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Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colossians. Show all posts

Monday, September 13, 2021

Falling Down and Walking Away – Prophecy of Pain and Loss – Purity 522

Falling Down and Walking Away – Prophecy of Pain and Loss  – Purity 522                                                     

Purity 522 09/13/2021 Purity 522 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of an August sunset over Lake Ontario that features the moon comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography.  I am a huge admirer of the work of photographer, Rocco Saya, and periodically share some of his “views”.   The last time I shared a photo of his was of a beautiful sunset on September 4th.  The “title” of my blog that day was “Falling Down and Finding Comfort in His Presence”, referring to a misstep that I had made in my plan for optimal health due to stress.   I had no idea that the association of my title and Rocco’s photo could later be said to have prophetic underpinnings.  

Unfortunately, four days later, on September 8th, while photographing waterfowl on the on the shores of Breitbeck Park, Rocco fell off one of the large boulders there and broke his fibula and had to be rescued by firemen and EMT’s. His injury is quite painful and will require surgery.  So I am asking for prayers for comfort and healing for Rocco during this difficult time.  He injured himself while doing what he loved, and we pray that his recovery is complete, and he is fully restored to return to capturing the beauty of God’s creatures and creation.  

We never know what the next day in our lives will bring and I often try to encourage people to be intentional in the steps they make from day to day and to express the love they have for their friends and family now because we are not promised tomorrow.  

Part of the process of my sharing daily encouragements began when I agreed to be an accountability partner with someone and started sending them daily texts. I eventually started sharing that daily text with a group of men, and later several other individuals.  Even to this day, the message that I put out on the blog 6 days a week, is still texted to  that group of men.  As time has passed, on occasion I will get a notice that someone in the group would like to be taken off the list.  The texts are obviously voluntary so even though I am little disappointed to see people leave the group text, I immediately honor the request and hold no hard feelings towards those who “walk away”.    

On Wednesday, last week I sent out the group text and received an indication from one of the men on the group text that he would like to be taken off the list.  I just gave a “thumbs up” to his comment and the next day didn’t include him the text anymore. 

I just found out this morning that this person is no longer on this earth. They passed away two days ago. They were only 42 years old. I don’t know the details of their death and don’t wish to speculate but I really wish they had reached out to me and taken me up on my invitations to walk through life on the path of Christian Discipleship together.  Christ came to give us a new life and through following Him I know that we are given the power to change who we are. 

God gives us free will to choose to go His way or to choose to walk away.  Many people that I talk to about living out their faith indicate that they would really like to do that “someday”.  Unfortunately, if we keep going our own way and choose to walk away from the love that God wants to freely give, “someday” may never come.   

So, I don’t mean to bum anyone out on a Monday morning, but I want to encourage you today that your current situation could be worse, you could have a broken leg, and for those who are suffering a worse fate than that, you could be dead.   So going to work today might not seem so bad if we think about what has happened to two men who were just going about their business when something unexpected happened to change their course.   

So I encourage you to take care as you walk out into the world today and to appreciate the life and the health that you have.  Look for some beauty in your experience as you spend another day on earth. Appreciate the people and the things you have in your life and enjoy them. 

But most importantly, I would say to draw close to your heavenly Father by confirming or establishing your faith in Jesus Christ. Eternity can be a heartbeat away and if we are not careful the “someday” that we intend to make peace with God, may never come.    

So keep walking and talking with God. Tell the people in your life that you love them and share with them the hope that is found in Christ alone, the hope that will take you from here to eternity and beyond.

 

Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set: 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:2 (NASB)
2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Today’s verse commands us to put our attention on the big picture.  

Considering that people lose their lives every day, we should be greatly concerned with what will happen to us at the hour of our death.  Luckily, Jesus Christ came to earth to warn us of the dangers of being separated from God when we die.  If you read the four  gospel accounts that detail Christ’s earthly ministry in the New Testament, you will quickly realize that “meek and mild” Jesus really taught a lot about hell and the great value of gaining entrance into the kingdom of God.

I don’t mean to put an emphasis on salvation with this verse but let’s be real! Setting your mind on the things above is great but if you don’t secure your salvation by putting your faith in Jesus Christ it won’t matter how much you pondered the mysteries of theology or doctrine.

So first things first, make Christ you Lord and Savior. Okay?  -

Then, with your new and eternal life in Christ, we should really set our minds on things above, meaning that we should ponder how God would want us to live our lives.

Again, it won’t matter how much we think about the things of God, unless we do something with our knowledge about God and our speculations about how to do His will. We need to actually apply them to our lives.  

We’ve all heard the phrase about being so heavenly minded that someone was no earthly good. We don’t want to be that guy. God gives us the revelation of His truth and wisdom so we can put our faith into action.  

So secure your salvation with faith in Jesus Christ and then experience the peace and power of walking in the Spirit by changing your ways of living to God’s ways.  Although we are saved for all of eternity in an instant when we place our faith in Christ, our sanctification – the process of becoming more like Christ- is a progressive process that requires the renewing of our minds and the practice of living according to God’s instructions and principles that are drawn from His word.  

The things of this earth may seem compelling but most of them will pass away or lead us astray from the purpose God has for us. So set your mind on things above and live out your faith everyday by living in the presence of God and according to His wisdom.


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

 

Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

D. What Characteristics Accompany Codependency?

Jeff Gillooly and Tonya Harding . . . their marriage is punctuated with violence, restraining orders, divorce filings, and enmeshment, which continues even after the marriage is over.

Who knows what motivates Jeff to conspire to injure his ex-wife's rival, but codependency seems to characterize his relationship with Tonya. The skater's former agent Michael Rosenberg says Jeff and Tonya are incompatible and others chime in that the couple fight frequently.

James Golden, Tonya's stepfather, observes: "If she looked at someone, he would get mad. He'd manipulate her real easy. He has such a possessive nature and is so jealous of her." In contrast, the Bible describes authentic love. . . .

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

(1 Corinthians 13:4)

Having a "codependent relationship" is being dependent on another person to the point of being addicted to, controlled, and manipulated by that person. It is the natural by-product of having little or no boundaries because it is driven by the lack of personal wholeness and sufficiency.

After all, if we can't depend on ourselves to meet our deep emotional needs, then it seems only logical to look to others to meet those needs—to depend on others to fill our emotional emptiness and to give us a sense of significance and purpose in life.

To be needed by someone is certainly ego-boosting and to meet that person's needs can be exhilarating . . . but to fail can be crushing, and to be rejected can be nothing less than catastrophic!

The problem for codependents is not their dependency but rather the object of their desire. The fact is, we are all dependent creations, but our desire should be for our Creator . . . our only true Need-Meeter . . . and not another dependent creature. As the psalmist wrote...

"I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

(Psalm 73:23-26)

Codependency Is...

  • Marked by an insecure, dependent person spending an inordinate amount of time and energy meeting other people's needs and desires while neglecting personal needs and desires
  • Based on the belief that the subservient helper, the rescuer, the enabler has no inherent value or worth and can gain significance only by meeting the needs of other people
  • Rooted in the premise that one person not only determines the worth of another person but also has the ability to control that person's thoughts, feelings, actions, and the processes surrounding them
  • Identified as a relationship dominated by fear and control where power is exaggerated, misapplied, misdirected, and generally abused in an effort to get inner needs met
  • Established by boundary violators who seek to use a series of tactical maneuvers to get their own way without regard for anyone else's feelings or desires
  • Characterized by the skillful use of manipulation through deception and intimidation, goading guilt, heartrending stories, unsolicited and undesired advice, anger, and even threats

The Bible gives this description of those who are held captive to codependent relationships. . . .

" . . . they loved human praise more than praise from God."

(John 12:43)


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

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Purity 428: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 428 05/26/2021 Purity 428 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a blazing sun over, and reflected in, the waters of Queechy Lake in Canaan NY was captured by a friend on a paddling excursion last week.   I share it for its blazing beauty and because it was taken on a Wednesday and the sun seems to be right in the middle of this photo just like we are right in the middle of the week.

Unlike the regularity of the work week, when we are transitioning in life from one season to the next we are not always sure whether we are at the beginning, the middle, or the end.   When we are going through seasons of loss or change, some of us want to push to the ending, some want to go back to where they were, and others don’t want to go any further and would choose to not experience anymore changes and just stay where they are.   

We all have different situations in life and what might be good advice for one person isn’t necessarily going to be good advice for another.  I am a “push to the ending” or “go to the next thing’ type of person.  Perhaps because I grew up in a home where alcohol was abused, I tend to look beyond the trauma of what has happened and seek to clean up the mess and move on.  “Yeah stupid stuff happens, and things get broken around here… let’s just pick it up and make it nice again.” 

The problem with that response is that we have done nothing to change the “stuff that happens” or to prevent things from breaking in the future.  The person who made the mess is not held accountable and is not suffering the consequences for their actions.  

I used to clean up my own messes for most of my life and thought I was the only one to suffer from the consequences but that wasn’t true.  We don’t live in a vacuum. When we do stupid things or break stuff it impacts the other people in our lives.   My ex-wife and children had to live with the unpredictability of an alcoholic in their lives while I just thought “that’s they way we do things around here.”

Fortunately, the Lord called me out of the darkness of who I was and lead me to repentance and sobriety.  I am happy to say that my children report that they don’t think of me the way I used to be, and, unlike me, they have decided to not have drugs and alcohol in their lives.

Unfortunately, the transition to Christianity and sobriety proved to be too much of a change in me to allow my marriage to survive. While I was willing to “clean up the mess and make things nice”, the other party decided that they didn’t want to play nice anymore and as much as I tried to save it, I realized that the pain that my family was feeling would only be healed by letting go.   

As much as I wanted to make things nice, I realized I had to get out for peace to come. I faced a difficult road to a new home, one on which I didn’t know if I was at the beginning or the middle, but I sure knew I wasn’t at the end.  I didn’t know if there would be an end.  

But God…

God was with me every day as I sought His presence, wisdom, and strength in prayer and continually seeking Him.  Through His guidance, what seemed impossible was accomplished. My children and I live in a safe place where we know peace again.  

So I don’t know if you are at the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of this transitional season of your life and I don’t know if you need to stay or if you need to go.  Sometimes we can’t clean up the mess. Sometimes we can. 

I know one thing from most of my life watching things get swept under the rug and doing a fair amount of that myself.  It’s better to stop the person making messes rather than continually cleaning them up.  If they won’t work to change and save what they’ve broken, it tells you something about them and your relationship.

The mess maker needs to be held accountable for what they have done.  They need to realize the damage they have done.   When God showed me the extent of my depravity and the abundance of His love and grace, I followed where He led me. And while it has never been easy, I knew it was the right way to go.  

So keep walking and talking with God because He knows the right way for you to go.  No two people are the same so your path will be uniquely yours to follow but there will be few regrets if you listen to God and lean on Him.    

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Today’s verse is the most basic instruction for those who are called to walk the Christian disciple’s path.  

I had originally written for those who “want” to walk the Christian disciple’s path, but I realized that in and of ourselves there is nothing that would want to choose a lifestyle where you are guaranteed persecution.   Before the Lord revealed the Truth to us, our desires were consumed by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 

No, we must be called.  The question is: how will you answer it?

While we believe in Jesus Christ and His redemptive plan for those who put their faith in Him, God didn’t just want “believers”. Jesus called people to follow Him and those who did He called His disciples.      

Being a disciple of Christ was demonstrated by learning from Him and living with Him.  Being a disciple is the same today.

I think the biggest distinctions in the disciple’s walk that differs from “believers” are compartmentalization and context.

We all compartmentalize our lives. We behave one way at home, and we behave another way at work.  Although many of the ways we behave at home and at work are consistent with who we consider ourselves to be, certain protocols at work demand we behave differently.  The way we act, the things we say, the clothes we wear are just different from one sphere to the next.  When quitting time comes on Friday afternoon, we can feel the weight of our work-selves being lifted as we are “free to be me”.   We have shifted gears from business to pleasure, or from professional to personal.     

Unfortunately, this compartmentalization of the way we live also happens in our spiritual lives as we act one way “in the building” than we do outside of God’s house.   Just like work, we may agree and behave according to the protocols of church while we are there but lose that demeanor the moment we are back in the world.  Have you seen yourself or others put on their Sunday best in terms of a righteous demeanor at church to watch it all but vanish when they passed through the threshold of the church’s exit?   

As this verse in Colossians indicates, the word of God directs us that in whatever we do we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, that we live according to His way.     

As we walk the disciple’s path, we begin the process of tearing down the walls of compartmentalization, the divisions of the secular and the spiritual, and we start living in the context of God.

By abiding in the Lord’s presence and by reminding ourselves that we are Christians, we begin to see that there is no separation from the spiritual realities of life.  God is omnipresent. If we feel God is distant, we are the ones who have turned a blind eye to Him.   

The disciple’s path isn’t just living by a code of ethics or following rules, the disciple’s path is abiding in God’s presence and responding to life in the context of the truth of who we are in Christ and according to God’s wisdom.  

When we start walking with the Lord, we take our faith with us wherever we go. Our faith survives leaving the church building, goes home with us, and amazingly it goes with us to work on Monday morning too.  Our interactions with others become a part of an overall spiritual practice as we are grounded in God’s love and will seek to share it through acts of service and kindness.

When we realize our faith is in a God who never leaves us, we will naturally express His love to others and give thanks to God for all that He is and for all that He provides. 

The disciple’s walk does not need to be a stiff march our authoritarian obedience but is better understood as one that utilizes God’s wisdom and love to be a compassionate response to the world around us.  It is a walk that strengthens us as we make our way through the world and it empowers us to respond in a loving way that will show others that God is with us and that we are increasingly representing the Lord Jesus Christ in all that we do.     

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

  

 

Today, in continuing recognition of mental health awareness month, we continue to share from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. 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:

G. How to Turn from Feeling to Healing

When you’re in the darkest depths of despair, when you feel emotionally trapped with no way out, remember ... you’re not alone. Countless thousands all around the world are experiencing the same feelings of hopelessness.

Besides pursuing activities that will help dissuade suicidal thoughts, reach out to others who are hurting just as you are. Find comfort and solace in sharing feelings and encouraging one another. There’s no better way to bring hope and healing to yourself than by bringing hope and healing to someone else. Your own spirit will inevitably be lifted. ...

“Our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:7)

If you focus on feelings of despair, then hopelessness will inevitably lead to depression and possibly to suicidal thoughts. Replace those negative, self-defeating thoughts with constructive thoughts. ... Occupy your mind with uplifting activities. Above all, if you are thinking about suicide, call your pastor, a suicide prevention center, a counselor, or a trusted friend. They want to help you.

Activities to Alleviate Suicidal Obsession

• Walk, jog, bike, or swim ... for physical release

• Lie down or take a nap ... for physical renewal

• Take a long hot shower or bubble bath ... for physical soothing

• Curl up with a heating pad ... for emotional warmth

• Play with a pet or cuddle a stuffed animal ... for emotional comfort

• Journal or draw your feelings ... for emotional release

• Watch an inspiring movie ... for emotional enjoyment

• Play Christian praise music ... for spiritual inspiration

• Read a Christian book or biography ... for spiritual pleasure

• Memorize a verse of Scripture ... for spiritual focus

• Work a jigsaw or crossword puzzle ... for mental stimulation

• Do indoor or outdoor chores ... to remove clutter

• Clean a refrigerator, cabinet, closet, or a drawer ... to feel productive

• Prepare a grocery list, selecting healthy foods ... to meet physical needs

• Organize coupons and go shopping ... to meet practical needs

• Take prescription medicine as needed ... to meet medical needs

• Go to the park and watch the people ... to enjoy others

• Sort through clothes to give to the needy ... to benefit others

• Volunteer at a ministry, church, or charity ... to serve others

• Call a friend and offer help ... to reach out to others

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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, March 29, 2021

Purity 378: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


Purity 378 03/29/2021 Purity 378 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a Montana moon (or is that the sun?) with a distant view of the Rocky Mountains comes from a friend who is making a transcontinental relocation from New York to the state of Washington.   My friend’s journey really shows us what one can do when we decide to take our priorities in life seriously and how we can literally be here today and gone tomorrow.    

My friend’s priorities are peace, stability, and family. So when the opportunity arose to join her family on this life changing move, they didn’t hesitate.   

This year seems to be shaping up to be a year of transitions as evidenced by the multiple baptisms at my church yesterday, a few baby and bridal showers over the weekend, and more recent news of a few different friends who have made plans to relocate to other parts of the country. 

I guess life is always in flux and the only thing that stays the same in this world is the fact that things will change.  These transitions can really test our hearts as we are extremely happy for those moving through these changes and for the new experiences and opportunities they will be facing but at the same time we can be saddened at the distance those changes will put between us and those who we dearly love.  

As we drive into Holy Week, we are reminded of the major change that was about to happen to Jesus and the Apostles.  Although Jesus told them what was to come, the Apostles were confused, saddened, and scared about where things were headed.  

But after the loss of their friend, the Apostles understood that the love they had would never die and that the new life that was born out of Christ’s death and resurrection not only restored their hope, but it also transformed the world in which we all live.  

So let the people in your life go where they must and let them do what they must do. Let them live the lives God has for them. But be sure to let them know that you will rejoice with them wherever they go, and that no amount of distance can separate them from the love of God or from the love you have for them.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Today’s verse speaks of the emotional component of our faith lives, our spiritual community, and our appropriate response to God.  

The Bible says that the peace of God surpasses all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil: 4:7).   When we come to faith in Christ, the immediate emotions may be joy but it is based on the peace that we have received from and with God. 

We are no longer in opposition to God and we no longer have to fear death itself.  We have made peace with the Lord of the universe and Maker of all things.

To let that peace of God rule in our hearts we have to continually remind ourselves that we are His.  We don’t do that our of insecurity or fear. We do that to continually partake of the gift of our salvation and to rejoice in it.    

The great thing about our faith is that we don’t have to just rejoice all by ourselves.  God has called many of us to know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we all can encourage each other in letting that peace rule in our hearts because we all have received it and it is our purpose in life to share the love of God that we have found.   

The gift of our salvation and the new spiritual life we have now in Christ gives us peace and a new family of faith which should fill us with the desire to thank God for all that He has done for us.  

We don’t have to psyche ourselves up to have peace in our hearts because God has freely given it to us when we put our faith in Jesus.  The incredible thing is that this cycle of new spiritual life that we can experience feeds itself.  If we have peace, we will be thankful. If we are thankful, we will have peace.  

This life-giving process of peace and thanksgiving can empower you through your life and be the means through which you can share the love of God with others. So breathe life into your faith each day by stopping long enough to feel the peace of God you have in your heart and by expressing your thanks to Him. 

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

E. How Can I Have a Genuine Relationship with Christ?

It is the most terrifying of nightmares. ...

Josh is engaged in a horrific boxing match with an opponent he cannot beat. He is pummeled — time and time again. Six months after surrendering himself to Christ, now sober and drug free, Josh faces the same opponent in another dream. His adversary faces him silently, ready to wield a knockout punch. But the two combatants are not alone this time. Josh senses another presence at his side, someone peaceful ... powerful ... and predominant. The supernatural being, who he perceives is Jesus, suddenly takes off running and chases the sinister figure, who he perceives is Satan.

"I never woke up feeling more calm, and at peace, than I ever had before," Josh recalls.

Josh knows he has a genuine relationship with Christ because he has experienced Him in so many ways. In his dream, Jesus served as Defender and Protector. ...

"'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.'"
(Psalm 91:14-15)

You, too, need a Defender and a Protector. Allow these four spiritual truths to lead you into a relationship with the one and only true God.

4 Points of God's Plan

#1 God's Purpose for You ... Is Salvation

·    — What was God's motivation in sending Jesus Christ to earth?

  • To express His love for you by saving you! The Bible says ...

"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17).

·    — What was Jesus' purpose in coming to earth?

  • To forgive your sins, to empower you to have victory over sin, and to enable you to live a fulfilled life! Jesus said ...

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV).

#2 Your Problem ... Is Sin

·    — What exactly is sin?

  • Sin is living independently of God's standard — knowing what is right, but choosing what is wrong. The Bible says ...

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them" (James 4:17).

·    — What is the major consequence of sin?

  • Spiritual death, eternal separation from God. Scripture states ...

"Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God.... The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23).

#3 God's Provision for You ... Is the Savior

·    — Can anything remove the penalty for sin?

  • Yes! Jesus died on the cross to personally pay the penalty for your sins. The Bible says ...

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

·    — What is the solution to being separated from God?

  • Belief in (entrusting your life to) Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. Jesus says ...

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.... Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved ..." (John 14:6; Acts 16:31).

#4 Your Part ... Is Surrender

·    — Give Christ control of your life, entrusting yourself to Him....

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross [die to your own self-rule] and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).

·    — Place your faith in (rely on) Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and reject your "good works" as a means of earning God's approval....

"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The moment you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior — entrusting your life to Him — He comes to live inside you. Then He gives you His power to live the fulfilled life God has planned for you. If you want to be fully forgiven by God and become the person God created you to be, you can tell Him in a simple, heartfelt prayer like this:

Prayer of Salvation

"God, I want a real relationship with You.

I admit that many times I've chosen to go my own way instead of Your way.

Please forgive me for my sins.

Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.

Come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior.

Change me from the inside out and make me the person You created me to be.

In Your holy name I pray. Amen."

What Can You Now Expect?

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, look at what God says!

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
(2 Peter 1:3-4)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Purity 369: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 369 03/18/2021 Purity 369 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s sunset photo comes from a friend’s recent trip to the Venice Fishing Pier in Venice Florida. 

I share it because of the spectacular view and because I love to share photos of pathways on Thursdays as we have gone over “the hump” of the week and are approaching the weekend. 

I also share pathways on Thursdays because I am teaching tonight at Rock Solid Church and am encouraging others to follow the pathway to Christian discipleship that leads to victory, joy, and peace.  

As much as I would love everyone who sees this message to come to the class or to listen to the mt4christ247 podcast, I understand how entering into the spiritual walk can be a scary prospect. 

When we decide to become more spiritual or to pursue God, we can fear what will happen if we do.  I remember before coming to Christ as viewing anyone religious or spiritual as deluded, unintelligent, or insane.  

I felt that way because the way I lived was anything but spiritual and I didn’t want to give up my many vices.  But after I took that one small step of faith towards God by accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, I understood the peace that comes from God’s forgiveness and being in harmony with Him.  

There was still a lot to learn and a lot of work to do but after knowing the assurance of my salvation and the fact that God was real, and that Christ was the way there was no other way I wanted to go but towards Him. After I knew a small piece of the truth, I was like the Apostle Peter who said to Jesus:

John 6:68-69 (NKJV)
68 … "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

So take a small step towards God and He will guide you the rest of the way. 


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of studying and meditating on the word of God, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ, and worshipping the Lord in song.  

As Christians who are seeking to be disciples, the practice of learning the truth of our faith through studying the word of God can’t be over emphasized.  Reading the Bible isn’t just like reading a textbook. It’s a spiritual practice because we are approaching the Word that was given to us by the Lord Himself. Also its study is blessed by the Holy Spirit as He awaits our seeking the truth and delivers insights and revelations periodically as He is the One who will lead us into all truth. 

Reading the Bible is also a Christian discipline that is vital for our spiritual growth and maturity. It’s like take spiritual vitamin supplements.  The longer we partake of the Word of God the more benefits we receive. The process of renewing our minds is the process of replacing worldly knowledge or things we thought we knew about Christianity and replacing them with what the word actually says.  

Anyone seeking to deepen their faith and to grow should have a daily spiritual practice of prayer and Bible study.   When we do this, we not only personally benefit from drawing closer to the Lord, but we are better equipped to share the gospel with those outside of the faith as well as encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

The Christian life is not one to be lived alone. We are to gather and encourage one another.  Our faith and presence are an encouragement to others. Our encouragements are even more powerful when we have been meditating on the words we have read and share their wisdom with others.  

But our Christian lives aren’t all study and meditation. They are also supposed to be filled with love and joy.  The practice of worshipping the Lord in song is a living expression of our hearts for God which is improved by our knowledge of Him. 

Have you ever loved someone and then got to know them better and somehow loved them even more?  The same phenomenon is experienced the more we know about the Lord.   I personally feel that those who are timid about worshipping God in song only have a cursory understanding of the Lord or they haven’t connected their head knowledge about God to their hearts.   Either way, the way one can connect the heart and mind is through worship. 

To get past timidity I suggest closing your eyes when you worship if the presence of others intimidate you. Just focusing on what God means to you, how the words of the worship music are true and reflect Him and your relationship with Him is all you should be concerned with when worshipping in song.

 As you continue to practice worshipping God in song, you will become less timid in your expression and will eventually worship with out fear of the opinions of men and express your love of God in spirit and in truth.  

So study His word. Love God while you do it.  Reflect on His awesomeness and follow His guidance.  Open your heart, move past your fears, and boldly worship the Lord in song privately as well as at the weekly church service.  

As disciples, we surrender ourselves to the Lord and give Him everything we have in mind, body, and in spirit. So practice your faith with intensity, passion, and joy.

I invite all to mt4chritst.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we will share from Dr. June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys on “Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work:

C. What Is Substance Abuse?

Mickey Mantle not only abused alcohol, but he also abused the people around him.

His children have spoken of his inattention to the family while they were young. He was depressed, irritable, and when the Yankees lost a game or when Mickey struck out, the children knew to leave Dad alone. The entire family walked on eggshells, hoping to prevent what had become inevitable verbal attacks. Not only was Mickey in denial about his alcoholism, but his wife also minimized the problem.

Mickey made excuses for his absences, which often included time spent with other women. Ironically, the baseball great's increasing dependence on alcohol was a desperate attempt to boost his self-esteem. More and more, alcohol became necessary to function during the day... then more and more was needed for him to sleep at night.

Mickey later reflected, "I am embarrassed by what I did when I drank: the foul language, the rudeness, having to face people the next day that I didn't remember insulting the night before." The first verse of Proverbs chapter 20 reflects this very point. ...

"Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise."

  • Substance abuse means the use of a chemical — legal or illegal — used to the extent of causing physical, mental, or emotional harm.
  • Substance abusers are identified in five ways:
    1. Experimental users... try drugs simply out of curiosity.
    2. Recreational users ... "get high" on drugs on special occasions (parties, celebrations).
    3. Regular users...habitually abuse drugs, while attempting to live a "normal life."
    4. Binge users...abuse drugs uncontrollably for a brief period of time and then abstain until the next binge.
    5. Dependent users ... live emotionally, physically, and psychologically hooked on drugs. Their lives are continually obsessed with getting drugs because of their all-consuming addiction.

While it accurately describes everyone, this truth is illustrated by the lifestyle of the substance abuser. ... "All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one" (Romans 3:12).

Recreational Drugs

Question: "What's the harm in occasionally using recreational drugs with my friends in a safe environment — as long as I don't become addicted?"

Answer: The wrong use of any drug constitutes drug abuse. Likewise, there is no "right use" of illegal drugs or illegally acquired prescription drugs. And there is no "safe environment" for drug abuse because no situation exists where drug abuse doesn't cause physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual harm. By its very definition, drug abuse is harmful whether controlled or uncontrolled, chosen or compulsive, regulated or unregulated.

A true friend, a wise friend, does only what helps another friend. Ask God to give you genuinely wise friends and to help you become a wise friend.

"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."
(Proverbs 13:20)

D. What Is the Downward Spiral of Dependency?

If only ... the downward spiral of dependency had been diagnosed sooner. ...

If only ... Mickey had acknowledged his alcoholism and received help early on, his titles of "champion" and "hero" wouldn't be smeared by years of drinking.

If only ... Mickey had processed the pain from his past — his childhood agony and his fear of death — then the downward spiral of dependency could have been deterred.

If only ... Mickey had found a meaningful way to spend his free time rather than downing yet another drink in airport lobbies and hotel rooms.

If only ... Mickey had learned to nix his need for alcohol, his four sons might not have followed in his footsteps and become alcoholics.

If only ... Mickey had heeded these words ...

"Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper."
(Proverbs 23:31-32)

Levels of Substance Abuse

Intoxication occurs when the influence of a substance in your body causes changes in your behavior, including mood changes, faulty judgment, slurred speech, poor coordination, unsteady gait, sexual impropriety, aggressive behavior, and impaired social functioning. Intoxication can result in a coma or even death.

·    Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines intoxication as "poisoning; the state of being poisoned" and "the condition produced by excessive use of alcoholic stimulants."

·    — How interesting that thousands of years before this writing, Moses said, "Their grapes are filled with poison. ... Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras" (Deuteronomy 32:32-33).

  • Abuse occurs when your use of drugs causes you to...

·    — Fail to fulfill your responsibilities

·    — Fail to maintain healthy relationships

·    — Put yourself or others at risk of harm or break the law

  • Addiction occurs when you experience these three leading indicators...

·    — Drug tolerance... needing increasingly more of a substance to obtain the same effect

·    — Physical dependence... suffering from chemical withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shaking, and anxiety

·    — Intense craving... developing a pattern of compulsive substance use

  • Other common indicators include...

·    — Loss of control ... failing at attempts to decrease or stop the substance abuse

·    — Targeting activities ... only choosing events where alcohol or drugs are available

·    — Continual substance abuse ... ongoing use despite negative ramifications

  • Withdrawal occurs when the distress caused by a lessening or lack of the drug...

·    — Severely disrupts your daily life

·    — Results in reducing or abandoning all meaningful work, relationships, and activities

·    — Drains the emotions until all joy is gone

The prophet Isaiah describes such a time when ...

"No longer do they drink wine with a song. ... In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth."
(Isaiah 24:9, 11)

Responsibility for Drug Dependence

Question: "How can I be held responsible for my drug dependence since most drugs are addictive and cause the addiction?"

Answer: Your drug dependence has been created both by your choice to use drugs and by the drug itself. Intoxication results from the makeup of the drug you choose to use and the way it is metabolized by your body. The only sure way to avoid addiction is to stop using addictive drugs altogether. ...

"How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine."
(1 Samuel 1:14)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our Victory over the Darkness Discipleship Class 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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