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Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Getting to Know You – Courage at the Fire - Purity 530


Getting to Know You –  Courage at the Fire - Purity 530

Purity 530 09/22/2021  Purity 530 Podcast

Good morning

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:

1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NKJV)
4  knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

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."

(Proverbs 12:20)

Reaching the Target: Transformation!



 Target #1—A New Purpose: God's purpose for me is to be conformed to the character of Christ.

"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.

I will...

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.
  • —Change 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

  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "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).
  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "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).
  • —Personalize and memorize:
    "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.
  • —God 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.
  • —Share 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.
  • —Become more aware of boundary violations and address them—a sign of being healthier!
    "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.
  • —Follow 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
  • —Invite 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.
  • —God redeemed 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.
    • —If 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.
    • —Be 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."

(Ecclesiastes 4:9)


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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Christian Coupling – All God’s “Little People” - Purity 529


 Christian Coupling – All God’s “Little People” - Purity 529

Purity 529 09/21/2021 Purity 529 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of some apple trees and a cloudless blue September sky comes to us from a friend who went apple picking and found their way through the corn maze at Samascott Orchards, in Kinderhook NY over the weekend.   While the first day of Autumn isn’t officially here until tomorrow this photo is evidence that for some of us Fall is already here as apple picking is a seasonal tradition for many in upstate NY. I must admit that I indulged in a large Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew from Dunkin Donuts on Saturday to celebrate Autumn’s arrival.  

With a new season officially here tomorrow, it may be a time to consider the change in seasons in our lives.  I will be meeting with a group of friends who support one another in dealing with the effects of divorce and how to move ahead in the future seasons in our lives.  For those who have loved and lost, it’s good to have a forum speak, to process the changes we have gone through, and to discuss the next steps in our lives.  

One of the concerns for many in our group is moving on and contemplating finding a new life partner.  Our group is Christian and many of us have a desire to try to follow God’s direction in choosing a new mate.  Considering our post Christian society, making the decision to not settle for anyone other than a Christian spouse is like voluntarily removing anywhere from 60 to 90% of the available candidates from the dating pool, depending on your preference for authenticity and spiritual maturity. If you don’t believe me, just go to church on Sunday and count the number of available single males or females, in any age bracket, and you will have an idea of our dilemma.  

I am 49 years old and the only single women at my local church that I was remotely interested in was a 51 and 30 years old. The 51 year old had extreme food allegories, a veritable rodent zoo of pets, an adult  wiccan daughter who lived at home who smoked marijuana, and a Christian faith that bordered on superstition.  Even with all those red flags, I was so desperate for love immediately after my divorce that I was really considering a relationship with this woman when she decided she was content with being alone and politely rejected me, much to my relief.  

And the 30 year old, who I had secretly crushed on for years and had a series of dreams of being in a relationship and being married to, shot me down on Valentine’s Day this year when I sent a text that likened her beauty to the natural wonders of Victoria Falls in Africa, where we had both been on a mission trip together in 2016.  Ain’t no fool like an old fool.  

So this year’s earlier rejections and the discussions I have had with other Christian divorcees have shown me that building a new life with someone who is Christian isn’t going to be a walk in the park.  

When I was a kid, our family had this Fisher Price Little People Village Playset. It was like a little city with two halves that you could place side by side but you could also put them back to back and lock them together and pick it up and carry it away as a single unit.  I googled it and if you are into vintage toys it was made in 1973 and is available for $115 on Etsy.com! It’s pictured on the blog today.



Anyway, I think of trying to get together with a new Christian partner as trying to put my Fisher Price Playset together with their playset.  My playset would have me, two kids, a cat, a house and 3 cars.  So my task is to find another person whose playset I could deal with and whose playset would fit together with mine. 

For instance Fisher Price also made a Farm Playset.  Even though both playsets are Fisher Price, the village playset and the farm playset don’t fit together into one piece.  But you could take the “little people” from the different playsets and have them play and live in a different playset.  But just because you could have the “village little people” live on the farm and you could have the “farm little people” live in the village, it doesn’t mean that you should.  So what’s a “little people” to do? 

Well for the Christian, we are to go to God and ask for guidance and to be discerning to be sure that the “little people” who say they are Christian really are Christian, for one.  And we are also to make sure that they really are the “little people” they say they are in other areas of life because unfortunately some “little people” tell some really big lies.

So for the Christian looking for love we must be smart, and we must stand by our convictions to not be “unequally yoked” by becoming involved with someone who’s faith is a shallow or just a show.  While compatibility, or coming from the same Fisher Price playset, is important it is more important that both “little people” have a living relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

If both “little people” are in Christ and are seeking the Lord’s will for their lives and are living by Christian principles drawn from the wisdom of God’s word, there are no differences that can’t be overcome.

For the love of Christ can not only cover a multitude of sins it can also bridge the gaps between Jews and Gentiles and the “little people” from different playsets.   But before we start slapping playsets together, we should be sure that all the playset people, pieces, and accessories are considered and if we discover that these two playsets just wont work or the pieces are just too different from one another, we should trust the Lord, pick up our playset and move along.  

With God, we can be content that we are loved.  Instead of forcing a fit between our “playset” and someone else’s playset, we should make sure all the pieces in our playset are in order and that we are content with ourselves and are in harmony with God.  

So, keep walking and talking with God. If you follow Him, you can be assured that you are loved and cared for and if you are obedient to His guidance He won’t lead you astray.                

 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:

Galatians 5:14 (NASB)
14  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

Today’s verse teaches us the importance of our relationships with others as part of our faith.      

For those who don’t know, the advice to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, known as the Golden Rule in some circles, is a paraphrase of Jesus’s words Matthew 7:12.  What could be passed off as “common sense” or a “good life principle” is drawn from the Bible.  

Today’s verse echoes Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12 and teaches us to not act by the letter of the law but to be motivated by love to fulfill the Law.  The parts of the Old Testament Mosaic Law that didn’t have to do with loving God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength, basically instructed us not to harm other people.  

The legalist would concern themselves with the specific details of the law whereas the Children of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ are directed to act out of love.  If we act out of love, we won’t steal our neighbor’s stuff or kill them.  If we love our neighbor as ourselves we will only seek their well-being. The instruction to love our neighbors tells us to not seek our desires over someone else’s.

So if we struggle with loving other people, we need to try to see them as our Lord would.  We need to try to consider the trouble’s and pains they have suffered, and we need to remind ourselves that no matter what they say or do, God still loves them, and He desires that they would come to Him.  

When we can see others as God does, we can forgive them for “they know not what they do” and we can choose to show them the love of God by treating them the way that we would want to be treated. Our love our neighbors can cause them to see that there is a God and God can use our words and actions to open their eyes and bring them into His kingdom. 

So love you neighbors as you love yourself. Not only could our deeds be a way to get some peace on earth and show good will to men, our efforts to “do the right thing” could be used by God to bring the dead to life.  

    

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:

IV. Steps to Solution

Rosie Ruiz is an administrative assistant for a metal company and a marathon runner.

In the world of racing, she is a "no-name," unnoticed by women who are rivals and is never the subject of media attention. In 1980 she enters her second competition, the prestigious Boston Marathon, and finds herself in a field of about 450 female participants.

The person in the spotlight at the marathon is the esteemed Bill Rodgers, who is expected once again to be the first to lunge through the tape at the finish line and to chalk up three consecutive titles. But when it comes to the female runners . . . there will be a surprise finish.

God knows the outcome, as well as the motives of the heart. . . .

"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."

(Jeremiah 17:10)

A. Key Verse to Memorize

To compete with 5,364 runners in the Boston Marathon you can't be timid, and self-discipline is a key component to hopefully making it across the finish line, For Rosie Ruiz, a Cuban-American, participating in the race appears to be like a dream come true, an unparalleled opportunity to be associated with sports history. The 26-year-old even looks the part too. Rosie has a long, lanky figure with short hair, indicating she seemingly is ready to run with the best of them.

When the big day arrives, Rosie sports a T-shirt bearing the race identification W50, and it will be an image few runners that year will forget. . . .

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."

(2 Timothy 1:7)

B. Key Passage to Read

Yes, there is a time for everything, and at the 1980 Boston Marathon it's a time to be victorious for Bill Rodgers . . . and Rosie Ruiz!

Rosie trots across the finish line in just over two and a half hours, giving her 1st place overall in the women's division and the third fastest time among female marathon runners ever in any marathon. Her life is forever changed as the accolades start pouring in.

Massachusetts Governor Edward J. King crowns Rosie the women's champion, and before long she is wearing the coveted laurel wreath associated with the race. She also is given a medal and a silver bowl, and obviously enjoys being photographed with Bill Rodgers.

Boundaries are not only essential for fair competition in athletics, but they are also a basic requirement in every area of life. This principle is clearly expressed in the Ten Commandments. When God established a covenant with His chosen people, Israel, He clearly defined boundaries for their relationship. . . .

"And God spoke all these words: 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'"

(Exodus 20:1-17)

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 20, 2021

In the Zone – Planning, Purpose, and Forgiveness - Purity 528


In the Zone – Planning, Purpose, and Forgiveness - Purity 528

Purity 528 09/20/2021   Purity 528 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a view of the heavens and some pines trees in an undisclosed northern pacific forest area comes to us from a friend who vacationed in Oregon near the end of August.  It must have been an eventful trip to Oregon for a few weeks after this photo was taken the couple who hiked underneath this sky committed themselves to travel the trails of this earth together as husband and wife as they announced their engagement on September 11th.  The beauty of God’s creation can not only draw us closer to Him, but it can also cause us to see what’s important in life and  draw closer to one another. 

It’s Monday again and whether you are missing the weekend already or for some reason are glad to be getting back to work, I share today’s photo as a reminder to not be so “earthly minded” as to be no “heavenly good”.  I love turning that phrase around to remind us that the things of this earth are not as important as we can make them out to be sometimes and that we shouldn’t let the changing and possibly stressful circumstances of the beginnings of another work week fill us with anxiety or dread.

If we keep our eyes on the skies and our minds on the “big picture” by contemplating the things of God and our purposes on earth according to Him, we can skillfully navigate through the cares of another day with a peace and a joy that is based on the Truth that tells us that we are loved and provided for by the One who made all things.  

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t take care of our responsibilities on earth. Over the weekend, I spent time talking with my son about the benefits of using the “in between” times, those spare minutes, or hours in between his classes, to be productive so that his “free time” after classes could be “more free”. I pointed out that while the “in between” times could be used to rest or commune with God in prayer, typically we squander that time looking at our phones or just doing nothing but waiting for our next appointment or activity.

I explained that as his responsibilities increase with age, his “free time” will become less and less and that it is a good idea to stay ahead of his responsibilities, so he doesn’t have to play “catch up” and get things done at the last minute.  I explained that there was only so much time in the day and that we can really benefit by planning how we use it and utilizing the “in between” times with purposeful activity rather than just “sitting around waiting”.  If we are busy anyway between 9 to 5, we might as well make the most of those hours to try to get ahead of the things that are demanded of us.  

Of course, I counseled him to not become a slave to the grind by being balanced in his choices and to consider the consequences for what he decided to do or what he decided not to do in each moment.    

God made us to be stewards of our lives and take care of the things we have been given.  He also wants us to commune with Him. God gave us minds to think and to plan so we should utilize them to be able to benefit from our relationship with God and also meet the obligations set before us.

 So to find the peace and joy of the Lord, we are to stay connected to Him by giving Him some of our time each day to rest in His presence and glean from His wisdom.  When we have established a foundation of peace and joy in the Lord’s presence, we face the challenges of the day with hope and confidence, knowing that what ever we must face we are assured of our total acceptance, significance, and security with the Lord.

This basis of peace and joy in the Lord is supported, maintained, and enhanced when we plan for and overcome the challenges of the day by anticipating problems and preparing for them.  When we successful meet the challenges of the day as they come up we can rejoice in our capabilities and thank the Lord for using the wisdom and skills He has given us.  

Our best days are usually days where we were “in the zone” where we skillfully dealt with all that was before us and never lost our cool.  I would suggest that we can have more of those days when we start with the assurance of God in our lives, and we use the gifts he has given us to meet our responsibilities with “grace” under fire.  

So go out there and “get her done” but when you do be sure to connect with the Spirit, the Father, and the Son.  We were never meant to walk through life alone and when God is with you can enjoy His peace and joy dealing with every day ”in the zone.”  

   

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 3:13 (NKJV)
13  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Today’s verse teaches a foundational lesson of the Christian faith: forgiveness.  

Recently, I had someone comment on one of my blog posts asking for specifics on a particular topic in the Bible. The question indicated that the person had some pain in their life, and it also indicated that they might not have the deepest relationship with God.

The question they were asking, “What does God say about X”, could have been put into a search engine instead of into the comments section of my post and reaped a plethora of Bible verses and articles by Christians addressing their subject. But sometimes we are not looking for answers, sometimes when we are in pain and we are looking for a fight.  

In addition to the question, the person shared a comment that was placing the blame on the other party in their broken relationship, indicating that as far as they were concerned the person asking the questions had “done everything right” and it was the other person, and God apparently, that had let them down.    So they had an axe to grind.  They were angry and hurt and in their pain, (or in their ignorance or spiritual immaturity) they had a “beef” with God and were challenging His wisdom or looking to use it to condemn the other party on their relationship as wrong.   

I usually don’t entertain questions that are asked with the “spirit of rebellion” so prominently on display because I know that the person isn’t going to hear what I am going to say anyway.  But for some reason, I tried.  

The particular topic asked about was divorce and what God had to say about people who caused the divorce through their actions while the other spouse tried to honor their responsibilities.

Instead of writing a book to detail the Biblical wisdom that could address this situation, I decided to try some short somewhat pithy observations and a suggestion to be made right with God individually by recognizing one’s own part in the situation and resolving to repent and live a discipled life in Christ. 

My exact comment was this: "Do you want the verses on how God hates divorce or the ones about how we are to forgive those who sin against us? Bottom line - God cares about our situations and advises us to follow Him as a response, to walk through all the pain and suffering this world has to offer. The question is will you follow Him or do things your way… that played a part in where we find ourselves. "

As for God on divorce.

Malachi 2:15-16 (NLT2)
15  Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
16  “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

So God doesn’t want us to divorce. He hates it but Christ’s words and other statements by the Apostles in the New Testament indicate that there are certain situations that permit divorce.  Regardless of if you divorce for Biblical reasons or not, the basic remedy to the broken relationship, whether it is to be restored or not, is forgiveness. 

Basically, I was pointing to the Lord’s command to forgive. And as today’s verse indicates, as this person had a “complaint against another” I was suggesting that “even as Christ forgave” us, so we “also must do.”    The verse doesn’t mince words. As Christians, we “must” forgive.  

Also we must respect the Lord as God Almighty. His ways are higher than our ways, and frankly when we are challenging the Lord’s wisdom we are definitely in the wrong and should seek His forgiveness as well. 

Either we are with God, or we are not. If we decided to live life our way, we should be prepared for the negative consequences in this world and eternal torment in the next. 

If we really want to know what God has to say about something, we must seek His truth by reading His word and then we are obligated to obey it.   Otherwise, we will have not peace in this life and quite possibly no peace beyond this life.  

So if you need Bible verses, do a google search. You’ll get a bunch. But when you do your search, you might discover the simple fact that you need to be forgiven by God and if you are going to receive it you will obligating yourself to follow and obey Him, and part of that is going to require you to forgive those that sin against you.  

If we put our suffering above what Christ suffered on the cross for us, we need to wake up, grow up, and repent.  

No one said that the Christian way of life was easy. Christ said the world would hate us and that we would be persecuted for being His disciples.  But Christ has overcome the world and although we will suffer in this life we can still manage to know the peace and joy that go beyond understanding by being assured of His love and our salvation by placing our faith in Him.


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:

E. What Is God's Ultimate Plan and Purpose for Boundaries?

God is all about relationships, and we are created in His image. Our hearts seek to be bonded, and the one eternal bond is with God, established through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the ultimate yearning of our soul—to be with God. . . .

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

(Romans 8:38-39)

Plan of Salvation

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 about you!

"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

(John 8:36)


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