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Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Wherever You Go – Exposing the Enemy Along for the Ride - Purity 637


Wherever You Go  – Exposing the Enemy Along for the Ride - Purity 637

Purity 637 01/25/2022   Purity 637 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the escaping wake of a boat speeding away from an illuminated bridge and the fading light of daylight comes to us from a friend’s 12 day Florida holiday get away where they left 2021 behind as they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time. 

As I prepare myself for a short Florida vacation less than a month away I look forward to seeing sights like this one but am reminded of the old adage of “wherever you go, there you are.” 

Ironically, as “Zen” or “New Age” spiritual as that saying may seem to be, my limited research this morning indicates that one source of this saying has a Christian origin. “A non-humorous precursor appeared in the devotional book “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis published in Latin in the 1400s. An 1881 translation into English by Reverend W. H. Hutchings contained the following passage about human suffering:[2]

“No one is so touched with a heartfelt sense of the Passion of Christ, as the man whose lot it has been to suffer like things. The cross, then, is always at hand, and everywhere awaits you.

You cannot escape it, run where you will; for wherever you go, you take yourself with you, and you will always find yourself.”   (https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/11/22/where-you-go/#:~:text=Wherever%20you%20go%2C%20there%20you,you%20will%20always%20find%20yourself.)

This reminds me of the verse I shared from Psalm 139 yesterday where David mused about God’s omnipresence which said:

Psalm 139:8 (NKJV) 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

The Lord is everywhere and as far as our perspective is concerning ourselves, so are we.  We cannot escape from the Lord’s presence or knowledge and even though we can “take it on the road” and see new sites, wherever we go we will find ourselves there with the question of “who we are?” left to answer.    

I have just finished a 21 day fast and was thrilled with the results of weight loss and the exercise of self-control that I was able to exhibit for those few weeks but since I began eating again I realize that I didn’t escape from “my dark passenger”, to borrow a euphemism from the Showtime Series “Dexter”.  

The “food addict” with his compulsive eating habits, secretive ways, and rebellious, self-deceiving, and sabotaging modus operandi is still there waiting to bust loose.  On the first day after fasting I overindulged in some holiday peanuts that had survived untouched and yesterday I ate a sleeve of girl scout cookies “that just needed” to be gotten rid of.   

These treats are not the end of the world, but they are antithetical to my intention to avoid high sugar and high carbohydrate foods but what I really didn’t like was the semi-mindless way I consumed them and the fact that I knowingly ate them in secret which echoes behavior patterns that go back as far as early childhood when I first started to sneak food.

I don’t want to be that scared child sneaking food for comfort and pleasure and I don’t want to be a person that has secrets that I feel I must hide to be acceptable to others.  I also don’t want to be someone who sabotages my own intentions for healthy living.     

In the 90’s remake of Cape Fear, the villain played by Robert DeNiro, chains himself to the underside of  Nick Nolte’s family’s automobile and although they believe they are traveling to safety to the family houseboat, they are unwittingly taking their own worst enemy along for the ride.  This analogy shows us that we have to be diligent in making sure we are not dragging our old tendencies and patterns of behavior into new situations.  

So, before writing this, I ratted myself out to my wife, confessing my snacking indiscretions and my intentions to live honestly with her with the hopes that my confessions and the trust we build in our relationship will help me to expose this “dark passenger” and leave him with no where left to hide.  

If I shine the light of truth on his presence and use it to expose the lies that he likes to perpetuate, I believe that God will help me to leave “him” and his dysfunctional patterns of behavior in the past.   

Through our faith in Christ, we become members of the kingdom of light and truth and when we walk into the new person of who we are in Christ, we can have freedom and victory over even the most persistent patterns of dysfunctional behaviors. Luckily our walk isn’t about perfection, its about progress and every time we confess our failures we give the enemy less room to operate.    

So, keep walking and talking with God. When you see yourself starting to act in ways that go against what you want to do, rat yourself out and restate your intention to follow the Lord into the person you want to be.  

While it is true that wherever we go, there we are, if we keep walking with God we will be amazed to discover that the “you” we will find at our next destination is not the one that we left behind and that “dark passenger” is no longer along for the ride.    


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 138:3 (NLT2)
3  As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.

Today’s verse speaks of the immediate strength we can receive from the Lord when we reach out to Him in prayer.  

The best illustration of the truth of this Bible verse for me was the testimony of a man that I heard at the one and only meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that I ever attended.  

If you are unfamiliar, I attended and eventually led a Christian Recovery Program that used John Baker’s Celebrate Recovery lessons for most of the teaching material. Baker’s program is unapologetically Christian and names God the Father, Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit – the Triune God, as the One and only Higher Power.  

AA on the other hand is far less specific and demanding on making that claim and allows its participants to choose whatever “higher power” they wish, which can range from the traditional triune God of Christianity to the absurdness of anything from the pop star, Tina Turner,  to the flying Spaghetti Monster.  

As open as AA tries to be, the Christian roots of the movement are somewhat inescapable and the AA meeting’s forms and traditions are akin to a liturgical church service.     If Celebrate Recovery meetings are akin to a Bible believing – Spirit Filled encounter, the AA meeting is analogous to a Catholic mass or other liturgical service.     

But regardless to the “liturgical” forms that are apparent at the AA meeting, the one I attended had some hostile elements who openly wished to silence any talk of faith and instead stood on the merits of community and “the program”.    

However, at that one meeting I attended in spite the opposition, one man gave a testimony for what he believed to be the reason for his years of successful sobriety: prayer.  

He openly confessed that He didn’t know much about the Bible or church history but stated that in the early days of his struggles to be sober his sponsor advised him to go to the Lord in prayer every time he felt the need to drink to ask for God’s help and strength to overcome.  

This man testified that every time He prayed to God for strength, he received it and he had repeated that simple formula and was enjoying over 20 years of sobriety because of the strength he received from the Lord.  

Although, this man didn’t claim to know God, his continual testimony at AA speaks of the truth of God’s love and power to help those who ask.    

So if you need strength, go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him for it.  The Lord loves us, and He wants to help us.

God the Father sent Jesus to save us and to lead us into a new life. So make Jesus your Lord and Savior to make sure you will be in His kingdom when He returns or when you are called into eternity, and in the meantime receive the strength that only God can give by going to Him in prayer.   

 

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

Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we conclude sharing from Chapter 5.   

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

STEP FOUR: DEALING WITH REBELLION

The Apostle James wrote, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”117 Submitting to God enables us to resist the devil. The prayer that begins this Step is a commitment to forsake rebellion and choose a submissive spirit, as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You have said in the Bible that rebellion is the same thing as witchcraft and as bad as idolatry (see 1 Samuel 15:23). I know I have not always been submissive, but instead I have rebelled in my heart against You and against those You have placed in authority over me. I pray that You would show me all the ways I have been rebellious. I choose to adopt a submissive spirit and a servant’s heart. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

AREAS OF REBELLION

As the Lord leads you, prayerfully consider the ways you have been rebellious toward the following lines of authority:

·       Civil government including traffic laws, tax laws, attitude toward government officials (See Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17.)

·       Parents, stepparents, or legal guardians (See Ephesians 6:1-3.)

·       Teachers, coaches, school officials (See Romans 13:1-4.)

·       Employers (past and present) (See 1 Peter 2:18-23.)

·       Husband (See 1 Peter 3:1-4.) or Wife (See Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:7.) {Note to husbands: Take a moment and ask the Lord if your lack of love for your wife could be fostering a rebellious spirit within her. If so, confess that now as a violation of Ephesians 5:22, 23.}

·       Church leaders (See Hebrews 13:17.)

·       God (See Daniel 9:5, 9.)

 

The following prayer is an opportunity for you to confess your rebellion:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have been rebellious toward _____________ (name or position), by (specially confess what you did or did not do). Thank You for Your forgiveness. I choose to be submissive and obedient to Your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE:

OVERCOMING REBELLION


88. Matthew 6:24

89. Genesis 3:5

90. Galatians 5:23

91. 1 Samuel 15:23

92. Romans 13:1, 2

93. Acts 5:29

94. Daniel 1:9

95. Matthew 6:9-13

96. Hebrews 13:17

97. Numbers 14:11-19

98. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2  

99. 1 Peter 2:18-20

100. Matthew 6:11

101. Matthew 6:12

102. Acts 8:23

103. Matthew 6:13

104. 1 Peter 2:14

105. Daniel 6:7

106. James 1:27

107. Ephesians 5:21

108. Ephesians 5:21-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6


 

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" 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.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Full Size Candy Bars?!?! – The Old Trick or Treat - Purity 554


Full Size Candy Bars?!?! – Trick or Treat - Purity 554

Purity 554 10/20/2021 Purity 554 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a Halloween Display on Maple Avenue in Troy NY on a sunny October day comes to us from yours truly as I was rolling through the neighborhood on the way back to the garage at the end of the workday on the 7th.

Well Halloween is only eleven days away and although I don’t have any plans to celebrate in any significant way this year, I have already fallen victim to the temptation to overindulge on candy treats! And for those who don’t know that is kind of a mini-personal disaster.    

Since December, I have decided to trust the Lord to help me overcome my food addiction and get healthy by transitioning from obese to overweight. Through my faith, a food plan, and accountability I have had some success and was on my way to optimal health.   

But lately, I have been a little less disciplined in monitoring what I have been eating and over the last couple of weeks watched the weight loss stop and actually gained a pound or two.  I was keeping an eye on it and even confessed my failings to my coach but hadn’t taken any drastic measures to right the ship because I was basically staying “on plan” in terms of the things that I was eating. It’s just that I compromised in the amounts and not staying “on schedule” with my regular “feelings” to keep the “tank full” so I wouldn’t binge eat.   So I started slipping a little bit, but I figured I would just stick to my regular routine, and I would be “back on track” in a week. 

Well, the thing is my regular schedule has been drastically changed this week because I am volunteering my time at FICM’s Fall Practicum at Grace Fellowship in Latham until today and man can I tell you that Grace Fellowship really knows how to put on a conference and provide for their guests.   

The staff and volunteers at Grace Fellowship have met all the needs of the attendees of the Practicum by catering for breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the afternoon.   On day one, I was pleased to see that they provided healthy options like salad, meats, and yogurt so I wouldn’t have to “go off plan”.  But I also noticed that they made available a nice variety of FULL SIZE candy bars!

On day one for breakfast I stayed on plan. For lunch, I stayed on plan.  But as the afternoon dragged on and the coffee didn’t seem to be doing its job to keep me alert, a funny thing happened: The Full Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups made me aware of their presence and they seemed to start communicating to me telepathically from the hallway in which the snacks were made available to freely partake of.  

Like Pookie in New Jack City, I was overcome by temptation as the Peanut Butter Cups “just be calling me man, be calling me man… and I just had to go to it”.  So like many addicts who give into temptation when I fell I fell hard.

If you went to the snack table late in the afternoon on Monday you may have wondered what happened to all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  I can tell you that there were some there but “they gone now”.  My cravings drove me to be “in for a penny, in for a pound.”   You may also wonder what happened to all the 100 Grand bars, and the Baby Ruth’s. Oh Yeah! There weren’t many granted, probably less than 10 a piece but what was there were consumed by me by the end of Monday afternoon!

So Tuesday came, and as those varieties of candy bars were all gone, I moved on to the Twix and Peanut M&M’s and I am somewhat please to say that while I had a couple of bags of M&M’s and several Twix bars yesterday, I didn’t eat them all!. 

Also yesterday, while I did overindulge in desert and had a can of Coke at the evening meal at one of the volunteer’s homes, I ended up confessing my relapse to several of the attendees assuring them that I had only succumbed to “missionary rules”, which refers to the understanding that you shouldn’t refuse the hospitality of you hosts,  for eating and would repent of my sugar relapse after the Practicum was over.

And so I confess to you here on the blog and the podcast.  We as humans are not strong and the enemy knows our weaknesses. Be it sex, alcohol, drugs, or Reese’s peanut butter cups the enemy will come after you and tempt you to fall into the sins of the flesh.  

The problem is that saying “the devil made me do it” isn’t well received as an excuse and if we are honest with ourselves we know that we are personally responsible for our choices.   So that’s why I “threw myself under the bus” last night, I had to confess my sins to my brothers and sisters in Christ so I could start the process of healing.  

While they can’t stop me from making those bad choices 24/7, confessing our falls to our brothers and sisters in Christ does two things:

1.    It takes the darkness and puts it into the light.  Once the “jig is up”, we can stop running and hiding.  We are only as sick as our secrets so instead of keeping my eating a secret  and continuing in my dark and delectable shame, I “told on myself” so I can turn from it and go back to the ways that made me feel healthy.    

2.    It makes me accountable.  I confessed my fall to others and to God so I could show that I repented and don’t intend to repeat my sins.  So while I made no promises to anyone in particular not to indulge in sweets today at the final day at the Practicum, I will probably comment to anyone I confessed to last night that I am “back on track today” and demonstrate it by abstaining from the sugary snacks and desserts that I indulged over the last two days.  

The enemy loves to pull the old “trick or treat” of temptation on us but if we confess our weakness to others and to the Lord we can successfully turn from the error of our ways and lean on and follow the Lord to start the walk down victory road once again.  

Until we are glorified, we will not win every battle with temptation but when we utilize the body of Christ to help us and go to God in repentance and ask for His strength and guidance we can overcome.  The struggles are real but the victory and freedom in Christ is real too. 

Even the most successful athletic teams sometimes get blown out by a seeming underdog but when they do true champions don’t quit. They admit their defeat and their mistakes. But then they go back to the drawing board, figure out where they went wrong, and reapply the disciplines of their craft that made them successful in the first place and go back into battle and conquer.   

Likewise, if we fall down, we just need to take the Lord’s hand and get back up by telling the truth and by repenting and leaning on the Lord to give us strength for the next victory parade.  


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 37:8 (NLT2)
8  Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

 

Today’s verse is a warning to those who misapply “be angry and do not sin” from Ephesians 4:26 and walk around frosty with what they think of as “righteous indignation.”  

Today’s verse tells us not to be angry, to turn from our rage and to not lose our temper because it only leads to harm.   While we can be angry at sin and work against the kingdom of darkness in many ways, we as Christians should realize that while our anger can motivate us to do many things for the kingdom of God, anger is not to be our default setting.  

After “Be angry and sin not”, Ephesians 4:26 advises not to let the “sun go down on your wrath” meaning that an angry disposition is not the attitude that Christians should be walking through life with, because as today’s verse indicates it “only leads to harm.” 

We are not to be trusted in our anger. When our emotions run hot we generally do or say regrettable things that cause harm. The negative consequences of anger are vast affecting others outwardly and affecting the angry person inwardly.  Anger is not one of the fruits of the Spirit.   

So as Christians we examine our anger for the root causes and seek to resolve them. Often anger comes from ignorance, imposing your will or expectations on others, or bitterness and unforgiveness.  

The wisdom of God teaches the truth about the world and our position in Christ. When we utilize the truth of God’s word we can see things as they are truly are, from God’s perspective which tells us to forgive even our enemies.  

When we are angry we usually forget who we are in Christ or who God is and how that truth answers all the situations we will face here on earth. 

So keep walking and talking with God. Tell Him what makes you angry. Get it off your chest with your Heavenly Father and then listen to His counsel and try to see things through the lens of truth.

 Walking with God and living according to His ways may not resolve all the problems of the world but when we remain in a close walk with Him we can navigate through this world with wisdom and have peace by seeing how things truly are and knowing that God has the course of the world in His hands.

 

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 sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

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

F. What Are the "Red Flags" of Destructive Dating?

What is it about "red flags"...those gut feelings that warn us something isn't quite right? It's a feeling that protects—warning us to watch out. At times, these red flags are as bright as the morning sun. At other times, they are as obscure as the moon on a cloudy night... nearly impossible to see.

Consider Carrie and Greg. When Carrie is with Greg, all is right with her world. He is sensitive and caring—always knowing the right thing to say at just the right time. He owns his own business, and it's going great. Everyone loves Greg. Even if he's running late, it's because he's helping someone, and he's always genuinely apologetic.

If Greg even has a fault, it might be he loves Carrie so much that he worries about her all the time, which Carrie finds endearing. To calm his fears she makes sure to text him anytime she goes anywhere and to let him know when she returns.

Several hours after celebrating their one-year anniversary of dating, Carrie notices that Greg has left his phone at her apartment. She laughs and taps the screen to access his photo files and reminisce over snapshots taken earlier that night. Then her heart sinks as she sees other images. Graphic porn pictures and videos! She can't tear her eyes away from the shocking discovery. And there's more. Instant messages filled with lurid language and more photos.

Ambushed by disbelief, Carrie's head throbs as her heart shatters. Why would he do this? Just hours ago, she felt treasured...now she feels trashed. How could he? As her burning tears flow, her breached heart attempts its rescue...she thought she knew Greg, but this? This is a deal breaker.

"The fruit of the Spirit is...self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Could you be in a destructive dating relationship? Identifying an unhealthy relationship is often difficult without the aid of objective criteria. If you are presently involved in a dating relationship, read the following statements, then circle either yes or no for whichever best reflects your relationship.

Destructive Dating Check List

Y / N

• When I don't respond as my date wishes, I'm belittled and rejected.

Y / N

• When I don't please my date, it always seems to be my fault.

Y / N

• When we go out, I feel indebted to do whatever my date wants me to do.

Y / N

• When my date uses phrases like: "You should..." or "I expect you to..." I feel guilty if I don't comply.

Y / N

• I feel responsible for the happiness as well as the unhappiness of my date.

Y / N

• My date blames me without taking responsibility for personal failure.

Y / N

• My date tries to assume absolute authority.

Y / N

• My date has little regard for my personal feelings or desires.

Y / N

• My date has taken the place that God alone should have in my life.

Y / N

• My date allows little opportunity for an appeal or compromise.

Y / N

• My date privately degrades me, my beliefs, and my friends, but publicly appears polite.

Y / N

• My date acts excessively jealous and possessive of me.

Y / N

• My date keeps track of my time, wanting to control where I go and what I do.

Y / N

• My date has exerted physical control over me.

Y / N

• My date has threatened to harm me.

If you circled yes to any one of these statements, your dating relationship has a destructive impact on your life and needs to be changed....

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." (Proverbs 27:12)

Love and Negative Qualities

Question: "For several years I've been dating someone I love. He has many good qualities but is also negative, possessive, and controlling. Should I overlook his negative qualities and stay focused on his attractive qualities?"

Answer: Let's assume that while shopping, you find a pair of shoes you really like. If the shoes were extremely uncomfortable, would you buy them? No matter what attractive features the shoes have, if you buy them, they won't wear well! Likewise, if you feel undue pressure now in your dating relationship, consider it a warning that "it's not the right fit."

While unselfish love covers a multitude of sins (offenses), the attributes mentioned are not merely offenses—they are character flaws that should not be overlooked. These qualities are not consistent with someone who is Spirit-led. The reality is, they are self-led. Love overlooks minor offenses but challenges major character flaws so that they can be corrected.

"It [Love] is not self-seeking" (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Dating An Angry Person

Question: "I'm dating a man who is angry all the time. Sometimes he explodes. I love him, but I wonder, if I should continue to date him?"

Answer: No. The Bible is not silent on this issue. Decide now that you will not continue to date him. Destructive anger—if not stopped—is progressive and leads to domestic violence in marriage.

"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered." (Proverbs 22:24)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

---------------------------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


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Falling Down and Finding Comfort in His Presence - Purity 515

Falling Down and Finding Comfort in His Presence -      

Purity 515 09/04/2021  Purity 515 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the first sunset of September on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography. This photo just makes me have to say, “My Lord and My God.” as Rocco Saya was definitely in the right place, at the right time when he captured this magnificent scene with its stunningly beautiful contrast of colors that highlight the natural beauty of God’s creation.  Moments like the one captured here just takes your breath away and I know if I had been there I would have been seated on that park bench and would have just been overcome by the goodness of God and sat there basking in His transcendent beauty until the light dissipated and glory faded to black. Or until I got bored.  

Yeah, let’s face it we humans have a limited capacity for staying in the presence of God and quite frankly as much as we should seek the Lord’s presence, wisdom, and love, the linear nature of our existence in the space time continuum demands that we move on.  Our fleshly can move us along as well.

I am sure we all have experienced moments in life where our pleasure or joy was such that it made us wish that it would never end.  When we find moments of euphoria, love, or peace,  we want to hold on to them and we get the irrational desire to “stay in the moment” or “keep the party going” or “rest in the love” forever.  I am delighted to say that I have been there several times in my life.  Its good to have moments of pleasure, love, or peace but trying to hold on to or recreate those moments in and of themselves can be where we go astray. 

Getting drunk for the first time felt strange, new, relaxing, and liberating but deciding to pursue drunkenness as a means of happiness leads to diminishing returns, various negative consequences, and addiction.   The pleasures of sex, food, travel, and other experiences can also lead to cycles of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and dependency.   

It’s easy to point out the limitations of these physical or worldly pleasures and the dangers of going to extremes with them.  Often people state that the key to mastering the pleasure principle in these areas of life is to use moderation. 

Moderation works for some but more often or not “moderation” really just means maintenance until the next time we go overboard, and we have to deal with the extreme negative consequences of when we threw off the reigns of self-control because “moderation” wasn’t what our flesh or selfish desires wanted to do. These breaks from moderation can occur because of stress, the desire to bust loose, or on “special occasions” where we give ourselves license to let go.   

Personally, I have made great strides in conquering my addictive cycles but even in my current state I am still vulnerable to treating stress with a letting go of restraint in areas of the flesh. 

Yesterday, I found out that my work assignments are changing once again and while I am sure that I can handle the challenges that lie ahead, a big part of me wanted to “stay in the moment” of my former position.  Arbitrary changes happen sometimes, and we have to adapt to the new circumstances.  Just how we don’t want our ‘good times” or moments of pleasure to end, we don’t want our status quo to change.  

So although I accepted the news and assured myself that I have “been there and done that” the old anxious patterns of fear, loathing, and dissatisfaction where barking at the door and while I didn’t let them in, I found myself demanding comfort for “poor me”.  So on the way home, I picked up some food that was ready to eat and overindulged at dinner last night.

The food I chose to overindulge in wasn’t outside of my food plan really, so I will warn my friends, if you are going to fall down try to maintain some control and fall where it is relatively safe.  I am somewhat ashamed to admit that “I needed that” but these bumps in the road don’t need to derail our progress.  I can overcome one instance of eating more than I should. The key is to not stay there and deciding to continue going in the way I should go, with the new day.   

Our walk through life is going to have its challenges and we can learn from our mistakes.  In the past one of these “comfort food” binges would have been a no holds bar smorgasbord of extreme indulgence that would have had no limits in terms of the types, or the amounts of food consumed. Typically, the buying spree of treats would have exceeded what I could eat in one day, so the food binge would have continued for another day or two and possibly set into motion an extended period of neglect or an abandonment of any attempts to be healthy all together.

But those days are over, I only bought one overindulgent meal and now I am committed to get back on track today and feed my spirit rather than my flesh.  So today I will draw close to God and enjoy His presence.  I look forward to turning to Him and being built up in my spirit through focusing on who I am in Christ, how God is helping me to grow, and by reflecting on the wisdom of His word.  

It is my hope that the next time I encounter stress brought about by changes in my circumstances that I will choose to draw close to Him and have Him comfort me rather than me seeking solace from something in the world.  

So, as we have made it to Labor Day weekend, and I am sure that lots of my friends will be experiencing changing circumstances in the days and weeks ahead, let me encourage you to try to recognize the patterns you may be subject to and ask the Lord to help you come to Him rather than giving in to things that will give you guilt, shame, or regret.  

Life can be difficult, but we can learn and grow as we walk through it. If you fall, try to not fall down as far as you have in the past. And remember that God loves you no matter what you do, and He will always be there for you to help you to get back up and to walk into the life of peace, joy, and love that He has for you.  So keep walking and talking with God because no matter where we may go we can always find comfort in His presence.  

  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:10 (NKJV)
10  You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;

Today’s verse points to accountability and living an authentic Christian life. It points to being a “real Christian”.   

The Apostle Paul is reminding the church at Thessalonica that while he was with them in the past he “walked the walk” of being a devout, just, and blameless Christian.  

Since Paul had left the church at Thessalonica, false teachers had come into their midst and where causing trouble and leading some people astray.  Paul isn’t boasting about his conduct as an authentic Christian. He is attempting to correct the errors that have come into the church and uses his past conduct as evidence of his trustworthiness.

Therefore we need to “walk the walk” as well “talk the talk” of being a Christian.  It doesn’t matter if we tell everyone about the truth of Jesus Christ if our lifestyles don’t reflect an authentic Christian faith.  If our actions or attitudes aren’t in accord with the word of God, people will think that the Christian faith is no different from any other religion or worldly philosophy.  If we don’t live our faith, our attempts at sharing the gospel could do harm as people will think that Christians are just a bunch of  hypocrites.  

While we will never be perfect on this earth, our lives should reflect a change from who we were before Christ and who we are now that we have made Christ our Lord and Savior.   The Lord calls us to repentance not only for our own benefit.  Our transformed life in Christ  benefits us, but it also gives glory to God and can be used to show other’s the power of God.  Our transformed life can also be used as evidence to prove that we are true Christians that can be trusted.  

So keep following where the Lord leads you in terms of personal sanctification. He wants you to be devout, just, and blameless before Himself and before others.  The word says that God’s will for our lives is our sanctification, so pursue His will and prove to those around you that He is good, just, and can be trusted to save and make all things new.

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 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:

I. Definitions

In the world of professional cycling, Greg LeMond has clearly distinguished himself by earning a reputation for being "squeaky clean." Now that Lance Armstrong has been stripped of all seven of his consecutive Tour de France titles, Greg is the only American to have won the prestigious race—not once, not twice, but three times.

Greg is internationally known as a staunch anti-doping advocate and publicly criticized Lance for crossing ethics boundaries even before his first Tour de France "win." He also is all too aware that this is not an isolated problem with Lance; numerous cyclists are doping their way to try to secure victories. "I want to see cycling get to where I can say I can see a real winner," Greg says.

The psalmist's declaration is shared by Greg. . . .

"I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites."

(Psalm 26:4)

A. What Are Boundaries?

Lance Armstrong and Dr. Michele Ferrari—it is an association that raises giant red flags for Greg LeMond.

For years Ferrari is associated with sports fraud and has since been described as the "architect" behind the doping program for the U.S. Postal Service Team, which includes Lance and his teammates. In the sport of professional cycling, all kinds of boundaries are crossed . . . by doctors, by athletes, and even by cycling's governing body, known as the International Cycling Union (UCI), according to Greg.

The Bible gives warning concerning crossed boundaries. . . .

"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity."

(Proverbs 11:3)

  • A boundary is an established limit—a line that should not be crossed.
    • —In some cases it is a line that cannot be crossed by humans, as with many of the boundaries God established at Creation.
    • —Some fixed boundaries are regarded as "laws."
  • Physical boundaries are territorial lines that divide one area from another.
    • —In the Bible, the first boundary given to a person was spoken directly by God to Adam . . . and the first boundary to be broken was broken by Adam with Eve.
    • —The one who owns the property has the right to control the property and the responsibility to set the rules for those on the property.
    • —You have both the right of personal control and the responsibility of setting rules for others regarding what is yours. God, the Creator, and "owner" of the Garden of Eden, had the right to set the rules for everything and everyone in the Garden. . . .

"The Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

(Genesis 2:16-17)

  • Moral boundaries are ethical lines that divide right from wrong.
    • —When a boundary is respected, the result is a reward.
    • —When a boundary is rejected, the result is a repercussion.

God set up moral boundaries for Adam and Eve—boundaries based on right and wrong. When this boundary line was crossed, sin entered the world—a repercussion that disqualified them from staying within the bounds of the garden.

When you have communicated a clear, rightful boundary—with a reward and a repercussion—yet someone violates that boundary, it is only right to enforce the repercussion. The violator not only chose to violate the boundary, but also chose the repercussion that goes with the violation.

The principle of rewards and repercussions was clearly demonstrated when God set a boundary with Adam and Eve. In choosing to violate the boundary established by the Lord, they also chose the repercussion attached to their sin. . . . They chose the repercussion God relegated to the violation. . . .

"To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat from it," Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

(Genesis 3:17)

  • Personal boundaries are individual lines that separate one person from another. Personal boundaries are the healthy by-product of realizing we are uniquely separate from one another and therefore are responsible for our own attitudes and actions.
    • —Eve was boundaryless—she allowed the serpent to have undue influence over her.
    • —Adam was boundaryless—he allowed Eve to have undue influence over him.

Boundaries are the basis of your individual identity (who you uniquely are), your individual responsibilities, your individual choices. You—not someone else—are responsible for your own thoughts and beliefs, decisions, and actions.

Adam and Eve needed to think separately about what God said and what the serpent said. For indeed, to not stay within God's boundary caused a repercussion that changed their lives . . . and ours. . . . forever.

After God asked them about eating the forbidden fruit, the man said...

"'The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'"

(Genesis 3:12-13)

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

 

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

 

God bless you all!

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship