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Showing posts with label Ephesians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ephesians. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

From where I AM Sitting – Hope and Healing– Purity 523


 From where I AM Sitting – Hope and Healing– Purity 523                                                                        

Purity 523 09/14/2021 Purity 523 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a woman seeking to get closer a look at the spectacular sunset in the distance via binoculars on the shoes of Lake Ontario at Breitbeck Park is brought to us by Celestial Blue Photography.  Yes, Rocco Saya has returned to the “scene of the crime” as he went back to Breitbeck Park, the place where he broke his leg last week, to capture this scene seated in a wheelchair as he awaits his surgery on Thursday!

I don’t often share back to back photos from the same source but what can I say! The guy went out to do what he loves in a freaking wheelchair! And no, he hasn’t even had his surgery yet!  I will respectfully call our friend, Mr. Saya from now on because he has my utmost respect.  Rocco’s… I mean Mr. Saya’s simple act of continuing to do what he loves regardless of the pain and difficulties he is suffering currently is an object lesson in how we are to live our lives. His little trip to the park where he was hurt can teach us so much. 

·       Although we have been hurt and broken, we are not useless.  

Often when we suffer there can be a tendency to wallow in our misery. If we are not careful we will sit in a deep depression focusing on what we have lost and what we can no longer do.  Mr. Saya has shown us that even though he is suffering pain he can still function. He obviously has limitations. I envision Mr. Saya as sort of a Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, wheelchair bound but still shooting.  Although he might be in pain and can’t do everything he would like to do, by God, he is going to keep on living and doing what he loves.  His example also teaches us that:

·       Although we have been hurt and broken, we can still see the good and appreciate the beauty in life.  

Again when we suffer pain and loss, there can be a clouding of our perceptions.  If we are not careful we can view everything in light of our hurt and see the world as sinister or dismal.   Mr. Saya has shown us that even though he is in pain, he can still appreciate the good things in life and see beauty in the world. His post stated that it was “nice to get some fresh air” and testified that “Life is always beautiful, even between the ups and downs!”  What can I say, Mr. Saya gets it.  And finally, although there could be more lessons gleaned from Mr. Saya’s trip to Breitbeck Park, his trip teaches us that:

·       Although we have been hurt and broken, we don’t have to associate places and things with our trauma.

When something traumatic happens to us, we can easily create negative associations with the people, places, and things that surround the trauma.  Mr. Saya may not have realized this but a fundamental way that we can get past the intensity of a trauma is to revisit the place where it happened to process what we have gone through and to get a clear view of the elements that surrounded the traumatic event, outside of the context of the original trauma.  

By going to Breitbeck Park and taking photos, Mr. Says is destroying any negative associations that could have been transferred to that place and that activity due to his traumatic injury.  The irrational lies that “Breitbeck Park isn’t safe” or “Photography only causes trouble.” are dispelled by the truth that “Accidents happen, but we don’t have to let them change how we live by living in fear.”  Okay, I guess I lied because I got one more lesson to share. Mr. Saya’s example also teaches us that:

·       Although we have been hurt and broken, we can hope and heal.  

Mr. Saya’s comments on his post reported that his surgery is on Thursday, and he said that he was “looking forward to that so I can begin to heal”.   The healing hasn’t happened yet. But he can look ahead and hope for the healing. So even if you are hurt and broken and really don’t feel that your healing has begun, I encourage you to learn from our friend and begin to hope for it.   

We might be in a situation that is just terrible. We might plan for a solution and come to the realization that our road ahead is going to be a long and hard one.  But if we can see beyond the trials ahead and hope for the “good place” that we can get to, our hearts and minds can prepare themselves and be ready for when our healing comes and every step we take from hear to there, can be filled with hope and expectancy.  

I have had a broken leg and I have walked out of many broken situations and the lesson I have learned in addition to all the ones that Mr. Saya’s example teaches us is that:

·       Although we have been hurt and broken, we are not alone.  

Even if you have no friends or family to lean on or have lost them as part of difficulties you are facing, there is One who loves you and cares for you like no other.  God, your heavenly Father, will never leave you or forsake you. 

If you feel distant from Him, you can find peace with Him by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. When you do that a new life of hope, power, and peace is yours to walk into. You can call on Him no matter where you are or what time it is, and He will always be there.  You can lean on Him for strength, ask Him for wisdom, and be comforted by His love.  

So draw close to God and He will draw close to you. In Christ you are a new creation. The old has passed away and all things are new.  By walking and talking with God, we can overcome and be healed.

Oh by the way, “talking with God” is communicating with Him in prayer, reading His word, and literally just talking to Him.

Walking with God is living your life according to his ways, the first of which is to be honest with Him and yourself. When we are honest with God and ourselves, we can see that we played a part in our suffering by not following Him. By surrendering and committing ourselves to God, we correct that mistake and while we might not be able to undo all that got us here, we can be confident that His ways will lead to better outcomes in the future.      

 

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:

Ephesians 1:5-6 (NASB)
5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

 Today’s verse tells us that God chose us out His kindness and grace for His will.   

 Today’s verse is one of many that contribute to the doctrine of predestination which tells us that God, before creation, foreknew those that would be his children by coming to faith in Jesus Christ.  

When I had thought about this concept before, I imagined God as sitting over and above time and space, examining all of time, from the end to the beginning, and “seeing” who would eventually put their faith in Christ and prove to be true converts by their faith, which only He could see. 

My idea was that God had “beta tested” all of existence. He ran the “scenario” of the history of the universe and that was how He “foreknew” who would be His children. He is all knowing and that’s how God knew who would be His – He saw it!  He read the end of the book. He saw the movie.  He saw who was faithful because of how it all played out.     

Clever right? This view would allow man to have free will and God to be sovereign. Wouldn’t it?  

No, it’s not clever! Its wrong.  One of the most daunting paradoxes of our faith is how God’s sovereignty and the idea of man’s free will works out.  And that’s all I say about that, today. 

My little idea didn’t have God sovereign at all. He was basically waiting in the wings and wondering how everything would work out. In my view man was sovereign, choosing to come to God or not, with the illusion of God being sovereign just because He was eternal and “knew” who would win the race of faith.   

I learned yesterday that the Greek word for “foreknew” denotes a predetermined relationship.  God sovereignly chooses those that would have a relationship with. He picked us before time began! 

From our point of view it looks like we pick Him somewhere in the progression of our lives,  but the word for “foreknew” indicates that the relationship that we come into with God was already established! We just had to catch up with what God had already chosen!

That’s a sovereign God. He picks. He chooses us and somewhere along the line we catch a clue, thanks to the Holy Spirit, and we come in line with His will.   

So rejoice in your faith in Jesus Christ. It was gift, a predetermined relationship that God established for time began.  

Why did He do this? Today’s verse tells us that it was because of His kindness. It also says it was because of His grace, His unmerited favor, meaning we didn’t do anything to deserve it. God picked us!

Today’s verse also tells us there was a reason behind His kindness and grace: His will. God chose us for a reason: to do His will.  So that should make us all feel very special.  He chose us. He saved us. And He has a purpose for us. 

So thank God for choosing you. He did it before time began and He did it for a reason. So start walking and talking with God and ask Him which way you should go. He knows the end from the beginning, and He won’t lead you astray. He has prepared good works for you to walk into so look to see what lies ahead and feel how momentous the days of your life can be.

 

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 Repercussions Result from Resisting Boundaries?

A big controversy in both Olympic and professional sports is the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Major stars have been caught using the drugs in order to gain an advantage over their opponents, an advantage that has been deemed unfair and illegal.

What especially exacerbates the issue is the number of famous athletes who have been found guilty by a court, or who have, on their own, confessed to using the drugs, or whose names have been brought up as potential abusers.

As a result, many fans and analysts argue that key records, such as the home run record held by Barry Bonds in Major League Baseball, should be erased or at least marked with an asterisk. Other athletes, such as 2000 Olympic track star Marion Jones, have been completely disgraced after being found guilty of using these performance-enhancing drugs.

The result for these athletes is terrible shame, public disgrace, and immense regret. But their demise highlights the most important boundary in sports: fairness.

In order to declare a winner, everyone must play by the same set of rules . . . the same boundaries. Without them, the idea of picking a winner or setting a new record becomes meaningless. The integrity of sports, then, is found in its boundaries.

Therefore, when boundaries are broken and trespassed, the results are grave for the offenders, whose former glory is forgotten and whose careers serve only as an example of what not to do.

The lesson: Play within the boundaries and there are rewards. Break the boundaries and there are repercussions—you ultimately lose . . . even your so-called victories are truly losses in terms of compromised integrity. The truth of this lesson is clearly seen in the lives . . . and deaths . . . of Moses and his brother Aaron. . . .

"On that same day the Lord told Moses, 'Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."

(Deuteronomy 32:48-52)

"The punishment should fit the crime" is a well-known and commonly supported statement by those who favor justice when it comes to repercussions for broken boundaries. The laws God established for the nation of Israel certainly reflect this sentiment and should therefore reflect our attitude when it comes to setting repercussions for those who resist the personal boundaries we establish for our relationships.

Some examples of broken boundaries and "fitting" repercussions could include...

  • Money is misused. . . . The amount is reimbursed and further monetary funds are withheld until the responsible use of money is reestablished.
  • Physical safety is threatened. . . . Time spent alone together stops until the boundary of self-control is learned through counseling and is well established for a period of at least 6 to 12 months.
  • Lies are told. . . . Trust is withheld and verification of future information is required until the person shows over time that truthfulness has become a priority.
  • Adultery is committed. . . . Marriage and individual counseling is utilized, contact with the unfaithful partner is stopped, sexual relations between the marriage partners are suspended until laboratory tests are run and medical treatment has begun for any existing sexually transmitted diseases and until faithfulness is reestablished and trust is rebuilt.
  • Abusive language is used. . . . Interaction stops and time-outs are taken by both parties until civility in conversations is reestablished as a mutually agreed upon boundary.
  • Inappropriate anger is expressed. . . . Causes for loss of control are explored and resolved in counseling, and anger management is learned and demonstrated overtime.
  • "No" is ignored. . . . The topic in question is temporarily off limits for discussion, communication is restricted to other subjects, and time-outs are enforced if resistance to being told "no" persists.
  • Time is disrespected. . . . Appointments are rescheduled after waiting for 15 minutes or a reasonable amount of time, separate modes of transportation are utilized if going somewhere together results in a late arrival, get-togethers are planned to piggyback off other scheduled events so that time won't be a factor.

When setting repercussions, it is imperative to discuss them and make them clear and to keep in mind that the purpose of repercussions is not punishment but repentance and transformation.

Resistance toward a particular boundary says there is a problem that needs to be resolved, a hurt that needs to be healed, or a behavioral pattern that needs to be changed . . . for the good of the relationship and for the sharpening of the persons in the relationship. . . .

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

(Proverbs 27:17)

Shift-the-Blame Game

Question: "My husband walked away from our family and has been unfaithful. Now he wants to come back. In spite of our hurt, the children and I still love him. When I asked him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, he accused me of not being a forgiving and compassionate Christian. He says I'm being punitive, but I think I'm being practical. What is right?"

Answer: Your husband is simply using the "shift-the-blame" game to avoid his responsibility to be tested. He is shifting the blame to you instead of taking responsibility for putting you in this precarious position. He needs to accept the proper repercussion for his promiscuity: testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

This requirement is not to shame or humiliate a guilty spouse, but rather to protect the innocent spouse. It appears that he is still thinking of himself and not you; otherwise, he would be the one taking the initiative to do everything possible to keep you safe. Love takes precautions and protects; it doesn't risk harm to the object of its focus.

Maintain your commitment to do what is best for your family and refuse to be manipulated. Enforce your boundary of keeping the marriage bed undefiled until he complies. . . .

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . . a time to embrace and a time to refrain..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5).

Forgiveness vs. Enablement

Question: "What does forgiveness and enablement have to do with boundaries?"

Answer: Forgiveness is not enablement. If a man borrows money from you and later refuses to repay you, you should still forgive him. Release both him and the offense to God, for your sake if for no other, so that you do not become bitter. But you should not enter into another monetary relationship with him. That is where it becomes a boundary issue.

Enabling means you allow others to continue in their bad behavior by either not establishing a boundary or by not enforcing consequences when they violate a boundary you have established.

  • Enablement puts you in a position of being offended again and again.
  • Enabling never helps offenders change, but rather further ingrains their bad habits. However, one consequence for your offenders is that they will not have other opportunities to "use you" or offend you again. That is a boundary.
  • Enablers are classic people pleasers who do not say no when they should say no.
  • Forgiveness puts you in a position of not becoming bitter or holding on to offenses from the past.
  • Forgivers face the offenses and the wrongs done toward them but never make excuses for the offense or make it okay.
  • Forgiveness discourages enablement by shining a spotlight on the wrongdoing and calling it what it is.

If you say yes to irresponsible people when you should put up boundaries and say no, you are actually trying to please people instead of God. The apostle Paul counters that error in thinking by declaring...

"We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts."

(1 Thessalonians 2:4)


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

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God - Purity 470


Seated in the Heavenlies: Resting with God

Purity 470 07/14/2021   Purity 470 Podcast

Good morning  

Today’s photo from atop Giant Mountain, the twelfth-highest peak in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Park in upstate NY, comes to us from a friend’s recent summit of the peak that is also known as "Giant of the Valley” due to its stature looking over Keene Valley and St. Hubert’s to the west.  Our adventurous friend truly made the most of their day as they also summited nearby Rocky Peak Ridge, and then spent the remainder of the day boating on Lake George!  But here up above the clouds on top of Giant Mountain, our friend took a moment to sit and take a rest with their companion to enjoy a bird’s eye view of God’s creation.      

I share today’s photo because of the epic view but also because it reminded me of a couple of phrases from scripture that speak of the peace we have when we come into relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  

Seeing our friend’s companion’s feet stretched out on Giant Mountain with a few wispy clouds below I thought of the phrase in the Bible that refers to Christians as being seated in the heavenlies with Christ. The exact passage is:  

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

When we were dead in our sin and God made us alive through Christ, He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Positionally speaking, we are already citizens of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s royal family.  We have been saved and never need to fear death again. We are assured of a good place with God in eternity because of Christ.  

That realization, and this photo, made me think of Christ’s promise to give us rest. The exact passage I was thinking of is: 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Our lives on earth are hard. We have to somehow figure out who we are, what we like, and how we can include those things in the process of deciding how we spend our time and how we provide for ourselves. We also must take all of that into consideration when we choose to leave our original family to establish a life of our own and choose whether or not to have a family of our own.  That’s a lot to figure out and we have to do it all in environment in which everything changes over time, including ourselves.  

A lot of people can look at those last few statements and say that they more or less define our entire lives but there is more to our lives than just the things of this earth. 

God sent Christ to earth to tell us that and to make a way for us to somehow rise above it all with His offer of rest and eternal life.  Figuring out the mysteries of life’s meaning and purpose by our own efforts and reasoning is exhausting and ultimately a fruitless pursuit. 

To find a meaning and purpose in life that is meaningful, we have to ask the One who made all existence what He says. God sent Jesus tell us what life is all about and Jesus said:

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

While we can find some measure of rest from sitting a top a mountain glorying over our accomplishments, or by discovering optimal relaxation in a “sleep number bed”, the rest that comes from being at peace with God is beyond compare.  

So no matter where you find yourself on this “hump” day, remember that if you are in Christ, God has made you to sit in the heavenly places.  You have the assurance of life everlasting with the One who overcame the world.  Remember that and rest.     

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse calls us to a life of holiness and makes it clear that if we reject this instruction we reject God.    

In today’s seeker friendly churches with their hearts set on not offending those who they wish to bring into the kingdom of God, the preachers of the modern gospel are kind and compassionate but often exclude the message of holiness when they are presenting the benefits of the grace that saves.     

Quite honestly, when I heard the gospel message that saved me I heard about God’s love and forgiveness and was amazed by the grace that saved a wretch like me but I in no way thought, or heard in the message that saved me, that I would be called to change.   

I figured the thing that was so amazing about the gospel was that God knew all about me and accepted me, warts, and all! There was no way that God would expect me to change.  I figured my job would be just to tell people how awesome God was for the rest of my life, and I would just sit quietly in the back of the church praying prayers of thanksgiving and staying out of everyone else’s way.  

But God does call all His Children to holiness.

In the “body of Christ” I would say that there is definitely a sliding scale on holiness that is dependent on each individual’s understanding and convictions.  

The way I look at it the deeper your relationship and knowledge of the Lord is the deeper your conviction and desire to be holy will be. 

Repentance is a dirty word in some circles. I know it was a word that I didn’t want to hear when I first got saved. When I heard it I thought I had been a victim of the old “bait and switch”. 

“You said I was saved! You said I was forgiven of all my sins, even my future sins! So what’s this noise about repentance?! What are you talking about? I don’t need to repent! I did that when I said the prayer! I’m good. Thanks but no thanks! I’ll just be over here chilling with Jesus.”  

The thing is I was actually “chilling with Jesus” and the Holy Spirit too.   And guess what, they encouraged me to read the word of God and I saw the truth that God had indeed saved me and made me His child but although He found me in darkness, He didn’t want me to stay there, and He gave me the power to leave it all behind.

So I began to repent and have been experiencing victory after victory and have enjoyed an increasing freedom in Christ with each stronghold that I overcome.  I leaned on the Lord and took things one thing at a time and walked with the Lord one day at a time and sure enough every step with God took me closer into His light and further from the darkness.        

We are all called to holiness when God calls us into His kingdom. If you accept Christ you are saved but accept the Lord’s call to holiness too. That’s His plan for your life.

The abundant life the Christ promised is significantly different from our lives that we knew before Christ. To experience it, that means we must change from the ways we have always been and start living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

When you reject the call to Holiness, you reject the fullness of the life that God has for you. By rejecting holiness, we are saying we know better than God.  I assure you that no matter how bright or special you may be, that is not the case.  

So humble yourself before the Lord, ask Him to help you and guide you out of your former or current darkness and into His light.  Your victory has been given to you already. You just have to trust the Lord and walk into it with Him as your guide.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 7.

 

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

How Can I Turn Bad Goals into Good Goals?

Let me ask you a faith-stretching question: If God wants something done, can it be done? In other words, if God has a goal for your life, can it be blocked, or is its fulfillment uncertain or impossible?

I am personally convinced that no goal God has for my life is impossible or uncertain, nor can it be blocked. I can't imagine God saying, "I've called you into existence, I've made you My child and I have something for you to do. I know you won't be able to do it, but give it your best shot." That's ludicrous! It's like saying to your child, "I want you to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn is full of rocks, the mower doesn't work and there's no gas. But give it your best shot." When an authority figure issues a command that cannot be obeyed, the authority of the leader is undermined in the minds of those who are in submission.

God had a staggering goal for a young maid named Mary. An angel told her she would bear a Son while still a virgin, and her Son would be the Savior of the world. When she inquired about this seemingly impossible feat, the angel simply said, "'Nothing will be impossible with God'" (Luke 1:37).

You wouldn't give your children tasks they couldn't possibly complete, and God doesn't assign to you goals you can't achieve. His goals for you are possible, certain, and achievable. We need to understand His goals for our lives and then say with Mary: "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Goals Versus Desires

To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire. This liberating distinction can spell the difference between success and failure, inner peace, and inner pain for the Christian.

A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God's purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control. Who do you have the ability and right to control? Virtually no one but yourself. The only person who can block a godly goal or render it uncertain or impossible is you. If you adopt the attitude of cooperation with God's goals as Mary did, your goal can be reached.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have no right or ability to control. You cannot base your success or sense of worth on your desires, no matter how godly they may be, because you cannot control their fulfillment. Some of your desires will be blocked, remain uncertain and eventually prove to be impossible. Let's face it, life doesn't always go our way and many of our desires will not be met.

We will struggle with anger, anxiety, and depression when we elevate a desire to a goal in our own minds. By comparison, when a desire isn't met, you will only face disappointment. Life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to live with them. However, dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier than dealing with the anger, anxiety and depression of goals that are based on wrong beliefs.

Does God make a distinction between a goal and a desire? Yes, I think He does. "'For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the LORD God. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:32). It is God's desire that we would all repent and live, but not all will.

John wrote, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). Certainly, the integrity, sovereignty and success of God is not dependent upon whether or not we sin. God has no blocked goals. It is God's desire that everyone repent, although not everyone will.

Then does God have any genuine goals—specific results that cannot be blocked? Praise the Lord, yes! For example, Jesus Christ will return and take us home to heaven to be with Him forever—it will happen. Satan will be cast into the abyss for eternity—count on it. Rewards will be distributed to the saints for their faithfulness—look forward to it. These are not desires that can be thwarted by the fickle nature of a fallen humanity. What God has determined to do, He will do.

When you begin to align your goals with God's goals and your desires with God's desires, you will rid your life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression. The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.

She may object, "But what if my husband has a midlife crisis or my kids rebel?" Those kinds of problems are not blocking her goal to be the wife and mother God called her to be. Such trials will surely test her faith. If anything, difficulties in the family should further encourage her commitment. If her husband should ever need a godly wife and her children a godly mother, it is in times of trouble. Family difficulties refine her goal of being the woman God wants her to be.

The pastor whose success and sense of worth are based on his goal to win his community for Christ, have the best youth ministry in town or increase giving to missions by 50 percent, is headed for a fall. These are worthwhile desires, but no pastor should deem himself a success or failure based on whether or not they are achieved. His goal is to be the pastor God called him to be. No member of his church or community can block that goal.


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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

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, June 23, 2021

Our Constant Companion: Purity 452


 Our Constant Companion

Purity 452 06/23/2021  Purity 452 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the summer solstice sunset over the peaks that surround Lake Granby in Colorado comes to us from the vantage point of a friend’s sailboat.  My friend loves to regularly celebrate the joys of sailing and life with others on their boat, but this sunset was just for them and man’s best friend, a golden retriever whose orange life vest testified to the fact that this solstice cruise wasn’t their first. You can go to the blog to see our four-footed friend for yourself.


One of the aspects that brings quality to our lives is companionship, having someone else to share our experiences with.  Our needs for companionship don’t necessarily have to be met by a romantic soul mate or life partner. Our needs for companionship can be met by close family members or by our friends, both old and new, and both human and animal, as our pets seem to have the ability to qualify as both our friends and family in ways that humans seem to lack.  

But what happens when our companions leave us? What happens when they move away, die, or the relationship suddenly sours? What if your life has been met with betrayals and heartache of losses that are so bad that you can’t even bear the idea of establishing a new relationship because of a lack of trust and the potential for future pain?  

While I would encourage people to try to process their grief and would tell them to be wise and discerning in pursuing new relationships, I could unreservedly advise them to foster or purse a relationship with the One who will never leave them or forsake them: God.

God is the healer and the provider.  He can take away our pain and give us all that we need. 

He is omnipresent so He is our constant companion but just because He is there for us doesn’t mean we are there for Him.  Our relationship with God is established by placing our faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins, for the imputation of His righteousness, and for instant adoption into God’s royal family.   When we say yes to Jesu Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to quickens our spirit and comes to dwell within us.   And let me tell you, The Holy Spirit is an ever-present help and comfort to us and will lead you into all truth.   

Our life of faith is often called “walking in the Spirit” for a reason. That phrase means that we begin to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our lives and act on it.  He leads us into all truth and sometimes the truth is hard.  The Holy Spirit showed me that things I wasn’t aware of, and He convicted me of the things that I was doing that were detrimental to my peace.  In the past several years I have tried to follow His leadings and have been liberated from painful situations and have a transformed life.    

When you make Christ your Savior, God doesn’t sit up in heaven wishing you well. His redemptive plan, that is revealed in the New Testament, makes a way for your forgiveness through Christ and for your empowerment through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.     

We receive a new abundant life when we believe, but in order to experience it we must follow our Constant Companion by listening to His still quiet voice and by surrendering the ways of the world for the wisdom of God.  

So if you’re looking for someone to share your life with, why not choose the One who gave it to you in the first place. With God, you will never be alone again. He is our Heavenly Father who call us to better things and life everlasting. You’ve got a friend in Jesus who paid the cost that we never could. And with the Holy Spirit, we have a Constant Companion who will lead us to grow into a life of love, peace, and joy.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Ephesians 5:18 (NLT2)
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

Today’s verse encourages us to make good choices and to enter into the new life God has given us.  

As much as I advocate for total abstinence of alcohol because of my history, I must admit that the Bible doesn’t prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages, but it does have a lot to say about drunkenness and none of it is good. 

Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t drink alcoholic beverages casually and would almost always drink myself into one of the various levels of drunkenness. The “drunken” verses of the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s conviction and guidance caused me to abandon what was a lifelong love hate relationship with alcohol.  

From the word of God, I got the deep conviction that my allegiance to alcohol and a lifestyle that included periodic, if not often, drunkenness could have deep spiritual and possibly eternal consequences.

Drunkenness causes disharmony to our relationship with God. 1 Cor 6:9-10 tells us that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.  When I understood that my drunkenness  could cause damage to my fellowship with the Lord and could even be an indicator that I wasn’t really His and cause my eternal destruction, my blood ran cold at the realization that I could be one of the false believers that would be told that Christ never knew me, that while my lips confessed faith in God, my actions would testify to an idolatrous worship of the powers of darkness through my enslavement to alcohol.   

So I trusted the Lord to take away my addiction and while it seemed like it was going to be impossible at first, when I increasingly began to adopt and live by my identity in Christ the poison of addiction was taken out of me.  The Holy Spirit granted me repentance and now I can be around others drinking alcohol and have no temptation to drink and to put myself into a yoke of bondage again.   

But please understand me. Our freedom doesn’t come from just saying no to the sins that enslave us. We do have to say no and be proactive in our efforts to change our thoughts to hate what we proclaimed to love but what is truly important in our life of faith is saying “Yes” to the Holy Spirit.   

We are filled by the Holy Spirit by filling ourselves with the word of God, by reading the Bible and knowing its principles for living, but we are also filled by the Spirit by asking to be filled with His presence.   When we ask for strength to live the Christian life, we will receive it.  When we ask for the Lord’s wisdom and help, He will provide it.  But the key is that we must surrender our worldly ways and start living with the Holy Spirit by shaping our lives to live every day according to God’s wisdom and by talking to the Lord in prayer.  

So be filled with the Holy Spirit, or as I always say: keep walking and talking with God. Our faith is more than a set of beliefs. Our faith is an experiential reality of a relationship with the One who created all things and who is guiding the events of time and space and who wants us to join into His design for our lives.  So don’t choose the things that take away from your life, instead choose to live with the One who gives life everlasting.

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

 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing in Chapter 4.

 

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

A New Man

Parallel to the concept of being a new creation in Christ is the teaching that the believer has put on the "new self" (Col. 3:10), or more literally the new man. The new man at times refers both to the new individual (i.e., "self") in Christ as well as the new humankind, the new creation united in Christ, with Christ as its head. F. F. Bruce says, "the new man who is created is the new personality that each believer becomes when he is reborn as a member of the new creation whose source of life is Christ."

What does it mean to be a new man? Does it mean that every aspect of the believer is new in reality? We still look the same physically, and we still have many of the same thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Picture, for instance, the ornamental orange tree that has just had a tiny new stem grafted into it. Because so much appears to be the same, it is sometimes taught that our "newness" refers only to our position in Christ. The newness is only what we have seen in relation to our position of righteousness and holiness in justification and positional sanctification. There is no real change in us until we are finally transformed in glorification. That, however, would be like teaching justification without regeneration (we are forgiven, but there is no new life). If we are still ornamental orange trees, how can we be expected to bear navel oranges? We have to believe that our new identity is in the life of Christ and commit ourselves to grow accordingly.

If you are a new creation in Christ, have you ever wondered why you still think and feel at times the same way you did before? Because everything you learned before you knew Christ is still programmed into your memory. There is no mental delete button. That is why Paul says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2, NIV).

Let me illustrate. When I was in the Navy, we called the captain of our ship "the Old Man." My first Old Man was tough and crusty, and nobody liked him. He drank with the chiefs, belittled his junior officers and made life miserable for the rest of us. He was a lousy Old Man. If I planned to survive on board that ship, however, I had to do it under his authority relating to him as my Old Man. Then one day he got transferred to another ship. I no longer had any relationship with him and I was no longer under his authority.

Then we got a new skipper who was very much different from the Old Man who trained me. So how do you think I related to the new skipper? At first I responded to him just as I had been conditioned to respond to the first Old Man. As I got to know the new skipper, though, I realized he wasn't a crusty old tyrant like the Old Man who was once my authority. He wasn't out to harass his crew. He was a good guy, really concerned about us, but I had been programmed for two years to react a certain way when I saw a captain's braids. I didn't need to react that way any longer; but it took several months to recondition myself to the new skipper.

When you were dead in your trespasses and sins, you also served under a cruel self-serving skipper. The admiral of that fleet is Satan, the prince of darkness, the god and ruler of this world. By God's grace, you have been "delivered . . . from the domain of darkness, and transferred . . . to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col. 1:13). You now have a new skipper; your new self is infused with the divine nature of Jesus Christ, your new admiral. As a child of God, you are no longer under the authority of Satan and dominated by sin and death. The old man is dead.

New Things Have Come

Despite the fact that all believers at times still live according to the old self, like Paul, they are new persons—new in relationship to God and new in themselves. The change that takes place in us when we come to Christ involves two dimensions.

First, we have a new master. As mortals we have no choice but to live under a spiritual power—either our heavenly Father or the god of this world. At salvation, the believer in Christ experiences a change in the power that dominates life.

Second, there is an actual change in the nature of believers so that the propensities of their lives or the deepest desires of their hearts are now oriented toward God rather than toward self and sin.

This becomes evident when believers choose to sin. They are being convicted. What they are doing is no longer consistent with who they really are in Christ. I have counseled hundreds of Christians who are questioning their salvation because of their struggle with sin. The fact that it even bothers them is the best argument for their salvation. It is the nature of a natural person to sin. On the other hand, I have talked to people who profess to be Christians, but seem to have little or no remorse for sin. I would have to question their salvation. If we are children of God, we are not going to live comfortably with sin.

Why do you need the nature of Christ within you? So you can be like Christ, not just act like Him. God has not given us the power to imitate Him. He has made us partakers of His nature so that we can actually be like Him. You don't become a Christian by acting like one. You are not on a performance basis with God. He doesn't say, "Here are My standards, now you measure up." He knows you can't solve the problem of an old sinful self by simply improving your behavior. He must change your nature, give you an entirely new self—the life of Christ in you—which is the grace you need to measure up to His standards.

That was the point of Christ's message in the Sermon on the Mount: "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees were the religious perfectionists of their day. They had external behavior down to a science, but their hearts were like the insides of a tomb: reeking of death. Jesus is interested only in creating new persons from the inside out by infusing in them a brand new nature and creating in them a new self. Only after He changes who you are and makes you a partaker of His divine nature will you be able to change your behavior.


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

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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

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