Labels

Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Light in the Darkness – Bringing Friends to Holy Ground - Purity 563


 A Light in the Darkness – Bringing Friends to Holy Ground - Purity 563

Purity 563 10/30/2021   Purity 563 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a peaceful scene on the shores of what I suspect to be Lake George in up state New York comes to us from what was day 1 of an extended “girlfriends’ getaway” weekend as a pair of ladies decided to set apart time to enjoy one another’s company and to celebrate nearly 30 years of friendship.  Over three decades, there can be a lot of struggle and changes in our lives as we journey through life, but true friendships transcend time and distance and because of the brevity of our lives should be cherished and celebrated.   

Well we made it to through another work week and as it is Halloween weekend it is my wish that my friends enjoy the time they have over the next two days to rest, relax, have some good old spooky fun, if you’re into that, and to enjoy the company of family and friends as the moth of October expires on Monday.    

Halloween has dark aspects to it but as a child, and an adult, I celebrated by going trick or treating, dressing up in costumes, and going to parties and despite my ignorance and the demonic undertones that surround the 31st day of October, I somehow by the grace of God survived.  

So although I would warn against being a part of any seances or occultic activities, like I would any other day of the year,  I would also remind well-meaning Christians that condemn any celebrations of Halloween that the day is also Reformation Day and the revelation of the doctrines of grace that resulted from Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg should remind us of the supremacy of Christ over the powers of darkness and should encourage us to be a light for the gospel even on Halloween and that we should use the opportunity to make new friends that desperately need Christians in their lives.

The testimonies of people coming to faith in Christ because of a Christian friend are vast and instead of pushing people away with restrictions, we should be purveyors of the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit brings to our lives and attract people to the One that can set them free from sin and death.  Jesus came to give us life more abundantly and to set the captives free.  So shine a light in the darkness and be friend whose liberty in Christ gives you the power to bring the gospel of hope every where you go.  Because of the Holy Spirit in us, every where we go is holy ground.   

As it turns out my new friend on the other side of the Atlantic just happen to compose a new poem about the hope found because of Jesus and I thought that it was a good reminder of the “treat” that we have to give out on Halloween and every other day of the year. The poem is from Philip Hand, who hails from Manchester in the United Kingdom and is entitled:  

Holy Ground

To be rich in your heart feeds your soul

lifts your life and should be  your goal.

To be in love with tender loving kindness

will bless your heart and heal your blindness.

All it takes is one step 

one that you won't regret once the savior you have met.

A step of faith into the light

out of this eternal night.

I was blind but now I see

eternal love lights the way for me.

Lord unify our hearts, tear our borders down

when we are on our knees, this place becomes holy ground.

-       Philip Hand

Thank you, Philip.  So whether you spend time this weekend with friends you have known for nearly 30 years or that you have only known for a short time through social media, rejoice in your friendship and rejoice in the new life of hope, peace, and joy that you can enjoy in all seasons with the friend that you can have in Jesus.  


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 37:4 (NLT2)
4  Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Today’s verse is a conditional promise that is fulfilled with a transformative relationship with the Lord.

This verse can very well be misapplied as one of the “gimme” verses of the prosperity gospel.  “Does not the word say, He will give you the desires of your heart?”   Well I desire a whole lot of fortune and fame and a brand new car!   Survey says? XXX  

When this verse is misapplied to material goods and prosperity as an expression of an immature believer’s wanton avarice,  I am tempted to share:

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
9  "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

But to be honest, I hesitate to share Jerimiah 17:9 because that verse doesn’t apply to Christians, although it is used ad nauseum in churches today to chastise believers for their periodic or habitual sins.   While Christians can and do sin, we have been transformed and given new spiritual life, and a new heart, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.  

The problem is that many Christians fall into Satan’s trap as identifying with their sin instead of their Savior. 

To “delight in the Lord” is to love Him and obey Him.  Our delighting in the Lord should bring us to repentance and the renewal of our minds and hearts to be more aligned with the Lord’s ways and will for our lives.   When we “delight in the Lord” our hearts are changed from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and our desires are changed.  

These “new desires” that come from delighting in the Lord are the “desires of the heart” that God will gladly give us.   Our heart’s desire to be progressively conformed to the image of Christ through faith and by walking in the Spirit is something that the Lord will give us.   

So stop praying to get what’s behind door # 2 or curtain #3, for worldly desires, and instead desire to know the Lord more and to be more like Him.

God’s will for our lives is our sanctification and when we that is our desire, we can be assured we won’t get “zonked”!

Although we were once were desperately wicked, we have been made righteous though our faith in Christ and adopted into God’s royal family and God the Father has good gifts for His kids who seek His heart and ask for His desires for us.    

 

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:

C. How to Have a Transformed Life

Deborah doesn't date anymore. Deborah doesn't date any less, either. The truth is, Deborah doesn't date at all anymore.

At one time, Deborah's dating card consistently stayed full. But after she begins to take her walk with the Lord seriously, her social life drops off dramatically. Staying busy with church activities, she barely misses dating. But she does long to have someone special in her life...and she'd like to marry someday.

A friend in her Sunday school class tells her that she should pray about it. Her mom tells her to be patient and keep trusting the Lord. Her sister tells her she should just keep following where the Lord leads and look to see whom He brings alongside her and go from there. So Deborah waits—maybe not patiently—but she waits.

Volunteering to help with the church carnival, Deborah notices the young man in the booth next to her. As they each interact with the kids playing games, she sees that he's kind and encouraging to the non-athletic participants and sweet and helpful to the little ones. He's polite and gracious to the parents...and when he smiles, she notices his eyes light up too. She likes his laugh...and he really is cute!

Another pair of volunteers come to relieve them from their posts, and not a moment too soon because Deborah's fingers are freezing! Her "next door" neighbor/volunteer smiles and says, "Hi. I'm Sam. I couldn't help but notice that you're cold. Could I interest you in joining me for a cup of hot cocoa?" Deborah chuckles as she answers, "Thanks, Sam. I'm Deborah and I'd like that very much."

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

Whether you've never dated or you are just starting to date after becoming single again, dating can, and should, be a fun and enjoyable experience. If you're emotionally and spiritually prepared to begin forming dating relationships, you could come face-to-face with a jarring reality: No one on your horizon is eligible to date. Rather than lowering your standards for the sake of stirring up interest or considering those who once would have been out of the question, use this opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ....

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

Reaching the Target: Transformation!

 



Target #1—A New Purpose: God's purpose for me is to be conformed to the character of Christ.

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to be conformed to the character of Christ."

Target #2—A New Priority: God's priority for me is to change my thinking.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to line up my thinking with God's thinking."

Target #3—A New Plan: God's plan for me is to rely on Christ's strength, not my strength, to be all He created me to be.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).

  • —"I'll do whatever it takes to fulfill His plan in His strength."

My Personalized Plan

My identity is in Christ, not in another person. To overcome the need for a significant person of the opposite sex to validate me and to give me a sense of worth, I will live according to who I am in Christ. I will remember what God says in His Word—every true Christian is a complete person of immeasurable value and worth in Jesus Christ. God created me to have my identity in Him. I can find meaning and purpose in Him, not in a dating relationship. Since the truth sets me free, wrong thinking only keeps me in bondage. Therefore, I will transform my thinking by renewing my mind.

I will remember what God says is true about me. I will stay focused on deepening my intimacy with Him and realize the depth of His love for me.

Who I Am in Christ

  • I am loved.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" (John 15:9).

  • I am totally accepted.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7).

  • I belong to God.

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16).

  • I am never alone.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8).

  • I am complete in Christ.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

  • I have all the confidence I need.

"The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught" (Proverbs 3:26 ESV).

  • I have the mind of Christ.

"Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).

  • I have a purpose in life.

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8 ESV).

  • I am made pure in Christ.

"All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

  • I have victory over sin.

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

As I open my mind and heart to the truth in God's Word, I will ask the Lord to reveal to me the messages I received and believed that led me to think I am somehow incomplete or lacking without having someone of the opposite sex in my life. Once I identify these messages, I will renounce them as lies and realize the truth that sets me free....

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Prayer of My Heart

The Lord knows my situation. I will put Him in charge of the timing and pace of my dating life. I will make this the prayer of my heart:

"Heavenly Father, I will...

  • Refuse to be desperate to find someone to date,
  • Wait on Your timing and person(s) to date,
  • Not lower my criteria to evaluate a prospective date,
  • Use this time to listen intently for Your voice to lead me,
  • Focus on what I have, not what I don't have,
  • Be grateful for Your unconditional love for me,
  • Remember that I am not alone, unloved, or forgotten,
  • Not put my life on hold until I begin to date,
  • Look for ways to bless others."

"But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content." (Psalm 131:2)

Meeting the "Right" One

Question: "How do I know when I've met the 'right' person?"

Answer: Instead of asking, "Is this the right person for me?" why not ask, "Am I becoming the right person?" Being the "right person" is about coming to a relationship with love to share, not about finding love and validation in another person.

If you come from a full place in your life, it becomes much easier to discern whether someone is empty inside, and you will be less likely to be attracted to that person. If you continually learn about yourself—are growing emotionally, socially, and spiritually, and taking responsibility for your own feelings of safety and security, worth and winsomeness—you will not be attracted to someone who is closed and controlling or who just wants to be loved but not give love in return.

It takes time to know whether someone is the "right" person for you. To discover if the person you're dating is who they say they are, you need to see them in a variety of situations and settings. How a person handles conflict is one of the best ways to see the "real" person. A "right" person is open to learning from conflict, not just wanting to win and be right.

Other characteristics to watch for in "Mr. Right" or "Ms. Right" are...

  • Closely matched levels of emotional and spiritual maturity
  • Commitment to lifelong marriage
  • Capacity to care for and empathize with others
  • Common interests and values
  • Compatible long-term goals
  • Comparable health and fitness goals
  • Common money management practices for saving and spending
  • Chemistry—at least a basic spark of attraction

"Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments." (Psalm 119:66 NASB)

Is Marriage for Everyone?

Question: "Does God intend for everyone to marry?"

Answer: Not necessarily. While marriage is ordained of God and most people do get married, the apostle Paul was obviously called by God to remain single. In 1 Corinthians 7:8, he said... "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do." Both singleness and marriage are good in God's sight. But the reason Paul encourages singleness is that there is less distraction from the things of God for the single person.

"I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:35)

Contentment

Question: "How should I respond to people who keep telling me I need a boyfriend when I am content being single?"

Answer: People may want you to have a boyfriend for any number of reasons.

Generally, they mean well. Try to guard against taking offense at their opinion. A safe response might be to tell them you appreciate their interest and concern, but you are actually quite content in focusing on being the person God created you to be. Explain that you have a full life and then ask if there is something they see in you that causes them to think you need someone in your life.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6)


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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Who Are All These People? – Godsend Friends - Purity 511

 

Who Are All These People? – Godsend Friends                      

Purity 511 08/31/2021    Purity 511 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of man’s best friend under ethereal skies, somewhere on the shores of Lake Michigan comes to us from a friend who packed up their trailer and took to the highways and byways for a summer road trip.  

Today is the last day of August, and while Green Day sings a song that tells us to wake them up when September ends, I thought I’d give everyone a heads up that the eighth month of the year has less then 24 hours left in it.   I stated yesterday that it wasn’t too late to make some plans to make some milestone moments for the summer of ’21 but sometimes being spontaneous and making quick decisions to seize the moment will work too.  

As I was out west in Esperance NY yesterday and was tired after burying a wire that was longer than a football field by hand, the sun came out. Although it was near the end of the workday and I didn’t particularly have any ideas in mind other than going home to rest, I suddenly was reminded that it was the end of August, my free time in the months ahead will be limited, and I have a friend who graciously has given me an open invitation to use their swimming pool.   My tired body protested by my soul and spirit said that time was of the essence and if I didn’t take these opportunities to enjoy my life, I just might regret it later.  

So I contacted my friend and they assured me I could use the pool and suddenly it was go time. I rushed back to the garage and grabbed my bag. Oh yeah, I have a bag in my vehicle now that is packed and ready to go for such spontaneous swim sessions and other activites.  In less than half an hour I was dressed and swimming. 

The weather wasn’t as sunny as it was in Esperance when I decided to go but the water was perfect, and I enjoyed watching the clouds above me move in and dissipate as I stretched out swimming in lazy back stroke laps.  The significant change in the weather from the last time I went swimming at my friend’s place and some fallen leaves in the pool testified that summer is indeed on the way out.  So friends, don’t be too distracted this week or this weekend because the times they are a changing and if you don’t take time to enjoy these days you might miss out on something that could be good.

After going home and resting for a while, I joined a zoom prayer call that Freedom in Christ Ministries does once a week and near the end the session, the call came for prayers of gratitude.  At that point I realized what an amazing year it has been so far since joining Freedom in Christ ministries.  

After finishing my master’s degree last year, I really felt led to become a Community Freedom Ministry Associate and that decision has led me to so many new things. It caused me to meet new people in the ministry, sent me to Texas for the CFMA Practicum, and caused me to change my ministry work at my local church.  It caused me to start the mt4christ247 podcast. It led me to meet new people from different churches that I now call friends. It has led me to make friends and impact people in other countries, on other continents.   

That’s decision to follow the call to Freedom in Christ ministries and all the decisions that followed has introduced me to so many new things and to form relationships with so many people that I didn’t even know before this year began. I mean we are talking like over 30 new friends, ministry contacts, and acquaintances and an undetermined amount of people who have been reached by my testimony and encouragements. The podcast that didn’t even exist last year has over 2,100 downloads in just over 6 months. And while I can’t know what impact I have had in anyone’s life; I can tell you that I have been blessed by all the new people I have met this year and am happy to call them friends.      

A common lament of life is that we “just keep doing the same old same old” and that “nothing changes”. While there will always be some truth in these statements for most of our lives, let me assure you that if you make the intentional decision to draw close to God and let Him guide you in the way you should go, there will be changes and you will do new things and meet new people. 

And no matter how daunting the challenges may be that you will face on your journey of a life of faith, the destination will be a good one and when you open your heart to show other people the love of Christ that you have received, you will be blessing to the people you encounter along the way, and you will be blessed through them.

So seize the day and keep walking and talking with God. When you follow where He leads you, you may end up  wondering “Who are all these people?”,  But then you will thank the Lord as you realize that they are your “Godsend Friends”, who you never would have met if you didn’t surrender to Him and follow His call.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Timothy 2:21 (NKJV)
21  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Today’s verse points to the Christian’s disciple’s need to sanctify themselves in order to find and fulfill their purpose in Christ.   

The “latter” that is mentioned in today’s verse that we need to be cleansed from is “dishonor” in the context of this section of scripture.  The Apostle Paul warns Timothy , and all Christians, in the previous verses to not only be cleansed of iniquity, in verse 19, but to also “shun profane and idle babblings” in verse 16.  I like to point that out because it gives us a true sense of how all the aspects of our lives matter.  

Unfortunately, most Christians have a somewhat immature or ignorant view of our faith where they think of sin as a violation of certain rules of conduct and that the requirements of a Christian life lie in just “not doing bad things.”  

This section of scripture points to a higher standard. Yes, we are to cleanse ourselves of iniquity, overt outward volitional sins, but we are to also keep our minds free of idle and profane things of this world that would lead to iniquity.

So it’s not necessarily okay to look and listen, but not touch, where we try to indulge our desires of temptations to a certain point but not step over the line.  Nor are we to indulge in negative or profane thoughts that are contrary to the ways of God.  

Christians need to do more than change their outward conduct.  Christians can only experience the new abundant life that Christ has given us by renewing our minds to accept God’s ways for living and to reject the worldly ways that we grew up with.   

When we embrace Christ as our Savior and Lord, we don’t want to hold Him in our arms but have our minds set on things that are contrary to Him.  

So endeavor to let go of your sins and renew your mind with the word of God.  When you do that, you will increasingly know how good it is to be a “vessel of honor” that is useful to the Lord, and you will be prepared for the amazing things that He has planned for you to experience.  

Our purpose as Christians is twofold. We are to be transformed by the renewing of the mind as we conform to the image of Christ, but we are also to be an agent of transformation as we engage with the world and impact other people through the things we say and do.  

Walk towards to the honorable life of service and sanctification that the Lord has for you. For the word says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “… this is the will of God, your sanctification…”.      

 

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 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:

Designs for Discipleship

Level III: Walking in Christ (Colossians 2:6)

Spiritually mature people are identified as those whose senses are "trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). Discernment is not just a function of the mind; it is also a function of the Spirit. Through His Spirit, God will identify to the spiritually mature believer a compatible spirit and warn against an incompatible spirit. Spiritual discernment is the first line of defense in spiritual warfare.

Rationally, people are perishing "for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Mature people can live productive lives if they know what to do or how to do it. Counseling at this level is just good, biblical common sense.

Emotionally, the mature believer learns to be content in all circumstances (see Phil. 4:11). This life is full of discouragements, and many of the believer's desires will go unmet. None of the believer's goals will go unfulfilled as long as it is a godly goal. In the midst of life's trials, Christians need encouragement. To encourage means to give people the courage to carry on. Every discipler should be an encourager.

Someone has said the successful Christian life hinges on the exercise of the will. The undisciplined person is incapable of living a productive life, but the disciplined Christian is a Spirit-filled person who has no unresolved conflicts of which he or she is aware.

Relationally, mature believers no longer live for themselves but for others. Perhaps the greatest test of the believer's maturity is found in the call, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love" (Romans 12:10). "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

Simply stated, the third goal of discipleship is to help others function as believers in their homes, on their jobs and in society. The effective Christian walk involves the proper exercise of intellect, talents, and spiritual gifts in serving others and being a positive witness in the world.

Too many Christians are stuck on Level I, locked into the past, immobilized by fear, and isolated by rejection. They have no idea who they are in Christ, so they are making very little progress in becoming like Him. Rather than telling immature believers what they should do, let's help them celebrate what Christ has already done and help them become who they already are in Him.


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


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Too Good to Be True – Hospitality, Friendship, and God - Purity 499

 

Too Good to Be True – Hospitality, Friendship, and living for Christ

Purity 499 08/17/2021   Purity 499 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a late day commuter’s sun that seems to have been devoured by a sky creature of my imagination, whose silhouette is defined by the framing trees, I think of it as the “Halfmoon Sky Hog” with gaping mouth, comes to us from yours truly as I decided to drive in a different direction yesterday after work and take advantage of a friend’s hospitality.  

After emerging past the “Ides of August” this past weekend, I was overcome by a sense that the times “they are a changing” and in contemplating the weeks ahead I realized that the Summer of ’21 is slip, sliding away.  I have a busy schedule with work, meetings, ministry, gatherings, and church and at times it doesn’t seem like I have a moment’s rest but trust me that is a good thing. I consider myself truly blessed by the activities in my life and the relationships that I enjoy as part of it all.

As we walk through life we must meet our responsibilities and make time for the things we want to do by scheduling the time for it.  I have become somewhat skilled at scheduling my time for everything but as I reviewed my upcoming days I realized I had something to do for most of the days in the next week after work but yesterday evening was a rare “night off”, okay to be honest I had a few things to take care but determined that they wouldn’t take up a lot of time and could be done before I went to bed.

So early yesterday, with the upcoming schedule in mind, and the dwindling days of summer as a clear and present reality, I recalled a friend’s kind invitation to use their swimming pool without reservations.  

I don’t know about you but sometimes when people make an offer of hospitality you almost immediately dismiss it because:

1.    You don’t know if they really mean it.

2.    You don’t know if their invitation will obligate you in some way

3.    You feel to accept their invitation is to admit to some lack in your life

4.    You fear the rules and regulations that may be involved

5.    You fear that accepting will somehow push the friendship beyond the “comfort zone” and will somehow result it conflict and a loss of relationship when the bounds of the friendship are pushed beyond their limits.   

But nothing ventured nothing gained, right?  We can’t receive if we don’t ask. Right? And honestly, sometimes we have to “call people’s bluff” and see if they are for “real”.   As we all know, sometimes people say things and don’t mean them, but we will never know if they are authentic if we don’t decide to take advantage of what they offer.   

And I love what happens in us when we get moved to do something.  Suddenly, all this resistance comes in:  “Oh, maybe they were just saying that…” “Are you really going to ask to go to their house and go swimming on a Monday, on a weeknight?... by yourself?... what are you nuts?”   

This little internal dialog of anxiety is what keeps us from our freedom.  So in our interactions with one another there is some potential for growth between friends on both sides. 

They make the offer of hospitality, making themselves vulnerable.  Have you ever invited a bunch of people that you thought of as friends to party and have no one show up?  When we offer our friendship and hospitality we run the risk of feeling the hurt of rejection.  Do we want to be vulnerable by allowing people into our homes?    Do we want to give them the power to possibly judge us and reject us?

On our part, the invitation to accept their hospitality puts the “ball of friendship” in our courts so to speak.  Will we accept? Are we friends or just acquaintances? Do we want to make ourselves vulnerable by going into their home?

So yesterday, out of the blue on a Monday morning, I texted my friend with my thoughts and inquired if I could take advantage of the offer of their pool.  In retrospect, I didn’t really ask how they were and actually texted “I was thinking of your pool”.    Real nice, right? OH and how are you. Yeah I never asked that…. It’s amazing I have friends at all.  

Amazingly, they said the offer was good and they advised how I could access their property and enjoy their swimming pool without disturbance. 

Oh yes, another wrinkle for the faint of heart.  “You mean, they weren’t even going to be there?!”

Apparently not.  Talk about upping the ante, right? 

And this speaks all my single friends. We need to boldly go on our own into this world. If we are going to be waiting for a companion to live our lives, we should be prepared to spend a lot of time at home alone.  And here’s the deal, if we are comfortable home alone, why not take the show on the road?  There is a whole world outside to enjoy and we need to challenge our fears and go out into it even if it means we will be rolling solo.  

As single people, we also need to be vulnerable and make ourselves available to others for friendship.  Recently, I was at a gathering where someone new to the area actually asked for prayer to find friends. We prayed for that person and hopefully our prayers were answered because at the next gathering they were not in attendance. 

And that brings up another thing, are we praying for something that God is putting right before us?  This person was praying for friends in a group, in which they could have possibly found those friends! Like I said, I hope they found them in prayer, because through their absence they may have decided that “these people” weren’t “friend material” or they weren’t comfortable with themselves.  Somewhere in scripture it says that if we want friends, we need to be friendly…  If we don’t make ourselves vulnerable and reach out to others we will never find friends.  

Oh I understand the risks of rejection, but oh well, thankfully through my faith I know that I am accepted for who I am in Christ,  and I have decided to take the risk to reach out to those who seem friendly. I have nothing to prove to anyone and only seek to enjoy their company and encourage them.  So, I took the risk of being “presumptuous” and was rewarded with a transformed Monday as I was welcomed to use my friend’s pool to enjoy the water, the weather, and the solitude.  

So keep walking and talking with God. He will give you the confidence to walk through life boldly and to take risks to make yourself vulnerable to others.  When we make and accept invitations, we open the door to our hearts and while it can be a scary proposition to do so, the rewards of personal growth and experiencing new things and the love of others is more than worth it.        


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
21  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 Today’s verse is the anthem of a Christian disciple’s heart that declares that our life’s purpose is Jesus Christ.  

 The Apostle Paul was facing life and death circumstances as he shared the gospel of Jesus Christ in unsecure and hostile environments.  

 The movie the Seventh Seal, highlights the figure of “Death” walking through medieval landscapes and while I don’t recall the particulars of the plot. I do recall being on edge for the length of the film.  I mean, Death was there. You knew someone was going to die but the thing that gripped my heart with fear was the utter lawlessness of the medieval society that was depicted, in which anyone with a sword or a knife could and would just reach out and kill somebody.

 It was a society in which “might made right” and the only limitations on what men could take for themselves or do was the threat of violence. The idea that security was an illusion was highlighted in this film, but I had the realization that even though we were years beyond this primitive society nothing had really changed.  

 Evil men can still do what they want: a reality that was made crystal clear as Afghanistan fell to Taliban rule.   To live is Christ and to die is gain, will be a reality for any Christians that will be under Taliban rule as whatever peaceful fa├žade that is presented will hide the persecution of Christians.  

 I have the conviction that the US will do nothing in the days ahead, with the rationale that Afghanistan will just be another country to have an oppressive Islamic regime that we shouldn’t have been involved with anyway.  It’s a modern-day Viet Nam.  It’s a mess and we should just walk away.  

 In the very few minutes of CNN coverage I watched yesterday, a female reporter in traditional Muslim dress interviewed Taliban fighters in the streets who stated that there would be no repercussions for women and that it would be a time of peace.   As the fighters were greeted by companions in the streets, they boisterously cheered one another on.    The reporter said that while they seemed peaceful, she was confused because the cheers that the men were shouting was “Death to America!”

 Islam is not a peaceful religion.  Its doctrines are for world domination and death to infidels.  Christians are the infidels.  As another government is replaced by an Islamic regime, the world is less safe.  

 As we move into the future things are getting darker and we as Christians will be asked how faithful we are going to be.  I have written too much about my faith in Christ to hide in the shadows of co-existence or tolerance.  Why is my faith so sure? 

 Not only does the light of Christ show us what is good and holy, but the darkness of the world’s alternatives also shows us what is evil.

 The question of life and death is Jesus Christ.  What will you say to Him?  Will you live for Christ?  If He calls you to be His witness, will you stand?

 As I try to encourage people to seek the Lord and have a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, I am living out my faith in the small ways I can. Because of my relationship with God through Christ, I know that I am a part of His kingdom and death has lost its sting.   For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 

 Be someone who stands for truth, goodness, and beauty. Share the gospel with your words and your actions.  Be someone who gives the words of hope to a world that desperately needs them.

  

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 12.

 

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 12

Dealing with Rejection in Your Relationships

Ruby had experienced more rejection in her 40 years of life than anyone I have ever heard about. She was rejected by her unmarried mother before she was born, miraculously surviving an abortion six months into her mother's pregnancy. Ruby's mother then abandoned her to her father, who in turn gave her to his mother. Ruby's grandmother was involved in a bizarre mixture of religious and occultic practices. So Ruby was raised in an atmosphere of seances and other weird, demonic experiences.

Ruby married at 14 to escape her grandmother's home. By the time she was 21 she had five children, all of whom were convinced by their father that Ruby was no good. Eventually her husband and five children all deserted her. Feeling totally rejected, Ruby unsuccessfully attempted suicide several times. She received Christ during this time, but those who knew her were afraid she would take her own life. "Don't commit suicide," they encouraged her. "Hang on; life will get better." Yet voices inside her head still taunted Ruby, and an eerie, dark spiritual presence infested her home.

In this condition Ruby came to a weeklong conference I was conducting at her church. On Wednesday night I spoke about forgiveness, encouraging people to list the names of people they needed to forgive. In the middle of the session, Ruby left the room with what appeared to be an asthma attack. In reality it was a spiritual attack.

The next afternoon one of the pastors and I met privately with Ruby to counsel and pray with her. When we began to talk about forgiveness, Ruby brought out the list of names she had compiled—four pages of people who had hurt her and rejected her through the years! No wonder Satan was having a field day in her life. Virtually everyone else had turned her away.

We led her through the steps to forgiveness, and she walked out of the office free in Christ. She realized for the first time that God loves her and will never reject her. She went home thrilled and excited. The evil voices in her head were gone.

Most of us haven't suffered the pervasive rejection Ruby experienced. Everyone knows, however, what it feels like to be criticized and rejected, even by the very people in our lives we want to please. We were born and raised in a worldly environment that chooses favorites and rejects seconds. Because nobody can be the best at everything, we all were ignored, overlooked, or rejected at times by parents, teachers, coaches, and friends.

Furthermore, because we were born in sin, God also rejected us until we were accepted by Him in Christ at salvation (see Romans 15:7). Since then, we have been the target of Satan, the accuser of the brethren (see Rev. 12:10), who never ceases to lie to us about how worthless we are to God and others. In this life we all have to live with the pain and pressure of rejection.


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