Getting to Know You – Courage at the Fire - Purity 530
Purity 530 09/22/2021 Purity 530 Podcast
Today’s photo of some hay bales in the foreground of a stunning view of the Catskill Mountains from the vantage point of Johnny Cake Hill Rd in Westerlo NY comes to us from yours truly as I decided to head for the Helderbergs on the last day of the Summer of 2021. When you are given the freedom of movement, you should take advantage of it to go out there and see what you can see. It is often when we decide to be spontaneous and take a random turn that you can feel liberated and discover some beauty you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
God has given us the physical capability of movement to explore our world, but He has also given us minds to think and explore the possibilities of life and to consider things from different perspectives. As we must deal with changing seasons and situations in life, it can be a good idea to step back and look at the situations in your life from an elevated position where you can see it all from a distance where you are not focusing too much on any one thing in particular and where you can objectively view it all to plot your course into the future with some clarity. That’s why it is beneficial to periodically take breaks to reflect on where you have been and to reassure yourself of where you are going.
Last night, I met with my divorce support group at one of the member’s houses around a bonfire. It is always a blessing when a group of Christians get together to support one another in their journey through life. As our group has been meeting for a few months now, the group is growing closer, and people have come to feel that they want to share more of their experience, so we have a better idea of who they are and what they have been through.
Last night in the normal course of business of the meeting, one of the women announced to the group that she wanted to share more of her story and confessed that although she had talked about her recent divorce, she had been married once before. This woman is the only person in our group who is childless and had shared previously how she had wanted children but had suffered miscarriages.
Last night she confessed that in her first marriage one of her miscarriages was the direct result of an incident of domestic violence. She didn’t say this, but in essence, her ex-husband had killed their baby.
In the movies there is stirring music to accompany such a confession to help express the shock and the weight of such a traumatic revelation but in real life there is just stunned silence when people don’t know what to say. It was sort of an awkward moment that was compound by the fact that this woman shared it in a transition point in the meeting where the ingredients for smores where being passed out and she was interrupted right from the start of her testimony. The interruption was jarring, and she had to be encouraged to “say what she was going to say” only to reveal a traumatic event from her past that demanded our attention and compassion.
She said she felt foolish for sharing it and questioned why she did it. I was seated next to her so I spoke up and said that her sharing that with us was very brave, that the group was there to support her, and that it helped us to get to know her better, and her words would encourage the rest of the group to know that our group was a safe place to talk about anything from our pasts. I also said that her testimony proved how good God was because even with that terrible loss and pain in her life, she had survived and has gone on the be an encouraging presence for faith at her local church.
Things settled after her testimony but as the night went on other members of the group admitted that they had been in relationships where they encountered domestic violence and manipulative control. But each one of them also spoke of how they escaped it and have found peace on the other side of their pain because of their individual efforts to free themselves and because of their faith in God.
There were other testimonies about surviving various trials in life and how people had forgiven things that seemed unforgivable, and they all pointed to God’s presence in the lives of the people through their faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s Wednesday today, and the first day of Autumn, we have made it to the midpoint of the week and another season of life. The people who sat around that fire last night experienced a lot during this past summer season. Some finalized their divorces, others had disasters with their homes or had family members suffer illness or injury, some have moved, and others had children leave home for college.
As we have shared our lives with one another we have drawn closer together and we have grown stronger than where we were only a few months ago because of it and because each one of us has encouraged one another to trust the Lord and to continually go to Him for guidance and strength.
So as we enter Autumn, take a moment to have a look around at where you are today. While the distant past and the summer of ’21 that we leave behind has left its marks on us, the Lord is calling us forward. Because of the design of His creation, the Lord leaves us no choice but to go forward in time. But when we decide to trust our lives in His hands by making Christ our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to fear the future or be victims of the past.
Our living relationship with God gives us the power to heal and to overcome whatever situations the world may dish out. So keep walking and talking with God, we might not be able to see too far into the future but if we walk with Him every day we can be assured that we are going in the right direction and that our destination is going to be a good one.
Short announcement: Apparently we used the last memory verse flash card from Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource: “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set yesterday, so we are drawing from my stack of index cards again.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Today’s verse very briefly but profoundly tells us what we should know.
Often in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles to the church, Paul can have some long sentences that are packed with theological truths that can easily be missed in the overall context of what he is saying. I have learned to take two approaches to scripture reading to help with my understanding.
As I often have stated context is king, and we don’t necessarily just want to grab a Bible verse without understanding what else is being said around the verse and to understand setting when the verse was written. Unpacking the context and historical implications of scripture can give us a wide view to understand what the Bible is teaching us.
The second approach I use at times is to just look at the bare facts, or the words, in scripture. In this method I will look past all of Paul’s adjectives and adverbs and additional clauses and just sort of look at the nouns and verbs to get to the “bottom line” of what the Apostle, and God through him, is saying.
With today’s verse, we use the second approach to focus on it. We the “beloved brethren” are beloved, and we are to know our “election by God.”
God voted for me and you to be elected to His kingdom! He picked us. The Maker of all things picked us to be His and to be with Him forever. The One who is all powerful and all knowing picked us!
This small verse also declares us as “beloved”. God loved us enough to have Christ come to earth and suffer and die to save us. We are beloved.
So as we usually look to the larger context of scripture, let’s remember that we can also benefit greatly from studying the minute details in scripture.
The details that we are beloved and elected by God is no small thing and if we can hold onto that knowledge as part of our identity on a daily basis, we can face the rest of our lives with peace and hope.
The peace comes from knowing we are picked by God and are His beloved sons and daughters. The hope comes from knowing that some day we will see Him face to face and that every day we live is an opportunity to walk into the purpose that He has prepared for us.
So keep walking and talking with God because when you do its hard to forget you have been chosen by Him before time began and that He loves you dearly.
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:
C. How to Have a Transformed Life
But only hours after the race is over . . . there are rumblings . . . of a ruse.
Is Rosie Ruiz really the female victor of the 1980 Boston Marathon? A couple of men spot her running through a crowd of spectators while the race is still going on, and in the most bizarre twist of the apparently brazen plot, Rosie is spotted riding the subway during the race! One woman recounts that Rosie isn't even sweating.
As it turns out, after exiting the race Rosie does indeed board a subway and gets off about a mile from the finish line to sprint her way to "victory." Bill Rodgers is asked how he feels now looking back at the post-race celebration that turned out to be a shameful sham. "Wow, it was weird," he recalls, shaking his head. "It was really weird." It's as if she believes her own con, according to Bill. And then she tells him several days after the race: "I want to bring out the truth." All the while, Bill says, she looks as sincere as a nun.
Rosie Ruiz desperately needs . . . a transformed life.
Scripture is clear about the root of Rosie's troubles. . . .
"Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy."
Reaching the Target: Transformation!
"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..." (Romans 8:29).
—"I'll do whatever it takes to be conformed to the character of Christ."
Target #2—A New Priority: God's priority for me is to change my thinking.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
—"I'll do whatever it takes to line up my thinking with God's thinking.
Target #3—A New Plan: God's plan for me is to rely on Christ's strength, not my strength, to be all He created me to be.
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 ESV).
—"I'll do whatever it takes to fulfill His plan in His strength."
My Personalized Plan to Be a Boundary Builder
Use the following acrostic of the word boundaries as a tool to help you become an effective boundary builder.
Begin to build healthy boundaries
- —God loves me and wants me to have healthy boundaries.
- —It's not too late to begin learning how to set new boundaries.
will be difficult, but I know the Lord will be my strength.
"The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives" (Proverbs 16:17).
Overcome the fear of others' disapproval of my boundaries
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
"We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Understand that boundaries are biblical
- —God established boundaries from the very beginning.
