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

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


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Friends – A Blessing That Reflects and Can Lead to God - Purity 494

Friends – A Blessing That Reflects and Can Lead to God

Purity 494 08/11 /2021    Purity 494 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a red bard symmetrically located in this autumnal valley under a positively heavenly blue sky comes to us from our dear friend, Arthur Cincotti, who frankly covets having his photos featured on the mt4christ blog.  So when I got this submission I wasn’t really sure when I would use it, but as it is Wednesday and this photo features mountainous “humps” of Autumn  on both sides and an inverted celestial “hump” in the middle, and the fact that it is a great photo, made its selection easy.   

Considering the current weather, with a high of 90 degrees in the forecast for today, many of us may be longing for the cooler temperatures of Fall, although I have seen memes on display already jokingly telling people to keep their “pumpkin spice” longings to themselves as the local Walmart has already gone beyond the “back to school” season and is currently displaying candy corn and our Autumn products.   

Regarding the fall, we often rediscover friends in the Autumn as the school season can bring people back into our lives that were absent in the summer months. Regarding friendship, I recently I attended a small group gathering of Christians where we shared a meal and our testimony’s regarding the effect our “best friends” from when we were growing up had in our lives.   

Unfortunately like myself, about half the people there told stories of how their childhood friendships either diminished or evaporated over the years and of these situations, many attributed their estrangements or lack of depth of friendship to more than just the passage of time or physical separation. Of the childhood friendships that didn’t endure or were less close, differences in faith were a common factor.

The other testimonies in group spoke about a deep love between friends that have endured through years regardless of physical distances or even differences in faith.  In some cases, the reason why the friendships endured was because of the intentional choice that these Christians made to stay friends even though their friends didn’t share their faith. 

One example was of “John” who’s “best friend”, “Bill” openly denied any faith in God, but this unbeliever was impacted by John’s faithful friendship. John had grown up a loner so when He became friends with “Bill”, he was extremely loyal.   After John came to Christ, Bill was confused and troubled by his friend’s newfound faith. The two often debated and argued about Christianity until they eventually agreed to disagree and not talk about it, but their friendship endured.  

Bill was somewhat of a wild guy and suffered some negative consequences from his poor choices over the years, but John was always there to help him and even provided financial support at times, specifically paying for Bill’s car insurance for a year at one point, never accepting reimbursement.   John’s generosity was periodically recalled and appreciated by Bill who was simply amazed by it.  As time progressed, John moved away from Bill, but they stayed in regular contact via the telephone once or twice a week.   

Recently, Bill’s wife fell ill and was hospitalized.  There were grave concerns that Bill’s wife was not going to live, and Bill was told to prepare himself for that possibility. In contemplating the potential loss of his wife, Bill called John and asked him to pray for his wife to be healed, saying that he didn’t have any sway with God, but he knew that if anyone did, John did.  So John and his wife prayed for Bill’s wife, and shortly afterwards her situation improved, she was healed, and went home from the hospital.   

Bill hasn’t placed his faith in Christ according to John, but John says that the fact that Bill would ever ask anyone to “pray” for anything tells him that his friend is closer to faith than he has ever been and that he will continue to be Bill’s friend and pray for the Lord to finish the work that He has begun in Bill’s heart.    

Like John, I had few close friendship  growing up but one of my first friends in the faith was Arthur Cincotti”.   He was one of the first men to greet me at Rock Solid Church when I went there for the first time. I was impressed that Arthur, although far from perfect, was authenticate in his faith, was a regular attender of church service, and a faithful servant in the church.  We got to know each other through the early morning Men’s Bible Study through the years and I consider him one of my dearest friends.

Arthur now leads the Study and even though it eventually dwindled to the two of us, we decided to be faithful to it and to one another.  When it dwindled to the two of us, his wife Suzanna eventually joined us, and she was impressed by our discussions and suggested we podcast it because it could encourage others to really ponder the word of God and how it applies to their lives.  So, earlier this year we did that. Amazingly some people are actually listening to it, and we are greatly humbled and encouraged by that fact.  

Our friends can make a big impact in our lives. But the reality that God is over and above all creation means that, whether we realize it or not, He is the third party in every relationship.  

How we relate to God can have a lot to do with how we relate to others.  When we seek to please the Lord, we will be kind, loving, and generous to the people in or lives. 

Our relationship to God through faith in Jesus Christ gives us an infinite capacity to love because God is love and He pours His love into us when we come to Him.   When we live by faith, loving our friends, family, and neighbors becomes a natural expression of who we are in Christ.  Because of our faith, our friendships can really bless people as we share the love we have been given and God can use us to bring others into His kingdom. 

So keep walking and talking with God.  Be a faithful friend to those in your life and tell them the truth in love. As Christians, we have been given the gift of life and love everlasting. It is our purpose to bring that love and life to as many as we can.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NLT2)
1  Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.

 

Today’s verse gives us the simple encouragement to live in a way that pleases God and to stay faithful to continue.    

Yesterday, I heard a message that included 2 Corinthians 5:9 that states:

2 Corinthians 5:9 (NKJV)
9  Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

That verse follows the one that tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, telling us that when we leave our bodies, when we die, we will be with the Lord.  And either way, if we live or die, we should be well pleasing to God. Wow.

 

I didn’t really catch that implication yesterday, I just heard that our goal, or our purpose as Christians, is to follow the simple but profound advice to live in a manner to please God.  That means turning from our ways and actively and continuously seeking to live our lives according to our desire to please God by living as He would want us to live.  That’s a heart thing, not a commandment thing. That’s a love thing, not a law thing.  That’s a relationship, not a rule to follow.  

 So when I saw today’s verse, I’m like: “That’s it, guys.” The Holy Spirit wants us to know this very simple but profound thing.  Don’t blow it off or just say “Yup” and move along business as usual.  God brings up things repeatedly to get our attention.   This is when we need to stop and grasp this truth experientially, with our hearts as well as with our minds. 

 Our love needs to burn for God here. Our passionate love for God needs to become our motivation for everything we do.   Our desire, beyond pleasing ourselves, should rightly be to please God.  

Some would look at this idea, as living as a slave under a tyrannical ruler.  And although we should recognize that we have been bought by the blood of Jesus and we really are slaves to Christ, we should recognize that we have a kind and benevolent Master, that works all things for our good. So when we live our lives to please God, not only are our lives infused with meaning and purpose, but it also becomes well pleasing to us and we become the person we always wanted to be but never thought we could be. 

The two biggest lies of the enemy are that:

 1.    We need to live for ourselves.

2.    Some things are just impossible.

But with God all things are possible, and only way we will discover that is when we decide to live our lives with our hearts and minds set on the intention to live for God and to be well pleasing to Him.  

This goes way beyond “doing the right thing”. This path, of Christian Discipleship, walking in the Spirit, or living by faith is quite simply the meaning and purpose for which we were created: to be well pleasing to God and to discover who we become when we do that.       

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 11.

 

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:

Learning to Resolve Primary Emotions

You have no control over a primary emotion when it is triggered in the present, because it is rooted in the past. Therefore, it doesn't do any good to feel guilty about something you can't control. You can, however, stabilize the primary emotion by evaluating it in light of present circumstances. For example, suppose you meet a man named Bill. He looks like the Bill who used to beat you up as a child. Although he is not the same person, your primary emotion will be triggered. So you quickly tell yourself, "This is not the same Bill; give him the benefit of the doubt." This mental evaluation produces a secondary emotion that is a combination of the past and the present.

You have done this thousands of times, and you have also helped others do the same. When people fly off the handle, you try to help them cool down by talking to them. You are helping them gain control of themselves by making them think, by putting the present situation in perspective.

Notice how this works the next time you are watching a football game and tempers explode on the field. One player grabs an enraged teammate and says, "Listen, Meathead, you're going to cost us a 15-yard penalty and perhaps the game if you don't simmer down." He wants his teammate to play under control.

Some Christians assert that the past doesn't have any effect on them because they are new creations in Christ. I would have to disagree. Either they are extremely fortunate to have a conflict-free past or they are living in denial. Those who have had major traumas and have learned to resolve them in Christ know how devastating past experiences can be.

Most people I counsel have had major traumas in their past. Some have been abused to such an extent that they have no conscious memory of their experiences. Others constantly avoid anything that will stimulate those painful memories. Most don't know how to resolve those past experiences, so they have developed myriad defense mechanisms to cope. Some live in denial, others rationalize their problems or try to suppress the pain by an excess of food, drugs, or sex.

A major role of psychotherapy is to determine the root of primary emotions. Sometimes psychotherapists resort to hypnosis or drug therapy to get at the sources of their clients' problems. I am personally against drug-induced programs or the use of hypnosis to restore a repressed memory. Such methods bypass the mind of the client and ignore the presence of God. Only God can set a captive free and bind up the brokenhearted. He is the Wonderful Counselor.

The answer for repressed memories is found in Psalm 139:23, 24: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." God knows about the hidden hurts within you that you may not be able to see. When you ask God to search your heart, He will expose those dark areas of your past and bring them to light at the right time. The Holy Spirit "will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13), and that truth will set you free (see John 8:31, 32).


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