Appreciation and Contentment – Keys to Joy and Endurance - Purity 569
Purity 569 11/06/2021 Purity 569 Podcast
Today’s photo of the of the setting sun from the vantage point of Waite Rd in Easton NY comes to us from yours truly as I decided to take a stroll with a canine friend yesterday and grabbed several shots of the fading sun and the surrounding countryside as I realized that God had blessed us with a spectacular opportunity to enjoy the autumnal colors just before twilight.
It’s Saturday and as I am becoming more and more comfortable with weekends at my fiancé’s place in Washington County, I have come to realize that there comes a point in the process of entering into new phases of life where the process of adaptation stops, and acceptance comes; where you go from feeling like “What is this?” or “I don’t know about this!” to “Oh yeah, we’re doing this” or “Yup, this is what we are doing now!”
It’s that wonderful part of a journey of life where you still haven’t arrived to where you’re going to yet, and you are still far from establishing a new status quo, but you have fully embraced the direction you are walking towards and are rejoicing with each new step into that “new normal”. It’s that phase where things are still new and exciting but where things are becoming familiar and comfortable.
But you know what, even though I am experiencing the joy of a deepening relationship, adapting to new environments, and transitioning to a whole new existence, I am pretty sure that I don’t have the exclusive rights to these feelings of joy and that all of my friends can have a wonderful weekend if they simply take a moment to rest and to appreciate all the good they have in their lives.
We stop losing our joy when we start taking things for granted or we stop growing. So if you have made it to Saturday without rejoicing over the end of the work week yesterday or by gaining feelings of peace with where you are and contentment with the things you have, I’m here to remind you that all of us have the ability to enter into those feelings if we merely take some time to direct our thoughts to appreciate the blessings we have been given.
So look around at where you are and appreciate all you have and the people who are in your life. If you do that you will realize that in many ways you can agree with what the “Easy to Read Version” of the Bible has to say in
Psalm 23:1 (ETRV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need.
Also if we are feeling “bored” or “blah” because of the “same old, same old” of life, the responsibility falls on us to either be content with what we have or to do something new. God gave us two eyes, two legs, and a mind to go explore and “take dominion over the earth” so we should utilize those gifts to see new places, to do new things, to gain new knowledge and insights about the world we live in, or to deepen our relationship with the Lord by learning more about Him.
My friend in the UK, Philip Hand recently shared this original art which I call “Love like a Dove” of the symbolic rendering of the love of God and the Holy Spirit. He also shared these simple verses of poetry and I thought I would share them to remind us of all we have through our relationship with God and to encourage my friends to walk into the remainder of the weekend with joy, peace, and hope.
“This love I know moves mountains,
I'm told it can even save my soul.
The taste of death won't stop us,
till love reaches it wonderful goal.”
- Philip Hand
God’s not done with us. Our continuing lives are evidence that He has more for us to experience here on earth. So appreciate what you have, keep a fresh perspective that looks for the beauty and good around us, and walk in the newness of your life in Christ every day.
Today’s Bible verses are drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Today’s verses encourage contentment with the circumstances of life and gives us the proper perspective on our ability to “do everything through Christ.”
If I didn’t know how the Holy Spirit can subtly work in our lives, I would think that it was rather “ironic” that these verses came up as I was moved to speak briefly about contentment and appreciating what we have in the first part of this message without knowing that these verses would just so happen be the next ones to come up in the NLT Promise Book for Men.
When the same scriptures or similar themes reappear in your experience, I say that is a small piece of evidence that tells you that you are indeed on the path of Christian discipleship or as some would put it, you are “tracking with the Holy Spirit.”
I particularly like that our resource presented Philippians 4:11 & 12 and didn’t just present verse 13. The anthem of empowered Christian faith of verse 13 is often proclaimed to give us hope that “we can do this!”. We can do “all things through Christ who strengthens me .” as the NKJV puts it.
However, the context that precedes verse 13 is important. The context points out what some of the “all things” that we can do through Christ includes. The possibility of living on “almost nothing” with an empty stomach and still being content is one of those “all things” that we can do through Christ who gives us strength.
So yes while we can accomplish new and wonderful things in life with Christ as our guide, we are also reminded that there can be times when things won’t be so triumphant materially, but we can still be content in all circumstance because of our relationship with God and the reality of Christ in Us, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
So be content with where you find yourself today. Keep walking and talking with God and strive to become the person God wants you to be and to walk into the good works that He has prepared for you.
It turns out that God is with us in good times and bad and we can always have hope and be empowered to overcome, persevere, or endure because of the strength, love, and guidance that He gives us.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we conclude sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating
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:
I. How to Maintain Purity Over Passion
How easy to be deceived in dating—to be misled by looks, propelled by insecurity, or lured by lust—and end up with a used body, a guilty conscience, and a broken heart. To prevent hurtful relationships, plan your personal guidelines before you begin dating. Having your convictions in place ahead of time will help you uphold them, even in the face of shifting emotions.
In addition, each couple should be sensitive to the physical boundaries in their relationship. That is, they should know their limits and be cautious about approaching them—much less crossing them. In their cooler moments, couples should talk about how to avoid times of temptation and set boundaries in order to make purity in the dating relationship a top priority....
"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." (Proverbs 14:8)
The following acrostic on Purity can help you maintain a godly perspective in your dating relationship.
P—Prioritize God's standard for purity in your dating.
Make a commitment to God and each other to maintain sexual purity until marriage. Pray about this daily...and before each date. Should you ever violate this commitment, have an understanding that you will break off the relationship and seek individual counsel and healing.
- —Have same-sex "his and her" accountability partners who ask explicit questions about sexual purity on a weekly basis—or more often if needed. Give them a copy of your written sexual purity commitment.
- —Let your accountability partners know when you will be alone together in private for an extended period. Ask them to lift you up in prayer during these times.
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Hebrews 13:4).
U—Undertake personal accountability for how you treat your date's body.
Avoid any touch that emulates or entices sexual activity.
- —Don't touch your date in a sexual manner.
- —Read a good book together on sexual purity.
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people" (Ephesians 5:3).
R—Refrain from activities that violate God's standard by arousing sexual desires. Then repent and recommit to sexual purity if these standards are violated.
- —Avoid sexually oriented media—like magazines, books, movies, television programs, videos, websites.
- —Be willing to walk out of a movie theater, change the television channel, or turn off a video player when you encounter material that creates sexual desire or tension—even if only one of you is feeling uneasy.
- —Don't use language that could arouse sexual desire—even when "joking"—and avoid discussing sexually oriented subjects.
- —If you travel together before marriage, arrange for separate bedrooms.
- —Immediately involve your accountability partners if you find yourself slipping morally.
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).
I—Implement goals that are pleasing to God.
- —Study Scripture together...reading, for example, about other role models in the Bible, such as Joseph and Ruth.
- —Undertake service projects that give you an opportunity to work together to help others.
- —Commit to helping each other maintain balanced lives, with time for friends, hobbies, and other priorities.
"We make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
T—Trust in God's timing.
- —Remember that God's sense of timing differs vastly from ours.
"Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2 Peter 3:8).
- —As you date, allow the Lord to handle any hurts and disappointments that may come your way.
- —Don't think of dating as a waiting game. Use your single years to build relationships with the Lord and others. God has not created us to live in isolation, but to be in fellowship with others. Develop a heart of love and acceptance for those He has placed in your life.
"Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her" (Genesis 29:20).
Y—Yield your life to the Lord.
- —Surrender your expectations. Don't let the pounding of your biological clock block out the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- —Surrender your emotions. Since feelings follow thinking, learn to think the way God thinks by memorizing and meditating on Scripture that is related to waiting on the Lord.
- —Surrender your will. Give up your demands and expectations for marriage. Instead, seek His will.
"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).
Resisting Sexual Temptation
Question: "I have committed my life to the Lord. What can help me resist sexual temptation?"
Answer: Carry visual reminders of your highest ideals, values, and commitments. For example, many young people choose to wear a "purity ring" to symbolize their covenant to the Lord—specifically, to abstain from engaging in sexual activity outside the marriage relationship.
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." (Proverbs 27:12)
Question: "I wanted to remain pure, but what do I do if I've already crossed that line and it's too late?"
Answer: You cannot take back sexually what has already been given away any more than you can take back words that have already been spoken. However, if you have lost your virginity, take heart in knowing it can be reclaimed. God is both your Redeemer and Restorer.
If you are single and not a virgin, God still desires that you live a life of sexual integrity. You can choose what is called "secondary virginity," and He can empower you to have victory over the past. Through His compassionate power to cleanse, God offers you sexual redemption and a purified heart.
He intends your sexuality to be a wonderful present to your marriage partner. So, from this point on, save yourself for the one God has saved for you....
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.... I will cleanse you from all your impurities...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you...I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees." (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:25-27)
On your next date, think about your future mate and apply God's Golden Rule:
Do unto your date what you would have someone do to your mate!
Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.
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