Falling Down and Finding Comfort in His Presence -
Purity 515 09/04/2021 Purity 515 Podcast
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:
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."
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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.'"
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship