured the flowers in the foreground, the pier to the right, the sunrise’s reflection in the water, and that solitary lifeguard’s chair in the distance testifying to the still tranquility of the dawning of a new day and a new month.   

One may not realize but the word “august” is also an adjective that means “respected”, “impressive”, or “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur”.   So it is only fitting to say that our friend captured an august photo of the first morning of August.  

As we enter the first work week of the new month, I know that this month will have some impressive transitions that will go beyond the dwindling dog days of summer.  Personally, my discipleship class only has two sessions remaining and I will have to determine how to proceed with my call to ministry in the coming weeks and will have to decide by the end of the month what I commit myself to for the Autumn season. The months ahead are not as clear as they have been in the past as I have potential opportunities for service and development that could take me in new directions before August’s end.  So there is potential for new beginnings.

Also things are drawing to an end. My divorce support group is drawing to natural conclusion tomorrow and while there are plans to continue to meet in the future, I’m not sure if the possible changes in my life while change my availability to continue to meet with my new friends.  

Also today, my employer has called all technicians back to reporting to the local garage, ending what was a wonderful year of being able to garage at home.  

In my family, my son, Brennan will be beginning college locally, as indecisiveness and  Covid-19 resulted in him taking a year off and with my patience as a parent to be tested as I had to walk the line between encouragement and surrender as I knew that the independence that I wish to direct both of my children into will require that they make decisions for themselves, that I may not agree with, and choose their own path for life. 

So, we are only on day two of August and I am sure that several of my friends will be facing similar transitions over the next four weeks as things will be rapidly changing as we draw towards the months end and an early Labor Day on September 6th.  

My advice, and I’m speaking to myself too here, is to take this month one day at a time, to enjoy each day for what it brings, to boldly approach the new opportunities that arise, to love those people in your life that may have a smaller role or less presence in your life in the days ahead, and to trust in the Lord to be with you and to see you through to the other side.  

When we stay in a continual conversation with the Lord, He will show us things we wouldn’t normally see, make us appreciate what we have, strengthen us, and direct our paths.   So roll with the punches of transitional losses, rejoice in the glory of the present moment, and look forward to the days ahead with confidence and expectancy.  The Lord has new things for us to experience and to discover. So put one foot in front of the other and go with God.

                                                                  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 14:17 (NKJV)
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse directs us to focus on our sanctification and development of the fruit on the Spirit in our lives.     

“Eat, drink, and be merry” may be the world’s advice, particularly when you have an atheistic world view that tells you that ultimately life has no meaning and thus we must enjoy our earthly experience because our existence just fades to black after we die. But Jesus himself called this fleshly disposition toward life to be foolish in Luke 12:16-34, where he advised that seeking the kingdom of God should be our biggest concern.  

The subjects of food and drink, and the indulgence of alcoholic beverages, can play a large role in our lives here on earth as some people identify themselves as “foodies”, connoisseurs of certain beverages, or by what they will and will not eat or drink.  

I have friends who are BBQ and “Smoking” enthusiasts who can plan their lives around and speak at length about the things they will eat and how they will prepare them, spending significant time and money in their culinary hobby’s.  Other friends frequent restaurants, brew their own beer, collect fine wines, and are constantly upgrading appliances or remodeling their kitchens.  

While there is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, the thing that frightens me about their enthusiasm for the things pertaining to the comfort and satisfaction of their stomachs is that the utter lack of concern regarding their spiritual health.

Today’s verse points out that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned about what we should and shouldn’t eat. The New Testament covenant established by Christ declared that all foods are clean and there are no foods that are prohibited, so we can eat what we like. 

But while we should rejoice over this freedom, we should not make our bellies our god (Phil 3:19), for a life that is consumed by concerns over meeting our nutritional needs and culinary desires will be a life that is not only shackled by the bondage of our changing appetites but could be one on a course for eternal destruction. 

So enjoy your food and drink, but when you do thank the Lord for the food He has provided but also be sure to establish and maintain your relationship with Him though faith in Jesus Christ.

God wants you to see the big picture of why He gave you life. He doesn’t want you so focused on the material delights that He has provided to the point that you will fail to see His presence or your purpose for living.  

When you draw close to the Lord, He becomes your comfort. When you follow Him, He will continually feed your spirit and provide you with the living waters that will never run dry, and you will only hunger to live a righteous life for Him.   The abundance of His love satisfies more than any food and the fruit that He gives is righteousness, peace, joy, and love.

 

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding Chapter 9.

 

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

Winning the Battle for Our Minds

First, you must "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). How do you renew your mind? By filling it with God's Word. To win the battle for your mind you must "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15) and "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you" (Col. 3:16). As you continue to stockpile your mind with God's truth, you will equip yourself to recognize the lie and take it captive.

Think of your mind as a pot full of coffee. Because of what you have put into it, the coffeepot is dark and smelly. You desire your mind to be like clear water again, the way it was before you put the coffee into the pot. There is no way you can filter out the coffee once it has been put inside (no delete button).

Now imagine a bowl of crystal-clear ice, alongside the coffeepot, that says on it "The Word of God." There is no way you can dump the whole bowl in at once, but you can put in a cube every day. If you did that long enough, you wouldn't be able to taste, smell or even see the coffee you had originally put inside, even though it is still there. That will work as long as you don't put in a teaspoon of lies and filth along with the cube of ice.

Second, Peter directs us to prepare our "minds for action" (1 Peter 1:13). Do away with fruitless fantasy. To imagine yourself doing something without ever doing it is dangerous. You will lose touch with reality. The mind cannot distinguish over a long time period something that has been vividly imagined and something that really happened. If you tell a lie long enough, you may start to think it is true. Scripture always tells us to use our minds actively, never passively, and to direct our thoughts externally, never internally. The devil will seek to bypass your mind, but God works through it.

Third, take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Practice threshold, first-frame thinking. Evaluate every thought by the truth and don't even consider tempting, accusing or lying thoughts. Should you rebuke every negative thought? No! That is like being in the middle of a pond with 12 corks floating around you, and your entire life's purpose is to tread water and keep the corks submerged. Ignore the stupid corks and swim to shore. Choose the truth and keep choosing it until it becomes the normal pattern of your life.

Fourth, turn to God when you are having anxious thoughts. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). When your commitment to Plan A is being challenged by Plan B thoughts from the world, the flesh or the devil, bring it to God in prayer. By doing so, you are acknowledging God and exposing your thoughts to His truth. Your double mindedness will dissolve "and the peace of God . . . shall guard your hearts and your minds [noema] in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).

Fifth, assume your responsibility to choose the truth and commit yourself to live accordingly.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you (Phil. 4:8, 9).

The following story is a wonderful example of what can happen to a Christian when the strongholds of the mind are overthrown by God's truth.

Jeannie is a beautiful and talented woman in her mid-30s. An active Christian for 23 years, she sings in a professional singing group, writes music, leads worship at her church and oversees a discipleship group.

Jeannie attended one of my conferences. She was struggling with bulimia, having been in bondage to the strongholds of food and fear for 11 years. When she was home alone she was held captive by Satan's lies about food, her appearance and sense of worth for hours at a time. She was so fearful that when her husband was gone for a night, she slept on the couch and kept on all the house lights. She had submitted to counseling without success. All the while she believed that the thoughts prompting her to induce vomiting were her own, based on a traumatic experience from her childhood. I happened to be looking at Jeannie—quite unintentionally—when I said, "Every person I know with an eating disorder has been the victim of a stronghold based on the lies of Satan."

"You have no idea how that statement impacted my life," she told me the next morning. "I have been battling myself all these years, and I suddenly understood that my enemy was not me but Satan. That was the most profound truth I have ever heard. It was like I had been blind for 11 years and could suddenly see. I cried all the way home. When the old thoughts came back last night, I simply rejected them for the truth. For the first night in years I was able to go to sleep without vomiting."

Two weeks later, Jeannie sent me the following note:

Dear Dr. Anderson,

I can't tell you all the wonderful things the Lord has done for me through the truth you shared at your conference. My relationship with the Lord is so different. Now that I'm aware of the enemy and my victory over him in Christ, my gratitude for our powerful and gracious Savior is real. I can't listen to songs about Him without weeping. I can barely lead others in songs of worship without weeping for joy. The truth has set me free in my walk with Christ.

Scripture now leaps off the page, whereas it was so scrambled for me before. I can sleep at night without fear, even when my husband is gone. I can be at home all day with a kitchen full of food and be in peace. When a temptation or lie pops up, I can fend it off quickly with truth. You may not realize the freedom this brings . . . I used to be in bondage to those lies for hours and hours and hours of my precious time and life, always fearing food.

And here is an incredible change, for the first time in my life I feel like I own my relationship with the Lord. It is no longer the product of my pastor's words or an attempt to reproduce another Christian's walk . . . it's mine! I'm beginning to understand how very powerful the Holy Spirit is, and how useless I am without prayer. I can't get enough.

Sincerely in Christ,

Jeannie

 


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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. 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship