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Showing posts with label Galatians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Galatians. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Christian Coupling – All God’s “Little People” - Purity 529


 Christian Coupling – All God’s “Little People” - Purity 529

Purity 529 09/21/2021 Purity 529 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of some apple trees and a cloudless blue September sky comes to us from a friend who went apple picking and found their way through the corn maze at Samascott Orchards, in Kinderhook NY over the weekend.   While the first day of Autumn isn’t officially here until tomorrow this photo is evidence that for some of us Fall is already here as apple picking is a seasonal tradition for many in upstate NY. I must admit that I indulged in a large Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew from Dunkin Donuts on Saturday to celebrate Autumn’s arrival.  

With a new season officially here tomorrow, it may be a time to consider the change in seasons in our lives.  I will be meeting with a group of friends who support one another in dealing with the effects of divorce and how to move ahead in the future seasons in our lives.  For those who have loved and lost, it’s good to have a forum speak, to process the changes we have gone through, and to discuss the next steps in our lives.  

One of the concerns for many in our group is moving on and contemplating finding a new life partner.  Our group is Christian and many of us have a desire to try to follow God’s direction in choosing a new mate.  Considering our post Christian society, making the decision to not settle for anyone other than a Christian spouse is like voluntarily removing anywhere from 60 to 90% of the available candidates from the dating pool, depending on your preference for authenticity and spiritual maturity. If you don’t believe me, just go to church on Sunday and count the number of available single males or females, in any age bracket, and you will have an idea of our dilemma.  

I am 49 years old and the only single women at my local church that I was remotely interested in was a 51 and 30 years old. The 51 year old had extreme food allegories, a veritable rodent zoo of pets, an adult  wiccan daughter who lived at home who smoked marijuana, and a Christian faith that bordered on superstition.  Even with all those red flags, I was so desperate for love immediately after my divorce that I was really considering a relationship with this woman when she decided she was content with being alone and politely rejected me, much to my relief.  

And the 30 year old, who I had secretly crushed on for years and had a series of dreams of being in a relationship and being married to, shot me down on Valentine’s Day this year when I sent a text that likened her beauty to the natural wonders of Victoria Falls in Africa, where we had both been on a mission trip together in 2016.  Ain’t no fool like an old fool.  

So this year’s earlier rejections and the discussions I have had with other Christian divorcees have shown me that building a new life with someone who is Christian isn’t going to be a walk in the park.  

When I was a kid, our family had this Fisher Price Little People Village Playset. It was like a little city with two halves that you could place side by side but you could also put them back to back and lock them together and pick it up and carry it away as a single unit.  I googled it and if you are into vintage toys it was made in 1973 and is available for $115 on Etsy.com! It’s pictured on the blog today.



Anyway, I think of trying to get together with a new Christian partner as trying to put my Fisher Price Playset together with their playset.  My playset would have me, two kids, a cat, a house and 3 cars.  So my task is to find another person whose playset I could deal with and whose playset would fit together with mine. 

For instance Fisher Price also made a Farm Playset.  Even though both playsets are Fisher Price, the village playset and the farm playset don’t fit together into one piece.  But you could take the “little people” from the different playsets and have them play and live in a different playset.  But just because you could have the “village little people” live on the farm and you could have the “farm little people” live in the village, it doesn’t mean that you should.  So what’s a “little people” to do? 

Well for the Christian, we are to go to God and ask for guidance and to be discerning to be sure that the “little people” who say they are Christian really are Christian, for one.  And we are also to make sure that they really are the “little people” they say they are in other areas of life because unfortunately some “little people” tell some really big lies.

So for the Christian looking for love we must be smart, and we must stand by our convictions to not be “unequally yoked” by becoming involved with someone who’s faith is a shallow or just a show.  While compatibility, or coming from the same Fisher Price playset, is important it is more important that both “little people” have a living relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

If both “little people” are in Christ and are seeking the Lord’s will for their lives and are living by Christian principles drawn from the wisdom of God’s word, there are no differences that can’t be overcome.

For the love of Christ can not only cover a multitude of sins it can also bridge the gaps between Jews and Gentiles and the “little people” from different playsets.   But before we start slapping playsets together, we should be sure that all the playset people, pieces, and accessories are considered and if we discover that these two playsets just wont work or the pieces are just too different from one another, we should trust the Lord, pick up our playset and move along.  

With God, we can be content that we are loved.  Instead of forcing a fit between our “playset” and someone else’s playset, we should make sure all the pieces in our playset are in order and that we are content with ourselves and are in harmony with God.  

So, keep walking and talking with God. If you follow Him, you can be assured that you are loved and cared for and if you are obedient to His guidance He won’t lead you astray.                

 Today’s meditation verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set: 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Galatians 5:14 (NASB)
14  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

Today’s verse teaches us the importance of our relationships with others as part of our faith.      

For those who don’t know, the advice to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, known as the Golden Rule in some circles, is a paraphrase of Jesus’s words Matthew 7:12.  What could be passed off as “common sense” or a “good life principle” is drawn from the Bible.  

Today’s verse echoes Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12 and teaches us to not act by the letter of the law but to be motivated by love to fulfill the Law.  The parts of the Old Testament Mosaic Law that didn’t have to do with loving God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength, basically instructed us not to harm other people.  

The legalist would concern themselves with the specific details of the law whereas the Children of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ are directed to act out of love.  If we act out of love, we won’t steal our neighbor’s stuff or kill them.  If we love our neighbor as ourselves we will only seek their well-being. The instruction to love our neighbors tells us to not seek our desires over someone else’s.

So if we struggle with loving other people, we need to try to see them as our Lord would.  We need to try to consider the trouble’s and pains they have suffered, and we need to remind ourselves that no matter what they say or do, God still loves them, and He desires that they would come to Him.  

When we can see others as God does, we can forgive them for “they know not what they do” and we can choose to show them the love of God by treating them the way that we would want to be treated. Our love our neighbors can cause them to see that there is a God and God can use our words and actions to open their eyes and bring them into His kingdom. 

So love you neighbors as you love yourself. Not only could our deeds be a way to get some peace on earth and show good will to men, our efforts to “do the right thing” could be used by God to bring the dead to life.  

    

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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

IV. Steps to Solution

Rosie Ruiz is an administrative assistant for a metal company and a marathon runner.

In the world of racing, she is a "no-name," unnoticed by women who are rivals and is never the subject of media attention. In 1980 she enters her second competition, the prestigious Boston Marathon, and finds herself in a field of about 450 female participants.

The person in the spotlight at the marathon is the esteemed Bill Rodgers, who is expected once again to be the first to lunge through the tape at the finish line and to chalk up three consecutive titles. But when it comes to the female runners . . . there will be a surprise finish.

God knows the outcome, as well as the motives of the heart. . . .

"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."

(Jeremiah 17:10)

A. Key Verse to Memorize

To compete with 5,364 runners in the Boston Marathon you can't be timid, and self-discipline is a key component to hopefully making it across the finish line, For Rosie Ruiz, a Cuban-American, participating in the race appears to be like a dream come true, an unparalleled opportunity to be associated with sports history. The 26-year-old even looks the part too. Rosie has a long, lanky figure with short hair, indicating she seemingly is ready to run with the best of them.

When the big day arrives, Rosie sports a T-shirt bearing the race identification W50, and it will be an image few runners that year will forget. . . .

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."

(2 Timothy 1:7)

B. Key Passage to Read

Yes, there is a time for everything, and at the 1980 Boston Marathon it's a time to be victorious for Bill Rodgers . . . and Rosie Ruiz!

Rosie trots across the finish line in just over two and a half hours, giving her 1st place overall in the women's division and the third fastest time among female marathon runners ever in any marathon. Her life is forever changed as the accolades start pouring in.

Massachusetts Governor Edward J. King crowns Rosie the women's champion, and before long she is wearing the coveted laurel wreath associated with the race. She also is given a medal and a silver bowl, and obviously enjoys being photographed with Bill Rodgers.

Boundaries are not only essential for fair competition in athletics, but they are also a basic requirement in every area of life. This principle is clearly expressed in the Ten Commandments. When God established a covenant with His chosen people, Israel, He clearly defined boundaries for their relationship. . . .

"And God spoke all these words: 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'"

(Exodus 20:1-17)

Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

 

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Swamped – Walking out of the Muck and Mire – Purity 519


 Swamped – Walking out of the Muck and Mire  – Purity 519                                                                    

Purity 519 09/09/2021  Purity 519 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a gravel road running along side an emerald green swamp into a forest wilderness beyond comes to us from yours truly as I was recently working near the Charleston State Forest in Esperance NY out on Sara Lib Road.  The bright green algae on the swamp caught my eye as I was driving by and decided to take a moment to enjoy the silence and to take a few shots to capture that vivid green of the swamp lands. There are a few additional photos on the blog today if you want to see more.  


Well, It’s Thursday and I share today’s photo that features a road as an invitation for my friends to join me on the path of Christian Discipleship by taking an eleven week journey to deepen your faith through the Freedom in Christ course I will begin presenting this evening, locally at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY at 6:30 pm, and nationally or internationally via the mt4Christ247 podcast. 

The Freedom in Christ course comes from Freedom in Christ Ministries and its material is a collaborative effort from Dr. Neil Anderson and Steve Goss, FICM’s international Director, and also includes personal testimonies from FICM presenters, Daryl Fitzgerald, and Nancy Maldonado.  I am well versed in FICM’s materials and know that God can use them to heal and transform Christians who wish to draw close to Him and experience their freedom in Christ.  

After coming to faith in Christ, we can often feel like we are stuck some where between heaven and hell as we know that the Lord has given us a new life, but we feel like we are stuck in the muck and mire of our old ways and can’t escape.  We can feel like we are a failure or even doubt if we are a Christian because although we said the prayer that gave us the hope of heaven, we are still dealing with the hell that our life choices have put us in, or we are just floundering to keep our enthusiasm for our faith because nothing seems to have changed.  



This transitional period of life in the Christian faith and this idea of being stuck, as if we are in a swamp, reminds me of:

Psalm 40:2 (NLT2) which says:
2  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

 

Psalm 40 is an awesome psalm to inspire your faith walk. So if you need some inspiration you should look it up and read the whole psalm, but I wanted to point out this verse because it indicates what God has done for us and what we are supposed to do now.  

When we heard that gospel message and put our faith in Christ, God rescued us and lifted us out of the pit of despair. He placed us on the solid ground that is faith in Christ and steadied us once and for all.   No matter what we may face in life, if we have placed our faith in Christ, we have the solid ground of our salvation and identity in Christ to stand upon. 

But we may still be covered with the mud and mire that we acquired from a lifetime of living independently of God and through the consequences of poor decisions.  So we are supposed to stand on the solid rock of our faith and walk towards the Lord to leave the darkness of our pasts behind and to walk into the new life of purpose and meaning that God has for us.    

If there was only some regimented way to become built up in our faith that could educate and encourage us to walk into the freedom we have in Christ!?  

Well, I’m offering a free class to assist people with that, starting tonight. So if you want to leave the muck and mire of the world behind and live a life that is anchored by the love and wisdom of God come to class or listen to the class via the mt4christ247 podcast.  

Is this the only way to go on the path of Christian Discipleship? No, of course not, but if you are hearing or reading this message it just might be the way that the Lord is calling you to pursue.

So step out in faith and follow where the Lord leads you.  As long as you trying to draw close to God and are walking towards God’s will for your life, I would say you are going in the right direction.   So keep walking and talking with God, He has lifted you out of the pit of despair and will steady you as you walk along towards your new life and freedom in Christ.

 

Today’s verse is drawn from” from the Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries provided resource:  “Freedom: Our Life in Christ” Memory Verse Cards set: 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Galatians 5:1 (NASB)
1  It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

 

Today’s verse plain speaks of why the Lord has chosen us and instructs us to live out our purpose.  

In our struggles of trying to be conformed to the image of Christ, we can get to a point where we question why God bothered to save us at all.  We may ask: why did God choose me? Why did He set me free?   

Galatians 5:1 answers that question.  Why did the Lord set you free?  For freedom!

What? Are we answering the question by just rephrasing the question into an answer or what?

It’s like asking, “Why did I win the game?” And being told that you were chosen to win, so you could win! 

If we don’t grasp the meaning of what the Lord is telling us here, through the Apostle Paul, we can think we are being played the fool to some form of circular reasoning.  But it’s not that. This verse speaks of our purpose!

You were set free so you could live free, continually, in freedom.  Free from what?  The yoke of bondage. What’s the yoke of bondage? The yoke of bondage is the sin or negative mind states that you were enslaved to that kept, or keeps, you from experiencing the fruit of the Spirit.  

You can identify your personal yoke of bondage by examining your life and asking yourself what is keeping you from experiencing Peace, love, joy, kindness, faithfulness, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.   

That’s a long list of fruit to realize and there may be a complex situation of many factors that is keeping you from experiencing them.  So what do we do? 

We stand firm in our identity in Christ and surrender to the Lord’s leading to help us not be subject to our yoke of bondage again.  It very well could be a long process to experience all the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, but the Lord will steady us in our walk as we grow in our faith and in our freedom.   

It was for freedom that we have been set free! That’s our purpose: freedom. So let’s endeavor to realize our purpose by humbling ourselves and following the Lord’s ways for our lives.  Our realizing our freedom is not about instant perfection, it’s about progress.  Every step and decision we make to follow the Lord is another step towards freedom.

So keep walking with God and enjoy the increasing freedom that comes from standing firm in our faith and allowing Him to transform our lives.

 

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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

II. Characteristics

The best way to describe the relationship between figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding is . . . icy.

It's 1994 and the XVII Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, are just six weeks away. The skaters will first compete against each other at the United States Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Michigan. Nancy is favored to win the Olympic trials competition and is at the rink a couple of days ahead of time to practice her backspins and jumps. She exits the rink temporarily and walks toward a backstage area, never imagining even for a moment that she will become the victim of a crossed boundary . . . a boundary concerning violence. The Bible has strong words for those who pursue violence. . . .

"The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion."

(Psalm 11:5)

A. What Differentiates Bad Boundaries from Beneficial Boundaries?

Nancy Kerrigan suddenly is approached by a man wielding a weapon resembling a police baton, and he does the unthinkable where a figure skater is concerned . . . he clubs her on her right knee.

The elegant skater now writhes in pain and anguish, buckling to the floor and bemoaning her probable withdrawal from the competition. After a medical examination, it is determined that Nancy, indeed, is not fit to skate and will need time to heal in order to try to be ready for the Olympics. Meanwhile, Tonya, her fierce competitor, glides to victory and is dubbed the U.S. champion.

But eyebrows start to raise when the assailant and his three cohorts are identified, exposing close connections to . . . Tonya. In the tragic scenario . . . bad boundaries abound.

Scripture gives clear warning concerning those who are engaged in evil schemes. . . .

"Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it."

(Micah 2:1)

Setting and respecting boundaries is a two-way street. It becomes a loving approach to your relationship with others. Sometimes it becomes necessary to reestablish and reinforce your boundaries when they have been violated.

People who have never had appropriate boundaries or who have no boundaries at all may not be aware when they step across another person's boundary line. In addition, they will likely fail to recognize when they should set and communicate appropriate boundaries for themselves.

Those who have healthy, beneficial boundaries are generally quick to recognize unhealthy, bad boundaries in others. The goal then becomes that of maintaining boundaries while seeking to convey the value . . . the necessity . . . of everyone establishing loving, beneficial boundaries in their own lives. . . .

"The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. . . . for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. . . . Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you."

(Proverbs 2:6, 8, 11)

In seeking to distinguish bad boundaries from beneficial ones in your own life or in the life of another, be aware of the following differences. . . .

Bad Boundaries vs. Beneficial Boundaries

Bad Boundaries

Beneficial Boundaries

• You define yourself based on what others say or feel about you and will do almost anything to feel accepted by them.

• You know that you are accepted by God and created by Him for a unique purpose and that you must define yourself based on who He says you are!

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

• You do not express your opinion out of fear that people will not agree with you. This leaves you feeling inferior.

• You are not afraid to express yourself, although doing so can leave you open to criticism, rejection, and hurt.

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
(2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

• You isolate yourself in order to minimize suffering, and you see yourself as a victim. . . . You don't ask for what you need.

• Even at the risk of being hurt, you form relationships based on mutual respect and see yourself as healed of past hurts.

"Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise."
(Jeremiah 17:14)

• You seek out many people but do not trust anyone.

• Although not everyone is trustworthy, you have a few trustworthy "forever" friends in your life.

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
(Proverbs 18:24)

• You are enmeshed in relationships, but have little true intimacy. You retreat deep within yourself, concealing your innermost feelings. You feel that it is unsafe to love and be loved so you do not let down your guard with others.

• You have many acquaintances but choose to be totally open, truly transparent, and deeply intimate with only those who have proved themselves to be safe and to always have your best interest at heart.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."
(Proverbs 17:17)

• You are inconsistent when enforcing your boundaries . . . yet, when you do decide to draw the line, you overreact and become overbearing, rigid, and inflexible.

• Your boundaries are flexible, yet consistent. You can be assertive without being aggressive. . . . You are tender and straightforward, firm, and respectful when setting your personal boundaries.

"All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'. . . ."
(Matthew 5:37)

• You use emotional manipulation to get your needs met because you view disagreeing with someone as attacking them, and you don't want to risk their getting angry.

• You can express what you want and how you feel in a forthright way while also being sensitive, dialoguing in a spirit of mutual openness and discovery.

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
(Proverbs 18:21)

• You learn to use boundaries as a weapon against others, to exert power over them, to deceive them, and to keep them off balance or at a safe distance.

• You do not use boundaries as a weapon against others, but to demonstrate your desire to maintain healthy, honest, God-honoring relationships.

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body."
(Ephesians 4:25)

• You cannot see the ways you allow others to mistreat you or the ways you mistreat others.

• Your boundaries help you identify how others are mistreating you or how you are mistreating others.

"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."
(Proverbs 14:8)

• You stay in bad relationships with unsafe people because you feel needed and unworthy of anything better, or you feel too insecure to leave the relationship.

• You learn to enforce repercussions for the unacceptable behavior of others and act to change harmful relationships. You reward positive behavior that helps relationships to flourish.

"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.
(1 Corinthians 15:33)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

 

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

In Over Our Heads – The Lord is Our Helper! – Purity 518


 In Over Our Heads – The Lord is Our Helper! – Purity 518                                                                       

Purity 518 09/08/2021   Purity 518 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a small stream flowing from the Catskill Mountains near C D Lane Park in Maplecrest, NY comes to us from a friend who recently participated in the “Greene County Walks” contest, a 4.3 mile excursion, where they observed how high the waters rose from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, stating that water marks could be seen several feet above their heads on some of the trails, commenting that nature could be beautiful and destructive.   So this tiny stream pictured here undoubtedly swelled during the storm but has since receded to normal levels.   

Well it’s Wednesday and I share this photo today because it features the “humps” of what I  suspect to be the Windham High Peak or the Black Dome Peak of the Catskills Mountains, to remind us that we have reached the mid-way point of the shortened week and to assure my friends that all though circumstances may have come together to cause our heads to “swell” with stress and anxiety, as the Labor Day Weekend and It’s following “morning after” have come and gone, somehow we weren’t destroyed!

Yeah sometimes anticipating the new day can be more daunting than actually experiencing it.  While I mentioned my apprehension over a change at work and was pleased to have some friends reach out with care and concern, I was humorously ashamed later as the mundaneness of work made me realize that my various experiences through the years have prepared me for almost any contingency at work and in life and that I should know that by now!

If I needed any further reminder of how my life experiences, and my reliance on God, has prepared me to accept new challenges, I had a Freedom in Christ Ministries zoom prayer call meeting last night that gave me a platform to give a short testimony of how I became familiar with Dr. Neil Anderson’s work and how God had used it to help me mature in my faith. When we look back and tell people of how God has delivered us out of darkness and listen to others share their stories, we can realize that there is nothing that God can’t bring us through.  

In light of our past and current victories with the Lord, I am reminded of

Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV) which says:
6  So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

 The Lord is our helper. So we should not fear, and declare boldly that we will not fear. What can mere man do to us? What indeed? 

So as we ascended and descend the midway point of the week, and no matter what waters of adversity that may be rising against us, remember where you were before and realize that you survived it. The Lord saw you through all the days of your past.  Place your trust in Him, use the gifts and abilities that He has given you and that your experience has developed, and have confidence that, with Him on your side, “you got this”.  

Hey, I’ll remind myself of this fact, you remind yourself of this fact, and while we are at it, we can remind each other of this fact.  The Lord is our helper. Let’s not forget that,

Let’s endeavor to remember that the Lord is our Helper by thanking Him for His help, and by seeking it and His presence every day.   


I recently took advantage of an offer to receive a “free resource” from Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries. The resource is a collection of Memory Verse Cards with the theme: “Freedom: Our Life in Christ”. 

As I will be leading an eleven week discipleship class called Freedom in Christ, I thought it would be appropriate to change things up by utilizing this free resource to draw the “verse of the day” from.

So we may have presented the verses that come up from this resource previously, but there is nothing wrong with hearing the same verse twice and if it encourages us regarding our freedom and life in Christ, we really can’t go wrong.  So I will draw from this “deck” until we are through them all.   With that said,

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Galatians 5:13 (NASB)
13  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Today’s verse provides us with a reminder, a warning, and points to what real freedom is.   

The reminder in this verse is that God has called us to freedom.  If we were “just fine” or “doing okay” as a race of people, God would have never felt the need to intervene in mankind’s history and eventually send Jesus Christ to teach us about Him and perform His atoning work on the cross.  We were not okay. We were not “free”. But through Christ we have been made free from the power of sin and death!

The warning is to not take our freedom and to corrupt it by indulging in the desires of the flesh that we have been set free from.  When we come to faith in Christ we receive the forgiveness of our sins of the flesh, but just because we are forgiven of our sin doesn’t mean we should take our freedom to indulge in that which required Christ’s sacrifice to cover. It’s like this:  

 “Hey Christ took the punishment for your sins by dying an excruciating death for you and through Him you now have the power to turn from those ways that cause guilt, shame, and pain to you and your loved ones.”

 “Thanks, I’ll keep doing those things, since I’m free!”

“No, you’re missing something. Those things you needed to be forgiven of were what you were in bondage to!  Don’t go back or stay in bondage to them! Claim your freedom by walking away from that junk!”

And finally today’s verse points to what freedom leads to: love!  A natural response to receiving love is giving love. When we realize that God loves us so much that Christ died for us to save us and set us free, we will love God for having first loved us. 

When we grasp the reality of our salvation and the freedom we have been given, we will seek to live out our freedom by living a righteous life and sharing the love of God by serving others.  The overflow of God’s love that is poured into our lives and that makes us free will flow to the lives of those around us.  

“Doing whatever I want” to fulfill our selfish desires eventually leads to shame, guilt, pain, and dissatisfaction. Living that way was never freedom.  

So claim, or reclaim, your freedom by following the Lord’s ways and by sharing with others the free gift of love that He has so graciously given to 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 to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

D. What Is God's Heart On Boundaries?

They've got to go.

In the midst of the Lance Armstrong doping investigation, Greg LeMond calls for the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the honorary president to step down. Pat McQuaid and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, do not manifest God's heart on boundaries.

"During this investigation, you can't have the fox guarding the henhouse, and that means they need to willingly step down—now. Will they? Most likely not because they are protecting their own position. It will take pressure." Greg offers to run UCI as interim president, but insists his replacement must be someone who is "beyond reproach." McQuaid and Verbruggen, by the way, are still leading the controversial UCI.

The truth found in Scripture epitomizes the ways of both Greg and Lance. . . .

"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."

(Proverbs 10:9)

God's heart is that we set boundaries for our relationships with one another. He even wrote some of those boundaries out for us in His Word.

Look at what His Word says regarding His will for us, and you will see them—the boundaries God has ordained for our lives . . . the boundaries we need to establish and live by if we are to follow His heart and live our lives according to His will. . . .

#1 God's will is that we treat one another with respect.

"Show proper respect to everyone..." (1 Peter 2:17).

#2 God's will is that we focus on listening to one another and carefully consider our words before we speak.

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak..." (James 1:19).

#3 God's will is that we express appropriate anger toward one another in a helpful rather than hurtful manner.

"'In your anger do not sin'..." (Ephesians 4:26).

#4 God's will is that we participate in and benefit from mutual submission.

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21).

#5 God's will is that we not lie, but rather speak truthfully to one another from our hearts.

"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor..." (Ephesians 4:25).

#6 God's will is that we acknowledge and take responsibility for our wrongs and that we forgive others for their wrongs.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other. . . . Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (James 5:16; Colossians 3:13).

#7 God's will is that we say "Yes" or "No" without feeling guilty about it.

"All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:37).

#8 God's will is that we refuse to sin against Christ by violating one another's conscience.

"When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:12).

#9 God's will is that we give and receive justifiable rebukes and refrain from using flattery on one another.

"Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue" (Proverbs 28:23).

#10 God's will is that we appeal to a higher authority when necessary, just as the apostle Paul did when he was being slandered by Jewish leaders.

"If the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!" (Acts 25:11).

#11 God's will is that we remove ourselves from abusive situations.

"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered"

(Proverbs 22:24).

#12 God's will is that we emotionally and spiritually support one another.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another..." (Hebrews 10:24-25).


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

 

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship