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Showing posts with label Gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gratitude. 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


Monday, July 26, 2021

Trinity of Thanks – God Meets All Our Needs - Purity 480


Trinity of Thanks – God Meets All Our Needs   

Purity 480 07/26/2021    Purity 480 Podcast 

Good morning

Today’s photo comes to us from yours truly as I was seated up front on a morning boating excursion on Lake George on Saturday under magnificent blue skies that filled me with awe, wonder, and abounding gratitude.   The thrill of speeding across the huge lake, added to the joy over the weather, the environment, the company, and the context of my overall journey of life and relationship with God had my spirits soaring and had me giving thanks to My God for bringing me to this day that proved the be the uncontested highlight of the summer of 21 by far!  

I am a teacher of Christian discipleship, which is basically the process of being a life student of the Lord and continually bringing Him into the context of our lives.  So as we go about our day, we are in a constant conversation with the Lord in which we can examine the past, observe the present, and contemplate the future while always considering the blessings God has provided and the wisdom that He would have us live by.  Living like this takes your attention but when you do it, the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, patience, self-control and love just become a normal part of your daily experience of life. 

I say all that to say this. As you are “walking in the Spirit”, it only becomes natural for you to become overwhelmed by emotions at time as you are regularly given revelations of what the events of your life mean in the context of your faith and the part God plays in it.  When you get glimpses of this “big picture”, you generally praise the Lord and thank Him for not only bringing you through the circumstances in your life and providing for you, but you also thank Him for the ability to “see it all”.   When that happens to me I often erupt in thanksgiving with a trinity of gratitude saying: Thank You GOD! Thank You JESUS! Thank You HOLY SPIRIT!

So as we were cruising over Lake George I was just grinning from ear to ear over the magnificence of the day and that smile reappears when I contemplate it.  In reviewing the photos this morning, I chose this one for today because of these three separate cloud formations in remembrance of being “OH so thankful” to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”    

As I was later resting in a “floaty” in the surprisingly warm waters of Lake George,  I was reminded of the overall context of my journey of life and faith over the course of the last couple of years with the ending of my marriage, my exodus to a new home, my completion of my masters degree, and working two jobs during a worldwide pandemic to come to this wonderful day with others who have also suffered their own trials of heartache in the same season of chaos and who are also connected to Our heavenly Father to emerge into new lives of hope, and all I could think was think was “God is good!”   and

“Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit… for all that You are, for all that You do, and for all that you have brought us through. Thank You for this day and for all the days to come with You!”  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Today’s verse reminds us that all our needs are met by God and through Jesus Christ.     

We all grow up independently of God for the most part and we are taught the ways of the world by our families, friends, teachers, and our life experiences.   We learn philosophies that tell us not to trust anyone, to only look out for ourselves, and to go after the things you want in life.  Depending on your upbringing there will be varying degrees of focus on the importance of family and moral integrity in how you live your life.  These life experiences, viewpoints, philosophies, moral standards, and one’s personal interpretations of how they will live individually determine how we will choose to pursue the things we need and want as well as what we determine to be a “need” or a want.     

Our view can define preferences or wants as “needs”.  For Instance, I need a house with 3 bedrooms, a two-car garage, and a swimming pool.  That was only an example. I don’t need a pool. I just need friends who regularly invite me to their pools.   

But seriously, our perspective defines what we consider a “need”.  Our basic needs are food, water, shelter, purpose, and love.   

My worldly friends would agree with that list but would challenge me to prove how my God is going to provide all these things. 

I have often encountered faithless people in my life, I met lots of them because I was one of them for a long time. Some would openly cry out to heaven and challenge God to give them something or even tempt Him to take their lives, only to claim He’s seeming inaction as proof for either His lack of power, care, or existence.  

While I would admit that God doesn’t answer our whims like a genie in a bottle, I would insist that we would all have to give God credit where credit was due.  

I would explain that because God has created our world and put things in it that we can manipulate to provide us with the food, water, and shelter that we need and because He has given us the capacity to understand and the ability to work to meet those needs, I would say that God not only provides for our basic physical needs but He also gives us the basic purpose of working to meet our needs.   

While that might not seem fair to some people, that we must acknowledge our world as being provided by God and that we must work, if we are honest we would have to acknowledge that God is good for giving us the resources and abilities to meet our needs.   

Some may say that’s all well and good but would question God’ ability to provide love for us.    Again I would point to the people that God has provided for us and while we might not all be blessed with a romantic soul mate partnership, there are very virtually no people who can claim that they never knew the love of family, friends, or pets.  

I know that some would claim that’s cheating.  Some bitter people were going to claim having no love in their lives, but I widened the spectrum from the present moment to encompass all the time of your life and even included the animal kingdom as possible sources of love, but when you walk in faith you look at the big picture of all that God gives us and you don’t dwell too much on the past, the present, or the future.    

A bad past or present can be overcome with a good future. While time might be running out on our lives and we may feel that we can’t manipulate the people or things of this world in a manner that will give us back the love that we lost or the love that we “really” need, I would invite you to draw closer to God to discover the greatest love of all.  

God’s love is unconditional.  He loves us no matter what. This is proven by Christ’s sacrifice to pay for our sins. Jesus is the beloved Son of God, and He lived a perfect life and died to make a way to reconcile mankind to God. 

If we respect God and utilize the Way He provide us, by putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be able to experience a love that will surpass any that we have ever known through lovers, family, friends, or pets.    

When we place our faith in Christ, God in the person of the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. Scripture tells us that God is love and that God is spirit. The pure love of God Himself comes to dwell in us.  

When we invite Him into our lives, seek His truth and presence, and live by His ways, our lives become living expressions of the love of God as we realize our greater purpose of glorifying God and sharing His love with others.

So, if you think God doesn’t provide for your needs, think again, and accept His invitation to an abundant life of purpose and love that never ends.     

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, concluding Chapter 8.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

8. Peace. Key Concept: Establishing Internal Order

Peace on earth, good will toward men; that is what everybody wants. That is a great desire but a wrong goal. Nobody can guarantee external peace because nobody can control people or circumstances. Nations sign and break peace treaties with frightening regularity. One group of peace marchers confronts another group of peace marchers, and they end up beating each other over the head with their placards. Couples lament that there would be peace in their home "if only he/she would shape up."

The peace of God is internal, not external. Peace with God is something you already have (see Romans 5:1). The peace of God is something you need to appropriate daily in your inner world in the midst of the storms that rage in the external world (see John 14:27).

A lot of things can disrupt your external world because you can't control all your circumstances and relationships. You can control the inner world of your thoughts and emotions, however, by daily allowing the peace of God to rule in your heart. Chaos may be occurring all around you, but God is bigger than any storm. I keep a little plaque on my desk that reminds me: "Nothing will happen to me today that God and I cannot resolve." Personal worship, prayer and interaction with God's Word enable us to experience the peace of God (see Phil. 4:6, 7; Col. 3:15, 16).

Often when I share these eight critical points of the Christian's belief system, I hear people say, "Well, I suppose that's true, but I still believe . . ." Which will they live by: what they acknowledge as true or what they "still believe"? Always the latter—always! Walking by faith is simply choosing to believe what God says is true and to live accordingly by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Amazing? What's so amazing? - I Hope You Know – Purity 478


 

Amazing? What's so amazing? - I hope you know – Purity 478                                                                  

Purity 478 07/23/2021  Purity 478 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a misty morning sunrise over wetlands comes to us from a friend’s sunrise hike at the Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve in Rexford NY. Getting up early to exercise our bodies, minds and spirits have several benefits one of which is seeing the glory of the beginning of a new day. But its not just the sights that complete the experience, for our friend reports that the stillness of the morning environment comes with sounds of nature coming alive that are “amazing”.      

I share this photo because I love the view of the morning sun reflected on the water and because it’s finally Friday and I am looking forward to ending the first week back to work since my staycation ended on Monday.

My friend’s use of the word “amazing” makes me think how that word is sometimes used disparagingly or how it can be overused. I believe my friend’s use of the word “amazing” was not only sincere but wholly appropriate to their experience but there are many among us who would fail to see what was “so amazing” about some stupid hike at the crack of dawn.  

Just for the record, amazing is defined as: “causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.”  My friends use of amazing expresses their sense of wonder at God’s creation and the peace they found in the moment.  My friend’s experience could also have been surprising or astonishing to them, depending on their perspective. 

I know this friend has a solid relationship with the Lord through their faith in Jesus Christ, so I know that they consider the things of God quite often and make a regular practice of gratitude:, which is the practice of continually thanking the Lord for all the blessings, and challenges, we experience in life.   That faithful perspective and attitude of gratitude are foundational practices of the Christian lifestyle that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit of peace, joy, and love.  

But in our society the word “amazing” can also be used to express that sense of astonishment that is more of a negative emotion.  My young adult daughter often uses the word “amazing” to sarcastically describe things that annoy or frustrate her. While their may be astonishment, surprise, and some wonder in my daughter’s angsty use of the word amazing, it is a far cry from the use of “amazing” that describes the grace that saved a wretch like me.  

To borrow my daughter’s sarcasm for a moment, wonder where she got that from?, I guess you could say I have been having an “amazing” week at work as my normal routine has been disrupted by the effects of all the rain we have hade in the past weeks causing me to have to adapt to new challenges, uncertainty, and stress.  So I’m not sure where the day will take me, but I’ll be sure to lean on the Lord and will rejoice when its quitting time later this afternoon.

Using the word “amazing”, in this negative context is an indicator that you may not exactly be familiar with God’s amazing grace or that you may have forgotten it. 

When we look at the world through a disgusted or negative lens we don’t do ourselves any favors emotional or mentally.  Why would we want to dwell on the bad things in life? How we think effects how we feel.  While I am not suggesting living in denial of the suffering that surrounds us, I am suggesting that directing our thoughts to recognizing the good that God has provided in our lives will brighten your experience emotionally.  

So have an amazing day and an amazing weekend.  Regardless of the circumstance that surround you, when you keep walking and talking with God your experience of life can be one where the word “amazing” describes positive senses of wonder, surprise, and astonishment instead misusing the word to describe feelings of discontentment, annoyance, or bitterness. 

God invites all of us to know His Amazing Grace every day by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.  Some have of us have done that but are not living amazing lives because we don’t live in harmony with God.  

God has put a path before you.  How you walk it is up to you. I encourage you to put your best foot forward and follow the Lord’s lead.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 8:32 (NKJV)
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Today’s verse is a promise from Christ for every believer to experience their freedom.  

The previous verse that leads to this profound statement from Jesus states that Christ’s disciples are those who abide in His word.  The results of abiding in God’s word is a knowledge of the truth and freedom.  

This world is shrouded in the lies of the enemy and a world system that has developed philosophies that are independent of God.  Our hostile environment seeks to define truth as worldly wisdom and how things work according to man.  The problem is that there are a whole lot of men and women with their own ideas about what is true and with various opinions on how to live.  While everyone is entitled to their own opinions about the nature of existence and what is right, we will all be subject to what the Creator of existence declares as true.  

God’s word is a warning and a book of instruction.  To ignore the Bible is to disregard truth. Scripture describes very negative consequences for those outside of God’s will and grace.  Knowing that it is only through faith in Christ that we can be reconciled to God to avoid God’s wrath is the truth by which we will all be judged. 

When we know that and put our faith in Christ, we are free from the rightful penalty of God’s wrath. We are free indeed.  

But that’s only half the story of knowing the truth in God’s word. His instruction manual, the Bible, also teaches us to turn from our sin and live a righteous life.   When we do that we experience the freedom from the bondage of sin.  We no longer are compelled to sin because we experientially know that we are set free because we have applied God’s truth to our lives.   

The amazing news, yes surprising, full of wonder, and astonishment in a good way, is that as we walk out our Christian lives, there is more of God’s truth to be revealed to us, in relation to our understanding and its application to our lives, and that means that there is more freedom for us to experience!

So act like a disciple of Christ by abiding in His word and learning His truth with an open hear and an open mind. Seek to know God’s truth and how it applies to you personally. Endeavor to apply God’s teachings to your life.    When you do that you will not only experience new dynamic levels of freedom in Christ, but you will undoubtedly want to help set the captives free around you by sharing the truth and hope that is found in Christ alone.    

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 8.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Proper Guidelines Lead to a Proper Walk

6. Fun. Key Concept: Uninhibited Spontaneity

Fun is uninhibited spontaneity. Have you ever planned a major fun event? Chances are, the last time you really had fun was spontaneous, after you threw off your inhibitions. Worldly people know they need to get rid of their inhibitions to have fun. That is one reason they drink.

The secret to enjoying uninhibited spontaneity as a Christian is to remove unscriptural inhibitors. Chief among the inhibitors of Christian fun is our fleshly tendency to keep up appearances. We don't want to look out of place or be thought less of by others, so we stifle our spontaneity with a form of false decorum. That is people pleasing, and Paul suggested that anybody who lives to please people isn't serving Christ (see Galatians 1:10). The joyless cry, "What will people say?" The liberated in Christ respond, "Who cares what people say? I care what God says; I stopped playing for the grandstand a long time ago when I started playing for the coach."

I love the uninhibited joy of King David. He was so happy about returning the Ark to Jerusalem that he leaped and danced before the Lord in celebration. He knew there was joy in the presence of God. Michal, his party-pooping wife, however, thought his behavior was unbecoming to a king, and she told him so in no uncertain terms. David said, "Too bad for you, lady. I'm dancing before the Lord, not before you or anybody else. And I'm going to keep dancing whether you like it or not" (see 2 Samuel 6:21). As it turned out, Michal was the person God judged in the incident, not David (see 2 Samuel 6:23). It is a lot more fun pleasing the Lord than trying to please people.


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

Friday, July 16, 2021

Feeling Good is Good Enough? What about Joy?! - Purity 472



Feeling Good is Good Enough? What about Joy?! 

Purity 472 07/16/2021    Purity 472 Podcast 

Today’s photo of a setting sun dipping into the Pacific comes to us from a friend who is vacationing in Kaanapali on the Island of Maui in the great state of Hawaii.  While I am envious of my friend’s vacation, I am filled with joy for them and somehow that joy transcends to myself. I don’t know, somehow I feel good just knowing that I know someone who is out there enjoying the beauty that our Lord has created.      

That’s the funny thing about joy for a Christian, it’s not really dependent on our circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and when you are living by faith and walking in the Spirit you will experience it in many forms.  

In Oliver Stone’s Platoon, a group of soldiers gather to party with alcohol and marijuana. The euphoria caused by the drugs and peaceful environment drives one of the characters to say: “Feeling good’s good enough.”


Unlike the temporary happiness and skewed perceptions brought on by intoxication caused by drugs and alcohol and other fleshly pursuits, the heightened awareness of the interaction of God in our lives from moment to moment as we walk in the Spirit produces the “joy of the Lord” that is clean and pure.  The joy of the Lord doesn’t cause us pain and it doesn’t bring us feelings of shame or guilt.  The joy of the Lord is a deep-rooted inspired feeling that comes from our acknowledgement of the goodness of God and from the wonder of His presence when we commune with Him by welcoming Him into our life experiences.  

Some may look at today’s photo and say: “Man, it doesn’t get any better than that!” 

But I assure you that enjoying the moment of that view in Hawaii can be exponentially better when you bask in the wonder of the God who made it and thank Him for creating it, and for creating us, and for allowing us to have the time and ability to experience it.   

The word of God says that we are not to be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, instead we are to be filled with the Spirit, whose fruit is peace and joy.   

So as the sun sets on another work week, I encourage all my friends to take their weekend experiences from the level of mere situational happiness and welcome the Lord of all creation into your lives to experience the joy that comes from being in harmony with Him.    

When you have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter if you take yourself to a Pacific paradise or you just stay in the familiar confines of your home; reflecting on the things of God and communing with Him in an unceasing conversation of prayer will open up the gates of heaven here on earth and allow you to truly know the peace and the joy that He has for you. 

So keep walking and talking with God. And when you discover a spring in your step, don’t be surprised.  That’s just the joy of the Lord flowing from your heavenly Father right into your spirit.      

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NKJV)
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,

Today’s verse encourages us to give thanks to God for the people in our lives and to lift them up to the Lord in prayer.  

Two of the fundamental disciplines of the path of Christian Discipleship are gratitude, or thanksgiving, and prayer.  

Technically, I guess thanking God for all the things He provides in our lives is a form of prayer but it’s a form of prayer that I continually practice as a means of walking in the Spirit and for dealing with discursive thoughts and reactive emotions. Gratitude, which I think of as the continual practice of thanksgiving, is an effective antidote for depression, angry, and anxiety.  But please understand me that I am not recommending a general attitude of thankfulness. 

Secular psychologists make the same recommendations to be thankful, but because most secular psychologists hold an atheistic of humanist world view the thanksgiving that is recommended would have you thanking “good fortune”, “chance”, “my personal wisdom”, my hard work”, or “my specialness.”  In these instances, the object to which we are giving thanks is selfish and temporary.  In essence we are thanking ourselves for being able to see that we should be thankful.  “I can do it! Yay!”  

With that said you can even practice this form of thankfulness in the worst conditions too, “I’m thankful because I KNOW things could be worse.”  While I applaud, that attitude of pure grit to persevere, do you see how lonely that is? 

With a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you are not alone.  And when you practice gratitude you take your logical reasonings of why you can be thankful, and you can lay them at the feet of the One who is worthy of them.    

With God we are not alone. And today’s verse encourages to us be thankful to the Lord for the people that He has put in our lives here on earth.  Our thanksgivings to the Lord should include the special people that love us and that we can love in return.  

Our family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ give us the ability to give and receive love.   Our love for the people in our lives causes us to care for them and wish that they would prosper, and flourish and we can take our hopes for them to the Lord in prayer.   God wants us to love one another, and it is only natural for us to prayer for one another. 

So practice your disciplines of prayer and thanksgiving and included the people in your life in each one of them.  Although our relationship with God is highly personal, we are to open our hearts to others and go to God to tell Him all about the relationships we have that bring such meaning and joy to 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 with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 8.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:

Chapter 8

God's Guidelines for the Walk of Faith

A few years ago, I accepted an invitation to speak at a church retreat the weekend after Mother's Day. A month before the retreat, the pastor called to tell me that the conference center had been double booked, so their retreat had to be moved ahead one week. He asked if I could still be there the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Mother's Day weekend.

I wasn't about to schedule anything that would take me away from my family on Mother's Day, but my wife, Joanne, overheard the conversation and suggested I go ahead with the retreat. I told her I didn't want to be away on her special day, but she insisted I go. So I did.

During a break in the retreat, I visited the little gift shop on the grounds and got a wonderful idea for making up to my family for being gone on Mother's Day. One of the gift items in the shop was a cute little basket containing a package of muffin mix and a jar of apple jelly. I decided I would get up early on Monday morning and fix a delicious, banquet-style breakfast for Joanne, Heidi, and Karl—complete with eggs, sausage, and muffins.

So on Monday morning I rose with the chickens, had my devotions, and started making breakfast. I was stirring the muffin mix, singing, and feeling great when sleepy-eyed Karl wandered into the kitchen. He grabbed a box of cereal and an empty bowl and headed for the table.

"Hey, Karl, just a second. We're not having cereal this morning. We're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins."

"I don't like muffins, Dad," he mumbled, opening the cereal box.

"Wait, Karl," I insisted, starting to get annoyed. "We're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins."

"But I don't like muffins, Dad," he repeated as he got ready to fill his bowl.

I lost it. "Karl, we're going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins!" I barked. Karl closed the cereal box, threw it into the cupboard and stomped back to his room. The kid blocked my goal!

When I realized what I had done, I went to Karl's room and said, "I'm sorry, son. You can have cereal."

He said, "I don't like cereal."

Like me, I am sure you have suffered your share of blocked goals, which are described in the previous chapter. You had this great plan to do something wonderful for God, your church, your family, or a friend. Then your plan was thrown into disarray by hectic, daily events over which you had no control. A pileup on the freeway kept you from getting to work on time. Your husband was late for the special dinner you planned. Your child decided to be the lead guitarist in a rock band instead of becoming a doctor, as you had planned. You didn't get your way at the board meeting.

When you base your sense of worth on the success of your own personal plans, your life will be one long, emotional roller-coaster ride. The only way to get off the roller coaster is to walk by faith according to the truth of God's Word.


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