- —God has personal boundaries.
expects me to live my life according to the boundaries He has laid out for
me in Scripture.
"I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44).
Notify others of my boundaries (family, friends, coworkers)
- —Recognize my resources and responsibilities.
- —Communicate clearly what my convictions are.
sensitively the reasons I am establishing healthier boundaries.
"Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the Head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
Develop relationships with people who have healthy boundaries
- —Seek out people to be around who have healthy boundaries.
- —Ask God to bring mature people into my life to befriend me and help me.
more aware of boundary violations and address them—a sign of being
"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm" (Proverbs 13:20).
Admit my limitations and keep on trying
- —Identify people I need to forgive who have violated my boundaries.
- —Ask forgiveness of those I have offended by trampling over their boundaries.
- —Commit to
keep starting over again when I fail.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).
Realize that boundaries were formed from infancy and that it will take time to learn how to set and maintain new ones
- —The bonding process in infancy is the most powerful influence on boundary building, but it doesn't mean I can't build healthy boundaries as an adult.
- —Identify and evaluate the boundaries I formed in childhood and determine which ones may be counterproductive in my life now.
- —Make a
plan to replace the harmful, unhealthy boundaries I formed in childhood
with new, beneficial ones.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Identify healthy boundaries for myself and commit to maintaining them
- —Communicate my boundaries.
- —State what I will do if people cross my boundaries.
through when my boundaries are crossed.
"My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know" (Job 33:3).
Encourage my family members to establish boundaries
- —Share my decision to establish healthy, beneficial boundaries
- —Express my gratitude for their differing but meaningful roles in my life
them to join with me as I seek to please God and be the person He created
me to be
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. . . . Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." (Romans 15:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).
See my identity in Christ
- —God chose me.
- —God adopted me.
"He chose us in him before the creation of the world. . . . In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. . . . In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding" (Ephesians 1:4-8).
Potential Angry Reactions from Others
Question: "How should I handle potential angry reactions from others when I attempt to set boundaries?"
Answer: There are typically two different methods that people utilize in an effort to get others to do what they want them to do or not do what they don't want them to do. While there is nothing fun about them, they are referred to as "games."...
- The Guilt Game
- —As you start to establish healthy boundaries, others may try and make you feel guilty. That is false guilt.
- —You may be accused of not loving others because of putting up boundaries. That is false guilt.
you begin to feel that others may not love you or if you begin to
question whether you really do love them because of your boundary
building, pray this Scripture. . . .
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4).
- The Blame Game
- —As you begin to establish boundaries and to take charge of your life, others may become angry with you for having to adjust to the "new" you. This is a ploy to get you to go back to your old ways of being manipulated and controlled through guilt.
- —Having healthy boundaries means not manipulating others and not being manipulated by others. To be the slave of another's emotional game playing is a sign of having no boundaries.
faithful to remember: A properly focused conscience that knows the will
of God will do what is right.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).
Starting Good Boundaries
Question: "How do I begin the process of setting good boundaries?"
Answer: The best way to start the boundary-setting process is by consulting with the Creator and reading His Word for living a life that is both pleasing to Him and fulfilling for you. Before you build a city, you lay a solid and steadfast foundation, and that foundation is the Word of God.
Another important step is consulting with several people you know who have firmly established, biblical boundaries. Glean some sound advice from them as to where you should start. Be sure to...
- Step 1: Pray for the Lord to reveal to you your need and how to move forward.
- Step 2: Pinpoint where your boundaries are weak.
- Step 3: Partner with someone who will hold you accountable.
- Step 4: Prepare to see changes in your relationships with others.
- Step 5: Permit yourself small rewards along the way. Boundary building is hard work!
- Step 6: Provide a support system of friends and family for when you go into potential "danger zones" that can trigger old responses.
- Step 7: Prioritize the people or areas that you want to set boundaries for—don't try to tackle all of them at one time.
As you commit your plans and efforts to God and as you begin the process of working with your accountability partner, remember...
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor."
Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship