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Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Will. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Is it getting hot in here? – Everyone's Dystopian Present for Christmas – Purity 583


 Is it getting hot in here? – Everyone's Dystopian Present for Christmas –  Purity 583

Purity 583 11/23/2021  Purity 583 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of dried up forest with two evergreen trees was taken by yours truly near the Martin Dunham Reservoir in Grafton NY is shared today to display the undeniable fact that fall has indeed fallen. Yesterday’s photo displaying the bright colors of Autumn in the Adirondacks was taken about a month ago. This was yesterday and you can see that the forest here resembles the proverbial dry bones that we hope will spring to life again, God willing.   The grass has faded, and the leaves have fallen and if it weren’t for those two evergreen trees there wouldn’t be any signs of life at all.  But those evergreens are there, and they will stay that way through the cold and forbidding months that lie ahead, come what may.   

It's Tuesday, and as we draw ever closer to Thanksgiving, I am increasingly thankful for my Christian faith because although the circumstances in this world may change, God stays the same and His word promises:

·       eternal life to those who place faith in Jesus Christ in John 3:16

·       that He will actively work all things for good to those called according to His purpose, in Romans 8:28

·       and that He will never leave us nor forsake us, Hebrews 13:5. 

These promises strengthen our walk and encourage us to be content and be thankful for what we have.  They also comfort us in times of loss. 

The Bible also warns us of perilous times for the Christian in

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)
1  But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4  traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

 

And in

 

Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)
16  He causes all, both small and great, rich, and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

 

Now while I am far from a prophet of doom, I would say that we are in the midst of the perilous times, and probably have been for decades, that is mentioned in 2 Timothy 3, and that we are increasing moving  towards Revelations 13. 

 

Some have said that the Covid-19 is the mark of the beast and if that is the case I am in big trouble.

 

I believe in body autonomy, and I believe in free will.

 

When faced with the choice to get the shot or not, I was concerned about the possibilities of this indeed being a delivery system of what scripture warns us about.  

 

My relationship with God is the most important thing to me and I didn’t want to do anything that would separate me from Him or to disrupt the harmony of our relationship.  

 

In my walk and in my testimony, look it up, there have been instances that I have “led by the Spirit” to do all kinds of things: including praying for people, doing ministry work, going into the mission field, and making decisions that didn’t always make sense to me but resulted in “blessings” and good consequences.   So when I say that I “prayed about” my decision to get the vaccine, you should understand that it wasn’t anything I did lightly.  

 

Admittedly, I did not do an overabundance of research regarding the shot. If I had I imagine I would have had even more misgivings about being vaccinated but regardless of how much information I would have gleaned from the world, the final result would have been the same: I would have gone to my heavenly Father in prayer and would have acted out of my conscience.  

 

The issue at the forefront of my mind when I considered getting the shot, besides possibly receiving a measure of protection from a potentially deadly disease, was my freedom to move and bring the gospel wherever I go.   

 

I prayed extensively about being vaccinated with the end result being that, for me, vaccination was permissible, apparently.  Whatever actions we take in life are our decision and we will live with the consequences.  Unless the Lord has some sinister plans for me, which I don’t believe at all, the vaccine was “okay” for me to take.

 

As I believe that God has individual callings for each of us, I also believe that it is quite possible for it is “not okay” for someone else to get the shot.  

 

God puts varying levels of conviction on our hearts regarding sin based on our experience, wisdom, and His purposes.  The discourses on having freedom but having to deal with the “weaker brother” indicate this.  In terms of the Covid-19 vaccine, I might be the “weaker brother” that gave in to receive it or be the “stronger brother” to exercise his freedom in an area that wasn’t prohibited, or let’s face it – worst case scenario - I could be one of those who at the judgement seat of Christ are told that He never knew me and be cast into hell because I received the mark of the beast.      

 

Now I included that last possibility for arguments sake, but I have as much certainty about my living relationship with God because of my faith in Christ that I can possibly have. I have been increasingly led by the Lord to follow Him continuously since being saved in 2010 and it has resulted in personal sanctification, good works for His kingdom, and experiences of the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. 

 

I can only trust the Lord and when I asked in prayer about the Covid-19 vaccine, I perceive that I got a green light.  I trust my relationship with Him that He would have convicted me in my spirit, as He has on other occasions, if it wasn’t permitted.  

 

So if things in our society continue to become more dystopian, as they are becoming more and more each day, I won’t be restricted from access if the only criteria is the shot. 

 

With all that said, I also believe in everyone’s right to say no to the shot and to control what they have done to their bodies.  

 

Forced medical treatments is something that should be associated with the nightmare of Nazi death camps and not something that should determine if someone can work in their chosen profession.  

 

I know several people who are convicted not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and are making a stand on their principles and are choosing to find work elsewhere or changing their careers rather than to doing something against their conscience.   I don’t need to know their personal reasons for why they don’t want to put something into their bodies to support their decision not to.   

 

I am very proud of those who have convictions and who are willing to suffer the consequences for them and choose an alternative path when faced with a moral dilemma where they remain true to their choice of character.    

 

Now while I believe the Covid-19 vaccine is not the mark of the beast, I have to admit that these mask and vaccine mandates and the fearful insistence of trying to establish safety and security at the cost of personal freedoms could be the preliminary measures that the enemy will take advantage of to institute the one world order that is prophesied to come to past under the rule of the coming Antichrist.    

 

Like the proverbial frog in a pot who is boiled to death as the temperature is slowly risen, these government and corporate mandates that are forcibly telling people where they can and can not work are the first measures of what will eventually be the fulfillment of Revelation 13, where people will not be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast.    

 

The fact that time is increasingly bringing us closer to the end times described in Revelation makes it easy to see that things are getting worse, and that these measures that are supposed to “make us safe” will be the measure used by the demonic forces of darkness to force people to choose between the Anti-Christ and eternal life.

 

I don’t think we are there yet but the dystopian society we live in today, yes today, will become more dystopian in the future. 

 

Yesterday, I was banned for life from r/Christianity for the messages that I post. I encourage people to have an authentic walk with God that preaches the exclusive need for Jesus as Lord and Savior. I also warn people about the spiritual reality of demonic forces. 

 

Yesterday’s, message that resulted in my being banned for life warned of the enemy’s use of offense to cause negative mind states and to cause division. I recommended a course of Bible study, prayer, and continuous gratitude to combat the enemy.  That was all. 

 

Meanwhile r/Christianity allows posts that celebrate sin and encourage doubt and disbelief.  I can’t see how my encouraging messages were a threat to their community, but I can understand that biblical Christianity is a big offense to the enemy and to the hearts of men that are compromised by him.  

 

Not long ago I started saving all of my messages because I realized that there will come a day that my encouraging Christian messages will be banned everywhere.  And with the latest moves of our governments and corporations to deny people their livelihood over receiving a medical treatment that has objectionable ingredients and questionable usefulness, I understand that those dark days are getting closer and closer. 

 

But even though the landscape is dark doesn’t mean that we should stop shining the light of truth that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just like in today’s photo where all the rest of the landscape is dried and dead, those two ever green trees refuse to follow suit.  So be “green” and share the life that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. 

 

Stand on your convictions as the Lord leads you, because I believe He has different purposes for all of us, that will all contribute to the fulfillment of His plans and be for the ultimate good for those who love Him. 

 

Keep walking and talking with God. Because you were called for such a time as this to be a light in the darkness, and an example vibrant spiritual life among the dry bones of humanity.

 

 

(There is more content to help you walk out your journey of faith at MT4Christ dot org. You can also subscribe to the mt4christ247 podcast to hear this message, our discipleship classes, and our weekly Bible Study, on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon Podcasts, as well as Audible and Podbean).

#Christian #christianity #encouragement #freedominchrist #christiancounseling #jesuschrist #mt4christ #discipleship #victoryoverthedarkness #Evil #Suffering #mt4christ247podcast 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT2)
7  A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Today’s verse speaks of the purpose of God’s gifts to men.  

 

It is clear that God gives gifts to be used to help others.  A list of spiritual gifts drawn from scripture and from an article on BibleStudytools.com, (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/a-comprehensive-spiritual-gifts-list-to-discover-your-gifts-and-calling.html) includes:

·       Leadership: encouraging and helping others to build the kingdom of God (Romans 12:8 NIV)

·       Administration: helping with long term goals and remaining on task ( 1 Cor. 12:28 NIV)

·       Teaching: instructing in truths and doctrines of God’s Word

·       Knowledge: teaching and discipleship. The ability to learn, know and explain God’s Word

·       Wisdom: the ability to discern works of the Holy Spirit and apply teaching and actions

·       Prophecy: proclaiming the Word of God with boldness (Romans 12:6 NIV)

·       Discernment: being able to recognize the truth about a situation

·       Exhortation: people with this gift are enthusiastic about the Lord and they can motivate others

·       Shepherding: looking out for the spiritual welfare of others

·       Faith: trusting God to fulfill His plan. People with this gift are encouragers

·       Evangelism: the building up of the church so others will be led to Christ

·       Apostleship: motivators, church planters, missionaries: people who look beyond the walls

·       Service/Helps: helping those in need of practical assistance (Romans 12:7 NIV)

·       Mercy: The person with this gift shows acts of compassion

·       Giving: People with this gift will give freely and with joy to further His kingdom

·       Hospitality: Making people feel welcome, appreciated, and wanted (1 Peter 4:9 NIV)

While I could go on a long discourse on the various spiritual gifts and possibly cause a controversy with what my view is regarding what gifts are currently being distributed by God, I think today that we will just focus on the purpose of God’s gifts to men.  

As today’s verse says: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” 

Spiritual gifts are not given to impress one another. 

Spiritual gifts are not to be used for financial gain. 

Spiritual gifts are not to be used to create division of the have’s and have nots. 

Spiritual gifts are not to create confusion. 

Spiritual gifts are not to lead to sin.  

Spiritual gifts are given by God for His glory, His purposes, and to help His people.  

So seek out and pray to discover your  spiritual gift. Ask the Lord to assist you to understand and use the special gift He has given you to help those around you.   

 

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 “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

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.

 

IV. Steps to Solution

After Job passed through his severe trial, he came to the realization that God was still there, still loved him, and was still providing for all of his needs. He saw beyond his circumstances and grasped a new vision and insight into the fairness of God. In Job 42:5-6 he states, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Sometime later, Job comes to the point of fully accepting God's sovereignty. (Read Job 42:7-17.) Instead of questioning the goodness of God by asking, "Why do good people suffer?" Job spent the rest of his life humbly trusting God ...

"Then Job repled to the Lord, 'I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted ... Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.'" (Job 42:1-3)

A. Key Verse to Memorize

"Those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (1 Peter 4:19)

B. Key Passage to Read and Reread

Romans 8:18-25

We can never attain a thorough understanding of the reasons for all the evil and suffering in this world. Yet as Christians, we do have God's own Word (the Bible), which speaks of some of the reasons for His purposes in allowing human pain and suffering. Our first clue is revealed in Genesis, where Adam and Eve live in a state of bliss, yet by their own choice defy God's only command. Does their disobedience not demonstrate that when left to its own devices, the human spirit will not surrender self-will to its Creator as long as "all is well"? This being the case, does suffering not then become a "gift" from God that allows us to experience the depth of His love that a life of ease could never conceive? Pain and suffering may take a hardened heart and point it to the inevitable truth that "all is not well," thus opening the door to the profound reality that nothing that happens in this life will ever compare to the happiness and joy awaiting those who become children of God.

In spite of your present suffering...

  • Realize: Nothing will compare to the glorious future God has planned for you.... v. 18
  • Realize: All that God has created eagerly awaits the glory that will be revealed in you as a child of God.... v. 19
  • Realize: You see a world contaminated by sin, but God's plan is for you to be liberated from your present bondage and brought into a marvelous freedom that is yours as a child of God.... vv. 20-21
  • Realize: It is plain even now, when you have eyes to see, that all living things are waiting for that day of deliverance.... v. 22
  • Realize: Even when you have just begun to know Christ, you can now eagerly await the day when you will be free of all suffering and living in the fullness of Him.... v. 23
  • Realize: You are saved by your hope in Christ, yet the meaning of hope is to wait and count on that which you cannot yet see.... v. 24
  • Realize: If you hope for that which you cannot see, you
    must then wait eagerly, but with patience and endurance.... v. 25


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

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


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Wait…. Unless It’s Time to GO! – Saved and Being Saved - Purity 567


Wait…. Unless It’s Time to GO! – Saved and Being Saved -  Purity 567

Purity 567 11/04/2021 Purity 567

Good morning

Today’s photo of a tree lined path on the campus of SUNY Oswego was shared on the university’s FB page on October 29th, to celebrate what they called “a fall foliage Friday”, stating that it took longer for the leaves to change by the lake this year but that the wait was worth it.  

Change takes time and just like the leaves on the trees near Lake Ontario took longer than expected to turn to the hues and shades of Autumn this year, sometimes it takes longer than we expect to progress down the path of Christian discipleship into the maturity that is marked by the presence of the fruit of the Spirit.  

One of the common laments of people outside of the faith or even one echoed by those in the body of Christ is that they want a deeper relationship with God, but they feel they need to clean up their act first or they have a plan to “be more spiritual” at some unforeseen time in the future, like retirement, maybe, or just before death! 

When we hear this as disciples of Jesus Christ, we should encourage the “seeker” or “carnal Christian” by telling them, or reminding them, that God accepts us as we are , warts and all, and that the power to “clean up their act” or to “be more spiritual” comes from establishing a relationship with God, by making Jesus their Lord and Savior, and by trusting Him to work the change in them by cooperating with the Lord through learning about His ways for living and by changing our minds to agree that His ways are not only right and good but are the best way we can live our lives.  

Today is Thursday, and although today’s photo was shared by SUNY Oswego to highlight the leaves on the trees, I share it because it also features a pathway. I share pictures of pathways on Thursdays to encourage my friends to step into a deeper relationship with God by choosing to renew their minds with the wisdom of God’s word and to take a series of “steps of faith” by choosing to live according to that wisdom day by day on what I metaphorically refer to as the path of Christian discipleship.

Making a change or taking a trip may take a time of planning and preparation, but if we don’t set a date or take that first step we will never change, we will never get to our desired destination.     Although we may understand our need or desire to “go there” we may be waiting for the right moment or for something to push us toward progress. If that describes you, let me encourage you with:

2 Corinthians 6:2 (NLT2)
2  For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

So if you need to step into faith, say a simple prayer to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.  

And if you are “already a Christian”,  you can be encouraged by this verse too because our salvation is a continuous process of progress as the New Testament describes our spiritual state in terms of having been saved by faith (Eph 2:8-9) and being saved (1:Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15) and that we “shall… be saved” (Rom 5:9).

Just because we have made a profession of faith in Christ doesn’t mean our journey has ended.  God’s relationship lasts for all of eternity, so God’s not done with us.  He wants us to enjoy our new life in Christ and live an abundant life. 

But to experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control, that define the fruit of the Spirit, in our lives we have to come into harmony with the God who saved us by learning and living by His ways and coming into communion with His presence on a regular and continuous basis.  

The three tenses of salvation described in the New Testament point to a life of progress. As we “walk in the Spirit” down the path of Christian discipleship, we discover that, while our eternal salvation remains unchanged from the first day we put our faith in Jesus, we are “being saved” from all the things that caused us to suffer in our lives before, and after Christ’. 

We are being saved from drunkenness. We are being saved from bitterness. We are being saved from anger. We are being saved from envy. We are being saved from lust. We are being saved from unforgiveness. We are being saved from vulgarity. We are being saved from fear and anxiety.  We are being saved from depression. We are being saved from low self-esteem.

So as you can see, although Christians can have a deep abiding peace in the assurance of their eternal life as adopted members of God’s royal family, they could still have a lot of things that the Lord desires for them to be “saved” from.

Well, how do you get “saved” from all that junk, MT?   you may ask.  

The way you get “saved” from all those things is the same way you “got saved” and were given the forgiveness of sin and eternal life, by faith. 

You go to the Lord with your problem and you ask Him to “save” you from it and then you learn what His word says about your issue and about who you are as some one who is “in Christ” and then you believe, have faith in, what the word says rather than what your experience has told you, or is telling you, about you and your issue. 

When we have faith in what God’s word about us and our problems, we are given the power to walk into the person God has made us to be and away from the negative mind states and sins that have us locked in bondage.   

It’s a new day, It’s a new life. Today is the day of salvation. So keep walking and talking with God and ask Him to help you to renew your mind and give you the strength to walk into all you ever wanted to be. 

It turns out all we needed to change was the power of God Himself! That’s all! But when we place our faith in Jesus and continue to trust Lord by living according to His wisdom with our words, thoughts, and actions, we get to activate the power that the Lord has already poured into us. 

We need the power of God to be transformed but the good news is that He is ready to unleash it into the lives of those who are done waiting, or are sick and tired of being “sick and tired”, and who decided to “go there”. So take that first step, or take a new step with vigor, into the life of hope and abundance that the Lord wants you to have.              

 

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 17:22 (NLT2)
22  A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of our attitudes in our walk of faith.  

If we truly understand our position in Christ, that we have been set free of the power of sin and death, we should rejoice.  And as I pointed out above, because our salvation is a continuous process of progress, we should rejoice continuously.  These spiritual realities should give us a cheerful heart and that according to today’s verse is good medicine.  

My education in Christian counseling has taught me that our emotions are fluid and can be greatly affected by the content of our thoughts. I have also learned that humans have the power to direct their thoughts.  We can choose what we think about.  

These facts should show us that God made us with the ability to choose our experience of life by making wise choices in terms of what we think about or by what we focus on.  

The old “glass is half full” or the “glass is half empty” perception is a matter of perspective, but it is also a matter of choice. 

If we have seen the glass as “half empty” all our lives, it may be hard to think of the glass as half full. But the truth is that it is both half empty and half full. So we have the right to live “in the truth” of “a glass half full existence” by simply choosing to renew our minds to that view.   

Unlike my example of the glass half full, the Bible is a book that is the revelation of God to His people to show them what is right and how to live. The Bible is proven as the true supernatural revelation that it is by its reliability, by its wisdom, by its historical accuracy, and by its fulfilled prophecies.   So the Bible is true and what it says about life and who we are in Christ is true.  

So we have the choice to think about the truth of the word of God and how it relates to us on a continuing basis.  When we focus on all the blessings and promises that God speaks of with relation to who we are in Christ, we can have a cheerful heart.  

Now the choice remains up to us. Yes there are very real things wrong with the world and possibly in our immediate experience and if we focus on those negative things our spirits will be broken and our strength will be sapped.   

But God has saved us, and He gives us the power to renew our minds to have a cheerful heart.

And I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of the poison that comes from the world and from my old ways of doing things.  Instead, let’s choose to take the good medicine that comes from God by choosing to think about what God says about us as His children and by letting that truth naturally cause us to rejoice and have a cheerful heart.

 

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:

G. How to End a Dating Relationship

Six years! Louis finds it hard to believe that after six years, he and Maria are still dating. A chance meeting at the dog park opens the door to idle chitchat—both are newcomers to town and both own beagles. Soon their visits to the dog park are no longer by happenstance—they're planned. After all, responsible dog owners provide opportunities for plenty of exercise, right?

Ironically, they share four classes together in the fall and chalk it up to fate. Maria, the pretty girl with the beagle, is now the perfect homework buddy. Not only do they go to every football game, they even attend the same church. He teaches her how to shoot a basketball. She teaches him how to bake an amazing chocolate cake. His parents love Maria, and Maria's parents love Louis. A match made in heaven, right?

As Maria absorbs each page of the latest bridal magazine, Louis cannot ignore his unrest. The more she talks about "someday," the more uneasy Louis becomes. Why did I wait so long? His heart rehearses the truth: It's not you....I just don't love you like that. Sure, she's been his awesome friend—they've gone through so much together—but she's not someone he loves enough to marry. Why did I lead her on? How can I end this relationship without destroying her? Louis knows he will break the heart that trusted him so completely. Every memory seems to include each other. Every framed photo and scrapbook traces their steps together.

The new reality will take time—from us and we...to just I and me. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, and hearing the truth can be hard. But when truth demands a different path, the courage to accept its course must follow. As necessary and painful as breakups sometimes are, they require time to heal, permission to cry, and faith enough to see a future hope....

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths." (Psalm 25:4)

An old, popular song repeats this all-too-true refrain: "Breaking up is hard to do." Often only one person realizes that the dating relationship isn't working—that the interaction has become more harmful than healthy. At this point, a breakup can be best for both people—even if only temporary. But in breaking up, we need to remember Paul's admonition in Ephesians 4:15 about "speaking the truth in love."

The Breakup

If You Are Initiating the Breakup...

If You Are the Recipient of the Breakup...

• Be honest and direct. Don't lie about the reasons. The other person might try to fix any phantom, made-up causes.

• Listen, but don't take everything that is said literally. Look at the big picture. Evaluate the validity of the reasons given.

• Don't prolong the agony. Don't dangle hopes of reconciliation if you honestly don't see it happening.

• Don't plead, beg, or grovel, but accept the breakup. Ask direct, honest questions. You may need to re-evaluate how to conduct yourself in future dating relationships.

• Pray and think through what you will say. Don't use cliches like, "It's not about you, it's about me." But don't blame the other person either.

• Don't threaten or raise your voice. Listen and think through what is being said before you respond.

• Keep it as short and unemotional as possible. Sincerely apologize for any pain that might result from the failed relationship.

• Take time to think and pray before saying or doing anything. If you have offended the other person, offer a sincere apology, and ask for forgiveness.

• Restrain your curiosity to check up on the other person if you have no intention of trying to reconcile.

• Restrain your desire to talk about the other person. This serves no purpose but to prolong any pain from the parting.

• Pray for your ex-dating partner and ask for wisdom, understanding, and discernment in choosing future dating partners

• If you've been wronged, forgive, and release the person to the Lord. Pray and ask the Lord to bless the person. Pray that the Lord will use the breakup to draw you closer to Him and teach you valuable insights.

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

Possible Opening Lines When a Breakup Appears Necessary

  • "It's become apparent to me that our relationship is not heading toward marriage...."
  • "I'm not comfortable with the different directions in which we are heading...."
  • "We really are not challenging each other to grow spiritually...."
  • "Our relationship isn't encouraging either of us to be the best that we can be...."
  • "We don't seem to be bringing out the best in each other...."

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Saying "No" to a Dating Invitation

Question: "What do I do when I receive an invitation to date a person I'm not drawn to...someone who says, 'The Lord told me to date you'...or 'The Lord told me to marry you'? I don't want to hurt the person's feelings, but I also don't want to go against God."

Answer: If you aren't drawn to someone who wants to date you, you aren't going against God by saying no. If He wanted you to date a particular person, He would have told you as well as the other person. To the one who is claiming God's leading when you do not sense it, you could reply:

  • "Thank you for the honor of your invitation.
  • "I really do believe in listening to the Lord, and He hasn't told me the same thing. Therefore, I must say no.
  • "It may be that He is preparing you to approach someone else. But I know I am not that person.
  • "As long as you seek His will, He will guide you to the right person."

This may seem harsh, but it is not harsh when you can avoid misleading someone. Honesty is always the best policy.

"An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies." (Proverbs 12:17)


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, July 17, 2021

Decisions, Decisions… - Choose Freedom - Purity 473


 
Decisions, Decisions… - Choose Freedom

Purity 473 07/17/2021  Purity 473 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo is the natural progression of yesterday’s photo as the setting sun has sunk into the Pacific horizon from the vantage point of the shores of Kaanapali on the Island of Maui in the great state of Hawaii.  My friend’s vacation photo sharing of that Pacific paradise presented me with a dilemma. When you are given two wonderful shots from more or less the same setting, which one do you choose?   Often in life we are only given the option of one thing or another, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But on occasion, even though your choice may confound, or even bother those around you, (Are you thinking: What another picture from Hawaii? I wanted something different, today!)”, sometimes you can choose both!

Now I know, I didn’t “really” choose both.  I chose one photo yesterday and I chose the other photo today.   While I could have shared both photos yesterday, somehow that idea goes against my philosophy of “today’s photo’, singular.  And like I have indicated, there is a natural tendency in all of us to want to move one to “something new.”    

But as in other decisions we make in life, we shouldn’t be held in bondage to other people’s opinions, or our own ideas,  and let our preconceived notions always dictate how we act.  Spontaneity includes the possibility of doing the same thing again.  Repeating what we have done before unfortunately won’t recapture the exact essence of our previous experience, but we can still find pleasure and a measure of satisfaction in a repeated activity as long as we temper our expectations with the understanding that our new experience will not be “just like” our previous experience.    

The possible opinions of others around us, or our ideas of what we should or shouldn’t do, hinder us from living freely.   With my silly example of selecting a photo of the day, maybe some people will be displeased. Maybe some people will be thrilled because they wanted to see that sight again.  Maybe others will like this dusky photo better than yesterday’s. But regardless of all those potential varying opinions, that may or may not out there in reality, in each one of our lives we have to choose what we are going to do for ourselves and live with the consequences.  

Sometimes we also have to challenge our own opinions and preferences to grow. While I like to present and experience new things, we all have a tendency to get in a rut of doing things according to the rules and regulations we have established over our own lives. 

 Now, I’m not talking about running down the road of immorality that leads to debauchery land. I’ve taken that trip way too many times before to encourage others to lose their good senses and to jump into something that will bring guilt and shame if not worse consequences.   No, what I am talking about is challenging the preconceptions of what is possible or is more along the lines of “how we always do things” rather than violating what is right according to the word of God.  

One of the first calls from God that is highlighted in the Bible is God’s call to Abraham to leave his people and to go into the land that the Lord would show Him.  I’m sure Abraham had to hear lots of negative opinions from others when He decided to follow the Lord’s call. Can you imagine just one day, out of the blue, telling everyone you knew that you were leaving because God had called you to go somewhere else?  Could you imagine the inner turmoil that you would experience at the prospect of doing that?  

Now, don’t freak out, I’m not suggesting you pack it all up and take off for a destination unknown. I am merely suggesting that you exercise the free will that the Lord has blessed you with to explore the life that God has given you to see what possibilities for growth are available for you to walk into.  I’m not telling you to leave the comforts of your home, I’m asking you to consider leaving the comforts of “doing things the way you always do them” for a way that is guided by the Lord and that leads to victory, freedom, and peace.  

So, enjoy your weekend. Enjoy doing the same old things again but temper those expectations by realizing you can’t recapture the happiness of the past and that’s okay.  You like what you like.  But at the same time, maybe be daring and try something new.

Regardless of what you choose, rejoice over the freedom you have and consider entering the experience of peace and joy that comes when you decide to seek and follow God’s call on your life to live with Him.   

No two walks with God are the same. But when you walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, there may be bumps in the road but regardless of what you run into there will be the peace of God’s presence and the joy that comes from discovering the meaning of your life and growing into the purpose that He has for you.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NKJV)
8 So, affectionately longing 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 dear to us.

Today’s verse speaks of the deep affection we can have for our fellow travelers on the path of Christian Discipleship, as we not only share what we know but we share our very lives with one another.  

As a teacher of Christian recovery and Christian discipleship, I can tell you that I have a deep affection for all the people I have taught over the years because while I teach a lot about principles of Christian doctrine and Christian living, I like to share how what I am teaching about has impacted my life experiences.

So I tend to share a lot about my life with my brothers and sisters in Christ that I teach. Many have commented on how transparent I am, maybe too transparent.  While I sometimes cringe at the things that I share as they are somewhat personally embarrassing, I do so because I wish to show people that I didn’t just “learn this stuff”, I lived it.  

I wasn’t particularly smart, I just decided to trust the Lord and sought to know more about Him and to apply what I learned to my life.   If you look at the twists, turns, and disasters that I walked through on the path of Christian recovery and discipleship, some may decide that they want nothing to do with it. It costs too much. You lose too much.  

But like the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:8-10, I count all the hardship and losses that I suffered to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, and as today’s verse indicates, also knowing all the saints that I have met along the way.  

I rejoice when I see other people pursuing their relationship with God and I love to fellowship with them and discuss the things of God and how we are applying our faith to our real-life difficulties, to discuss living an authentic Christian life.   

