A Light in the Darkness – Bringing Friends to Holy Ground - Purity 563
Purity 563 10/30/2021 Purity 563 Podcast
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:
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)
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.
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