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

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!

 

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

 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Fat and Happy: The Comforter Instead of Comfort Food - Purity 507


Fat and Happy: The Comforter instead of Comfort Food                                                                                             

Purity 507 08/26/2021  Purity 507 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a foot bridge over Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania in the Land Down Under comes to us from our friends at Dave Baun Photography as they have hit the road recently on holiday.  And yes that’s Laun CES ton -in Tasmania, whereas it is Laun (ce) ston in the UK according to a video on You Tube.

I love that my friends travel to places where I have to look up how to pronounce the names of the places.  From Gloucester (Glaw-stir), Massachusetts to Laun-CES-ton, Tasmania, wherever we go, it is best to do a little research, so we don’t look too much like a tourist. For instance if you visit NYC, you want to know the difference between a stoop, a schtup, and a schmear.  It could make quite a difference in what you receive or where somebody tells you to go.  

Anyway, its Thursday, and although a health condition is going to keep me close to home today, I still wanted to share a photo of a pathway as is my custom to encourage my friends to not only get out there and experience the world around us but to endeavor to take a spiritual journey by seeking the Lord’s wisdom and ways on the path of Christian Discipleship.  Living out our faith in the power of the Holy Spirit on a daily and continuous basis can lead us out of darkness of ignorance, negative mind states, and bad behavior and into the light of God’s love and truth that can result in experiencing the fruit of the Spirit and possibly optimal health.  

Yeah, this faith walk doesn’t necessary mean we are going to zone out in some transcendental state of prayer and only develop our minds and spirits and forsake and neglect our bodies. Scripture indicates we are to crucify the flesh, put it into submission to our spirit, and to care for our body because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.     

I have testified to my struggles with food addiction, that’s real what it is, and how my research has revealed that processed foods are engineered to make us crave them like an addictive drug and go back for more. Does the phrase: “Bet you can’t eat just one” ring a bell?  

So my spiritual journey, has led me to see this truth and to see the effects that a lack of wisdom and discipline in terms of how I eat has negatively affected not only my physical health but also my mind, will, and emotions.  The phrase “fat and happy” was drawn from medieval days where it described those who had enough wealth not to fear starving and who were “prosperous, content, satisfied, and unconcerned”.  

“Fat and Happy” in that context doesn’t really seem to equal “morbidly obese”, does it?.   Unfortunately, “fat and happy” has been used as a slogan to lead people into unhealthy states that leads to pain and suffering.  The remorse, guilt, shame, and pain that is felt by someone who feels powerless to stop binging on “comfort foods” and struggles physically because of their body size doesn’t really fit in that picture of “fat and happy.”  

The world system is under the sway of the enemy who seeks to deceive and destroy us. The greed of men, the lust of the flesh, and demonic influences have combined to create an obesogenic society, a society that causes obesity.

The only way out is to see the truth. We all “know” what we should do for good health but somehow that “knowing” doesn’t translate into a belief that impacts our behaviors.  

Amazingly, I have discovered that my faith in Jesus Christ calls me to examine all the aspects of my experience and has led me to see the deceptions of the world system but has also given me the hope to change. My relationship with God has shown me that nothing is impossible and that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. 

This flow of the fruit of the Spirit into my life through my faith in Christ and my relationship with God has given me victory over addictions for years and now I am trusting the Lord to lead me to optimal health through living according to the truth.  The truth in this area is that both exercise and controlling how much and what I eat, on a continuous basis with intentional goals can undo the damage that I have inflicted upon myself.  A change of mind about how I think about food, with the assurance of the Lord’s presence, has led me to make great strides in walking towards my health goals.

My good friend, Bob Griffin inspired me by his example and has become my “coach” on this journey and he checks in with me periodically to encourage and support my walk towards where I want to go.  

Unbelievably, my example has inspired a new friend to pursue the path of Christians Discipleship and caused them to take similar steps in pursuing optimal health!  Today marks the first week of their decision to join us on this journey of taming the flesh, while they also seek to strengthen their faith, and I can’t wait to hear about their progress. 

While we all seek to be “prosperous, content, satisfied, and unconcerned”, the Lord calls us to repentance. He loves us and wants what’s best for us. 

When I first got saved, I was a mess. He loved me anyway and invited me to be a part  of His family and kingdom with no strings attached.  His love for me wasn’t about my performance.  But the new life, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, that He gave me encouraged me to leave my dark and broken ways behind. 

So, keep walking and talking with God. He has good things for you, and He can give you the power to let go of the things are dragging you down and causing you pain.  Instead of reaching for “comfort food”, we can let the Lord comfort us and lead us to be the version of ourselves we always wanted to be.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV)
11  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Today’s verse speaks of our function as members of the body of Christ.  

I pray my previous comments regarding the flesh do not condemn anyone.  On the contrary, I only seek to encourage people to seek the Lord and to follow where He leads. 

As believers we are called to comfort one another and edify one another. 

To edify means to instruct or benefit someone morally or spiritually, to up lift. So I endeavor to teach to others what I have come to know through my trials and errors of my 49 years of life in general, the 11 years of being a born again Christian, and through my studies and application of the wisdom of the Word of God. While I learned a lot about what not to do before coming to Christ, my focused advice and instruction focuses on the word of God.  Our experiences are one thing, but truth and wisdom come from the Bible, and we need to know and do what it says.  

However, my experience tells me that this process of transformation through Christian Discipleship is not always an easy one and that we need to comfort each other as we surrender our old ways for the ways of God.  

We don’t just beat people up with the Bible and whip them or ourselves into shape through trying harder and rigorous discipline.  

Our faith walk is a relationship with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to foster the loving comfort that the Lord gives us and apply it to ourselves and share it with our fellow Christians.  

Many say that churches should be a hospital for the broken, but I disagree. I think churches should be more like physical therapy.  Sure there is comfort and healing available here, but that process of comforting and healing must be accompanied by our participation to strengthen ourselves and walk on our own two feet.

We can lean on the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ, but our walk should be towards an increased level of maturity and sanctification that results in our ability to not only walk on our own but to become strong enough to help and comfort others in their walk.       

So receive the comfort and edification that is available to you at your local church but take steps to grow and to become stronger in your faith so that one day you can comfort and edify others as well.  

 

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, beginning  Chapter 13.

 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:

Chapter 13

People Grow Better Together

One January I had the privilege of taking 24 seminary students to the Julian Center near San Diego, California, where we lived and studied together for four weeks. My friend Dick Day founded the Julian Center with the vision to educate Christians in a relational context. In the past he had brought together groups for 12 weeks of live-in study, but that January he joined me in teaching seminary students for an abbreviated session.

To introduce the relational dimension of the retreat, I began the January session by dividing the students into groups of three for a relatively nonthreatening get-acquainted exercise. I concluded the exercise by asking students to identify one emotion they had experienced. The typical responses were "happy," "accepted," "peace," "anticipation" and so on, although a few admitted they were a little scared.

A young man named Danny surprised me when he responded, "bored." Danny had come to learn, not to relate. He wanted content, not community. He considered my attempts to build rapport and relationship among the students a waste of his time. Day by day the other students grew closer together, but Danny stayed cool and aloof.

After two weeks, Danny's resistance finally wore down. He began to see that spiritual growth and maturity happen best in a community of people who know and accept each other. When Danny finally opened himself to his fellow students, he really began to get something out of the content of the session.

Following his month at the Julian Center, Danny had a new vision when he went back to the small group of businessmen he was discipling. "Men," he told them, "we've been meeting for a year now, but I don't know what makes you tick, what turns you on or what your family life is like. And you don't know much about me either. We need to move beyond sharing information and start sharing our lives."

Danny had learned Paul's secret of discipleship: "Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us" (1 Thes. 2:8).


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

Monday, August 2, 2021

August Days – Majestic Moves of God - Purity 486

August Days – Majestic Moves of God        

Purity 486 08/02/2021    Purity 486 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the first sunrise of August comes to us from a friend who took a short vacation in Gloucester Massachusetts capturing this scene at Good Harbor Beach.  I loved the way they captured the flowers in the foreground, the pier to the right, the sunrise’s reflection in the water, and that solitary lifeguard’s chair in the distance testifying to the still tranquility of the dawning of a new day and a new month.   

One may not realize but the word “august” is also an adjective that means “respected”, “impressive”, or “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur”.   So it is only fitting to say that our friend captured an august photo of the first morning of August.  

As we enter the first work week of the new month, I know that this month will have some impressive transitions that will go beyond the dwindling dog days of summer.  Personally, my discipleship class only has two sessions remaining and I will have to determine how to proceed with my call to ministry in the coming weeks and will have to decide by the end of the month what I commit myself to for the Autumn season. The months ahead are not as clear as they have been in the past as I have potential opportunities for service and development that could take me in new directions before August’s end.  So there is potential for new beginnings.

Also things are drawing to an end. My divorce support group is drawing to natural conclusion tomorrow and while there are plans to continue to meet in the future, I’m not sure if the possible changes in my life while change my availability to continue to meet with my new friends.  

Also today, my employer has called all technicians back to reporting to the local garage, ending what was a wonderful year of being able to garage at home.  

In my family, my son, Brennan will be beginning college locally, as indecisiveness and  Covid-19 resulted in him taking a year off and with my patience as a parent to be tested as I had to walk the line between encouragement and surrender as I knew that the independence that I wish to direct both of my children into will require that they make decisions for themselves, that I may not agree with, and choose their own path for life. 

So, we are only on day two of August and I am sure that several of my friends will be facing similar transitions over the next four weeks as things will be rapidly changing as we draw towards the months end and an early Labor Day on September 6th.  

My advice, and I’m speaking to myself too here, is to take this month one day at a time, to enjoy each day for what it brings, to boldly approach the new opportunities that arise, to love those people in your life that may have a smaller role or less presence in your life in the days ahead, and to trust in the Lord to be with you and to see you through to the other side.  

When we stay in a continual conversation with the Lord, He will show us things we wouldn’t normally see, make us appreciate what we have, strengthen us, and direct our paths.   So roll with the punches of transitional losses, rejoice in the glory of the present moment, and look forward to the days ahead with confidence and expectancy.  The Lord has new things for us to experience and to discover. So put one foot in front of the other and go with God.

                                                                  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 14:17 (NKJV)
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse directs us to focus on our sanctification and development of the fruit on the Spirit in our lives.     

“Eat, drink, and be merry” may be the world’s advice, particularly when you have an atheistic world view that tells you that ultimately life has no meaning and thus we must enjoy our earthly experience because our existence just fades to black after we die. But Jesus himself called this fleshly disposition toward life to be foolish in Luke 12:16-34, where he advised that seeking the kingdom of God should be our biggest concern.  

The subjects of food and drink, and the indulgence of alcoholic beverages, can play a large role in our lives here on earth as some people identify themselves as “foodies”, connoisseurs of certain beverages, or by what they will and will not eat or drink.  

I have friends who are BBQ and “Smoking” enthusiasts who can plan their lives around and speak at length about the things they will eat and how they will prepare them, spending significant time and money in their culinary hobby’s.  Other friends frequent restaurants, brew their own beer, collect fine wines, and are constantly upgrading appliances or remodeling their kitchens.  

While there is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, the thing that frightens me about their enthusiasm for the things pertaining to the comfort and satisfaction of their stomachs is that the utter lack of concern regarding their spiritual health.

Today’s verse points out that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned about what we should and shouldn’t eat. The New Testament covenant established by Christ declared that all foods are clean and there are no foods that are prohibited, so we can eat what we like. 

But while we should rejoice over this freedom, we should not make our bellies our god (Phil 3:19), for a life that is consumed by concerns over meeting our nutritional needs and culinary desires will be a life that is not only shackled by the bondage of our changing appetites but could be one on a course for eternal destruction. 

So enjoy your food and drink, but when you do thank the Lord for the food He has provided but also be sure to establish and maintain your relationship with Him though faith in Jesus Christ.

God wants you to see the big picture of why He gave you life. He doesn’t want you so focused on the material delights that He has provided to the point that you will fail to see His presence or your purpose for living.  

When you draw close to the Lord, He becomes your comfort. When you follow Him, He will continually feed your spirit and provide you with the living waters that will never run dry, and you will only hunger to live a righteous life for Him.   The abundance of His love satisfies more than any food and the fruit that He gives is righteousness, peace, joy, and love.

 

 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, concluding Chapter 9.

 

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:

Winning the Battle for Our Minds

First, you must "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). How do you renew your mind? By filling it with God's Word. To win the battle for your mind you must "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15) and "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you" (Col. 3:16). As you continue to stockpile your mind with God's truth, you will equip yourself to recognize the lie and take it captive.

Think of your mind as a pot full of coffee. Because of what you have put into it, the coffeepot is dark and smelly. You desire your mind to be like clear water again, the way it was before you put the coffee into the pot. There is no way you can filter out the coffee once it has been put inside (no delete button).

Now imagine a bowl of crystal-clear ice, alongside the coffeepot, that says on it "The Word of God." There is no way you can dump the whole bowl in at once, but you can put in a cube every day. If you did that long enough, you wouldn't be able to taste, smell or even see the coffee you had originally put inside, even though it is still there. That will work as long as you don't put in a teaspoon of lies and filth along with the cube of ice.

Second, Peter directs us to prepare our "minds for action" (1 Peter 1:13). Do away with fruitless fantasy. To imagine yourself doing something without ever doing it is dangerous. You will lose touch with reality. The mind cannot distinguish over a long time period something that has been vividly imagined and something that really happened. If you tell a lie long enough, you may start to think it is true. Scripture always tells us to use our minds actively, never passively, and to direct our thoughts externally, never internally. The devil will seek to bypass your mind, but God works through it.

Third, take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). Practice threshold, first-frame thinking. Evaluate every thought by the truth and don't even consider tempting, accusing or lying thoughts. Should you rebuke every negative thought? No! That is like being in the middle of a pond with 12 corks floating around you, and your entire life's purpose is to tread water and keep the corks submerged. Ignore the stupid corks and swim to shore. Choose the truth and keep choosing it until it becomes the normal pattern of your life.

Fourth, turn to God when you are having anxious thoughts. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). When your commitment to Plan A is being challenged by Plan B thoughts from the world, the flesh or the devil, bring it to God in prayer. By doing so, you are acknowledging God and exposing your thoughts to His truth. Your double mindedness will dissolve "and the peace of God . . . shall guard your hearts and your minds [noema] in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).

Fifth, assume your responsibility to choose the truth and commit yourself to live accordingly.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you (Phil. 4:8, 9).

The following story is a wonderful example of what can happen to a Christian when the strongholds of the mind are overthrown by God's truth.

Jeannie is a beautiful and talented woman in her mid-30s. An active Christian for 23 years, she sings in a professional singing group, writes music, leads worship at her church and oversees a discipleship group.

Jeannie attended one of my conferences. She was struggling with bulimia, having been in bondage to the strongholds of food and fear for 11 years. When she was home alone she was held captive by Satan's lies about food, her appearance and sense of worth for hours at a time. She was so fearful that when her husband was gone for a night, she slept on the couch and kept on all the house lights. She had submitted to counseling without success. All the while she believed that the thoughts prompting her to induce vomiting were her own, based on a traumatic experience from her childhood. I happened to be looking at Jeannie—quite unintentionally—when I said, "Every person I know with an eating disorder has been the victim of a stronghold based on the lies of Satan."

"You have no idea how that statement impacted my life," she told me the next morning. "I have been battling myself all these years, and I suddenly understood that my enemy was not me but Satan. That was the most profound truth I have ever heard. It was like I had been blind for 11 years and could suddenly see. I cried all the way home. When the old thoughts came back last night, I simply rejected them for the truth. For the first night in years I was able to go to sleep without vomiting."

Two weeks later, Jeannie sent me the following note:

Dear Dr. Anderson,

I can't tell you all the wonderful things the Lord has done for me through the truth you shared at your conference. My relationship with the Lord is so different. Now that I'm aware of the enemy and my victory over him in Christ, my gratitude for our powerful and gracious Savior is real. I can't listen to songs about Him without weeping. I can barely lead others in songs of worship without weeping for joy. The truth has set me free in my walk with Christ.

Scripture now leaps off the page, whereas it was so scrambled for me before. I can sleep at night without fear, even when my husband is gone. I can be at home all day with a kitchen full of food and be in peace. When a temptation or lie pops up, I can fend it off quickly with truth. You may not realize the freedom this brings . . . I used to be in bondage to those lies for hours and hours and hours of my precious time and life, always fearing food.

And here is an incredible change, for the first time in my life I feel like I own my relationship with the Lord. It is no longer the product of my pastor's words or an attempt to reproduce another Christian's walk . . . it's mine! I'm beginning to understand how very powerful the Holy Spirit is, and how useless I am without prayer. I can't get enough.

Sincerely in Christ,

Jeannie

 


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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bondage Breaker Lesson 9



Listen to Lesson 9 of The Bondage Breaker Discipleship Class

I mentioned a few other resources in tonight's lesson so I share their images here for those interested:

   

Free PDF of Watchman Nee's Spirtitual Reality or Obession

I mentioned the Steps to Freedom in Christ in tonight's lesson and felt moved to share a link to a free pdf copy for those who wish to go through the steps to break the sexual bonds of the past as mentioned in class:

 Steps to Freedom in Christ Free PDF 

For those who suffer from Food Addiction: I feel your pain and would offer you the following resource that addresses the topic with a Christian Perspective: 


  
I was encouraged by this book to address my obesity and have taken steps toward optimal health by enlisting the help of my friend, Bob Griffin, who is an Optavia coach.  While Optavia, is expensive I have found that the plan has given me the start that I needed to change the way I thought about food and to flip the script on the rest of my life.  

I have been on Optavia for 5 weeks, (and also work out 6 days a week) , and have lost 30 pounds.  If you would like more information on Optavia and to enlist Bob as your coach, contact me at the email below and I will forward your information to Bob.  The Biggest Lie the enemy tells us is that something are just impossible but when we humble ourselves, surrender to the Lord, ask for help, and make ourselves accountable to someone, we can overcome. All things are possible with God! 

The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartradio, Deezer, and Apple Podcasts and at Audible.com.    See Podcast Links and Subscribe! 

 
Thank you for listening - please share this information - people need to know the truth of who they are in Christ and the reality of the spiritual war we are faced with.   

If you would like our class materials sent to you at no cost, contact us at mt4christ247@gmail.com 

 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Running with the Devil: Purity 447


Purity 446 06/16/2021   Purity 447 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of blue skies and a winding wooden pathway comes to us from our friend who is traveling out West. This scene is presumably somewhere in Yellowstone National Park but could be anywhere in between Yellow Stone or Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and destinations unknown in Montana as our friend isn’t staying in one place.        

I share it because it’s Thursday and I use photos of pathways to remind people to join me on the pathway of Christian discipleship by either attending tonight’s discipleship class, or by listening to the classes via the mt4christ247 podcast, or by just deciding to continue, or to begin anew, the journey of walking and talking with God.  

Just like our friend who isn’t staying in one place on their trip out west, we shouldn’t stay in one place in terms of our faith. Life is a journey that moves on regardless of what we do and if we are not progressing in our relationship with God through the way we live, we are not enjoying the abundant life the Christ died to bring us.  

Our life in Christ is a dynamic journey of self-discovery and kingdom purpose as we go to God to transform us and to impact the world around us by finding our purpose for God and by sharing His truth and love with others.

While we look to provide for ourselves and our families and seek to do good works for the glory of God, it doesn’t mean that we stop developing ourselves.   Part of God’s purpose for us is to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and the good news is that there is always room for each of us to grow in these areas.  

For example, just because I am teaching a class on discipleship doesn’t mean I have stopped learning. And just because I have had victory over certain struggles in my life doesn’t mean that the work is done.   

Today, I begin a food plan that involves monitoring what I eat, developing a healthier and more intentional mindset in terms of what I consume, and that has a community aspect that will provide accountability and support.   

You see, two years ago, I read Sweet Surrender, a Christian book on Food Addiction, and recognized that I had an unhealthy relationship with food.  I had the intention of following the food plan detailed in the book and even announced on FB that I was finally going to overcome my food addiction, but I failed to follow through. 

I have several great excuses why I failed to do so. I mean really great ones like I was getting divorced; I was working on my master’s degree, I was working two jobs, I had to find a place to live, and oh yeah, during all this stuff, there was a global pandemic.  So excuse me for losing my focus about diet and exercise!   - See I told you, great excuses.  

Well all those excuses are gone now, and although I have been good in terms of working out 6 days a week since last November, my efforts were being sabotaged by some insidious evil: me!  By eating mindlessly, I was my own worst enemy.

This isn’t my first rodeo with weight loss, before coming to Christ, in my 30’s I had a season where I got disciplined, started running and was working out twice a day.  I was also taking diet pills to boost my metabolism.  I went from my worst, at over 300 pounds all the way down to my fittest, at 215 pounds. 

I managed to accomplish that feat as a means of overcoming the depression and grief caused from the death of my infant son, Holden in 2002.  Crawling out of the shadows of that depression caused me to be at my worst and it took years to see daylight. 

My weight loss most have been in the 2005-2007 window somewhere as I adopted a view of life that told me there was no God, life was suffering, and happiness all depended upon my efforts. 

My weight loss journey at that time was fueled by self-loathing and a desire to achieve some personal state of bliss where there was no God. There was no reason in it either because as much as I worked out I didn’t change the way I thought about food in my heart and I was drinking, smoking weed, and taking any psychedelic drugs I could get my hands on in some attempt to escape and find a higher state of consciousness. Back then it would be accurate to say I was literally “running with the Devil”.

But in 2010 God called me to faith in Jesus Christ and since then has pulled me completely out of the darkness of depression and addiction and has made me realize that anything is possible with Him. 

But that doesn’t mean, we don’t need help. I tried to do the food thing on my own but I feel I need  “the program” I signed up for to provide a system to follow and the support of others to help me to avoid “going blank” and losing my focus only to discover another bought of binge eating has occurred, a binge that I just opened the door to and felt powerless to stop and justified in doing but that was counter productive to what I really want. 

That’s the spiritual warfare aspect of what we face.  Our flesh or the enemy gives us thoughts and impulses that go against what we want for ourselves.   The enemy tells us that our goals are impossible and usually we agree and just give up.  

But with God personal goals, like good health, are possible.  We just have to believe we are free in Christ, humble ourselves before God, and others, by asking for help, continue to stay connected to God through prayer and His word, and to resist and challenge any thoughts that oppose our goals and God’s will for our lives.         

So don’t stay in one place, God has called us to life, and He wants you to know a life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit, but it may mean that you have to leave the chains and comforts of the past behind to find it.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Luke 2:12 (NKJV)
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

Today’s verse is a message from an Angel as the context of this verse is the Christmas account of the shepherds of the field being invited to go and see that the Messiah has been born.  If the appearance of the angelic hosts of heaven weren’t enough for the shepherds, the babe lying in the manger would be the evidence that the course of human history was forever changed as God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.   

We can usually take great comfort and joy when we hear verses like Luke 2:12 in the month of December as we are drawn together in the fellowship of our yearly Christmas celebrations but if we aren’t seeking the Lord continually verses like this may seem to be out of place in the month of June.   

But they shouldn’t, the joy of our salvation should carry us every day of the year. While I understand that we didn’t get to see angels or the Christ child lying in the manger, our life of faith does have “signs” from God that are just for us and prove that He is with us.

One of the things that will keep us in the faith is the continuing signs of God in our lives. As Christians, we should remember the moment that God welcomed us into His kingdom and all the moments where His presence has impacted our lives ever since. 

The gathering of believers at church, the fellowship of the saints, is one place where we can continually see the signs of Christ’s appearing as each person there has been drawn there by God and each one has their own testimony of God’s goodness.    As we walk in faith, we see God in our interactions as He guides our path. 

There is a signpost up ahead and it is telling you that God is with you. 

So keep the faith by keeping your eyes, hearts, and minds open to the things of God. The signs of God’s presence are all around us.  So if you see something, say something because the people around you might not know how good God is and we may be the hand that points them to the sign that leads them right into His kingdom and to life forever more.

 

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 3.

 

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:

The Fallout from God's Grace

The following list supplements the "Who Am I?" list in chapter 2. These statements further describe your identity in Christ. Read this list aloud to yourself repeatedly until it becomes a part of you. Pray through the list occasionally, asking God to cement these truths in your heart:

Since I am in Christ, by the grace of God . . .

I have been justified—completely forgiven and made righteous (Romans 5:1).

I died with Christ and died to the power of sin's rule over my life (Romans 6:1-6).

I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1).

I have been placed into Christ by God's doing (1 Cor. 1:30).

I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God (1 Cor. 2:12).

I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).

I have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing our inheritance to come (2 Cor. 1:21; Ephes. 1:13, 14).

Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

I have been made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ's life (Galatians 2:20).

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephes. 1:3).

I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and am without blame before Him (Ephes. 1:4).

I was predestined—determined by God—to be adopted as God's son (Ephes. 1:5).

I have been redeemed and forgiven, and I am a recipient of His lavish grace (Ephes. 1:17).

I have been made alive together with Christ (Ephes. 2:5).

I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven (Ephes. 2:6).

I have direct access to God through the Spirit (Ephes. 2:18).

I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence (Ephes. 3:12).

I have been rescued from the domain of Satan's rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Col. 1:14).

Christ Himself is in me (Col. 1:27).

I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built in Him (Col. 2:7).

I have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).

I have been spiritually circumcised (Col. 2:11).

I have been buried, raised and made alive with Christ (Col. 2:12, 13).

I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is now my life (Col. 3:1-4).

I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).

I have been saved and set apart according to God's doing (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).

Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother (Hebrews 2:11).

I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Recently, a pastor who was attending one of my conferences on resolving spiritual conflicts pulled me aside after a session. His comments to me reaffirmed my conviction that understanding our spiritual inheritance is the key to resolving our daily conflicts.

"A lady in our church dropped by for counseling this week," he began. "She has been struggling in her relationship with her alcoholic husband. She was at her wit's end, feeling terribly defeated. She came to tell me she was calling it quits on their marriage.

"I pulled out the list of statements you shared with us declaring who we are in Christ. I said, 'Here, read this aloud.' She read about halfway through the list and began to cry. She said, 'I never realized all this was true of me. I feel that maybe there is hope for me after all.'"

Isn't that incredible? The truth about who you are in Christ makes such a big difference in your success at handling the challenges and conflicts of life. It is imperative to your growth and maturity that you believe God's truth about who you are.


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