God is so good that we must share what He taught us but those lessons we teach are that much more valuable when it is played out in the context of community. Whether it’s the community of the local church, a small group meeting, accountability relationships, or just over a friendly meal, community allows us to sharpen our understanding and to care and love one another according to God’s way for our lives. 

So, don’t be a stranger and don’t be a Lone Ranger, draw close to God and draw close to the other people in your life that hear and follow His voice.   It might be Saturday, but Sunday is coming and if you don’t have a other Christians that you can share your life with and have an affectionate longing for, step out in faith, be strong and courageous and find a place where you can worship, learn, and grow.  

 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 8.

 

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:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

As far as the devil is concerned, the next best thing to keeping you chained in spiritual darkness or having you live as an emotional wreck is confusing your belief system. He lost you in the eternal sense when you became a child of God. If he can muddy your mind and weaken your faith with partial truths, however, he can neutralize your effectiveness for God and stunt your growth as a Christian.

We have already determined that God wants you to be successful, fulfilled, and happy. It is imperative for your spiritual maturity, though, that your beliefs about success, significance, fulfillment, satisfaction, happiness, fun, security, and peace be anchored in the Scriptures.

In this chapter, I want to review each of these belief areas from the foundation of God's Word. Compare these eight descriptions with the eight statements you wrote for the Faith Appraisal in the previous chapter. These descriptions may help you make some vital adjustments that will steer you back to the middle of the fairway.

1. Success. Key Concept: Goals

A few years ago, a young woman flew to Los Angeles from the East Coast to spend a Saturday with me in counseling. She said she had deep spiritual problems. She did, and I was surprised the airplane stayed in the air with her in it. She was hearing demonic voices and was plagued with many problems.

Mattie quoted to me 3 John 2: "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health."

"If God has promised prosperity, success, and health to me, why is my life all screwed up?" she complained.

"There's more to that verse," I said. "Finish reading it."

"Just as your soul prospers," she continued.

I asked her pointedly, "How is your soul doing?" Mattie then told me her sad story. She had submitted to three abortions as a result of illicit sexual affairs; she withdrew from drugs several times; and she was presently living with another man outside of marriage. I felt like telling her, "I think the verse is working."

Success is related to goals. If you rated yourself low in the success category, you are probably having difficulty reaching your goals in life. If you aren't reaching your goals, it is probably because you are working on the wrong goals.

A good summary of God's goal for us is found in 2 Peter 1:3-10:

His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.

Notice that God's goal begins with who you are on the basis of what God has already done for you. He has given you "life and godliness"; justification has already happened, and sanctification has already begun. You are already a partaker of the "divine nature, having escaped" (past tense) sin's corruption. What a great start!

Your primary job now is to adopt God's character goals diligently—moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and Christian love—and apply them to your life. Focusing on God's goals will lead to ultimate success: success in God's terms. Peter promises that as these qualities increase in your life through practice, you will be useful and fruitful, and you will never stumble. That is a legitimate basis for a true sense of worth and success and nobody can keep you from accomplishing it!

Notice also that this list does not mention talents, intelligence or gifts that are not equally distributed to all believers. Your identity and sense of worth aren't determined by those qualities. Your sense of worth is based on your identity in Christ and your growth in character, both of which are equally accessible to every Christian. Those Christians, like Mattie, who are not committed to God's goals for character are sad stories of failure. According to Peter, they have forgotten their purification from former sins. They have forgotten who they are in Christ.

Another helpful perspective of success is seen in Joshua's experience of leading Israel into the Promised Land. God said to him:

Be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:7, 8).

Was Joshua's success dependent on other people or favorable circumstances? Absolutely not. Success hinged entirely on living according to God's Word. If Joshua believed what God said and did what God told him to do, he would succeed. Sounds simple enough, but God immediately put Joshua to the test by giving him a rather unorthodox battle plan for conquering Jericho. Marching around the city for seven days and then blowing a horn weren't exactly approved military tactics in Joshua's day!

Joshua's success was conditional on obeying God regardless of how foolish His plan seemed. As Joshua 6 records, Joshua's success had nothing to do with the circumstances of the battle and everything to do with obedience. Success is accepting God's goal for our lives and by His grace becoming what He has called us to be.


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